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Cultural Institute Literary Salon Series: ‘Painting Beauty Queens Orange: Women’s Lives in the 1970s’

February 2 @ 13:00 - 14:00

The ‘70s wasn’t all glam rock and flares, punk and pogo-ing… In Painting the Beauty Queens Orange, the women who lived the decade reveal what it meant to push boundaries, claim your identity, and carve out your place amidst the winter of discontent, the scorching summer of ‘76 and the rise of Thatcherism. One young woman says a forced goodbye to her newborn baby. Another grasps new opportunities and sets sail on a LGP Tanker with a crew of men. A third asserts her sexual identity. A fourth sets up a kitchen table business that launches an international brand. These stories of ambition and adventure, motherhood and marriage, are by turns heart-breaking, humorous, and honest.

Contributors Carolyn Lewis ‘The Sound of Water’ and Kate Cleaver ‘Firsts’, along with the book’s editor, Rebecca F. John, will be In conversation with Dr Alan Bilton, author and Senior Lecturer of English Literature and Creative Writing at Swansea University.

Kate Cleaver
Kate Cleaver is an Anglo-Indian writer studying for a PhD with Swansea University. She is researching the lives of ordinary people who found themselves incarcerated in the Briton Ferry Insane Asylum, Vernon House. She has begun to create stories and has found that linking her stories to historical fact is a way to bring people from the past to life; she is asking if those ghosts can be recreated into stories, into creative history. In 2019 she was long listed in the New Welsh Writers Award and has just had a memoir published by Parthian in ‘Just So You Know’.

Carolyn Lewis
Born in Cardiff, Carolyn’s work has appeared in previous Honno anthologies. Her first novel, Missing Nancy was published by Accent Press in 2008. She gained an MPhil in Writing at Glamorgan University (now the University of South Wales). Her stories have won national and local prizes and have appeared in The New Welsh Review, Mslexia and Route Magazine amongst others. She’s worked as a creative writing tutor for many years and two text books have been published based on her teaching methods. Currently she’s taking a PhD at Swansea University for which she’s writing a new novel.

Rebecca F. John
Rebecca F. John was born in 1986, and grew up in Pwll, a small village on the south Wales coast. She holds a BA in English with Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing from Swansea University, as well as a PGCE PCET from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4Extra. In 2015, her short story ‘The Glove Maker’s Numbers’ was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. She is the winner of the PEN International New Voices Award 2015. Her first short story collection, Clown’s Shoes, was published through Parthian in 2015. Her first novel, The Haunting of Henry Twist, was published through Serpent’s Tail in July 2017. It was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. In 2022, she will publish her first children’s book with Firefly Press, as well as a second adult novel, The Empty Greatcoat, and a short novel, Fannie, with Honno Press.



February 2
13:00 - 14:00
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Taliesin Create
Swansea University
Swansea, SA2 8PP
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