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Orbis 200: ‘All the best to you, and to Orbis!’
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted
for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal –
and congratulations
on such a successful magazine over the years’
(Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by: Reviews by: Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey  
D.A.Prince; Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Pam Thompson

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance –
not review copies.


Front cover artwork :‘Where stories unfold’ by Mario Sanchez Nevado;
Back cover, detail from image:

The elephant in the room…something beginning with X,
which descends  every year far too swiftly. Or else starting
with W, because as Bethany Pope  regales you
with her tale of a White Elephant, never more apparent
is it that one person’s dream gift is another’s nightmare.
It’s enough to have you biting those lovely Fuchsia nails
Ann Palmer is talking about. Yes, soon be time to be
Bringing Home Holly with Sue Speirs, the prickly stuff,
not the girl, although maybe… And like Debjani Chatterjee’s
experience, it’s Dawning on you that what’s needed is well,
you could call it Confirmation (John Lynch) everything will go
according to plan: will it be David Dumouriez’s An Anglican Event?
Does s.d.s. know better than you whether my mother is coming along?
And when we meet each other’s gaze, including Caroline Maldonado’s,
could we describe it as the salt of life as Yogesh Patel tells us? 
But that’s what Orbis 206 is here to do in its infinite variety: spice things up.

Featured Writer Michael Henry:
Scratchcard; Nightlife; Ibiza; The Italian Wine Bar; Exequy to a duckling

Poems from Charlie Baylis, watermelon sugar;
Debjani Chatterjee, Windrush Five Hundred;
Dr. Bethany Pope, Speaking In Tongues; Donna Pucciani, Basil, She Said;
Bill Richardson, Spooky action at a distance; Phil Vernon, Crossing the line

Prose from Ann Palmer, Fuchsia nails; Sari Pauloma, Reflecting;
John Siberry, Gone Fission

Translation W.D. Jackson, Goethe: The Erlking

Past Master: Michael Spinks on Max Jacob

Article: Cover Artist: Mario Sanchez Nevado

Orbis 206 Contributors also include
Denise Bennett; Ed Blundelll; Jim Conwell; Terence Culleton;
Christine Curtis; Robin Daglish; Simon Fletcher; Ray Givans;
Wendy Goulstone; Oz Hardwick; Eve Jackson; Marie Lecrivain;
Isaac Lee; Tina MacNaughton; Gabrielle O’Donovan; Helen Overell;
Richard Palmer; Rosalind Parkes; Jo Peters; Mykyta Ryzhykh; K.V. Skene


April 26, Liverpool Playhouse

Reviewed for Writebase:



A magical and meaningful production which draws out so many parallels with life today, 80 years on, there are nearly as many lines as those spoken by the excellent cast. In other words, so many lessons to be learned in this iconic tale of animals taking over. Near as damnit, the lunatics running the asylum, with their delusional ideas and grandiose so-called victories.

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Fascinating Aîda

Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

February 1, reviewed for Writebase:



Who says women of a certain age are invisible? Three cheers for the ever glamorous, and indeed, downright sexy (not sure I’m permitted to say that, but damn sure they wouldn’t object) Fascinating Aîda, who not only make their presence felt but are so in your face you can see the whites of their eyes as the sweetest of harmonies deliver vitriol in the sharpest of points; a fabled, and fabulous, iron fist in a velvet glove. And you needn’t think the audience is full of, shall we say, women in their prime either because

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French House Party

Creative Writing Course, Carcassonne, Southern France

June 20-26

Pen &Think: Tutored Retreat

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October 19-23

War of the Worlds

Reviewed for North West End:



What a tangled web we weave, especially these days when the Internet ensures all kinds of information reach the parts that other sources can’t get to. Fake news can make people belligerent or else scare them out of their wits, just as it did with the broadcast of ‘War of the Worlds’ years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

October 12-16

Dracula: The Untold Story
imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse

Adapted and directed by Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks


Reviewed for North West End:


The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and here we are on Route 66 (or should that be 666?), since that’s their year (read on…), and a young lady has just walked into a police station to confess to murder. But she says her name is Mina Harker…

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July 17- August 30

Pride And Prejudice

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Reviewed for Writebase:



It is a truth universally acknowledged – that you absolutely do not need to open with such a well known quote, or variations thereof, even if it establishes that most people know what you are talking about, and a plot summary is not required. Nor that such a familiar tale couldn’t prove damn’d tricky to be given enough of a spin to sprinkle it with stardust and make it fresh and original. It succeeds wonderfully.

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August 19-30

Jungle Book

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Reviewed for Writebase:




They say the sun shines on the righteous, so here, only right that the forecast of rain was incorrect – though it became a biblical outpouring almost as soon as this swinging performance finished. Read the rest of this entry »


January 26
Ó Bhéal Five Words Competition

Weekly closing date each Tuesday at noon
Must feature the five words given for the week




Write your way out of it with Dawn Gorman

Please email me
for details of this, and/or
my full critiquing service:


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