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I hadn’t been to City Voices in a while. It’s a bit of a trek for me, travelling from south Birmingham to Wolverhampton, but I’m glad I braved public transport and read there last night – I even sold a few books!

If you’ve never been, it’s based in the Lighthouse which is a three-minute walk from the train station and housed inside the industrious Chubb building. As ever, Simon Fletcher, no relation, is the convivial host who sets the scene and puts everyone at ease. I’m not sure how long Simon has been running City Voices, but whenever I’ve been there the quality of the readings is always of a high standard and last night was no exception.



Sadly, my memory is bloody awful, and I can’t remember the names of those who read last night. The only names on the listing are mine and Fergus McGonigal’s – Fergus had to cancel, and Simon stepped in – but the quality of the writing and the reading from the three poets were very high. If anyone reading this can tell me the names of the poets leave me a comment below, and I’ll amend this accordingly.

The reading that stood out for me was a collection of poems from a creative writing graduate that was all based on a mysterious death in Hagley Woods in 1941. The poems were dark, evocative and original and stayed with me long after she’d finished reading. This mysterious death still generates graffiti to this day. This is from Wikipedia:

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? is a graffito that originated in 1944 after a woman’s corpse was discovered by several children inside a wych elm in Hagley Wood (located in the estate of Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, England). Among other places the graffiti has appeared on the Hagley Obelisk near to where woman’s body was discovered. The victim, whose murder was estimated to have occurred in 1941, remains unidentified.

1280px-Bella_graffitiThe next City Voices is in February and will be love themed, with guests including Kuli Kohli, Yvette Layne and Bert Flitcroft.(Pancakes will be on sale in Lock Works for Shrove Tuesday).

City Voices info can be found here.