Spoken word poetry at the Primadonna Festival

We were thrilled to have some of our Heartache and Hope authors feature in the Primadonna Festival earlier this month. This is the first UK literary festival to specifically give prominence to work by women and underrepresented groups. As a press supporting women’s voices, it’s right up our street!

The inaugural festival was in 2019 and brought writers, readers, publishers and many more together for a weekend of performance, conversation and creativity. This year, for obvious reasons, the festival was a virtual one but was just as jam-packed with inspiration.

Our favourite session (not that we’re biased or anything) was ‘Poems at Lunchtime’ hosted by poet and author Salena Godden. Two writers from our anthology – Laura Hanna and Micha Colombo – were part of the fabulous lineup. We’re fans of spoken word poetry and the session was by turns funny, moving, thoughtful and honest, with authors in locations all over the country bringing their words to life. It brought tears to our eyes and is well worth watching.

You can see Laura reading an extract from All the Things I Hear (Sounds of Isolation), a haunting and honest mixed-form piece, at 6.07, and Micha at 24.36 reading her beautiful poem To Water. Both pieces are in Heartache and Hope: Voices of a Pandemic

Grab a cuppa (or even some lunch… ) and enjoy!

Please visit the Primadonna website to find out more about the festival and catch up with the rest of programme.

Our Story

Birch Moon Press is a not-for-profit organisation, run by women and supporting female voices. That’s the short version, at least.  As an independent press though, we’re all about stories and we thought you might like to hear a little more of ours…

Our press is run by six women: Maddy, Chrissie, Alice, Sophie, Reneé and Nicola.  Back in 2014 we were all bloggers juggling small kids, jobs, families and a shared dream to become published authors. We met through our blogs and soon formed our own online creative writing group to help us achieve our goals. The group quickly grew to over fifty members and, while there was no requirement to be female in order to join us, somehow that’s how it turned out.

In the years since then, many of us have met up multiple times in real life, books, poetry and stories of all kinds have burst from amongst us and great friendships have developed and flourished. We’ve been through good times and bad and between us we’ve seen what amazing things can be achieved when women support each other.

As a supportive group, naturally, when the pandemic hit and spirits were low, we arranged a zoom call. And so, early in lockdown, some of us found ourselves chatting about what we could do to make those times a little brighter. We came up with an idea to produce and publish a book of short stories and poetry together – something creative and cathartic to give us a positive focus during the pandemic. We weren’t sure how we were going to achieve it but we have a whole range of publishing, writing and illustrating experience between us so anything seemed possible. And as we wrote and planned and chatted over the subsequent weeks our little project developed to include more writers, potential further publications, a plan to donate profits to charity and then, well, we needed a whole new press to achieve this through! 

As for the name – the Birch Moon is the first month in the Celtic calendar running from December 24th (just after the winter solstice) to January 20th. It is a time of new beginnings, of re-birth and regeneration, of planning for the future and embracing new potentials and opportunities. 

As we worked on our project we began to see our publications – present and future – as something good that could arise from the pain and grief of the pandemic. Our press was that new beginning, that possibility, that opportunity that the birch moon traditionally represents. And so Birch Moon Press it became.

Our logo has six birch trees to represent the six of us… but, like trees in a forest, we hope to support many more.