Birmingham Lit Fest Presents….

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This month's piece is written by singer songwriter and Wednesbury Poet Laureate Brendan Hawthorne, reflecting on the changing seasons and the cosiness of autumn as the leaves and weather change around us.

Show Notes

This month's piece is written by singer songwriter and Wednesbury Poet Laureate Brendan Hawthorne, reflecting on the changing seasons and the cosiness of autumn as the leaves and weather change around us. 

Take a look at the rest of this year's digital programme on our website:
For more information on Writing West Midlands, visit

Follow the festival on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @BhamLitFest


Curator: Shantel Edwards (Festival director)
Production: 11C/ Birmingham Podcast Studios for Writing West Midlands


October: Brendan Hawthorne


Welcome to the Birmingham Lit Fest Presents…podcast and our new series of commissioned writing about 2021. Each month we are commissioning a new writer to reflect on the month that has passed, offering us moments of connection through great writing and the opportunity to reflect about what we have collectively experienced at the end of the year. 

We will be bringing you a new short episode at the start of each month, with each piece read by our guest writers. You can read the pieces on our website, where you will also find information about our upcoming digital events.


Hello my name is Brendan Hawthorne, I’m a singer song writer, poet, playwright and I’ve written the blog for October for Birmingham Literature Festival.  

October has become a signpost month in many ways for me. New directions and opportunities have presented themselves. New challenges to keep the old mind alert and the heart full.

Creatively I have had the script of a play published, a new collection of work readied for publication and signed new commission contracts. I am also recording songs with Kerry, my musical partner, for our new CD. Written pre-lockdown, it’s only now being given performance form and life. A photographer friend has offered to take a series of Autumnal photographic portraits of me for promotional use and I’ve bought Lynn, my wife’s, Christmas present.

All good I hear you say, but, as October signals a seasonal change …

I realise the world has changed 
from the world I once knew 
Changed into one that appears 
to be more guarded and tentative
mindful of the tragic consequences in retaining 
liberty, democracy and relative freedom
Many things are now ‘considered’
The atlas shrinks again 
through traffic light travel changes 
to a greater global awareness

I personally love to feel the chill in the night air of the country of my birth. The way … 

our homeward journey is streetlight lit 
by autumnal sunsets directing
us to log burner warmth
Witness the magic of flickering shadows 
that tell different stories 
each time planet saving briquettes are ignited
Smokiness taints the air with comfort
atmospherically blending 
with the smell of tomato soup 
heated on a dancing gas ring 
accompanied by warm crusty bread
fresh from the oven

Then I wonder if the cost of gas will become more than the cost of tinned soup, but for now the concept is too great to stem the flow of intoxicating relaxation.

My mom is 87 this month…

She was 27 when she brought me into the world 
with the help of the NHS
A system of healthcare 
that has cradled many since birth 
but I wonder for how much longer?  
Stories of elderly people falling 
and having to wait for 6 to 10 hours 
for ambulances to attend because 
there aren’t enough vehicles freed up 
by corridor queues in overcrowded A & E’s

With all these cuts, I wonder why queues aren’t included?

I spoke to a young police officer yesterday who told me he had thought he’d found his dream job by helping people feel ‘safe and secure’. He told me of attending drunken injuries taking 6 hours out of his shift to sit with someone waiting for medical attention. I felt his pain, his frustration and career dislocation.

I do, however, laugh at the things I’ve said to myself, expecting answers that never come. With age, does the skill of asking yourself questions become more important? I’ll let you know. 

On the news today I saw a
polar bear clinging for dear life
to a tiny ice flow berg 
Hugging the chill to its bones
it appeared to cry out in anguish 
at its predicament
They know the importance of existence
I thought
Why don’t we?


Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the Birmingham Lit Fest presents…podcast. Follow us on Instagram, twitter and Facebook @bhamlitfest. All information about the festival and upcoming events can be found on our website The Birmingham Lit Fest Presents... podcast is produced by 11C and Birmingham Podcast Studios for Writing West Midlands.

What is Birmingham Lit Fest Presents….?

The Birmingham Literature Festival Podcast - Welcome to the very first Birmingham Literature Festival podcast, bringing writers and readers together to discuss some of 2020’s best books. Each Thursday we’ll be releasing new episodes of the podcast, including wonderful discussions about writing, poetry, big ideas and social issues. Join us each week for exciting and inspiring conversations with new, and familiar, writers from the Midlands and beyond.