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After much effort to piece together what has become “The Quill Society”, the very first meeting was finally held and featured guest speaker Matt West, a performer and lover of poetry. Bringing with him his published collection of poems, “Seagulls and Spitfires”, Matt introduces himself by telling us where it all began – he was the eight-year-old kid at school who by request, would write poems and songs for his fellow classmates. You’d then expect he went on to achieve high grades in English at school, chased his passion with a degree straight after, and fell straight into a career in writing.

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However, Matt tells us he left school with absolutely no qualifications and instead worked in the docks until he was thirty. It was at this age he questioned whether his imagination might be dying. This realisation lead him back to university to earn a degree in creative writing that would kick start his career.

Matt became involved with Apples and Snakes and Artfulscribe, organisations that support and promote the performance of poetry and has since performed at Womad, The World of Music, Arts and Dance. His work has been used as a tool for people living with dementia to help with memory and to build a bridge between sufferers and their families. He has also used his poetry to work with addicts who felt their voices were lost and no longer mattered. As a consequence he describes his poetry as “empowering the marginalised voice.”

Matt feels his greatest gift is to share his voice with the rest of the world and we were able to experience this for ourselves after his impressive poetry performance – not read aloud from a sheet of paper but from memory alone. He brought his writing to life for us, communicating through his body language, accents, emotion, facial expressions, becoming an actor to his own script.

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What does this mean for The Quill Society?

It means there is finally a place for aspiring writers and literature students to bring their individual voices and combine them with other members to create one powerful singular voice. It gives published writers from the real world a place to share their stories and a place for us to be inspired by them in order to learn more.

To be a member of The Quill Society is to be a part of something that unites creative thinkers, reveals potential, and makes ideas come alive. If you want to become a member, all that’s required is a fee of just £1 and that you bring along your imagination. If you aren’t a writer or a student of literature, after you join us you’ll probably want to become one!

Photos by Taya Bryant

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