Archive by Author

Library Corner, July 2015


Summer has arrived and we feel that the Library is beginning to emerge into the sunshine.

After two dreadful years when members and staff have been pushed to the utmost limit with genuine worries about the future because of crimes committed by our former Treasurer, things are beginning to look good. Financial checks are in place, management is strong and staff and volunteers are optimistic.

June has been a busy month – On June 13th we hosted, for a second time, the AGM of the Association of Independent Libraries. Librarians from all over the country attended a full weekend with an evening reception on the Friday. On the Saturday lectures by Lizzie Neville of Penzance Conservation on the care of books, and by Andrew Symons on the Couch family were enthusiastically received – as was the delicious lunch and Cornish cream tea provided by Tuna Read and kindly funded by the Tanner Trust.

On June 18th we held an exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. This idea had been mooted by Elizabeth Sparrow a couple of years ago and she gave a fascinating lecture to a really packed house on her speciality – Waterloo, Wellington and the Peace.

Without stopping for breath we then held our Summer Fete on Mazey Day, with just over £1,600 being banked. Thanks are due to all the helpers. Everyone had a good day and Katie and Nic were rushed off their feet in the Little Wonder Caravan.

On Sunday 21st some Library members attended Evensong in Truro Cathedral where a bosse was dedicated to Joseph Antonio Emidy. Galina Chester has worked tirelessly to bring this about and we were delighted as holders of the Emidy Archive to support her.

On July 1st we received a visit from eight members of Tavistock Library who were given an informative tour by Dawn Walker and a cream tea! A delightful afternoon topped with a generous donation from Tavistock.

We are also taking part in the Penzance Litfest with workshops being held all week in the Reading Room.

The Library building is now in great shape – thanks to the efforts of Mark Penrose who has managed to get rid of all the ghastly strip lighting, to Jonathan Ellery (Chairman’s son and owner of a London Design Studio) who has donated spectacular lighting for the reception room, and to David Mann who has organised complete refurbishment of the Newspaper Room with funding from the Myner Trust.

We shall never understand the decisions and dynamics behind the events that nearly closed the Library but we have learnt valuable lessons.

So it is onwards and upwards, fortified by kindness, support of members, volunteers and staff, the cheery NADFAS Friday team and doughnuts of course.


LIBRARY CLOSED – Saturday 13th June

Please note that the Library will be closed to members on Saturday 13th June as we are hosting The Association of Independent Libraries’ AGM.

Apologies for any inconvenience – we will be open again as usual on Tuesday 16th June.

Re. Theft from Morrab Library

Following the article in The Cornishman we have been inundated with phone calls of support and some members have been asking questions arising from Mary’s statement. There are several comments and letters on the Cornishman website,  and also on the Cornishman Facebook page, and as Mary’s statement and the letters are not printed in today’s edition of The Cornishman, members may like to read these and most questions will be answered.

Theft of Monies from Morrab Library and Church Charities in Penzance

With reference to the article in The Cornishman, 12.03.15, concerning the theft of monies from four charities.

One of those charities is Morrab Library, Morrab Gardens, Penzance – an independent subscription library, one of only 45 in the UK.

The Cornishman reported that our Honorary Treasurer had stolen £17,900 from Morrab Library – the only comment referring to the Library in the account of the hearing at Truro Crown Court, which took place on Friday 6th March 2015.

The Management Committee of Morrab Library would like its members, which number nearly 600, and the general public to know that we have received a cheque from Barclays Bank to the value of £62,049.32, refunded to our account, to its original position prior to the confirmed fraud, with their sincere apologies on September 10th 2014.

The Management Committee worked very closely with the Devon and Cornwall Economic Crime Unit (ECU) from October 2013 until the end of 2014, with their investigation of our Honorary Treasurer, who was elected to this position in March 2005 and dismissed in 2013. He was, as reported, sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to eight charges. A financial investigation will now be carried out and he will face a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to try to recoup some of the money stolen.

From the Library’s point of view we are disappointed and upset at the sentence as we consider this a gross betrayal of trust by the Honorary Treasurer – a volunteer to the Library and its Management Committee, who are all volunteers. This Library has been in existence since the early 1800s and depends on volunteers – from Management to the daily work in the Library, ranging from desk work, fund-raising, meeting and greeting members, private research queries and working in the Photographic Archive.

Having made ourselves as financially stable as possible, with new security measures in place, plus support from the Myner and Tanner Trusts, we feel that the Library can now only progress into the future. We have received many personal donations, mostly anonymous, over the past few months.

We have some 55,000 books, both fiction and non-fiction, most of which can be borrowed by members, and we offer a day rate for non-members to come and use the Library. Our Photo Archive Room, newly built and with new digital equipment, has made us one of the most sophisticated photographic archival units in the county. We are in the process of re-cataloguing and digitally scanning all of the 14,000 images in our collection with our present long term team of volunteers but also with seven new volunteers being trained. Our new Art Room, with a fine and varied number of books, is also proving very popular.

We also have a Newspaper Archive Room holding early newspaper copies, including The Cornishman and West Briton dating from 1815, in our basement archive.

The Borlase, Tremenheere and Dawson archives, containing 13 portfolios of Napoleonic prints, are also available for research.

Our membership fee is £25 per annum but we do offer Life and Group membership and daily fees for visitors – details available by contacting Annabelle Read at the Library in person, or by phone 01736 364474. We welcome new members and we offer research facilities, quiet reading areas, friendship and support. Each winter and spring a programme of lectures is organised, free for members and the public, on a monthly basis. Why not become a member and join us for our annual Summer Fete on Mazey Day, 27th June 2015. We look forward to hearing from you.


Mary Ellery

Chairman of the Morrab Library Management Committee

Poetry to the Power of Three, Saturday 28th February 10.30am – 12.30pm

This Saturday morning at the Morrab Library, three Poets read from their three new pamphlets:

Katrina Naomi reads from Hooligans

Penelope Shuttle reads from In the Snowy Air

Alice Kavounas reads from Thin Ice

Katrina Naomi

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Katrina is a poet, tutor and poetry mentor. Her latest publication is Hooligans, a pamphlet inspired by the Suffragettes, Rack Press. Her collection The Way the Crocodile Taught Me will be published by Seren in 2016.

Her poetry has appeared in ‘The TLS’, ‘The Poetry Review’, ‘The Spectator’, and on Radio 4. She received a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths in 2014 and an award from the Royal Literary Fund. She is a 2015 Hawthornden Fellow.

Katrina’s first full collection, The Girl with the Cactus Handshake, was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award and received an Arts Council England writer’s award. Katrina is a previous winner of the Templar Poetry Competition. She is a lecturer at Falmouth University.

Katrina Naomi’s poems are fresh and surprising…with their sharp diction, salt tang, blend of dark and light, and their unexpected last lines – Roddy Lumsden

Penelope Shuttle

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‘In my poetry I give primacy to the breath. For me it is the way the poem breathes that gives it form.’

Penelope Shuttle has lived in Cornwall since 1970, is the widow of the poet Peter Redgrove, and has a grown-up daughter Zoe, who works in the field of sustainable energy. Her first collection of poems, The Orchard Upstairs (1981) was followed by six other books from Oxford University Press, The Child-Stealer (1983), The Lion from Rio (1986), Adventures with My Horse (1988), Taxing the Rain (1994), Building a City for Jamie (1996) and Selected Poems 1980-1996 (1998), and then A Leaf Out of His Book (1999) from Oxford Poets/Carcanet, and Redgrove’s Wife (2006) and Sandgrain and Hourglass (2010) from Bloodaxe Books. Redgrove’s Wife was shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2006. Sandgrain and Hourglass is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her latest book, Unsent: New & Selected Poems 1980-2012(Bloodaxe Books, 2012), is drawn from ten collections published over three decades plus a new collection, Unsent. First published as a novelist, her fiction includes All the Usual Hours of Sleeping (1969), Wailing Monkey Embracing a Tree (1973) and Rainsplitter in the Zodiac Garden (1977). With Peter Redgrove, she is co-author of The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman (1978) and Alchemy for Women: Personal Transformation Through Dreams and the Female Cycle (1995), as well as a collection of poems, The Hermaphrodite Album (1973), and two novels, The Terrors of Dr Treviles: A Romance (1974) and The Glass Cottage: A Nautical Romance (1976). Shuttle’s work is widely anthologised and can be heard on The Poetry Archive Website. Her poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and her poem ‘Outgrown’ was used recently in a radio and television commercial. She has been a judge for many poetry competitions, is a Hawthornden Fellow, and a tutor for the Poetry School. She is current Chair of the Falmouth Poetry Group, one of the longest-running poetry workshops in the country. In the Snowy Air marks a change of direction in Penelope Shuttle’s work – shifting from elegy to explorations of cities – both actual and metaphoric. The significant impetus for this sequence of poems is a guided walk led by poet Tom Chivers on a cold February afternoon in 2013. Tom took a group along the route of the long-buried ‘lost’ Walbrook River, from Shoreditch to its outflow in the Thames near Canon Street Station This walk in sleet and icy winds inspired the title poem —’In the Snowy Air’.

The poetry of Penelope Shuttle, spanning a successful 30-year writing career, conjures a world where the ordinary and the everyday are realised and enlivened through myth, magic and fantasy.


Alice Kavounas

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Alice is a poet as well as creator of the new app, Words in Air. Her latest publication, Thin Ice, follows Ornament of Asia, both from Shearsman. 

Ornament of Asia speaks with disciplined eloquence of familiar territory: the poet’s early years in Manhattan, her current home in Cornwall, her father’s native Greece.” (Natalie Pollard, TLS)

Born in Manhattan to Greek parents, Alice read English Literature at Vassar. She lives on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, following an intensely urban life in NY and London, teaches via the Poetry School, London, and is married to British historian Frederick Taylor. Over the years, her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Out of Fashion (selected by Carol Ann Duffy, Faber), Poems and Reading for Funerals(selected by Julia Watson, Penguin), Acumen, New England Review / Bread Loaf Quarterly, London Magazine, LRB, Magma, PN Review, The TLS, as well as broadcast on the BBC and ABC. Her short stories have been published in Granta and London Magazine.

Alice is working virtually, from the Lizard, buildingWords in Air, this unique poetry-in-place app, with Seattle-based developer John Kennedy. Available on the iOS platform,. for both iPhone and iPad, Words in Air maps a poem’s source of inspiration. You can enjoy great poems, contemporary and classic, in the precise place which sparked the poet’s inspiration. A world of poetry instantly in the palm of your hand. 

Thin Ice takes the reader on an odyssey of the imagination, with poems whose sources range from a childhood in Maine, to NYC of the Vietnam era, to our paranoid post-9/11 world. There is a measure of relief in the quotidian pleasures of our beleaguered natural environment, whether from a terrace on a Greek island, or the poet’s garden in Cornwall. Thin Ice follows Alice Kavounas’ earlier collections, Ornament of Asia, and The Invited.