Ellen Storm

Writing the White and Purple Coats

September 19, 2015
by Ellen

Polari Literary Salon and Homotopia

Well it’s official! I will be reading some of my poems at the Polari Literary Salon On Tour at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool on the 4th November, as part of the 2015 Homotopia Festival. Here’s what the Polari website has to say about this year’s and last year’s tours:

“London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon Polari has been awarded a Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England to fund a national tour, starting in September and ending in December at the Southbank Centre, the salon’s London home.

This will be the second time Polari has gone on tour, following last year’s highly successful tour, which was also funded by Arts Council England. Many events sold out, and over 90% of audience members rated the event they attended “excellent”.

Here’s what else they said –

“Excellent”, “very entertaining”, “fabulous quality”, “loved discovering new writers” – Brighton

“Loved the theatrical readings”, “great energy and style”, “excellent”, “great variety” – Manchester

“Clever, touching, original and funny”, “friendly atmosphere”, “diverse”, “open and honest” – Liverpool

“Welcoming”, “encouraging”, “loved the eclectic mix”, “the quality”, “the humour” – Birmingham”

Also reading will be Andrew McMillan, Gerry Potter and Diana Souhami… quite a line up! Here’s what the Homotopia website has to say about them:

“Diana is the three times winner of the US Lambda Literary Award for best gay writing. She also won a Whitbread biography award and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black prize for biography. Her books about lesbians include ‘Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter’, ‘Gluck: Her Biography’, ‘The Trials of Radclyffe Hall’ and ‘Coconut Chaos’.

Gerry is an actor, director, poet and playwright and both creator and destroyer of the infamous gingham diva, Chloe Poems.

Andrew is also a poet, his first collection ‘Physical’ was published in July this year and is long-listed for The Guardian First Book prize and short-listed for the Forward Prize best debut collection. Andrew currently teaches creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University.”


May 27, 2015
by Ellen

6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine – Morning Session

Friday 22nd May saw the 6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine come and go, and with it the launch of my first collection of poetry: Rupture.

I might write about Rupture in a separate post later, but for now I would like to concentrate on the symposium itself, which was fascinating as always.

After working the night shift in Liverpool on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, it was an operation of near-military precision to arrive at the venue in central London at 9am on Friday morning rested and alert, coffee in hand, lipstick in situ, and not having had a panic attack on the Jubilee Line at rush hour or having twisted my ankle in wholly unsuitable shoes. Continue Reading →

Bookshelf Small

May 13, 2015
by Ellen

Rupture: Launch at the 6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine

The launch of my first full collection of poetry – “Rupture” – will take place at the 6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine in London on Friday 22nd May 2015.


For more information on the event or to register to attend, please follow the links below:

6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine and 2015 Hippocrates Awards Ceremony: Programme

6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine and 2015 Hippocrates Awards Ceremony: Register


Speak Old Parrot

May 6, 2015
by Ellen

Dannie Abse’s ‘Cats’

This morning I picked up Dannie Abse‘s last collection, Speak Old Parrot, published when he was ninety years old, and read ‘Cats’. It made me want to cry. If he was still with us* I would want to throw my arms around him and give him a big hug for this poem. The reasons are complex. Perhaps I’m just tired. I stayed up too late last night.

I’ve been busy updating this website over the last few days. It’s been a bit neglected to tell the truth. I’ve been working hard to put the finishing touches on the manuscript for my first collection, and we are finally done. More on that very shortly, but in the meantime, ‘Cats’. Continue Reading →

Oranges are not the Only Fruit

April 11, 2015
by Ellen

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

by Jeanette Winterson, Vintage Books 2014

[First published in Great Britain in 1985 by Pandora Press]

ISBN 9780099598183


I’ve just finished reading this modern classic, which resonates in several ways with the piece I am writing for my MA course. Here are a few thoughts:

In her introduction to the 2014 Edition, Winterson comments on the placing of her book first in the cookery (preserves) section and later in the Gay and Lesbian section of bookshops, remarking that “had I been a straight white male the confidence of the writing and the experiment with form and material would have put it there [in the Literature section] to begin with”. Continue Reading →

March 17, 2015
by Ellen

What I’m Really Thinking: The Creative Writing MA Tutor

Any thoughts on this short anonymous article from last week’s Guardian newspaper?

I see maybe two or three students a year who have what it takes. There are others who can barely string a sentence together, and I think, “We shouldn’t even be taking your money.” But that’s how the books are balanced. I hope I respect each writer’s ambition and sincerity, even if I despair of their work […] I’m teaching evening classes to make ends meet. You think I’d be here if I was JK Rowling?”

Originally I wrote quite a few adjectives to describe this piece, and all of them were negative. Thinking about it, my main sadness comes as someone who values education and genuinely loves teaching. I don’t get to do it that much, but when I do I always really enjoy it. I look forward to it, I volunteer for it, I do it for no extra fee. It’s always the best and most rewarding part of my day. Also, teaching isn’t easy: it is its own specialty, with its own underpinning theory and requisite competencies. Continue Reading →

February 7, 2015
by Ellen

Writers and Personality

I’ve been thinking a bit about this recently, as I’ve had to revisit my Myers-Briggs personality type for some leadership and management stuff at work. I’m an INTJ (I’ve known this for about ten years), in case you know what that means. If you don’t The Myers & Briggs Foundation is a good place to start. Also 16 Personalities, Personality Page, and TeamTechnology.

I’m interested in how my personality might affect my writing, so I Googled a few websites to see if anyone else is having similar thoughts. Apparently they are. Continue Reading →

The Serving Library

November 17, 2014
by Ellen

The Serving Library

Today I went to see the exhibition The Serving Library at the Tate Liverpool. For those in the north-west, I recommend it. For those elsewhere, they have an interesting website.

A reflection on the future of libraries, this is a mixed media installation that considers the demise of printed media, and the opportunities presented by new technologies.

The Serving Library, Tate Liverpool

As my mother works for a printing company, I grew up with talk of typefaces and the smell of ink. I am interested in the visual aspect of poetry – not simply the arrangement of words on a page but also the decisions (or lack thereof) that are made regarding how those words are presented to the reader – the making of a tangible thing. Continue Reading →

Toddler Taming

June 10, 2014
by Ellen

Toddler Taming, and the Archives of Disease in Childhood – Education and Practice

I wrote a letter recently in reply to an article in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (Education and Practice Edition -June 2014, Volume 99, Issue 3, p. 97) entitled What I have learnt from Toddler Taming: Help for parents and doctors! It seems that the editor has declined to publish it, which is not entirely surprising as it refers to the controversial issue of co-sleeping and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). There is no controversy amongst medical professionals: co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS and is not recommended. That much is clear, and yet informed and intelligent parents continue to choose to co-sleep. I suggested bedside co-sleepers may offer a safe and viable compromise, and also believe that doctors should be informed of safe co-sleeping practices, in order to be able to best advise those mothers who do choose this route. More information on the research evidence surrounding this issue can be found here: UNICEF Baby Friendly: Bed Sharing and Infant Sleep.

I do feel a bit sad that the journal has declined to allow a debate on this subject and the related issues of compassionate/attachment parenting practices more generally. I would welcome any thoughts you may have however, so I am posting the letter below: Continue Reading →