On 31 March Leicester’s Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre hosted the launch of Hidden Stories, a new illustrated collection of original writing inspired by the history of the city’s Cultural Quarter and the mills of Glossop.
The book – edited by Corinne Fowler, director of the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing – reimagines the life of former industrial buildings and people who used them, and has been published as part of Affective Digital Histories, a University of Leicester research project in partnership with Phoenix, DMU and Cuttlefish Multimedia. The University’s Centre for New Writing awarded eight creative writing commissions for the project, and these are brought together in the book, alongside original artwork by Leicester artist Mateus Domingos.
90 people crowded into Screen 2 to enjoy an evening of live readings from some of the book’s contributors, beginning with Divya Ghelani’s An Imperial Typewriter. Next up was Carol Leeming FRSA, whose vibrant poem Love the Life You Live, Live the Life You Love is set in St George’s churchyard. David Devanny followed with his work Crows Step in the Quarter, exploring the architecture of the Cultural Quarter. Kevan Manwaring’s Marginalia: Graffiti, Urban Coding and the Semiotics of the Street considered the influences of Leicester’s cultural diversity, while Pete Kalu and Fereshteh Mozaffari conjured ghosts from the past with their play Five Glossop Cats. The evening was rounded off with Mark Goodwin’s innovative sound-poem Mist’s Rave, presented as a short film.
The book builds on the stories in the Hidden Stories app, developed alongside the Sounds of the Cultural Quarter app as part of the Affective Digital Histories project. The apps can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices from the App Store and Google Play.