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Poetry Launch

1 March @ 19:00 - 20:00

Brighton Launch:
a finger in derek jarman’s mouth by Simon Maddrell

with Saif Sidari
–– a queer transnational poet from Palestine and a doctoral researcher at the University of Brighton.

The Queery Cafe and Bookshop, 46 George Street, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1RJ
Fri. 1st March

a finger in derek jarman’s mouth from Polari Press is a poetic tribute to Jarman’s inspiring legacy spun from the multi-coloured threads of his extraordinary life — writer, artist, queer & AIDS activist, designer, filmmaker, and gardener.
After his diagnosis, Jarman bought Prospect Cottage, facing Dungeness nuclear power station, where he created a beautiful garden in the harshest of environments.
Unashamed of his HIV status, Jarman died of AIDS-related illness in 1994, aged 52.

Pre-order the limited edition for guaranteed availability (shipped 11th Feb):

a finger in derek jarman’s mouth

a loving, furious and gorgeously queer act of homage
–– Neil Bartlett

Derek Jarman becomes a celestial mirror ball, radiating inspiration from the heart of this poem-shrine lovingly “filled with music”
–– alice hiller

stands as a testament to Jarman’s enduring legacy
–– Peter Tatchell

one of the most radical figures in queer culture honoured by the most propulsive of queer poets
–– Joelle Taylor

Simon Maddrell (he/him/they) is a queer Manx poet thriving with HIV in Brighton & Hove.
They are published in twenty anthologies and eighty publications including Acumen, AMBIT, Butcher’s Dog, Poetry Wales, Stand, The Gay & Lesbian Review, The Moth, The Rialto, Under the Radar.
In 2020, Simon’s second pamphlet, Queerfella, jointly-won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition.
In 2023, Isle of Sin (Polari Press) and The Whole Island (Valley Press) were Poetry Book Society Selections.
He has also collaborated with Vasiliki Albedo and Mary Mulholland on the anthologies:
All About Our Mothers in 2022, All About Our Fathers in 2023 plus All About Our Parents forthcoming in 2024 from Nine Pens Press.

Saif Sidari (he/him) is a queer transnational poet from Palestine, living in Brighton & Hove.
He is a doctoral researcher at the University of Brighton in English Literature.
His poetry is described as a time capsule in-conflict, where every piece is in some aspect an effort to return, for better or worse, to the lost and beaten body.
His work has been featured in Bad Lilies, Ghost City Press, Blink-Ink, and Eunoia Review.

Paul Burston is the author of six novels and five non-fiction books and the editor of two short-story collections.

The curator and host of award-winning LGBTQ+ literary salon Polari and founder of the Polari Prize book awards for LGBTQ+ writers, in 2016 he featured in the British Council’s Global List of “33 visionary people promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”.

Before turning to journalism, Paul was an AIDS activist with ACT UP London and worked for the Gay London Policing Group, GALOP. He is one of the subjects of Alexis Gregory’s critically acclaimed verbatim play Riot Act, which celebrates generations of activism from the Stonewall Riots to the present day.

In 1990 Paul became Gay Editor at City Limits magazine and in 1993 he took over the same post at Time Out London, where he worked for 20 years, documenting the changing cultural and political landscape.

A founding editor of Attitude magazine, Paul’s writing has also appeared in the Guardian, the Sunday Times and many other publications.

He has also written and presented documentaries for Channel 4.

His memoir We Can Be Heroes : A Survivor’s Story is a tale of living through two pandemics, surviving two near death experiences and battling his own demons.

“Probably the gay book of the year.” – ES Magazine

“A compelling and hugely enjoyable memoir about a fearless life lived to the full.” – Bernardine Evaristo

“This memoir is brutally honest, powering through the AIDS crisis, gay shame, addiction, all the way through to hope and redemption. If you’re in trouble, read this: Paul shows that you can survive. Wonderful.”- Russell T Davies

Please make sure you wear a mask, unless you are exempt or are unable to.  

Please take a covid test and do not come along if you have any viral symptoms. It’s important we consider how to protect one another, especially the most vulnerable among us, including those who are multiply marginalised. 

Masks and tests are available inside The Queery to use for free. If you cannot find any, please ask a volunteer.  

Thank you for doing your part to help protect your community! 


1 March
19:00 - 20:00
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