This event will be held at the Maddermarket [Entrance St John’s Alley, Norwich NR2 1DR]. Doors will be open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. We are suggesting a donation of £3 for those who attend. The venue includes a bar. It will be possible to sign up for an Open Mic slot when you arrive.

Arji Manuelpillai is a poet, performer and creative facilitator based in London. He was the Jerwood/Arvon Mentee mentored by Hannah Lowe. His poetry has been published in magazines including Poetry Review, The Rialto and Bath Magg. He has also been shortlisted for many prizes including The National Poetry Prize 2021, The Out-Spoken Prize and The Winchester Prize 2021. Arji’s debut pamphlet ‘Mutton Rolls’ was published with Out-Spoken Press in 2020 and his new book ‘Improvised Explosive Device’ was released in the Autumn of 2022. This highly acclaimed book was noted in The Telegraph’s Top 20 poetry books of the year, as well as in The Guardian’s best recent poetry section. It was also the Winter PBS selection.

Gérard Noyau was born in Mauritius, the only man in a house of women: his zest for life began at an early age! He struck out to be educated in France and Wales, by his own admission a polymath with a voracious appetite for learning. Students of all ages have benefitted from his range and enthusiasm. In 2016 he formed a friendship with Peter Pegnall, a poet living in the same small town of Sheringham. They are very different personalities, but share a delight in language and a belief in its civilising possibilities. They embarked on a translation of  Rene Noyau’s poems: René (1911-84) was a Mauritian writer of great invention and variety, introducing surrealism and negritude to the island, and promoting Mauritian Kreol as a literary language.
Very soon, the odd couple began to work on classic and contemporary texts from French to English and vice versa; they have the advantage of fluency and accuracy, combined with ears finely attuned to the music of a poem. Baudelaire and Mansour feature strongly in their list of versions, as well as Aragon and Rimbaud. They are not scared of a challenge and often engage in discussions about the theory and practice of translation. Peter and Gérard compiled and edited a ‘plague anthology’ called ‘Pestilence’ ( Belfast and Norwich, 2022) and Two Rivers Press ( Reading 2021) published a major collection of Rene’s poems translated by Gérard with Peter’s genial but exacting assistance ( Earth on Fire). It is mainly from this volume of his father’s work that Gérard will be reading on this occasion.