Why I’m Standing for Election

No… not the US presidential elections but the election for members of the Society of Authors new Poetry & Spoken Word committee.

What I say in my election manifesto is…

Charles Christian is a writer, editor, blogger and tech journalist, as well as a former practicing barrister and Reuters correspondent. He is the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction books, the latter covering everything from technology for lawyers, to folklore and creative writing. He was also the founder and, for four years, publisher of the Ink Sweat & Tears poetry webzine, and, many years ago, was the winner of the National Newspapers Technology Journalist of the Year Award.

In addition to writing, Charles Christian has also over 30 years involvement with public speaking (both business conferences and spoken word events) in various capacities including as an organiser, as well as a speaker/presenter/facilitator/performer. Along with giving readings of his own poetry (admittedly not very good poetry), he has also done some stand-up comedy and performed one-man story telling shows at fringe festivals in the UK and venues in Europe, Australia and the United States. (Best gloss over his speeches to juries while at the Bar as most of his clients ended up in prison.)

For eight years he served on the board of trustees for The Poetry Trust, the organisation that ran the Alburgh Poetry Festival — the festival had a long-term policy of always paying all performers a flat fee and travel expenses plus providing accommodation and food. He is also the treasurer of the SoA affiliate group the East Anglian Writers association. And did we mention he has experience of PR and press relations and can draft a mean press release?

Drawing on his own experiences as a presenter/performer, he has probably had every bad experience it is possible to encounter, including being ripped off, given bouncing cheques and then threatened with libel action when he complained, finding the event and/or venue and/or audience promised was not the one delivered, being hit with timing problems and having bookings cancelled at very short notice and without compensation.

Recently semi-retired from the day-job (publishing a tech newsletter) Charles Christian now has more time for other voluntary activities and it is one of his firm beliefs that spoken word performers of all types and genres (including writers giving book readings) should receive the commercial recompense they merit and not be fobbed off with the promise of “exposure,” the chance to sell a few books, and the offer a bottle of indifferent wine by way of payment.

His law is rusty, his humour is quirky, he’s a geek and he likes (and writes about) weird stuff. But, he is honest and prepared to put his head above the parapet. Thank you!

You have three weeks to cast your vote — the poll (SoA members only) will close at midnight on Wednesday 17 February. (The elections are being conducted online.) If you are a writer, poet or spoken word performer, this is an important initiative designed to give performers a better deal. You can vote for upto 8 candidates — their statements can be found on the SoA website at www.societyofauthors.org/poetry-and-spoken-word-group/committee-statements

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