Q & A with Charley Genever, writer and performer of our East Anglia poem called
‘Down the Local’
Charley is a poet, writer, and creative producer. Living and working in Peterborough, she is a former Peterborough Poet Laureate, vice chair of Syntax Poetry Festival, and manager of Peterborough’s Laureate programmes.
Her debut poetry collection, ‘Unsexed’ was published in 2017 (BX3). She has also been published in multiple anthologies including ‘The Great British Write Off’ (Bonacia).
Why do you love pubs?
A pub open mic is where I cut my teeth as a performer, and it changed my life.
Why is it important for you to be involved in this project?
It has been a brilliant chance for me to give something back, particularly at a time like this. I think pubs are such creative spaces, and I love being a part of a project that is celebrating community and creativity.
What message did you want to convey in your poem?
I decided I wanted to focus on fondly remembering one of many nights out, and relive that memory in the poem, and celebrate how pubs really do champion communities.
I hope that other people will be inspired to think about their fond memories of being in a pub.
What do you hope the impact of your poem will be?
I wanted to capture some of the memories and feelings I always associate with being at my local. I hope that other people will be inspired to think about their fond memories of being in a pub. I also hope that people feel a bit warmer and will join me in raising a glass to pubs, publicans and patrons alike.
Favourite tipple at the local?
I’m a sucker for trying new things, so if there’s a new cocktail or beer on the menu I will always give it a go. My surname is actually Dutch for gin, so I feel obligated to say I like a nice gin and tonic.
What makes pubs so special in Peterborough and East Anglia?
I love that I always bump into someone I know, and how easy it is to merge plans when you do bump into someone, so you all end up out together. The night becomes instantly infectious and spontaneous, and it’s almost impossible to make it home early. I also love how the same buildings can serve so many different people and their purposes – a couple on a date, family meal out, a craft group, stag do, work party, a solo person typing away on their laptop… all under one roof.