We first spoke with Sarah Butler almost a year ago about her role as Selby Stories Artist In Residence in the pretty North Yorkshire market town of Selby - and her latest work, involving poems created from the deeply personal stories the Manchester-based writer and academic has gathered from townsfolk, have appeared on pavements and windows in the town.
The stories appear as poems in the form of ‘nonets’ – nine-line poems with a specific structure of declining numbers of syllables, which create a very recognisable shape. They have been temporarily displayed around Selby this Summer – on pavements and in shop windows around the marketplace, streets and the park.
Sarah joined Selby Stories as writer in residence at Selby Market in Summer 2022. An accomplished author, she has had three novels published by Picador in the UK and with fourteen international publishers. Her work explores ideas of home, belonging, identity, family, and urban landscapes.
Last year Sarah had her own market stall where she collected stories about Selby. She also ran a number of creative writing workshops, which produced texts and stories, and created her own writings and texts from her experiences in the town.
Sarah also created a special blog for the project, which includes her own writing and also a Story Map, where she has uploaded stories told about places and people in Selby. You can find it HERE.
The writer in residency and poems are part of Selby Stories - an exciting programme of arts and cultural events running until late 2023, celebrating what makes Selby unique.
Selby Stories is the cultural programme for the Selby High Streets Heritage Action Zone.
This national scheme is a multi-million pound fund launched in 2019 by Historic England to champion and revive historic high streets. Selby is one of more than 60 high streets in the country to receive a share of funding from Historic England, along with funding from North Yorkshire Council. Selby Stories is the cultural programme for the HSHAZ – innovative events and art projects running until the end of 2023 celebrating the town, its history and what makes Selby special.
The nonets can be found at the following locations:
Nonets on Pavements:
4 Nonets on the Marketplace
1 Nonet on the Bandstand Selby Park
1 Nonet on Micklegate at end of Finkle Street
Nonets on Windows:
•Wetherell’s Dept Store, 13-15 The Crescent, Selby YO8 4PD
• Busy V’s Café, 15, Market Place, Selby YO8 4PB
• Heaven & Home, 38A Gowthorpe, Selby YO8 4ET
• InnerVision Opticians, 55 Micklegate, Selby, Y08 4EA
• Zu Café, 67 Micklegate, Selby YO8 4ED
• Selby Library, 52 Micklegate, Selby YO8 4EQ
• Rivermills Ballroom, Unit 1, Ousegate Mills, Ousegate, Selby
• Lucy’s Pet Boutique & Groomers, 13 Church Ln, Selby YO8 4PQ
• Cogs and Coffee, 30 Church Hill, Selby YO8 4PL
• Stag & Boy Barber’s, 3 The Crescent, Selby YO8 4PU
• Jac D’s Boutique, 7 New St, Selby YO8 4PT
Images: Richard Jemison Photographer