All posts by Jo Somerset

Jo Somerset (she/her) is a Manchester-based nonfiction writer who found a voice through Northern Gay Writers. Jo’s poetry and vignettes have appeared in Queerlings, mishmash,, Dear Damsels, Buzzin Bards, The Selkie, Clavmag and Generations anthology. Other stories and articles are included in the European Journal of Life Writing, Northern History, and the Diva Book of Short Stories. In 2020 she completed a Creative Writing MA at Salford University, where she won the Leanne Bridgewater Award for Innovation and Experiment. She's contactable on or Twitter @josomerset

The Covid Party (or being active before we had to stop)

The room was buzzing.  All day we’d been blowing up balloons, hanging bunting and strings of coloured lights, and erecting a wobbly screen for the slideshow of her nine decades. On every table, tea lights flickered in a sea of twinkling confetti 9s and 0s, and pots of daffodils stood ready to rejoice in my … Continue reading The Covid Party (or being active before we had to stop)

Past stories, present realities: LGBT+ History Month

Each February, LGBT+ History month celebrates everything queer in our collective past. For this month’s OUTing the Past Festival I’ve been researching the twentieth century life of Morley Clarke and his partner Roland Spence – a tailor and a bookseller respectively in post-war Leicester. Their experience typifies the lives of gay men in the twentieth … Continue reading Past stories, present realities: LGBT+ History Month

Your Memoirs – “1971: Reading Festival”

Just after O levels, a week before turning sixteen, school friends Jo (me), Pep and Clob joined the 30,000 crowd at the first Reading Festival.  The weekend ticket cost £1.50. My diary recorded our first sight of drugs.   Saturday 26th June  The site was a quagmire. Tons of hippies & heavies.  We read in the … Continue reading Your Memoirs – “1971: Reading Festival”