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Mari Ellis Dunning, Mental health, Multiple Sclerosis, Poetry, Rhian Elizabeth, Wales -

Morning. Lush weather.

Parthian are sending us out on yet another exotic trip – the next date on the last polar bear on earth tour is tomorrow night at Ye Olde Murenger House, Newport, and it kicks off at 7.30PM.

Pontypridd, Cardiff, Neath, Swansea and now Newport – I’m living the dream. In all fairness, I did spend a month in Sweden a few weeks ago, so I’m not complaining.

In Newport I’m sharing the bill with Mari Ellis. I met Mari a few years ago now through the Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award. She won first prize in the competition and I won second (a scandalous decision, if you ask me).

We both won those prizes with our short stories. Mari's was about a dolphin and mine was about some old ladies exercising, so maybe that’s why she won first and I won second – everyone loves a dolphin. Old ladies sweating – not so much.

It was a long time ago anyway and I've forgiven her for snatching the prize money from my grasp, and I'm looking forward to our event, this time reading our poetry. Mari’s collection, Salacia, is available to buy here and she kindly took some time out from spending her prize money to write this piece about mental health and her poetry, especially for my blog.

Over and out.

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