author, playwright • expat New Yorker
“I was 32 when I started cooking, up to then I just ate.” – Julia Child
Martin Belk is a writer & playwright who was born in North Carolina, became a New Yorker for 15 years then relocated to the UK.
In New York City Belk was a producer for Squeezebox!, the New York rock venue where Blondie reigned supreme, Hedwig and the Angry Inch had its musical debut and the first-ever live, NYC webcast – Live @nd InConcert starring Deborah Harry originated. Belk was also a producer for the Multimedia Application of the Year award winner for Will Europe Work? — the first-ever live, global conference of the European Union.
In the late 90s, after burning out as an art director on Madison Avenue and too many Squeezebox! soirées, he went back to night school at SUNY Empire State College and got his B.A. under the mentorship of editor Mary Folliet. In 2004 he sold everything, including his rent-controlled lease and left the Big Apple for Scotland, where he earned an MSc. from the University of Edinburgh completing the first draft of Pretty Broken Punks: lipstick, leather jeans, a death of New York.
From 2006 to 2015, Belk developed and directed a prison writing workshop for the young men at Polmont Young Offender’s Institution — recognized by Her Majesty the Queen and First Minister Alex Salmond. He also performed his first one-man show, 105° Peach at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; co-hosted the Prague Writers’ Festival & published One Magazine, developing new literary work as a protégé of John Calder — publisher of Samuel Beckett & William S. Burroughs.
More recently, Belk has become the archivist for arts-entrepreneur Jim Haynes at Edinburgh Napier University, who was co-founder of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Writers’ Conference, Traverse Theatre, International Times newspaper and London Arts Lab where Bowie rehearsed and John & Yoko exhibited. He writing a doctorate specifically on Haynes’ infamous London “Arts Lab” (1967-1970), where Bowie first rehearsed and John Lennon & Yoko Ono, among many others, were regulars.
In addition, Belk wrote the interior for a collection of never-before-seen early images of Amy Winehouse, entitled BEFORE FRANK by Charles Moriarty.
Currently, Belk’s London stage adaptation of Pretty Broken Punks, is in development, with recent rehearsed readings in New York City (May, 2016) and London (July 2017), and a further advance run in progress.
He is also co-writing the NYC memoir of Marcus Leatherdale — photographer and former partner of Robert Mapplethorpe.
He spends his time between London, Edinburgh and Paris.
@Martin_Belk • martinbelk.com • PrettyBrokenPunks.com
Visuals, video & things … have a scroll.
Amy Winehouse: Before Frank, rare photographs by Charles Moriarty;
interior by Martin Belk
published May 2017
14 May 2016
August 2016 • Martin Belk launches the Jim Haynes Living Archive
and Haynes’ new book World Citizen at home in Paris at the
Edinburgh International Book Festival
and Edinburgh Napier University.
Belk continues as editor/publisher for Haynes’ entire back catalogue,
including ‘Handshake Editions’ as well.
Talks, interviews & views: The Prague Writers’ Festival
Long Live Heresy, Long Be Rebellion
‘Blog’? I Prefer ‘Journal’. This Journal Needs Women.
Heresy Versus Disagreement: A Difference?
What Do All Good Heretics Do? Rebels? Start Trouble. – Shall We?
Letter Of An “écrivain hérétique”
host, Prague Writers’ Festival
‘A Ballad of Reading in Gaol’ – Scottish Review of Books
fullering when I get bored.
Pretty Broken Punks: lipstick, leather jeans, a death of New York (premiere, PARIS Dec 2011)
Art Crime et Châtiment (debut, Feb 2011)
105° Peach (Edinburgh Fringe, Aug 2006)
The Black Douglas, performance by Lord Gawain Douglas, great nephew of Lord Alfred Douglas (Oscar Wilde’s ‘Bosie’)
Glasgow Merchant City Writers’ Conference
Samuel Beckett’s ‘Film’ – Screening/discussion with Beckett publisher/friend John Calder
‘When the Reverse is True’ – Online writer conference between Edinburgh and New York City with Martin Belk, John Calder, Jim Haynes www.jim-haynes.com, Rupert Thomson and Mary Folliet
‘Administrative Policy for the Treatment of Young People in Custody‘, adopted by Scottish Parliament, 2010
‘Fix Your Future, Know Your Rights‘ – initiative to decrease re-offending by young people in prison before and post-release
New York City.
Producer for Squeezebox!, 1994-2003, the Manhattan rock music venue where Blondie reunited, Hedwig and the Angry Inch musically debuted and the first-ever live, global, video webcast –Live @nd InConcert starring Deborah Harry originated.
Multimedia Application of the Year, ITCA – Will Europe Work? first-ever live, global conference of the European Union.
Silver Quill Design Award: 1995 Newspaper Association of America Planbooks