About Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts is a publisher/editor. fiction writer and teacher, event organiser, photographer, book designer, NLP master practitioner, life coach and trainer. She sings for fun. Through Arachne Press she publishes fiction and non fiction and runs spoken word events and cross-arts workshops for writers at interesting venues. Always interested in new opportunites to perform, write or explore writing.

REVIEW of Story Cities on The Short Story

We’ve been reviewed by Becky Tipper over on The Short Story website


What emerges from this collection of stories is a sense of the infinite variety of the city – fleeting, contradictory, transcendent, prosaic, intimate, familiar, surprising – full of people we’ll never really know, whose lives briefly touch our own.

And after reading this book, I moved differently through my own city – stopping to look and listen in new ways, and noticing things I might have overlooked. Story Citiescertainly lives up to its promise as a ‘guide for the imagination.’

read the review in full here

buy a copy…

Departures – the trailer

A little animation to help launch our latest offering, Departures, which hits the shops on 21st November, and is launched the same day at 7pm at Brockley Brewery SE4, everyone welcome details of launch

departed v2

For those in the know there’s a nod at quite a few of the stories.

Story Cities at Old Royal Naval College day 2

Rather delayed (by crowdfunding mainly) here is audio of our second outing at ORNC’s bowling alley. A little echoey!

Readings from Nic Vine, Rosamund Davies, Cherry Potts, Shamini Sriskandarajah of their own stories and some by other people too – Catherine Jones, David Mathews, Rob Walton and Steven Wingate.

Rosamund reads You Stand in the Secret Place by Steve Wingate

Cherry Reads Backwater by David Mathews

Shamini reads Coffee

Nic reads Go Directly to Go by Rob Walton

Cherry Reads Lost and Found by Catherine Jones

Rosamund reads The Right Place

Cherry reads Foundation Myth

Nic reads Tech Down

Safely into harbour

Our little crowdfund has safely reached harbour 2 days ahead of schedule! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

(Ship’s bell expertly rung by Katy Darby!)

Do we dare set out on an additional fishing trip, and line our coffers a bit more securely? Our other funding sources are not yet confirmed, but with this funding we can at least manage an absolute barebones version of the festival and programme the book printing. What a relief. I do feel like one of those merchants of old, with a tower on their house so they could watch the horizon for their ship coming home safe. So if anyone want to add to our funding the more the better really – it is always very tight for funding, and if we are short, its the bits I love best that have to get cut – the live streaming (what can I say, I’m a control freak – I need to know remote sites are doing their stuff!) and the BSL interpreting – a whole artform in itself, and something that we are keen to promote as a matter of course. So there are barely 2 days left – can we raise a bit more? Still lots of rewards left!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported us, especially those who increased their backing – you know who you are!

Time and Tide stories: first lines

Continuing the dip into the detail of Time and tide – more first lines, this time from the Stories:
Elizabeth Hopkinson, A Madras Crossing: I thought the worst of the voyage was over when we weighed anchor off the coast of Madras.
Diana Powell, Ballast: Let me speak to you about the sea… how I always loved it.
Diana Powell, Sea Change, There are voices here.
Cathy Lennon, Casting The Stones: The party went out of the garden gate and set off along the duckboards.
Neil Lawrence, Diaspora: The man with huge whiskers is talking loudly.
Juliet Humphreys, Fisherfolk: In Quay Street, when a woman begins to moan with the coming of a child, word goes out.
Holly Magee, Granmama’s Paradise: When I was little, I slurred my syllables together.
Linda McMullen, The Fisherman’s Wife: When I met my husband, he was a modest clerk at a promising company.
Eoghan Hughes, Herr Dressler: I had left the Alma at closing time and was stumbling along the breakwater the first night I saw the light at sea.
Pauline Walker, Hingland: Constance was only just beginning to enjoy the voyage.
Roppotucha Greenberg, Listen, Noah’s Wife: He’ll install a foghorn to sound every night.
Emily Bullock, Man Overboard: All dreams of death can be forgotten on waking, except when under that final sleep from which there is no waking and only a long forgetting.
CB Droege, Metharme: I stand at the prow of the ship, one more in a long, long line of ships.
Kilmeny Macmichael, Remittance: Sir inform have not received expected amount this first of month reason
Barbara Renel, The Professor’s Daughter: Her dad locks the booth and gives her the key.
Paul Foy, The Answer, My Friend: It might be that the day takes you down to the beach with your book and wraparound sunglasses, your Beats and that blast-from-the-past playlist that you made when you realised that loss is all about finding again.
Rob Walton, The Dowager Duchess Of Berwick-Upon-Tweed: She hated the Dowager bit, and she no longer particularly cared for the Duchess part, but she had not yet decided what to do about any of it.
Maria Kyle, The Surgeon’s Mate: ’Tis no easy matter to cut off a man’s leg.
Cindy George, The Wreck Of The Kyllikki: Sea coal just washes up on the beach and no one knows where it comes from.
Sheila Lockhart, Turquoise: Every morning after breakfast Ibrahim walked down to the perimeter fence to look at the sea.

There’s some tasty morsels there to bait our hook with! Please support our crowdfund! 48 hours left


Let Out the Djinn launch videos 2

Videos from the launch of Let Out the Djinn, debut poetry collection by Jane Aldous, at Lighthouse Radical bookshop, Edinburgh, with readings from Jane herself, and friends Lindy Barbour and Simon Maclaren

part 2: from prehistory to space…

Lindy Barbour reads  Doggerland

Jane reads A Dead Lamb in Polbain

Simon Maclaren reads Crow’s Eye

Lindy Barbour reads Eel Ghazal

Jane reads Goodbye Voyager 1

Poems in the Time & Tide Anthology

Solstice Shorts has been going since 2014, and has always been about short stories – sometimes flash (Shortest Day, Noon) sometimes longer, and quickly took up with poetry too – partly because poets were complaining that they wanted to play.

We are still crowd funding – a few days and few hundred pounds to go so I’ve been thinking about how to give you a flavour of the book without revealing too much, and thinking about those poetry books that index by first lines, because they are sometimes more memorable than the title. So I thought I’d have a stab at that. (If it grabs you, you can contribute to the crowdfund here – you have til Halloween!)

Starting with the poets!

Alison Lock, Sisterhood Of The Seas: We meet under the spire of St Nicolas’s church/where the waterfront used to be.
Angel Warwick, We Dig The Pig: In the hull of a silt-clad/ oyster smack, we dig the pig
Carl Alexandersson, Tulpaner Och Liljekonvaljer: The tulips made me think of you
Christine Ritchie, Clearance: Edging the darkness of the land, a gleam of grey
Claire Booker, Fisherman’s Daughter:My Dad was an artist with a needle – and How Women Came to Tristan da Cunha: Too late for second chances,/ they catch the island humpbacked on the sea line.
Elinor Brooks, Woman from North India on Bostadh Beach:
Elizabeth Parker, Overlord With Declan: At Arromanches, the Channel clouts concrete caissons,/ gaps the line of Mulberry B and The Watchers: Crosby Beach yearns,/ desiring feet, paws; hungriest sand/ churning slithers of light.
Emma Lee, Casting A Daughter A Drift: The earth tilts again and I stop. And When You Regret Wishing For Something Thrilling: “Should be frightened, I should be frightened.”
Holly Blades, Delivery: Labour was like this:
Ian Macartney, Mother Fish: and Ovčice, Croatia: On this slim torso of a beautiful man/ called Earth we slip palms/ under beaches of coin,
Ivonne Piper, No Tearaways: Son of a Greek/ disobeyed his father
Jane Aldous, In The Shadows, On The Shore, Leith: Why do they always arrive/ at such awkward times,
Jenny Mitchell, Church Mary Sounds The Sea, Bend close. I’ll say this once, tired from the weight of words.
JN Nucifera, City Of Water: I have always sailed on easterly winds
John Richardson, False Light: All is night fog.
Joy Howard, When Will We See The Sea: Feeling we know you/ we rush to your side
Julie Laing, Modality: Overarching wind/ drops
Kate Foley, Verticals: Knobbly concrete crustaceans,
Laura Potts, First Light: It is somewhere in a sometime/ that a long late light
Lynn White, Paddling: No one swam in the seas round Britain/ when I was a child.
Mandy Macdonald, Frocks Of Passage: Papyrus-white/ baby smocks of smooth Egyptian cotton,  and Half A Dozen Oranges: ‘Hexi portokali, parakaló’,/ I was taught to say
Math Jones, The nth Wave, There’s an old man who sits on a rock by the shore/ Says he’s counting the waves coming in.
Melissa Davies, Bird Wife: Otter belly brushes snow/ filling wood gaps/ with warm otter smell. Halibut:Fifty-six halibut tails. Lookout Men:Her father’s father was a lookout man on Løksøya, Seaweed: So black against the snow/ I can taste the summer tang. Værøy: It’s the weight of the mountain/ forcing them to stay on the edge
Michelle Penn, The Sinking Of Mrs Margaret Brown: Silk elbow gloves.
Ness Owen, Sea Lessons: She tells you everyone/ born by sea is brave.
Nick Westerman, Napoleon: stares at his captor the sea, calm to the horizon, belying/ its enormity
Olivia Dawson Points of Interest: Every morning I open my front door and step out into a stuccoed world.
Susan Cartwright-Smith, Open Water We are all shapes and sizes.
Reshma Ruia, Crossing the Black Water: My son he crossed the black water
Sarah Tait, Bosun’s Locker: Lots of things would be better, I think,/ than being slapped round the chops/ with a wet fish, and Hawser: rope-caught/ snake-chained/ heave-stretch/ twist-fight
Savanna Evans, On A Day Like This: She pressed every fingertip on her/ last child’s shoulder,
Simon Whitfield, A Conjuring Poem: By primal life, dividing in the deep
Thomas Tyrrell, Of Grainne Mhaol: To weave by hearth-fires she disdains,
Valerie Bence, Arrival: It starts by not sailing on a Thursday or Friday
Vivien Jones, I Nearly Drownded, Daddy As a child, one of three, play-swimming

Let Out the Djinn launch videos 1

Videos from the launch of Let Out the Djinn, debut poetry collection by Jane Aldous, at Lighthouse Radical bookshop, Edinburgh, with readings from Jane herself, and friends Lindy Barbour and Simon Maclaren

part 1: Family and identity

Simon Maclaren reads Dave Off in Five – inspired by Jane’s Dad’s war time diary.

Jane reads Let Out the Djinn, the title poem – the title came first!

Jane reads With Meme at Mellon Urdigle Beach

Lindy Barbour reads Death Waiting

Jane reads In the New Leaf Co-op


more tomorrow…


You all know we don’t do horror at Arachne.

The closest we’ve got is Math JonesThe Knotsman, which has quite a bit of distressing material in it, but does it from a position of compassion – ‘this is awful’, rather than ‘oooh, isn’t this awful‘.

So if you fancy something to get the ice running down your back, Math’s your man.

It would please Math mightily if you were to celebrate Samhain with his book seeing as he is a pagan.

you can buy a copy here… and if you buy it BEFORE halloween the postage is still free. we are going to have to start charging UK customers after that.

If however, your tastes run to the more traditional halloween fair, there’s a live lit gig, Frightful Yarns, at Honor Oak pub, St Germains Road SE23 on the very night, at 7.30, raising money for our local festival, Brockley Max. Arachne authors Cherry Potts and Neil Lawrence are among the readers, with dark tales of revenge and paranoia. tickets £5

Sea Shanty Workshop

We are running a sea shanty workshop with London Sea Shanty Collective on Saturday 23rd November as part of our fundraising for Time and Tide. We already have just enough people signed up to break even, so every person who joins us from now on is grist to the funding mill.

SEA SHANTY WORKSHOP Spend the afternoon learning approx 5 Sea Shanties in 3 or 4 part harmony in SE London

Spend the afternoon learning approx 5 Sea Shanties in 3 or 4 part harmony in celebration of this year’s Solstice Shorts Festival, Time and Tide.

The workshop will be run by a small group of London Sea Shanty Collective members, led by Chip Wilson.

SATURDAY 23rd November 2019 12:45- 17:15


Find out about London Sea Shanty Collective here

Bus routes 122, P4, 171, 172 stop on the corner. Train to Crofton Park or Honor Oak Park 10 minute walk.

Street parking immediately outside. Wheelchair accessible venue – WC is a bit tight on space so might not suit someone using a large chair.

INCLUDES REFRESHMENTS all dietary issues catered for.

Advanced booking required


You can buy tickets here, or buy them through our crowdfund before 31st October (no difference in price unless you want to donate more) but if you go through the crowdfund, it will help it hit its all-or-nothing target!

Heave away, haul away…we’re bound for (Greenwich, Maryport, Hastings, Holyhead, Peterport, Clydebank and Lisbon!)