Arachne Tenth Anniversary Sale – December

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary by exploring our back catalogue and inviting you to do likewise with special offers on books celebrating their anniversaries in each month.

So for December we have a voucher, ARA10DEC, to get 50% off the following books – mostly Solstice anthologies this month, which may not be a surprise, plus a YA Fantasy novel.

Dusk 2017

Shortest Day, Longest Night  2016

 

Solstice Shorts, Sixteen Stories About TIME 2014

Tymes goe by Turnes 2020

Words From the Brink 2021

Spellbinder  2017

All you need to do is use the code ARA10DEC at the checkout when you buy any or all of these books – you can only use the code once, so we encourage you to buy in bulk!

Arachne Tenth Anniversary Sale – November

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary by exploring our back catalogue and inviting you to do likewise with special offers on books celebrating their anniversaries in each month.

So for November we have a voucher, ARA10NOV, to get 50% off the following books – all anthologies this month, as we often do a book to coincide with Short Story week in November.

Liberty Tales 2015 marked the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and Arachne Press celebrated with an evening of stories, poetry and song on the subject of Liberty. The call out continued until the end of the year, and here are the collected and eclectic responses.

Outbreak of Peace Stories and Poems in Response to the End of WWI November 2018 marked the centenary of the end of World War I. After all the commemorative works of art over the previous four years, we felt it was important to reflect on what comes after – an outbreak of peace, and what that meant to the combatants and those left at home. This wide-ranging collection brings together stories and poems from many countries, on both sides of the 1914-18 conflict, finding their inspiration in many wars and their endings; together with stories and poems which are not about war at all, which is as it should be.

Stations Already reduced to £5 so with this offer a teeny £2.50! Twenty-four new short stories in homage to the East and South London section of the Overground Line: a story for every station from New Cross, Crystal Palace and West Croydon at the Southern extremes of the line, all the way to Highbury & Islington.

What Meets the Eye Poems, short fiction and scripts from UK Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing writers. on the theme of movement.

Departures: from The Story Sessions Stories and poems of leaving and going adrift, being left behind, taking wrong turns, stepping out of the everyday and making splendid leaps into the dark.The Story Sessions ran for four years in south London. Our monthly themed events took a lead from folkclubs, we had headliners, support acts and floor spots – Flash from the Floor, audience participation written in the interval.
The Story Sessions was an invigorating, sweet experiment, and we are proud to have created a permanent record – new stories from some of The Story Sessions stalwarts and discoveries.

 

All you need to do is use the code ARA10NOV at the check out when you buy any or all of these books – you can only use the code once, so we encourage you to buy in bulk!

 

Announcement! 2023 Festival, Exhibition and Poetry Titles

We are delighted to let you know that we have a grant confirmed from Arts Council England, which will allow us to hold our 10th Anniversary online festival, of workshops and readings, and an exhibition of cover art at Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich, both in January 2023, and to publish the following poetry titles:

February: Saved to Cloud by Kate Foley
March: More Patina than Gleam by Jane Aldous
April: The Arctic Diaries by Melissa Davies
May: Unmothered by A.J. Akoto

We are thrilled, not to say relieved, to be able to continue publishing and to celebrate our 10th anniversary in style.

More information as details firm up!

Discovering ourselves in soil and sky on National Poetry Day

It’s National Poetry Day and the theme this year is The Environment. To celebrate, we asked poet Claire Booker about her relationship with the natural world, and the way she represents it in her new collection, A Pocketful of Chalk:

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in awe of the natural world: its endlessly creative
hutzpah; the refreshing disinterest it has in our little human concerns.

A Pocketful of Chalk came together from what I could see was a build-up of poems
connected to natural phenomena. By nature I also include the dream world, which arises
from our inner natures. Dreams are forces inside us which we ignore at our peril, just
like the forces outside us.

Five years ago I moved to the village of Rottingdean just outside Brighton in East
Sussex. I’d spent three decades living and working in south London, which is
particularly blessed with woodland and open spaces. Urban nature is a force for change,
because it offers millions of people a relationship with the wild which they wouldn’t
otherwise have. By virtue of its fragile hold within the city, urban nature is also a potent
symbol of what we’re losing.


Moving to a rural, farming area, placed me right in the middle of wildness (it can get
pretty wooly up there on the Downs if a storm’s coming!). But even this wildness is
under threat. During this year’s drought, the wheat fields were scorched, newly planted
woodland saplings dropped their leaves, there were tiny, misshapen black berries. Then
the rains came in biblical proportions, and top soil was lost.

As humans, we’re in a unique position. We’re part of nature, but also the enemy outside
its gates.

So what, as a poet, can I do about this? Very little, in reality, but even that little is worth
going for. Poetry can take you to the heart-beat of emotion. It can remind people of
what they’ve lost, or fear losing, or want to fight for. Above all, poetry offers quiet
contemplation, an enrichment of understanding – questions that could do with answers,
answers that need questioning.

The environment is us, it’s our relationship with each other, made manifest. We live in a
rushed, frenetic, some might say, frantic world. Poetry can help us draw breath, stop,
consider, appreciate. I find that by simply walking along the sea front, or up on the
Downs, the world starts to unravel a little. I get to see the same places over and over
again. But of course, they’ve never the same place more than once. And when I feel a
poem start to pupate, I pick up my pen. Learning about the planet, is learning about
myself.

So in A Pocketful of Chalk, there are poems about evening shadows on the Downs, and
how we can be stretched by light. There’s a poem about drought and how the loss of
plants is like losing children. There’s a young child who is impatient with her little
radish patch, but then flings herself onto the soil to listen to the seedlings grow. There
are poems that are fantastical, apocalyptic, about a drowned world, and others that look
at rain as a flow of emotions. Some of the poems are persona poems where I imagine
what it’s like to be a wild creature. I find it fascinating to try and enter a world without human parameters. After all, the best poetry leaves ego behind, and that’s always worth
striving for.

At times, in the face of the night sky, or mesmerised by a murmuration of starlings,
even the idea of writing can seems absurd. The very first poem in the collection,
ironically, is about just that. When you’ve seen the “the impossible exactness” of a
Marbled White butterfly, words can seem a pointless add-on. As Ted Hughes wrote in
Poetry in the Making: “It is not enough to say the crow flies purposefully, or heavily, or
rowingly, or whatever. There are no words to capture the infinite depth of crowiness in
the crow’s flight.”

So that’s the challenge. To be part of nature, yet at the same time its observer and
protector. Poems live as much between the lines as in them – surely an ideal medium for
expressing such a paradox?

Not crows, but herons… watch Claire Booker reading Grey Heron at the launch of A Pocketful of Chalk:


#NationalPoetryDay is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends. www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk

Arachne Tenth Anniversary Sale – October

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary by exploring our back catalogue and inviting you to do likewise with special offers on books celebrating their anniversaries in each month.

So for October we have a voucher, ARA10OCT, to get 50% off the following books.

Outcome by Tom Dingley a collection of portraits of LGBT people with photos of themselves as children published 10/10/2015

Let Out the Djinn poems of everything from archaeology to space travel by way of growing up gay in the sixties and seventies by Jane Aldous, published 10/10/2019

The Don’t Touch Garden by Kate Foley 19/10/2016 poems exploring adoption and growing up in London during the Blitz, leading to a search for identy that includes coming out as a Lesbian

Where We Find Ourselves an anthology of stories and poems by UK writers of the Global Majority edited by Sandra A Agard and Laila Sumpton published  28/10/2021

All you need to do is use the code ARA10OCT at the check out when you buy any or all of these books – you can only use the code once, so we encourage you to buy in bulk!

 

Preventing Suicide one poem at a time

Today is Suicide Prevention Day. You might think, What’s that got to do with Poetry?

Quite a bit it turns out, for poet Jeremy Dixon, who recently won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry award.

We have a flash sale today only 50% off with the code PREVENT50 on print book from our webshop and audio or ebook from our e-store

Jeremy’s collection A Voice Coming from Then charts the homophobic bullying he experienced as a teenager and his subsequent suicide attempt, and recovery forging an identity for himself that rejected the negative image he had forced on him by the bullies. Along the way it is heartbreaking and hilarious and joyful.

Reading the poems in manuscript when Jeremy first submitted the collection I was sobbing uncontrollably within pages.

This is the precise response I sent to Jeremy whilst still mopping my tears.

Content warning notwithstanding, you may have to wait a while for a coherent answer, I’m already in tears and I’ve only got to Anne Sexton. Not feeling strong enough for this right now, but if they are all like this, it’s going to be an emphatic YES.

and not much later the same day

And then I had to go back and finish, and of COURSE it’s YES.

I don’t often weep over a MS, but as I know Jeremy a bit from publishing him before and meeting at events, it was probably tougher than reading these from a stranger. Which brings me to the vexed question of Content Warnings.

Jeremy has this to say on the subject in the introduction:

// a note on content warnings
For me content warnings really work. If I am not prepared then sometimes just seeing the word ‘suicide’ has an emotional effect.

And I get it, I really do, I have had a complete melt down from authors sending me (sometimes unsolicited, grrr) graphic distressing material without warning. Some of that is outrage that they think they can do that, at least in a bookshop you’ve chosen to pick the book up, in a MS there’s nothing to indicate what’s there until it’s too late. And I don’t voluntarily read things that are going to upset me, real life is quite sufficient, thanks. BUT it means I probably won’t pick up a book with a content warning on the cover. And other people may think twice too.

When we were recording the audiobook (voiced by the MAGNIFICENT Nigel Pilkington) we cautioned both Nigel and our sound engineer, Jess, that it was potentially an emotional listen, and Jess in particular just shrugged, and said ‘powerful, isn’t it,’ because we had warned her.

The book is peppered with statistics and there are resources at the end.

just one accepting adult
in a LGBTQ+ young person’s life
can reduce the risk
of suicide by 40%

 

 The Trevor Project, 2019

Jeremy says:

I wanted to be make the book as safe as possible. So as part of that I decided on this, the structure of the poems as couplets so that there would be nothing about the structure or the forms of the poems that would throw people, and then tied to that was the use of statistics to give a kind of grounding to give an overview, to give it a different voice, a research voice, but they were still formatted in the same way as poems so that they’re like tiny, tiny little poems themselves.

Homophobia, bullying, cruelty, suicide attempts… hard, hard things to experience, hard to write about, but in Jeremy’s careful, compassionate hands, emotional, but rewarding, cathartic and inspiring.

As Andy Welch one of the judges of the Wales Book of the Year said during the announcement on Radio Wales,

It just took me aback completely. It was so shocking, but something so beautiful to come out of it.

And Jeremy at the launch of the book said this:

I wonder if [writng the book] is another form of  potential protection… in some ways, it’s been a very healing process… once the poem’s written, and especially when it’s in a book,  there’s  another distancing. I think for me this relates to the book as an object. It’s like everything is contained in that book now, so I don’t need to carry it around with me anymore.

So if, like me, you shy away from a content warning, be encouraged, this is a generous kindly book that doesn’t want to steep you in trauma, it wants to share recovery and particular joy of looking back at a tough time and realising it really is the past, and that by writing about that past we can change our future.

Resources:

http://www.thecalmzone.net
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) aims to prevent male suicide in the UK.

http://www.tcf.org.uk
The Compassionate Friends offers many different kinds of support for bereaved families.

http://www.cruse.org.uk
CRUSE Bereavement Care provides support
and counselling to those suffering from grief.

http://www.ditchthelabel.org
An international anti-bullying charity.

http://www.hafal.org
Welsh charity for people with serious mental illness and their carers.

http://www.listeningplace.org.uk
Help for those who feel life is not worth living.

http://www.maytree.org.uk
Offers suicidal adults free short-term stays in a safe and caring environment.

http://www.papyrus-uk.org
Offers support and advice to young people at risk of suicide.

http://www.samaritans.org
Dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can
lead to suicide.

http://www.uk-sobs.org.uk
The Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) supports all those bereaved or affected by suicide.

http://www.TheTrevorProject.org
The world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for LGBTQ+ youth.

Arachne Tenth Anniversary Sale – September

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary by exploring our back catalogue and inviting you to do likewise with special offers on books celebrating their anniversaries in each month.

So for September we have a voucher, ARA10SEP, to get 50% off the following books, some of which are reduced already, so proper bargains!

London Lies our very first book and Liars’ League collaboration – stories about London, published 08/09/2012 here’s just one of the stories

Mosaic of Air  short stories fantasy, history, science fiction, LGBT by Cherry Potts, published 26/09/2013

Weird Lies  our third Liars’ League anthology science fiction, fantasy and the downright odd – also published 26/09/2013

Vindication poems from six women poets, published 27/09/2018 as part of our year of women celebration to mark the centenary of some women getting the vote (or regaining it, in some cases) in the UK.

All you need to do is use the code ARA10SEP at the check out when you buy any or all of these books – you can only use the code once, so we encourage you to buy in bulk!

 

A Voice Coming From Then shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year!

We couldn’t be more excited to share the news that A Voice Coming From Then by Jeremy Dixon is on the shortlist (of three!) for the 2022 English-language Wales Book of the Year, in the Poetry category.

We are celebrating by holding an online event with the other shortlisted poets, Angela Gardner and Abeer Ameer, on 20th July at 7pm. Get your free ticket here.

A Voice Coming From Then, which we published in August 2021, starts with poet Jeremy Dixon’s teenage suicide attempt and expands to encompass themes of bullying, queerphobia, acceptance and support.

As well as exploring identity, the tragic effects of bullying and the impact of suicide, this collection also includes unexpected typography, collage, humour, magic, discotheques and frequent appearances from the Victorian demon, Spring-heeled Jack.

 

Jeremy Dixon said: “I am beyond delighted that my collection of poems dealing with bullying, queerphobia and attempted suicide has made the shortlist of Wales Book of the Year 2022. My greatest hope throughout the difficult writing process was that the book would be understood and resonate with an audience beyond myself. For the book to have been selected by the judges is the most unexpected and welcome compliment!”

‘beyond delighted…’

The Wales Book of the Year Award is an annual prize celebrating outstanding literary talent from Wales across many genres and in both English and Welsh. Today, Friday 1 July, Literature Wales announced which books have reached the English-language Wales Book of the Year Short List 2022.

YOU can VOTE for the people’s choice from the shortlist via Wales Art Review

The winners will be announced on BBC Radio Wales on 29 July.

Congratulations Jeremy!  We are so pleased A Voice Coming From Then is getting the attention it deserves.

You can order a copy of A Voice Coming From Then from our webshop. To celebrate Jeremy’s place on the shortlist, we’ll send you a code for 50% off either the ebook or audiobook, when you order a print copy.

Any press enquiries, please email Saira Aspinall on outreach@arachnepress.com.

Routes by Rhiya Pau wins Eric Gregory Award

We are delighted to share the news that Rhiya Pau has been named as a winner of this year’s Eric Gregory Award for her forthcoming poetry collection, Routes.

Routes explores the journeys taken by Rhiya Pau’s parents and grandparents across multiple countries to arrive in the UK. We are publishing the collection in November 2022, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Ugandan Asians in the UK.

Rhiya Pau is one of seven winners of this year’s Eric Gregory Award, given annually by the Society of Authors. Judged by Raymond Antrobus, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Sarah Howe, Gwyneth Lewis, Roger Robinson, and Joelle Taylor, the award is presented to a collection or collections of poems by poets under 30.

young asian woman with long hair smiling up at camera

The judges said of Routes‘This is a collection in which routes and roots tug against one another: a family is scattered in the wake of India’s Partition; its children and grandchildren make new homes for themselves within a kaleidoscope of tongues. This is a work of humane intelligence, formal experiment and linguistic verve that promises much.’

Congratulations Rhiya – this is a daring collection that exhibits vast formal range and wrestles with language, narrative and memory. We’re excited to be publishing Routes.

Routes will be published on 24 November 2022. You can pre-order a copy now.

Read the Society of Authors award announcement.

Any press enquiries, please email Saira Aspinall on outreach@arachnepress.com.

Vote for Arachne Press in the Saboteur Awards!

We are really pleased to be nominated for Most Innovative Publisher in the 2022 Saboteur Awards and to have Laura Besley’s brilliant 100neHundred nominated for Best Short Story Collection.

Thank you so much to everyone who voted to get us this far. The second round of voting is now open until the 7th May and we need you to help us win!

Please vote for Arachne Press and 100neHundred in their respective categories. We highly recommend a vote for Arachne author, Emma Lee who is nominated for Best Reviewer of Literature too.

The form for the second round of voting is available here.

This nomination means a lot because we have had to innovate and adapt a lot over the past few years, and we have taken some bold steps in our publishing activity. From branching into audiobooks for the very first time, with a commitment to inclusive, quality, contemporary publishing for everyone – no matter how they read; to producing our first fully bilingual book; creating BSL videos to accompany What Meets the Eye: The Deaf Perspective and making our books about more than just the words within them – by continuing important conversations in events such as our recent symposium on Writing the Diaspora.

We intend to keep innovating too! This year we have plans for a menopause anthology that will particularly represent LGBT+ and global majority women (submissions are open now!), and lots of writing workshops that will help us continue to give opportunities to writers from under-represented communities, or who are living in geographically isolated locations.

That’s enough about us… if you need a reminder of how excellent 100neHundred is you can listen to an audiobook extract here, read some of the Laura Besley’s favourite reviews here or buy a copy here.

Thank you for your votes – we’ll have our fingers crossed.

The Saboteur Awards have been running since 2011, we were last nominated (and won!) in 2014 with the anthology Weird Lies.

Follow this years awards on Twitter: #SaboteurAwards and #sabawards22