Rhiya’s Routes – Ba

The release of Rhiya Pau’s upcoming poetry collection, Routes marks fifty years since her family arrived in the U.K. Routes began as an attempt to chronicle the history of Rhiya’s family, and her community, and much of the collection draws on the experience of Rhiya’s grandparents – her Ba and Bapuji.

We asked Rhiya about her favourite poem in Routes, and she chose ‘Enough’, which paints a portrait of her grandmother, through her well-stocked kitchen cabinets:

My grandmother houses gods in her closet
among tower blocks of cereal boxes and canned
chickpeas so we may always know enough.

“Enough paints a portrait of my grandmother and her ability to be in two places at once. How she can know about the miners, the tower blocks, the Post Office – live in this country for fifty years and still not feel British enough. It’s about longing and belonging, the sacrifice of the mother tongue, and how even in the absence of language we find ways to love.

Over the past two years, I have been on my own migratory journey, trying to obtain a visa to live and work in the USA. This poem is a favourite of mine because it articulates an enduring sense of displacement that has only been amplified for me as I move back and forth between places.”

Watch Rhiya Pau reading Enough:

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

Join us for a free event with Rhiya Pau and author Anna Fodorova at Forest Hill Library on Wednesday 23 November. Details and tickets.

Rhiya’s Routes – Bapuji

This month we are delighted to be launching Rhiya Pau’s debut poetry collection, Routes, almost exactly a year since we published Rhiya’s first poem ‘Departure Lounge’ in our Where We Find Ourselves anthology.

Routes chronicles the migratory histories of Rhiya’s ancestors and explores the conflicts of identity that arise from being a member of the South Asian diaspora. Ahead of publication, we asked Rhiya about the inspiration behind the collection:

“In many ways, my grandfather has been the inspiration behind Routes. Bapuji was born in Kenya but moved to India in the 1940s to become a freedom fighter in the Independence movement. He participated in marches and sit-ins, and was laathi-charged several times by British soldiers for his disobedience. In one instance he was even shot in the leg. Later in life, after moving to the UK he was awarded Membership of the British Empire by the Queen for his community work, an accolade he was incredibly proud of. I created Routes as a space in which to document the migratory history of my family and community and explore the conflicts of identity that emerge. The release of this collection reflects on the fifty years since much of our community moved to the UK, following the expulsion of the Asians from Uganda.

My grandfather was a salt-march pilgrim
in a fleeting incarnation of this nation.
Now how do I wash the blood from his flag?

Bapuji is remembered as a bold and principled man, who was unafraid to stand by his convictions in the face of disapproval. He believed this to be a necessary act in service of societal progress. In Routes I hope to pay tribute to his legacy. It is only by examining our history that we can begin to answer – what is worth holding on to? What memories, what stories, what truths? When we piece these together, what is the narrative we choose to tell? And how are we going to address the silences that remain?

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

Join us for the in-person launch of Routes at Keats’ House on 24 November, from 6.30pm. Details and free tickets.

Help us get A Voice Coming from Then on the Road

We are crowdfunding! We want to take Jeremy Dixon​’s fabulous award winning poetry book A Voice Coming From Then on the road – we have dates booked, and need some money to pay for travel and accommodation. Sales will never cover this, but it’s an important book and winning the Wales Book of the Year Poetry category means that bookshops are taking some notice. If you’d like to help, you’ll be even more our friends for ever than you are now. If you share the link and persuade people we don’t already know to help, you will be elevated to ‘absolute star’ (or possibly, as Jeremy describes it in his pamphlet, In Retail, ‘Unicorn’ status.)

Rewards include signed books, original artwork, handmade badges, T shirts… It’s a quick fire effort this, we have 20 days to raise £1000 all-or-nothing.

Expect to be inundated with nudges to contribute or share. (Not really, we’ll try to keep it below ‘annoying’ level.)

We completely understand that many, many people are having to draw their horns in financially (we are too) but if you can contribute anything, it all adds up, and if you can bring the crowdfund to the attention of friends, family or neighbours feeling less pressured, that also helps!

Many thanks…

A Voice Coming from Then On Tour

Featured

This Autumn we’re taking A Voice Coming from Then on tour in Wales, to celebrate the collection winning the English Language Poetry Category in the 2022 Wales Book of the Year Awards. Join us at one of the events below for readings and conversation with poet Jeremy Dixon (and occasional guests).

Links to tickets for all the events will be updated as they become available.

COMING UP

29/11/2022 Typewronger, Edinburgh details
30/11/2022 Lighthouse Books, Edinburgh details

If you would like any more information about any of these events, please contact outreach@arachnepress.com.

CATCH VIDEOS HERE SOON FOR EVENTS THAT HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED

IN THE MEANTIME HERE’S A TASTER

05/10/2022 The Hours, Brecon
06/10/2022 (National Poetry Day)  Waterstones, Carmarthen
06/10/2022 (National Poetry Day)Waterstones, Cardiff
13/10/2022 Cardiff Central Library Hub, joint event with George Sandifer-Smith

All the events above are free.

 

Happy Birthday, A Voice Coming From Then!

Today is exactly one year since we published A Voice Coming From Then by Jeremy Dixon. Largely written and edited during lockdown, A Voice Coming From Then recently won the English-language Poetry award at the Wales Book of the Year 2022 and this has given us another chance to celebrate Jeremy and his extraordinary collection in real life.

We’re building an A Voice Coming From Then tour of Wales this Autumn, with events already planned at several libraries, independent bookshops and Waterstones stores across Wales this October and November.

If you run a bookshop, library, arts venue or poetry night, then please get in touch with us on outreach@arachnepress.com and let us know if you’d be interested in hosting an event with Jeremy Dixon as a part of this tour.

If you’re in Wales (or close by) and would like to see Jeremy reading from A Voice Coming From Then, please keep an eye on our blog and social media channels for the event dates and locations – coming soon!

For now, we are celebrating A Voice Coming From Then‘s book birthday with an online offer: buy a copy of the print book from our webshop and we’ll send you a code for 50% off the ebook or audiobook, which is beautifully narrated by Nigel Pilkington.

A Voice Coming From Then starts with 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.

One of the Wales Book of the Year judges commented: “I really admire Jeremy’s ability to be so vulnerable. I felt like he just really put his heart and his whole self into the collection.” Congratulations to Jeremy on having this immensely personal and moving collection out in the world for a whole year. 

Wales Book of the Year Poetry WINNER

Beyond thrilled that our lovely Jeremy Dixon has WON the English @BangorUniversity Poetry Award for Wales Book of the Year 2022  (administered by Literature Wales) for his glorious
So very happy! Congratulations, Jeremy, this book really deserves this recognition.
(You can buy a copy from us, and we have a special offer on – buy a print copy, and get a voucher for 50% off either the audiobook or the ebook.)

A Voice Coming from… Tomorrow

Just a reminder that we find out tomorrow whether Jeremy Dixon has won something in the Wales Book of the Year for A Voice Coming from Then.

Listen in to the results live this Friday 29 July on BBC Radio Wales’ The Arts Show at 6pm.

in the meantime you can buy a copy from us!

print

ebook

audio

Zed and the Cormorants wins YA category in Holyer An Gof award

An exciting weekend for Clare Owen, author of Zed and the Cormorants, who describes herself as ‘beyond chuffed’ that not only did Zed win the YA Holyer An Gof award for 2022,  but Clare herself  won the Ann Trevenen Jenkin cup for authorship of a book for children or Young Adults.

We’ve agree the cup can stay with Clare for the year – it’s all hers! We get a certificate.

There will be an interview between Tiffany Truscott, who chaired the ceremony and Clare and winners in other categories on Radio Cornwall in the near future, when we find it we’ll let you know!

The Holyer An Gof awards are administered by Gorsedh Kernow

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.