Autumn Equinox Announcement: Winners of Haitus Solstice Shorts Competition

As a result of the limit on entries this year, our Hiatus competition finished early, allowing us to announce the results today, on the Autumn Equinox. [For time obsessives like me that was at precisely 3:04 BST this morning.]

Congratulations to our Shortlist:

Adrienne Silcock
Cath Humphris
Gabriel Noel
Jane McLaughlin
Juliet Humphreys
Karen Pierce
Michael Colonnese
River Fannin
Tiffany Troy

Thank you for surprising us, and/or making us laugh.

The winning spots were very close fought indeed, so unusually, we’re announcing the Runners-up:

Cath Humphris
Juliet Humphreys
Michael Colonnese

and our winners are:

Gabriel Noel with Ode Against Daylight Saving
and
Karen Pierce with Pause

Congratulations to Gabriel and Karen, both of whom are new to Arachne Press. Their work will be published in eBook form, in time for the Solstice, alongside…

Remember! we have a public vote for the BEST story/poem from each of the previous Solstice Shorts anthologies, which will join Karen and Gabriel’s work in the ‘Best of’ eBook, to mark this year’s Solstice, while we wait for the next time the Solstice falls at a weekend, and the next festival.
You can vote here (deadline 30 Sept 2022)

Popup Event: Plotting for the Future

Plotting for the Future: Survival Renewal and Optimism

Bottleworks Bookshop, 8 Riverside Walk, Byker, Newcastle, NE6 1LX

24th May 2022 19:00-21:00

Free

Join local authors, short fiction writer Lily Peters, and poet Rob Walton, as they read from their recent Arachne Press Publications, Accidental Flowers and This Poem Here.   They will talk about how their very different writing (Science Fiction and poetry) connect in their themes of navigating the personal and political through an imagined, but horribly likely, ecological disaster and an all too real pandemic, to make room for optimism for the future… and an accidental connection through allotments.

Join in with Q&A and an opportunity to write your own 100 word story including at least one of the words Survival, Renewal & Optimism – or a variant of them.

Books will be available to buy at the event – if you can’t make it, head to our shop

Thanks to our sales partners Inpress for setting up this popup bookshop and inviting us to come along.

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

International Mermaid Day

We all need a bit of cheering up. I should be doing cash flows, so instead I’m posting about mermaids.

Just a short post, mind.

If you are in to Mermaid-kind you might like The Real McCoy

Cherry Potts’ story in We/She

I’ll tell you what though; you weren’t really expecting me, a genuine mermaid, were you? You thought I’d be some girlie in a clamshell bikini and yardage of slinky blue skirt with
unconvincing fins. So why are you disappointed that you got the real thing? That makes no sense at all! You should be in awe, really…
Very few of us survive without the sea. Take us away from it and we pine, dead in a fortnight mostly. Fortunately I’m tough, and I can see the positive side of a career.

And if you’ll stretch to a Selkie, then Jackie Taylor’s Pelt in Strange Waters might be just the thing.

Her scalp itched; her thick, grey-black hair fought against the tyranny of the new perm. She was uncomfortably hot and clammy in her new outer skin of trench coat (belted, beige), silk scarf, beret, tan leather gloves. Samuel had said when he met her at the station, ‘You scrub up well!’ And she’d winced at the thought of the skinning knives used to clean down pelts.
She wanted to take the trench coat off and carry it, but there was drizzle, and it was the wetting kind, and if her skin got wet, she would smell of the sea. She was never sure if anyone else could smell it, but the thought of it made her burn with shame.

Strange Waters is also available as an audiobook read by Sophie Aldred

Happy Mermaid Day!

International Women’s Day Submission Call

Thinking about International Women’s Day, sometimes you wonder how any of us manage to live to grow up, the world can be so hard on women; and sometimes you want to celebrate everything we can be. Being of a cheerful disposition, we’ve gone for celebration.

We thought today was an excellent time to launch our submission call for an anthology of women’s writing. We are giving you a spectacularly long run in on this one, because we want it to be truly amazing, and because we are planning some writing workshops which will be run by editors Cherry Potts and Catherine Pestano (as soon as the funding is in place, we’ll let you know!). These will definitely be available online, for maximum reach, and may also be in person, depending on where we can find suitable writer-friendly venues and what the position is with Covid.

Our October 2023 Anthology is aimed firmly at older women, lesbians and women from the global majority. Our theme is menopause, and the book will be published on Menopuase day 2023 (October the 1st), we want your stories, flash and poems that go waaay beyond the empty nest and feelings of sexual redundancy. Tell us something we don’t know, go wild and magnificent…tell us about surgically induced menopause, unexpected benefits, the freedom of not bleeding… whatever genre you want (within our guidelines), but surprise us.

Submissions via Submittable ONLY

If you need a steer, Helen Morris’ magnificent The Change in Departures is our favourite Menopause story (so far!)

Helen Morris reads from The Change

#Arachne 10 Valentine: Lovers’ Lies

Another delve into the archives. Lovers’ Lies was published in January 2013, but with the intention of hitting the Valentine’s day market. It didn’t quite meet the cloying chocolate ‘n’ roses standard, and more than one potential punter jibbed at the ‘lies’ element of the title. ‘I can’t buy something called that for my girlfriend’… Well. Quite.

Be that as it may, Lovers’ Lies celebrates love in its wildest and weirdest moments. It isn’t always easy, it isn’t always charming, it certainly isn’t always for the young, the heterosexual, the … human.

Here are some videos of readings from the launch at Keats House. If you’ve had a surfeit of sweetness, maybe this is the book for you – as we said on the cover, for cynical romantics, and romantic cynics.

 

 

 

Words From the Brink publication day!

Today is publication day for Words from the Brink our Climate Fiction and Poetry collection for Solstice Shorts 2021. We’ve been sending books out early to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas, and there is still time to do that, so feel free to place an order!

We will be launching the book at the (online) festival on 21st December at 6.30 with readings from actors of the whole book, plus original music, a quick hello for Komal Madar, the artist whose painting we used for our cover, and a couple of open mic sessions too.  Get your Tickets (there are some free ones…)

If you would like to take part in the open mic please contact us and let us know, you can do that from the ticket site.

Solstice Shorts Festival is Time-themed, and with its origins in the importance of marking the turn of the year, the shortest day.

In ancient times, this was a moment for holding of breath as the sun paused and seemed to wobble in the sky – will it ever get light again? What must we do to convince it to do so? And from this came the tradition of burning the yule log, and bringing evergreens into the house.

To get you in the mood, here is a piece of music, May the Long-Time Sun, from poet Robert René Galván, who gives a new meaning to the word multi-talented with this three part performance. Robert René recorded this for last Solstice, so very appropriate!

And there was also the question, What can we do while we wait? 

Tell stories! Make music! Recite poetry! Make art!

We will have been doing that for eight years come this Solstice; and when we meet in real life we do the other essential Solstice thing – we feast.

Solstice Cake

Of course we can’t quite manage that online. So we thought we’d make serving suggestions and let you create your own feast to eat while you watch and listen! (you can get the recipe for Solstice Cake as part of your ticket if you want.)

Watch out on social media for recipe suggestions and imaginary cookery book titles. Follow #SolsticeFeast, and join in with your own favourites.

Of course, this year we have our minds on the brink – the danger our planet is in. There is a bit of me thinking that feasting is a wildly inappropriate bit of fiddling while Rome burns. But that is another thing about the Solstice Feast – we acknowledge the hard times coming; it is the feast before the famine, the last blow out before the tightening of the belt (how many more clichés can I get into this paragraph??) So we will feast, but we will also mark the cost with our stories and poems.

 

 

Arachne Press Nominations for the Pushcart Prize

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize, from Arachne Press.

We could only nominate 6, so some tough choices!

Poems:

Khando Langri, First as Body then as Metaphor, from What Meets the Eye?

Rob Walton, And In Lockdown, from This Poem Here

Mandy Macdonald, After Before, from Words from the Brink

 

Jeremy Dixon, Dear Jack, from A Voice Coming from Then

stories:

Lily Peters, Sailing to Crouch End, from Accidental Flowers

Anita Goveas, Baseline Measurements, fromWhere We Find Ourselves

Where We Find Ourselves Blog Tour

We are really excited to announce the blog tour for Where We Find Ourselves edited by Laila Sumpton and Sandra A. Agard.

Published on 28 October, Where We Find Ourselves is an anthology of poems and short stories by nearly 40 writers of the Global Majority, from African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Carribean, South American, Chinese and Malay communities, writing about maps and mapping. In this book you will find stories and poems of finding oneself and getting lost, colonialism and diaspora, childhood exploration and adult homecoming.

Where We Find Ourselves is a book that is intended to start conversations and we can’t wait to hear what our reviewers and guest bloggers have to say.

You can find all the content from the blog tour here:

Day 1) “When Laila Sumpton suggested ‘Maps and Mapping’ as the focus for our global majority anthology, Where We Find Ourselves, I said yes almost by reflex.” Arachne Press publishing director, Cherry Potts, explores the Where We Find Ourselves theme of maps and mapping – and how the idea has morphed into an almost-series of linked titles.

Day 2) “This anthology is a great example of literary citizenship… It’s lovely to be part of something that’s actively trying to show the breath of experiences and writing styles across some many communities.” Read an interview with Where We Find Ourselves contributor Anita Goveas on Desi Books.

Day 3) Editor, Laila Sumpton introduces Where We Find Ourselves on the Platforma blog.

Day 4) “I found the stories and poems to be so enlightening and equally heartbreaking at the same time… Its beauty is beyond anything I have read in recent times.” @kristinas_shelves gives Where We Find Ourselves 4.5 stars in her instagram review.

Day 5) “I would definitely recommend this, as I found the texts were powerful, emotional and also provided an opportunity to learn.” @reflections_of_a_reader 

Day 6) “It goes without saying that I’m extremely excited about getting my story published in Where We Find Ourselves! There’s something very special about seeing my story in print, on actual paper, in an actual book, alongside some incredible poetry and short fiction by a very talented group of writers. I’m looking forward to seeing what readers make of the anthology!” Contributing writer Dipika Mummery describes her experience of being included in Where We Find Ourselves. Plus, read an extract from Dipika’s story, ‘A Walk in the Countryside’.

Day 7) Read an exclusive extract from Where We Find Ourselves: ‘Cocoon Lucky’ – a short story by Kavita A. Jindal.

Day 8) “This is a beautifully diverse collection by a host of talented writers” – bookstagrammer @LibraryLooter highlights some of the new authors she discovered in Where We Find Ourselves.

Day 9) Listen to a podcast with Arachne Director Cherry Potts, Where We Find Ourselves writer Marina Sánchez and Jessica Stone from Listening Books – our audiobook partners. 

Day 10) “Where We Find Ourselves is a diverse and innovative collection that showcases the wealth of talent that we have in our desi and wider communities when it comes to telling our own stories.” Desi Reads highly recommends Where We Find Ourselves.

Live Launch of Where We Find Ourselves Anthology Sold Out

We’re excited to announce that our live event at Keats House to launch our Where We Find Ourselves anthology is sold out!!!  However, you can still join us to celebrate publication of this fantastic collection of stories and poems of maps and mapping from UK writers of the global majority at our online launch on November 4th. 7-9pm.

Coming Soon

Be quick though – tickets are selling fast!  Tickets available here.