Solstice -Hiatus is live

A quick retrospective of some of the stories and poems included in Hiatus, our Best of Solstice Shorts eBook anthology.

Happy Solstice!

Join us 7th January to launch live and online free TICKETS

Arachne Press Ten Years of Book Cover Art

Arachne Press: Ten years of Book Cover Art

Online Exhibition Catalogue

Arachne Press is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and with it, successful collaborations with artists on the covers of their books. We will be holding an exhibition with our long time collaborators the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich SE10. from January 19th to February 15th, with a private view on the evening of January 18th.

The Gallery is at

10 Stockwell Street London SE10 9BD accessed via the University of Greenwich reception next door – there is a door, but it is for fire escape only! The Gallery is open Tuesday-Friday: 11am-5pm Saturday: 11am-4pm

We will be exhibiting some of the original art that was licenced/ commissioned, and for the commissions, some of the drafts the work went through to end up with the cover, and some of the objects that inspired covers.

Back in 2012 all the publishing chat was about how eBooks were going to replace print, but Arachne founder Cherry Potts was certain that all that would disappear would be ugly, badly made books.

Right from the start the intention was that Arachne’s books would be beautiful, and that where possible, artists would be used, and the cover image would wrap all the way round the book.

When choosing a manuscript, if Cherry starts planning the cover before she’s finished reading, the book is almost certainly going to be published, which means that the search for the right artist is as important as the search for new writing.

Initially that meant licencing existing images, but quickly moved on to commissioning as well. Arachne Press has worked with some of our artists regularly, [Kevin Threlfall, Fiona Humphrey, Gordy Wright]  others have been suggested by the authors for a particular project [Paul Summers, Camille Smethwick, Rachel Marsh]; and sometimes, when the image in her head is so clear nothing else will do, Cherry rolls up her sleeves and makes a cover herself. For more details of all our cover artists take a look at our artists page.

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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.

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!

October/November New Books: Launches and events

We have a little flurry of books arriving in October and November, and some events to launch them, mostly in person! We’d love you to join us.

20/10/2022 7pm Launching How to be a Tarot Card (or a Teenager) by Jennifer A McGowan at The Oxford Poetry Library on 20th October 7pm.[eventbrite for free tickets]

25/10/2022  7pm Launch of In the Blood  in discussion with writer and literary critic Jude Cook, with readings by actor Lisa Rose at the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Hosted by British Czech and Slovak Association, the Czech Embassy, the Czech Centre London and Lutyens & Rubinstein bookshop. [tickets £10]
01/11/2022 6.30pm a joint event at Keats House for How to be a Tarot Card (or a Teenager) and In the Blood with readings from actor Carrie Cohen free tickets
24/11/2022 6.30pm at Keats House Launch for Routes by Rhiya Pau.
29/11/2022 7.30pm In Words are helping us celebrate our 10th Anniversary and the launch of Routes by Rhiya Pau, with an online showcase of 4 of our recent poetry books: Routes, How to be a Tarot Card (or a Teenager), A Pocketful of Chalk and Paper Crusade. This will be on Zoom. To access, contact In Words.

A Voice Coming from Then On Tour

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.

 

Exclusive first chapter extract of In the Blood

As the end of summer approaches we’re looking forward to the autumn publication of In the Blood – an unforgettable twentieth century family saga that explores the impact of historical events on the lives of three generations – a mother, a daughter and a grandmother.


In the Blood
 is set in 1980s London, Prague and Munich, against the backdrop of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, and the novel opens on this day, 21st August, 1988; twenty years after the Warsaw Pact invasion of then Czechoslovakia.

Exactly to this day, twenty years ago Russian tanks rolled under our Prague balcony, Mama reminded Agata only this morning. Imagine! Military invasion in central Europe! ‘Now we’ll never see our daughter again, she’ll stay in England,’ your father said – no, he sobbed. Soft. That’s what Pavel was, but here – here they are not interested in what happened to us in 1968, here the radio is interested in some actress from some Corporation Street and her stupid breasts!

Author Anna Fodorova opens the book on this day to emphasise the intertwining nature of personal and political histories:

“In the Blood begins on the 21st August 1988, twenty years after the Russian tanks rolled into Prague, the brutal invasion that shocked the world and altered the fate of my main character, Agata.

When I wrote the story, I couldn’t know that history would repeat itself this year with another catastrophic Russian invasion – I was interested in how the past shapes our private lives.

Agata’s story culminates a year later with the fall of the Berlin Wall, another world-changing event which is paralleled by Agata’s crumbling relationship with her family, particularly her mother, who has built her life from half-truths and secrets.” 

Read the first chapter of In the Blood now.

Pre-order your copy of In the Blood.

When is an anniversary not an anniversary?

That’s not a trick question, by the way.
A business is a bit like a relationship, especially when its basically just you and everything you create.

When is the start?
The moment you stop researching and decide to go for it? (Eyes meeting across a crowded room?)
Registering the business with Companies House (First date)
or first actual product – in this case a book, obviously– (moving in together?)
It’s been our tenth anniversary year for a while now, as the first flicker of a plan was January 2012, but last Thursday was the anniversary of registering with Companies House and paying the first insurance premium. (I was WAY too busy then to post this…)
Our first book (London Lies) came out in September 2012 and we had planned a month long online festival this September to celebrate this unequivocal, ‘yes, we’ve existed TEN years’ – but plans have gone awry with a failed funding bid.

We are committed to three wonderful books between now and Christmas, and we will now hold the festival in January, always a quiet month. (Funding permitting etc)
We will also be having a year long ‘backlist’ sale with money off books as they hit their anniversary – so every book published in September regardless of the year, is on sale for the month of September and so on, take the opportunity to fill the gaps in your collection!
There won’t be a Solstice Shorts Festival this year. What we are doing instead is having a competition. Vote for your favourite Solstice Shorts story or poem (you aren’t allowed to vote for your own!)  AND submit a flash or poem (max 500 words) on the theme of Hiatus – ‘Solstice’ refers to the pause, when the sun seems to hang unmoving in the sky on the 21st December, so it’s quite an appropriate time theme. we are limiting submissions to 50 and the closing date is end of September. There will be only 2 winners: one poem and one story. They, with the voted for poems and stories will go into a ‘Best of Solstice Shorts’ eBook, which will be available from 21st December. Free entry. All the stories and poems included will earn royalties of 25% of net receipts. Depending on funding, this may be a printed book for 2023. We are thinking about a Celtic Fringe Solstice Shorts festival for 2024 ( the next time its a weekend), which would include the Scottish Western Islands, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and maybe Brittany, and maybe multilingual if we can find translators and editors who are right for the job. Anyone who is interested in helping plan this, shout now.

We need to focus where we are being successful (thank you Wales, for embracing our ideas), and crowdfund to try to bridge the gap. If anyone has any dazzling crowdfunding ideas glad to hear them! We have 10 copies of A470 signed by about half the poets, so that’s a start.

This means that we are thinking even further ahead than usual for everything, so that we can tell funders what we have up our sleeves, but at the same time, give ourselves time to find alternative funding if need be, its a bit of a juggling act.

We’ve had a call out for our Menopause anthology for a  while, and we are now planning a Byways anthology – rights of way that you can’t (or shouldn’t) take a vehicle on – so think alleys, snickets, ginnels, bridlepaths, greenways, the high water line on a beach, mountain passes, desire paths, tow paths, shortcuts or circuitous routes… the path to somewhere else: the familiar and the uncertain. Fiction and poetry – our ‘1st date’ anniversary seemed a good time to announce this one! Deadline for both of these is 31st December 2022.

Submit to one of the current open anthologies

We are also thinking about our next Welsh/English bilingual anthology, but it’s tough to come up with something as iconic as the A470 – we are thinking about the Welsh Coastal Path, the Welsh Marches/Offa’s Dyke, Heart of Wales Railway, Rivers… We’ll be canvassing our Welsh writers for their opinions, but if anyone else has a ‘great idea’ happy to listen.

Reviewers! Bookshops! Advance Reader Copies coming your way

Reviewers and Bookshops… we will be in touch shortly to offer you one or more of the following Advance reader copies. If you know you are not on our list and are interested, give us a shout. These are like gold dust, so first come first served!

How to be a Tarot Card, (or a Teenager) by Jennifer A McGowan, cover by Tom Charlesworth. (Poetry inspired by tarot and personal history)

In the Blood by Anna Fodorova, cover by Phil Barnett. (Novel: families, secrets, Holocaust survivors, Czech revolution)

Routes by Rhiya Pau, cover by Suman Gujral (Poetry: Families, Partition, Ugandan Asians)