Arachne Tenth Anniversary Sale – MARCH


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 MARCH we have a voucher, ARA10MAR, to get 50% off the following books

A470/A470 (Signed) Bilingual bestseller – Poetry for the Road, Cerddi’r Ffordd


Noon 2018 flash fiction and poems for Solstice Shorts


Time & Tide/ Time & Tide special edition 2019 coastal stories and poems for Solstice Shorts

Time and Tide

This Poem Here by Rob Walton Covid response poetry

This Poem Here

All you need to do is use the code ARA10MAR 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 – FEBRUARY

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 FEBRUARY we have a voucher, ARA10FEB, to get 50% off the following books


the first few books are poetry, the last is an epic lesbian fantasy novel.

The Significance of a Dress by Emma Lee – a book that didn’t really get its moment in the sun, being published just as we went into lockdown, explores feminism and the refugee experience in sharp, effective poems.

In Retail by Jeremy Dixon tiny poems originally written on the back of till receipts behind the counter of a high street pharmacy.

Foraging by Joy Howard poems of natures and bereavement

With Paper for Feet by Jennifer A McGowan takes on Shakespeare’s women, witches, and folk tales from around the world, served up in witty pithy angy poems.

The Dowry Blade by Cherry Potts described by another Arachne author as Game of Thrones with lesbians and without dragons.

All you need to do is use the code ARA10FEB 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!

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 Tenth Anniversary Sale – JANUARY

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 had a voucher, ARA10DEC, to get 50% off the following books – mostly Solstice anthologies that month, which may not be a surprise, plus a YA Fantasy novel.

Because we hardly ever publish a book in January, we are extending the December voucher to the end of January, so keep using ARA10DEC for the solstice books, and we are adding the only January book Lovers’ Lies which is already reduced to £5, so if you use ARA10JAN you get it for £2.50! That’s clear, isn’t it??



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!

Hiatus winners

We’ve counted the votes, disqualified the people voting for their own work (tsk, tsk, did you think we wouldn’t check??) and can now announce that (subject to contract) the folowing poems and stories that will join this year’s winners,  in the Solstice Shorts 2022 ‘best of’ ebook Hiatus, are:

After Before by Mandy Macdonald
After Sun, Before the Stars by Jane Aldous
Against Daylight Saving by Gabriel Noel (This year’s competition winner)
At the Hotel de la Lune by Sarah James
Beach Clean by Ness Owen
Fire at Midday by Susan Cartwright-Smith
Fisherman’s Daughter by Claire Booker
In Between Dog by Pippa Gladhill
Jackdaw by Elaine Hughes
Mock Posh & Tatters by Moira Quinn
Pause by Karen Pierce (This year’s competition winner)
Rewilding by Jackie Taylor
Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Catby Elinor Brooks
Stone Baby by Sarah Evans
The Surgeon’s Mate by Maria Kyle
Volunteer by Jane McLaughlin
Wednesday Afternoon by David Mathews
What He Doesn’t Know by Frances Gapper
Yes, Twilight by Math Jones

Where there was a dead heat (which happened several times) I’ve included both. We’ll announce the winner of the prize draw shortly – going to experiment with the cat doing the draw…

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
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)

Anniversary party plans and survey

Still thinking about our 10th Anniversary and how to celebrate…

We are planning a festival-come-party/celebration-come-conference type thing [FUNDING PERMITTING] which will include panel discussions, workshops and OF COURSE, readings from all our books. We’d like our authors, readers and collaborators to contribute ideas on this so there are a rash of surveys below, to help us choose the lineup. Vote for your favourite poem or story in each of the books. There is a prize draw of a selection of books (of your choice!) as well, if you give us an email address to communicate with you.

story/poem mix anthologies survey
Stories only survey
poems only survey

Solstice Shorts Festival survey This one is slightly different, as it will also lead to a ‘best of’ ebook to replace this year’s festival, so you get more than one vote. With the 10th Anniversary festival we can’t manage both, and our ambitious plan for the next Solstice Shorts required a weekend, so 2024 it is! There is also going to be a competition to choose one additional story and poem to add to the ebook.

We will deal with forthcoming books separately, and our YA books will get a separate showcase, probably in the morning.

Julian is disappointed that he does not get a vote.




Time and Tide- Clydebank- audio

In the tidying up of the website, it has come to our attention that some of the Time and Tide material from Solstice Shorts 2019 performances never got uploaded – I blame lockdown! Starting to edit the video from this year reminded me to search it out. Result!

Here are the Clydebank performances, in audio. Still looking for where I hid the Maryport recordings.

You can still buy the book (please do, it spent lock down in closed bookshops, and we sold almost none.)


Beth Frieden
Stefana Margarint
Seonaid Stevenson
Carla Woodburn
Jane Aldous

Arrival by Valerie Bence

Casting A Daughter Adrift by Emma Lee

Church Mary Sounds the Sea by Jenny Mitchell

Clearance by Christine Ritchie

Crossing the Black Water by Reshma Ruia

False Light by John Richardson

Fisherman’s Daughter by Claire Booker

Half A Dozen Oranges by Mandy Macdonald

How Women Came to Tristan Da Cunha by Claire Booker

Points of Interest by Olivia Dawson

Sea Lessons by Ness Owen

The Arctic Diaries Bird Wife by Melissa Davies

The Arctic Diaries Halibut by Melissa Davies

The Watchers by Elizabeth Parker

We dig the pig by Angel Warwick


The Fisherman’s Wife by Linda McMullen

Listen, Noah’s Wife by Roppotucha Greenberg

A Feast for Solstice

Our Solstice Shorts Festival is TOMORROW (21st Dec, 6.30PM GMT, Tickets via Eventbrite)

The festival spans the entire time any person might want to eat their evening meal, so we invite you to eat along with us. In reality I will be too busy to eat properly and will be picking at an excellent cheese board and pickles.

However, if I weren’t running a festival, I would be feasting, because that’s what you are meant to do at Solstice, alongside the lighting of fires (tick – in our house anyway!) and telling of stories (tick). The tradition is the feast before the famine of the coldest part of winter. In our Words From The Brink mode, it is  the feast before we run out of things to eat because we’ve killed all the bees and nothing will grow… but in the mean time eat drink and be merry.

I always think a mead hall would complete the midwinter feast, smoky, dark, full of song – but that always makes me think of Beowulf and the monster at the door. I made mead once (beer made with honey, rather than that sickly liquor that passes for mead), it was a success!

This year’s climate crisis theme has also had me thinking about the cost to the planet of my feast. If what follows sound confused, it is. I’m a concerned amateur, not a food miles specialist.

I’m never going to voluntarily become a vegan, but I’ve been a vegetarian for 42 years (18th birthday, ostentatious prawn cocktail, 30 dead things…) and I’ve had pretty much the same festive winter meal since around then.

So I thought I’d share the recipes (or ingredients list at least), and the how okay with the planet is this worries, because that’s the monster at the door, isn’t it – or, possibly, inside with us.


I don’t bother with starters except in restaurants where generally the veggie option are more fun than the mains.

But if it’s going to be a feast, doesn’t it have to have more than two courses? (Why?) So no, no starter.

Cost to the planet Nil!


Nut roast. This is my older sister’s recipe, and my mum’s recipe for stuffing, so a family tradition.

The main ingredient is hazelnut. I have a pair of hazel trees in the garden which, if the squirrels ever left any, would mean this was pretty much the self-sufficiency gold star. But in principle, I could grow the ingredients myself.

I run two versions of this, one relies heavily on stale bread (tick, except it uses so much that you have to buy extra bread to let it go stale). The other uses chestnut puree and/or tofu (smoked) to replace the breadcrumb, and depending on the consistency can do away with the egg otherwise needed. Chestnuts can grow in this country, but in reality, are imported from France. Tofu, very bad on the air miles and the processing, but delicious in this recipe. Herbs actually picked from the garden (tick). Those eggs could be homegrown too, a neighbour keeps rescued battery hens. Our garden isn’t quite big enough to let them be free range, and the local foxes would be lined up with their napkins on, so no, no hens.

The Stuffing is lemon and celery, and makes the meal, in my opinion. More stale bread, celery, onions, lots of butter, lemon rind and juice. More garden herbs. In theory I could grow lemons and celery in the garden. In practice the lemon comes from Spain, the celery is local. Butter is the very devil though, isn’t it, and spoils the virtue of the meal singlehandedly. Oil doesn’t quite work, and I loathe all things coconut, so butter it is.

Sides: roasted veg Potatoes, parsnips, carrots -all seasonal and could be (and in some cases have been) grown in our garden. These can be cooked at the same time as the roast, which only takes an hour so doesn’t use too much power. Different recipes for each, involve parboiling, coating in olive oil and roasting at a high heat, but the carrots have a splash of wine and brown sugar and a handful of dried fruit added – a Persian recipe, and delicious, as well as being, unfortunately, a bit bad for the planet in terms of airmiles.

Red cabbage – either pickled, or Normandie style, cooked with apple and caraway seeds in a light tossing of oil. All could be homegrown; I have successfully grown a red cabbage (success rate was 1 in 5, mind you) we even have a couple of apple trees, though we’ve usually eaten them all long before solstice.

Pickled walnuts. One day I will try pickling my own, this is the food of the gods. No feast is complete without them. Walnuts can be grown in this country – but it’s a long wait from planting tree to first harvest!


We always have chocolate yule log, Delia Smith’s recipe, with some personal finessing. Of course, this is a gluten free recipe, so I make it alongside the Solstice Cake when we do the festival live. Essentially, 6 eggs, 6 oz of sugar, 1 oz cocoa (showing my age with my measurements). Yolks and sugar mixed til creamy, cocoa sifted and mixed ingradually, followed by beaten egg whites folded in very carefully. Bake on a big shallow baking tray, 20mins, roll up while still warm, then unroll, spread with chestnut puree sweetened to taste (icing sugar is best for this), and a spoonful or so of cream to get it to spreading consistency. Spread with whipped double cream, roll up, dust with icing sugar. Sugar processing not good for planet, although if beat sugar, can be grown locally. Cocoa airmiles, cream cruel to cows.

This is a light, flavoursome pudding-cake that you can face eating after stuffing yourself on mains. Otherwise skip dessert and have cake later.

We’d love you to share your favourite feasting recipes, and reflect on whether the planet can take you eating it.

Tomorrow: Solstice Cake.





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.