Who or What is WooA?

WooA… a recent member of this writing group asked me how the name came about:

WooA = Writers of OUR age. Apparently, when founding members were on an MA together, amongst much younger writers, they found themselves saying this on a regular basis and it stuck, sometimes the ‘our’ is not emphasised, and we refer to ourselves like this with muted irony.

WooA logo

WooA is where the second Arachne Press title, Stations originated – we used to meet in the Broca cafe just opposite Brockley Station, (I wrote such a lot of food-themed stories then!)

The Overground runs at the bottom of my garden. Before there was the Overground, there was only Southern, but trains went to London Bridge, Victoria and Charing Cross. With the advent of the Overground, the Charing Cross trains were lost, and with them, the possibility of an easy last train home from many favourite central London venues. There was lamenting, there were protests, there was a coffin carried on the very last train. It was epic.
Then there was the disruption: the endless sleepless nights while the track was relaid and the station lengthened and the trees on either side of the cutting massacred. (More protests).
There were the huffy, what use is it? conversations on rush-hour platforms, the disbelieving sneer when told the value of my home would increase, followed by the overcrowding, the noise
…and then there was the eating of words.
Because the Overground is wonderful. It cut ten minutes off my journey to work, it halved the time to get to all sorts of North London places I had given up going to: the King’s Head, the Union Chapel and the Estorick Collection. It made getting to the Geffrye Museum simple. It expanded my horizons. (I’m missing my horizons at the moment!)
I ate my words.

Mentioning this in passing at WooA as we settled for a twenty minute writing exercise, Rosalind said: we should write about the Overground. So we did.
From that twenty minutes blossomed the idea for an entire book, with a story for every station on our section of the line: Highbury & Islington to New Cross, Crystal Palace and West Croydon. So: thank you, Overground, and thank you, WooA.

Over the years, Arachne has published quite a few, although not all, of the shifting membership of WooA. And I continue to go to as many meetings as I can. At the moment these are online, and more frequent than normal, for the comfort of talking  – as much about not writing, at the moment, as anything anything else.

We have a few traditions, one of which is to hold a live lit event as part of Brockley Max, our local festival. Of course, that’s gone pfft, like a lot else, but a week ago(?) we got an email saying are you doing anything online that could be part of a virtual Brockley Max?

We weren’t – but – we don’t have a website/Facebook page, anything – well, we could – couldn’t we?
So we are.

open mind WooA

At the time and on the date that we would have been doing this live at the Talbot, Arachne Press is hosting WooA (including Arachne Authors, Bartle Sawbridge, Cherry Potts, Joan Taylor-Rowan, Carolyn Robertson and Neil Lawrence; plus Ruth Bradshaw and Innes Stanley) for Open Mind – an evening of  stories and poems.
So Friday 5th June at 7pm BST, join us on Facebook: Event / Actual video
or Youtube for Love, Loss, Lockdown, Protest, Playdates, Dancing and DINOSAURS.
*TRIGGER WARNING* reported violence between children about half way through (Neil Lawrence’s story).
Video will be available for a week thereafter on both platforms.

Halloween/Samhain

You all know we don’t do horror at Arachne.

The closest we’ve got is Math JonesThe Knotsman, which has quite a bit of distressing material in it, but does it from a position of compassion – ‘this is awful’, rather than ‘oooh, isn’t this awful‘.

So if you fancy something to get the ice running down your back, Math’s your man.

It would please Math mightily if you were to celebrate Samhain with his book seeing as he is a pagan.

you can buy a copy here… and if you buy it BEFORE halloween the postage is still free. we are going to have to start charging UK customers after that.

If however, your tastes run to the more traditional halloween fair, there’s a live lit gig, Frightful Yarns, at Honor Oak pub, St Germains Road SE23 on the very night, at 7.30, raising money for our local festival, Brockley Max. Arachne authors Cherry Potts and Neil Lawrence are among the readers, with dark tales of revenge and paranoia. tickets £5

The Knotsman – The route the trouble takes

A series of poems that make up the core of the collection by Math Jones, The Knotsman.

In which lovers are separated, by the undoing of a knot, and the Knotsman discovers the consequences.

The Tide is ebbing

Submissions for Time & Tide close on Friday. We’ve been going on about this for a week or so, and are getting tired of the sound of our own voices, so we aren’t going to remind you  (not here, anyway) again. Get your oar in the water and start paddling.

Historical, marine and riverine (is that a word?) theme, with strong female characters.

Stories and poems, ESPECIALLY stories, we’ve had a lot of poetry in: 2000 word limit, original, unpublished and in English, BSL, Portuguese, Scots Gaelic, Doric, or Welsh – with an English version for anything not in English.

Songs to theme in any language, send us a translation though, 5  min maximum, Original or Traditional – nothing that is someone else’s copyright. You, or someone you’ve organised to do it, needs to be able to perform at one of the venues: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Maryport, Holyhead, Greenwich, Hastings, Lisbon and possibly Brighton.

https://arachnepress.submittable.com/submit

 

To get you in the mood here’s video of Michelle Penn reading Ian Grosz’s poem Autumn Noon, from last year’s festival, Noon; performed at Brockley Max Festival at Brockley Brewery.

 

 

 

For NFFD Brockley Max does Solstice Shorts Stories

Today is National Flash Fiction Day, so we’re sharing some of our latest live flash fiction with you… scrooooll down!

Also several of Arachne’s authors are taking part in FlashFlood today

And we kick off our launch events for Story Cities (max 500 word flash stories about cities) at 10am this morning with a panel discussion from the editors all about getting the book together. Early birds, join us, it’s free (tickets)

The deadline for submitting to Time & Tide is nearly on us – get a move on! Music, Stories and Poetry set on or beside the coast or tidal rivers, with an historical slant. Yes we accept Flash!
via submittable by 23:59 BST on 21st June.

Ok, made you wait long enough…
Here are those flash fiction pieces from Noon that were read at Brockley Max this month, hosted by the very welcoming Brockley Brewery.

Marika Josef reads Toast Crumbs by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier

 

A Vampire at Noon, by Patience Mackarness, also read by Marika

Up on the Roof, by Lily Peters read by Cherry Potts

Under the L, by Liam Hogan

Time is running out, like the tide

The deadline for sending us your wonderful sea and history themed short stories and poems (up to 2000 words) and film-poems and songs (up to 5 mins) is only a WEEK away. You have until 23:59 BST (that’s probably high tide somewhere) to deliver your cargo at the quay that is Submittable.Lots more info there.

Ok, that’s not a great metaphor, I’m sure you can do better, but if you don’t send it (weigh anchor, cast off, set sail…) we’ll never know!

Chosen work will be performed by actors/you at one or more of our sites on the shortest day of the year: 21st December. Performances will be live-streamed on Facebook (technology  permitting) and published in the Time & Tide anthology (texts only obvs.) for which we will pay royalties (tiny, probably, with lots of contributors, but it’s the principle)

We need warehouses full of stuff for this, as we have  seven or eight tidal venues so far…

Scotland: Aberdeen and Glasgow

Wales: Holyhead

England: Greenwich, Hastings, Maryport and possibly Brighton.

Portugal: Lisbon

Cast your work upon the waters…

In the meantime, here’s a video from our recent reprise of last year’s Noon extravaganza performed at Brockley Brewery as part of Brockley Max festival. Michelle Penn reads her poem Precarious.

Have you submitted to Time and Tide yet?

Time and Tide wait for no man, and no woman, neither. Summer Solstice approaches and with it the deadline for submissions to this year’s festival and anthology.

That’s the 21st June, people. One minute to midnight.

submit here

We are looking for an historical slant on life on, or by, the sea. and don’t forget that Time and Tide was the name of the Suffragette magazine, so we want to be overwhelmed by how cleverly you weave that in to your work. submit here

2000 words max no minimum. stories and poems.

Songs (original to the performer or traditional only) and poem films (film poems?) max five mins.

We want unusual voices, and we about diversity, so tell all your friends to get writing too, we need a lot of material, so don’t keep it to yourselves. submit here

We have sites in England, Scotland, Wales and Portugal. I know. Overseas. If you are a musician you need to be near one of the sites, everyone else, anywhere in the world.

loads more info and submit, here

To get you in the mood, here’s a video of a poem from last year’s Noon, being read last week at this year’s Brockley Max festival.

Laila Sumpton reads her poem, Mad Dogs and Englishmen at the Brockley Brewery

Hidden Corners for Brockley Max

Tonight, Friday 7th June, Arachne Press authors, Bartle Sawbridge and Cherry Potts are taking part in Hidden Corners, the WooA event for Brockley Max at the Talbot pub, corner of Tyrwhitt Road and Lewisham Way.

Two stories each, and a silly writing game after the interval. 7.30pm

bartle saf

Cherry and Julian small

Brockley Max 2019 Noon and Knots

We are involved in Brockley Max Festival again this year, with readings in a church, and a brewery!

Sunday 2nd June 7pm

St Hilda’s Church Courtrai Road SE23 1PL

Math Jones will be reading from his new poetry-collection-as-novel, The Knotsman

The Knotsman does not exist, you will not find him in history books or collections of ‘bygone’ skills. But there he is, going from house to house, village to village, poem to poem, battlefield to gallows, unravelling knots and problems, physical, emotional and psychological; a new kind of cunning man, not always welcome, not always quite as clever as his fingers and picks would have him believe.

copyright Tyrone Lewis

Wednesday 5th June 7pm

We will be at the lovely Brockley Brewery, 31 Harcourt Road London SE4 2AJ

for NOON

Readings of poetry and short stories on the theme of Noon from the Solstice Shorts Anthology of the same name

Everyone thinks of noon as being a split second as the clock’s hands draw together, the bell tolls twelve times – but there is so much more to it than that.

with

Stuart McKenzie, Michelle Penn, Laila Sumpton, Marika Joseph, Liam Hogan

Deliver Me at Urban Myth for Brockley Max

The last of the outings for Shortest Day, Longest Night, Rosalind Stopps reads Deliver Me  at WooA’s Urban Myths evening at Brockley Max