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.

IDAHOBIT 2020 Stories & Poems

Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

I’ve already drawn your attention to our marvellous LGBTQI writers of individual collections and novels, so I thought I’d hilight the LGBTQI short story and poetry gems nestling in our anthologies.

 

London Lies: Leaving, Cherry Potts

Stations: All Change at Canonbury, Paula Read

Lovers’ Lies: Tasting Flight, Catherine Sharpe; Mirror, Cherry Potts; Dara Jessica Lott

The Other Side of Sleep: Naming: AD 2006, Alwyn Marriage;The Other Side of Sleep, Kate Foley

Liberty Tales: Tabernacle Lane; Pearls over Shanghai; Flax, San Francisco; all by Jeremy Dixon

Solstice Shorts – Sixteen Stories about Time: Death and Other Rituals, Tannith Perry; Stars, Emma Timpany (not sure that’s what she intended, but I certainly read it that way).

Noon: Under the L, Liam Hogan

An Outbreak of Peace: Surplus Women, Rebecca Skipwith

We/She Desperately Seeking Hephaestion, Elizabeth Hopkinson; Cages, Joanne LM Williams

Departures: Alpaca Moonlight, VG Lee; Over, Joy Howard

You can buy all the books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer, now VAT free! We recommend Hive for ePub.

Happy IDAHOBIT!

 

Lesbian Visibility Week

Phew, a bit late in the week, but let’s fly the flag here, before I go back to the emergecy fund application to ACE, refreshed with reminding myself why I do this.

We publish everyone. (Except people who aren’t writers, obviously).

But my first publications as a writer were with a lesbian press, and while we aren’t a lesbian press we are a lesbian-owned press, and we can still use that visibility.

So in celebration, here are our lesbian authors and poets, together with the books they are in, all of which are available from us direct, and from intrepid bookshops, and as ebooks from your usual supplier. There are probably more, but if they don’t tell me, I can’t celebrate them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Arachne Editor Cherry Potts

Arachne Author Nina Murray very kindly interviewed Arachne chief editor Cherry for The Compulsive reader.

You can read it here!: http://www.compulsivereader.com/2019/11/14/an-interview-with-cherry-potts/

 

Story Cities at Old Royal Naval College day 2

Rather delayed (by crowdfunding mainly) here is audio of our second outing at ORNC’s bowling alley. A little echoey!

Readings from Nic Vine, Rosamund Davies, Cherry Potts, Shamini Sriskandarajah of their own stories and some by other people too – Catherine Jones, David Mathews, Rob Walton and Steven Wingate.

Rosamund reads You Stand in the Secret Place by Steve Wingate

Cherry Reads Backwater by David Mathews

Shamini reads Coffee

Nic reads Go Directly to Go by Rob Walton

Cherry Reads Lost and Found by Catherine Jones

Rosamund reads The Right Place

Cherry reads Foundation Myth

Nic reads Tech Down

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

City Writes 2019

On Wednesday 11th December at 6.30, you are invited to City Writes Autumn 2019, at City125 Suite, 26-38 Whiskin Street EC1R 0JD (access via Rhind Building on St John’s Street)

Arachne Press editors Cherry Potts and Rosamund Davies will be reading alongside other Story Cities authors, Evleen Towey, Jayne Buxton and Máire Owens and there will be readings from the winners of this term’s flash writing contest Harriet Atkinson, Kathrine Bancroft, Helen Ferguson, Bren Gosling, Shabnam Grewal, Andrea Holck, Revati Kumar, Shibani Lal, Natasha Mirzoian and Angus Whitty.

TICKETS £10 in advance only

 

Story Cities at Old Royal Naval College

Story Cities writers were invited to read from the Storytelling Chair made by Matt Nicholls, at the launch of London Design Festival at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich last night. Here are recordings of our stories read there. (We are back on Sunday! see below)

Shamini Sriskandarajah reads Coffee

Cherry Potts reads Foundation Myth

Annabel Banks reads Other Signals

Evleen Towey reads School Bus

Roland Denning reads Seeing in the Dark

Nic Vine reads Tech Down

Rosamund Davies reads Today’s Arrivals and Departures

You can catch more (some different) stories on Sunday, When Cherry, Nic and Rosamund will be reading their own stories, and others by Steven Wingate, David Mathews, Rob Walton and Catherine Jones.

The Story Cities book is for sale in the bookshop under the Painted Hall, and in the visitor centre for the duration of the festival which includes next weekend Open House festival so you can get in and see everything free!

Or you can buy it from us, or any really good bookshop.

 

London Design Festival

UNESCO world heritage site, the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, joins London Design Festival for the first time this year with a free exhibition showcasing local artists and makers.

What does that have to do with books, I hear you mutter.

We’ve had a bit to do with ORNC via Greenwich University and the Greenwich Book Festival, which are both on their site, and it turns out someone from ORNC came to our GBF session on Story Cities and enjoyed it so much she asked us to get involved in their event for London Design Festival.

Inside the Painted Hall (open to ticket-holders Adults £12, Kids under 16  free, includes a free tour of the Old Royal Naval College. https://ornc.digitickets.co.uk/tickets) in the Victorian Skittle Alley, is The Storytelling Chair made by Matt Nicholls Designs from recycled wood.

You can see where this is going.

We will be making use of the storytelling chair during the festival, with a couple of pop-up sessions. The first session is this Friday and is an invitation only event, where Annabel Banks, Evleen Towey, Nic Vine, Shamini Sriskandarajah, Roland Denning, Rosamund Davies and Cherry Potts are reading but…

On Sunday 15th September at 3pm we’ll be popping up again, for about 15 minutes, with Nic Vine, Rosamund Davies, Matthew Pountney and Cherry Potts and maybe Shamini Sriskandarajah reading our own and other stories from Story Cities in or beside the chair. It is very brief, so if you want to catch it, allow time to find us! (dont forget you need a painted hall ticket) The book will be on sale in the Painted Hall bookshop (no ticket required) throughout the festival, which runs 14th-22nd September.

more info about the greenwich part of the festival

more info about the festival in general

Story Cities Editors talk about flash fiction at Greenwich Book Festival

Editors Rosamund Davies, Cherry Potts and Kam Rehal talk about what flash is all about and why we chose it for Story Cities, at Greenwich Book Festival.