An Author’s Best Friend: Lily Peters’ Top Dogs in Fiction

One thing that really struck us when we first read Accidental Flowers, Lily Peter’s novel-in-short-stories, was the descriptions of the numerous canine characters.

As this week is #LondonDogWeek AND #NationalDogWeek over in the U.S, we asked Lily to rank her favourite dogs from classic and contemporary literature. Disagree? Tweet us @ArachnePress with your favourite fictional hounds.

 

An Author’s Best Friend – Lily’s Greyhounds

 

I wrote, illustrated and bound my first book when I was eight years old. Its main character was not a plucky young girl who dreamt of becoming a bestselling author, but rather a very lazy and quite fat Dalmation named Slobdog. Although for an eight-year-old, my spelling and grammar were excellent, there are, perhaps, superior literary dogs that should be celebrated:

To begin, let us put our paws together for Toto from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. A wise terrier, with a sensible aversion to tornadoes. He is the best friend a lost girl could have and has excellent people instincts (which I find to be true of most dogs), revealing the Wizard for the sham that he is.

Next, we have the entire cast of dogs present in Dog Boy, by Eva Hornung. The novel tells the story of abandoned, four-year-old Ramochka and his hero dog, Mamochka, who adopts him as one of her own. He grows and learns with a pack of feral hounds – becoming one himself. It is a beautiful story that celebrates the canine moral code and it has a growl of an ending that will not disappoint.

Then, of course, there is the heart-wrenching folk tale (folk-tail?) of Hound Gelert. In Welsh folklore, the story goes that Llewelyn the Great wrongly accuses his own faithful pooch of killing his infant son. As he administers a fatal blow to Gelert, he hears his son crying and discovers him safely hidden, beside the corpse of a wolf – whom Gelert had obviously slain. Realising his mistake, Llewelyn is doomed to forever hear Gelert’s indignant, dying yelp.

Serves Llewelyn right.

It is my firm belief that we humans don’t always deserve our dogs. And yet, they keep finding us and loving us with huge generosity. Many of my favourite characters share their fictional spaces with beloved creatures and nowhere is this more true than in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman depicts a world in which every human shares their living days with an animal extension of themselves, their Daemon. When we adopted our greyhounds, Jasper and Joni, I knew I had found my very own pair: long-legged busy-bodies, with a ridiculous love of salty snacks and an inability to cope with change.

In my novel-in-short-stories, Accidental Flowers, dogs abound. Abandoned, beloved or left behind, they pad their way through the stories, sniffing out adventure and love. I can’t pick a favourite. Perhaps Juliet, a ghost of a Jack Russell who haunts the pages of her story with her vital loyalty and companionship? Or maybe Boatswain, a greying lurcher and huge fan of the beach, so long as the sea stays where it should? Can either of them compare to Argos, whose friendship and quiet, fuzzy-eyebrowed understanding helps one protagonist discover their true self as the world lurches to a stop?

How can I choose?

Best to let someone else decide for me, while I take the dogs for a walk.

Accidental Flowers by Lily Peters is available now. Buy a paperback copy from our webshop or why not get the audiobook?

You can find Lily Peters on twitter as @SenoritaPeters.

Claude at Harfleur – The Story Sessions video

A second video from July’s The Story Sessions.

Alix Adams reads from Marjorie Phillips‘ historical adventure young adult novel, Claude at Harfleur. Set during Henry V’s campaign in Northern France and featuring 12-year-old tearaway Claude. Originally written in the 1950s, and published posthumously by Curved Air Press (curvedairpress(at)ntlworld(dot)com). We have a few copies available at Arachne, if you’d like a copy, get in touch.

Submit to Arachne Press

Ok, we’ve had enough with the enquiries. We weren’t going to open submissions until the end of the month, but due to popular demand they are now open, but only until the end of MAY. So that’s your window – or possibly letterbox?

Read the GUIDELINES and get in touch, we are really interested, and excited, wondering what you have in store for us.

Romantic Trysting Spots

Where is your favourite place for spending time with the love of your life? What about it gets you hot and bothered, or meltingly romantic?

Dramatic scenery, intimate eatery, garden, beach, mountain, chocolate shop, theatre, fleapit,hotel, nightclub, pub, market, skating rink, crossroads … what makes for the perfect time out with your beloved?

Thinking about the (possibly world – no stop – don’t get carried away!) tour that will launch Lovers’ Lies, we’d like your thoughts on the best romantic places in the UK (for now, although we apparently have a small fan base in Switzerland…) and what it is that makes them special.

The Brief Encounter clock at Carnforth copyright Cherry Potts 2012

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been there, or if it seems completely impractical, tell us anyway. It can be the site of a great fictional romance (Carnforth Station! Waterloo Bridge!) name-checked in a famous lovers’ ballad  (Allanwater!) or it can be where you first met your one-and-only, just so long as it’s a real place, and still there, not built on since.

If you think it’d be a great place for a reading tell us that too (especially if it’s somewhere near a literature festival or a really good bookshop), and if you can broker an introduction for us, even better – think of it as a blind date between publisher and venue, the sort of thing where you think they’d be perfect for one another, and with just a little nudge

Give us your suggestions (tweet, ‘comment’ on this post, or use the contact form) and we’ll see which we can make work for us. And if your suggestion ends up being our launch venue, and we’ve got your contact details, you’ll get an invitation to the wedding – sorry – launch.

© Arachne Press

Underground fiction

I was chatting with Robert Hulse the Director of the excellent Brunel Museum the other day about Stations, and mentioned Barbara Vine’s King Solomon’s Carpet which got me on to thinking about how the London Underground turns up all sorts of places.  Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere being an obvious example. So I did an idle search (the way you do, and found this: Wikipedia list of fiction on the underground. 

I don’t suppose this list is in any way complete, and for a start, I remember a story set on the Piccadilly line I read on-line last year which involved spectacles left at Cockfosters and lost luggage offices which was very entertaining which isn’t on here (Can’t remember who it was by, can anyone help?). And I met Sarah Butler at a NAWE workshop a couple of weeks ago, and she produced The Central Line Stories with London Underground a couple of years ago – so, with next year the 150th Anniversary of the Underground, maybe its time to read some London Transport fiction?  You could start with Stations, which will be gracing the bookshops and not a few railway carriages, I shouldn’t wonder in only a months time!

Stations Reading at Deptford Lounge

Stations Cover. Image copyright Gail Brodholt

Our second reading for Stations, in honour of New Cross, will be at the Library at Deptford Lounge, a short walk from New Cross Station.

Library
9 Deptford Lounge,
Giffin Street
SE8 4RW

Thursday 29th November 2012 7-8.30pm

(Although free, you need to book via the Albany 020 8692 4446)

As this is on actual publication day it is in effect our Local Launch so we are aiming at quite a few writers, all reading shorter snippets, so the line up is:

David Bausor (New Cross)
Rosalind Stopps (Brockley)
Paula Read (Honor Oak)
Joan Taylor-Rowan (Anerley)
Adrian Gantlope (Surrey Quays) Getting Adrian to speak in public is a major event, you won’t want to miss it!

Ellie Stewart (Wapping)
Bartle Sawbridge (Shadwell)
Katy Darby (Shoreditch High Street)

Join us for a whirlwind tour of the Overground by way of a foreign student’s first taste of South London, a brief encounter at Brockley, homelessness and homebaking, a lesson the birds and bees, transience by the Thames, failing to learn from beetles and film makers in East London.

London Lies at Waterstones Oxford Street

London Lies Authors will be reading, chatting and signing books at
Waterstones 421 Oxford Street London W1C 2PQ (Immediately opposite Selfridges, nearest tube Bond Street)
7pm Thursday 22 November 2012
(There are 2 Waterstones on Oxford Street, so make sure you turn up to the right one!)There is a £4 admission charge but this includes a glass of wine and is discounted against your book should you buy a copy of London Lies. 
Waterstones: 0207 495 8507
Line up:
Katy Darby reading from Simon Hodgson’s story Thieves We Were
Danielle Fenemore  reading from Emily Pedder’s  story Are We nearly There Yet? (Set in Selfridges)
Nichol Wilmor reading from his story Made for Each Other
and Joan Taylor-Rowan reading from her story Renewal
 

More Video from Launch of London Lies

More video snippets from Wednesday’s jolliest outing of the week, the London Lies launch at London Review Bookshop.

Want more? Want to hear stories read live? Come along to our next events.

Another MVMNT Cafe Reading

MVMNT Cafe

The enthusiastic folk at MVMNT have offered to host a London Lies spectacular Wednesday 12th September. 7pm
Waller Way, SE10 8JA right by Greenwich DLR (NOT Cutty Sark).

Writers reading onthe night:
Katy Darby
Alan McCormick
Rosalind Stopps
Liam Hogan

Copies of the book will be available to purchase.

MVMNT is unlicenced but you can bring your own for a corkage of £3… We suggest something fizzy would be appropriate!

Access by car from Lewisham direction is a bit tricky during the Paralympics as Greenwich High Street is temporarily One Way from a bit before the corner of Norman Road (not shown on the TfL info),and there are lots of parking restrictions, so consider public transport.

 

London Lies Readings at Kilburn Library

Kilburn Library

The kind people at Kilburn Library (42 Salusbury Road Kilburn London NW6 6NN)  are hosting a reading of London Lies on

27th September 6:30 -7:45, at which our more northerly writers will read from their stories.

The library is reopening that week after a refurbishment, and we are helping to celebrate its shiny newness.

confirmed line up of authors is:

Katy Darby

Emily Cleaver

Laura Williams

Clare Sandling