So excited to be launching We/She on 16th August at 6.45pm
Blackwells, 50 High Holborn London WC1V 6EP
(nearest tube Chancery Lane/ Holborn)
We/She is our latest Liars’ League collaboration and the second of our #WomenVote100 tributes – although there isn’t a suffragette in sight. Instead we play around with traditional ideas about women, and turn a few (actually, a lot of) myths on their heads.
It’s free and there will be readings and refreshments, and, obviously, signed books to buy.
Authors Reading… Joanne LM Williams, Arike Oke, Carolyn Eden, Katy Darby,
Ilora Choudhury, Fiona Salter, Elizabeth Stott, Rosalind Stopps
Other authors are attending, so there will be lots of people to sign a copy of the book for you.
Expect dragons, opera singers, mothers… and Elvis
The launch coincides with the 39th anniversary of the death of Elvis. What has that to do with a book of stories by women, you ask… come along and find out!
One of my favourite moments in the publishing process – when I have the only copies… apart from the distributor of course.
(In case Michele sees this we did NOT break your plate. Clever fakery!)
We/She will be launched at
50 High Holborn
on Thursday 16th August. More on that later.
I’ve scheduled this to go live as we start our 5th Anniversary celebrations.
It’s a complex business starting and running a publishing house. People contribute crucial things at crucial moments and sometimes it isn’t until you look back you realise – if that hadn’t happened…
So thank you to all the people who do things without knowing and without being asked, or are so enthusiastic when asked I get over my own doubts and plough on – I’m bound to have missed someone, but here are most of the brilliant people who helped us get started and/or keep Arachne ticking over.
Bartle Sawbridge for introducing me to WooA Writing group something like eight years ago, giving me the structure to start taking my own writing seriously again, and for the rest of the members of WooA at the time, (Joan, Rosalind, David, Anna, Clare, Hilary) for being ace writers and getting me thinking (without saying anything to them) that we jointly needed a publisher, and also for introducing me to Liars’ League.
Liars’ League for being a bottomless cauldron of talent into which I dipped to find the writers for our first book, and especially thank you to Katy Darby for saying exactly the right thing when I approached her about it. If she hadn’t, this would have stayed a pipe dream, and also for co-editing and general cheerleading.
On the professional front, everyone at Inpress for not just doing what they set out to, in persuading bookshops to stock our books, but also providing all kinds of opportunities to explore the world of publishing through conferences and fairs made possible and affordable due to their bargaining chops.
Everyone at TJ International for producing such wonderful quality books in particular John Rance, for that first phone call (‘these are the questions you don’t know you need to ask us’) and being so approachable and reasonable and human!
Sabotage Reviews for the most reviews from any one source, and awarding us Best Anthology back in 2014. That plastic star thing is still sitting on the shelf above my desk.
All our Arachne Friends especially David, Jacquie, Pippa, Trefor, and Alison for their support.
Our supporters big and small on various crowdfunds especially Jonathan and Russell
and of course Arts Council England who have funded us twice.
And our authors and artists for coming up with inspired rewards for crowdfunds, especially Inua, Kevin Jill, Pippa and Jeremy.
On the maverick front…All the people who said YES when I came up with what felt like daft ideas, everyone at Lewisham Libraries (literally dozens of them, everyone has got involved and supported us), but particularly Alan Morrison, and Joan Redding (ex Lewisham, now at Carillion) who probably said yes (or more accurately, let’s do it) more than anyone in the known universe, and everyone at Better Libraries in Greenwich, particularly Rebecca Gediking (‘Of course we’ll open the Library at 7am on a Sunday’) and Debra Sullivan (‘This is what Libraries are for’), and many other libraries and librarians especially Gaynor Lynch Foley at RBKC. Greenwich University for a spectacular launch week for Outcome, especially Sarah Creech. Zoltan Abbot at Brockley Deli and Father Bates at St Hildas and Stuart Morriss at Misty Moon for hosting some pretty strange events without batting an eyelid. Dennis Harrison at Albion Beatnik for the most consistent hoster of events outside London. And of Course, V22 (Becca, Simon) for hosting tonight’s PARTY!
My dear friend Michele, who steps in and helps whenever she can and never flaps when things go pear-shaped.
All the other stepper-in-ers, especially Laura, Helen, Birgitta, Tessa, Judith, Catriona, Mark, Bartle, Stuart.
Another great friend, Muireann, for eagle-eyed proofing and cheeky margin comments, and regular company at supper on a Monday. Arachne would be a poorer item altogether without her.
Carrie and Wendy for batting ideas about, practical help with storage and logistics, and offering to be a formal advisory group.
Irena Hill for brilliant networking (she knows everyone) and idea thrashing.
Russell Potts (my dad) for vital help when needed, and telling me he’s proud.
And finally, just in case she thinks I haven’t noticed or don’t appreciate it, Alix, the best woman in the world, who comes to events she doesn’t want to come to (and doesn’t let it show), shares the driving on long hauls, fits holidays around festivals, sings with the choir, does front-of-house, staffs bookstalls and even reads for us. Arachne has a huge impact on her life, and wouldn’t exist if she wasn’t such a positive life force.
Here she is doing everything…
I will just remedy that…
There we go. A reminder of what a lot of fun we had choosing locality appropriate stories.
You can by a copy of Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed direct and post free here, of if you are in Oxford I expect Dennis still has a couple in stock, or if you are going to Liars’ League tonight, Liam will be there with a handful of books a pen for signing, and a hopeful expression.
Katy Darby reads the delicious At the Bottom of the Sea of Troubles by Lucy Ribchester (originally a Liars’ League story), at our Shakespeare400 event, Midsummer Night in the Garden at Manor House Library.
oh, and we got a review – it’s only available on Facebook, so it is copied here in almost its entirety for those of you who don’t do that (I’ve left out some misapprehensions that just confuse the issue.)
“A miniature Kenwood or a pocket Glyndebourne” ? by RICHARD STOKER – Actor/Composer/Writer/Artist etc.
Some very talented actors and musicians treated us to a real summer open-air event last evening – June 21st 2016. It was luckily a warm sunny night with only one spot of rain ! The action started with music : ” From Songsters Raise the Roof ” and ended with a story ” At the Bottom of the Sea of Troubles ” these two items alone made an excellent start and end to the production – both as creations and in performance quality. You can guess by now that it was in praise of our greatest bard – William Shakespeare – in an almost authentic setting both in its venue – the splendid Baring public-library and gardens (even the two canons outside the front door were festooned with flowers for a change) – the birds flew over even one seagull – planes could be seen in the distance but did not drown in any way the music or the actors – one baby could be heard crying. We were very lucky no midges wasps or bees were about … the sound system worked extremely well too – refreshments were available including strawberries and cream tarts etc. People sat on the lawns Glyndebourne-style with picnics laid out over the grass. As it grew darker this setting was idyllic for Shakespeare …I was reminded of Kenwood House as the music was sung and the Scarborough open air library events came to mind which I always enjoyed. “Raise the Roof” was the splendid choir mostly a cappella conducted by Kirsty Martin – who reminded me of Imogen Holst herself – with the same determination of purpose. The actors were excellent – they included Cliff Chapman, Carrie Cohen, Katy Darby, Saul Reichlin – in fact Katy Darby was a star of the show having that rare ability to hold any audience anywhere at her finger-tips. There was also some original writing from many of our authors including the american-born Sarah Lawson, her “Next door to the Capulets” deserves mention. The printed program was well designed in Shakespearian style print and spelling. Much devoted thought had gone into this whole project. This evening will live long in the memories of all who were lucky enough to have attended …
The incredibly generous Ms Darby informs me I have misunderstood her, and she is offering a WHOLE workshop, ie TEN places, for our crowd fund campaign for Solstice Shorts: our one day, short story and folk music festival on 21st December. Stories read and songs sung, from sunrise to sunset on the shortest day of the year, on the Greenwich Meridian.
So all you writers who want to wow a live audience, there are nine places left… put down you pens, clear your throats and learn how to really get your story across live – appropriate for the festival! An absolute bargain at £50 per person.
If you are wondering why Katy is your go to gal on this, she is a writer and actor, and founder of Liars’ League, the world-spanning award-winning live literature event where actors read your stories – started when Katy heard one too many authors mumbling into their books. She knows her stuff, and will impart her wisdom to you!
Here’s a bit of video of Katy reading her own work, The Horror, the Horror from Stations, to give you an idea what you might be capable of after the workshop.
You can find information about our books dotted about all over the place on the website, But in terms of our bid to get enough money together to hold the Solstice Shorts Festival, here’s a small plug for the books on offer as rewards.
A Pack of Lies for £40
and a signed copy of Mosaic of Air for £16
a complete collection of our Liars’ League anthologies full of wit, wackiness and wonder.
From the mean streets of Hackney to sleepy South London suburbs, from boho Bloomsbury to City wine bars, London Lies is a tour of the capital as you’ve never seen it before. What happens when a girl on her way to work is propositioned by a frog? When a man breaks into London Zoo to fight a hippo? When nuclear bombs fall on a future London, when the rats rise up to rule us or – most terrifying of all – when Scrabble goes bad?
Londonist review ‘…nearly had us snivelling on a commuter train.’ ‘…each has a distinctive voice and a point to make. Perfect for reading in bite-sized chunks on the way around town.’
Sabotage Review ‘…this is one of the most enjoyable story collections I’ve had the pleasure of reading in several years.’ ‘…the consistently high quality of London Lies makes it difficult to review. Every time I have sat down to start writing, I’ve wanted to highlight different stories.’
Moving from 1930s Camden to a Royal Wedding “riot”, via football fights, office steeplechases and awkward dates in art galleries, London Lies is a bizarre, funny, moving and sometimes unnerving glimpse into the secret life of the city we all love and know … or do we?
Lovers’ Lies is designed expressly for romantic cynics and cynical romantics. Be careful who catches you reading it – your intentions might be misinterpreted.
Liars’ League teams up with Arachne Press for a second outing bringing the freshness, wit, imagination and passion of their authors to a wider audience.
Join us as we wallow in the many facets of relationships. Explore role-play gone wrong, goldfish that eat loneliness, and a very literal leap into the unknown.
Old love, cold love, true love, new love, dead love, we’re through love – making babies and making whoopee, disappointment and contentment, playing at home, playing away or just playing; missed chances and new romances: everything from first conversation to last breath, strange journeys and stranger destinations.
These stories are quirky, solidly formed and pretty much always with a satisfying ending. There are tales of the unexpected, magical realist fantasies, and clever, clever writing that stays with you long after the last full stop.
There’s something about Liars’ League that brings out the wildness in the writers’ imaginations. In Weird Lies we explore myth, fantasy, science fiction, and the indefinable what the – that makes up Weird. In true Liars’ League fashion there is as much humour as there is darkness and poignancy.
More than twenty tales, varying in style from stories not out of place in One Thousand and One Nights, to the completely bemusing.
Discover mirrors that predict the immediate future and museums where your personal future life is exhibited in the kind of ephemeral objects that might normally find their way into a dustbin.
Meet tadpoles, lazy assassins, and assiduous poisoners; observe deals with the devil, and workplace stress taken to its logical conclusion.
Heroes, villains, and animals – anything and anyone could provide the twist in the tale – cursed travellers, persistent dreamers, aliens, robots and even ice might be the object, or source, of love. Winner of the Saboteur2014 Best Anthology Award.
When you know your story is going to be read out loud by an actual actor to a real, live audience, I’m sure you make certain to trim off anything superfluous that doesn’t directly contribute to the vigor of your story and while reading Weird Lies I got the sense that the writers whose stories made into this collection gave of their best.
Originally published twenty years ago, the sixteen short stories in Mosaic of Air reflect and explore Lesbian life in the 1980s through myth, history, fantasy and science fiction. Delving into lecturing spiders, Helen of Troy, seaside libraries, computers that fall in love, murder and memory; but most of all humour, and a delight in all that women can be.
Cherry Potts writes with economy, punch, panache.
Definitely about women in space, not the usual glossy tomboys of standard sf.
Delightful … both a hilarious spoof of one-man-and-his computer myths such as 2001, a Space Odyssey; and a reflection on the limits of love and power.
The final video from our Brockley Max event, (which became a celebration as we won an award!) at Misty Moon – a mermaid runs away (or should that be swims away?) to the circus, and finds it’s not all she hoped.
If you would like to see the whole thing read live you can catch Louise Gummer reading at The Literary Kitchen Festival TOMORROW, Tuesday 17th June, 6.30 as fellow Sabotage2014 Award winners, Liars’ League, head south for the evening and take up residence at the Peckham Pelican.
You will also soon be able to see video of Lin Sagovsky reading The Real McCoy at Liars’ League last week. Keep an eye on their website.
I’m going to be spending the morning editing all references to the lovely Weird Lies on the website to AWARD WINNING Weird Lies, because, ladies, gentleman and aliens… WE WON!!
Our award, and the one won by our dear friends Liars’ League snuggle up for a proud photo.A Big thank you to Sabotage Reviews for their brilliant organisation and for their reviews, and for putting on the awards in the first place.
So what does it all mean, apart from the warm glow and the little star thingy and the aforementioned editing of the website?
It means that a lot of people like what we do – the award is by public vote (THANK YOU everyone who nominated and voted for us, you are lovely, lovely people).
It might mean it’s easier to get books into bookshops, and sold – you might think that creativity is its own reward, but we all need to eat.
It might mean we get more gigs for our readings – speaking of – TONIGHT you can hear lovely Liars’ League actors Tony Bell, Silas Hawkins, Carrie Cohen, Sean Patterson, Lisa Rose and Sarah Feathers reading from AWARD WINNING* Weird Lies, and it’s equally terrific stable fellow, Lovers’ Lies, at Misty Moon, where we will also be PREVIEWING the animated trailer (by upcoming animator Nick Page) for our next book, Devilskein & Dearlove. I will say nothing more, other than it’s ACE (Misty Moon aficionados, yes that is what I mean.)
(* wondering how long it will take to get bored with typing that)
It was an excellent event, which kept the energy going all afternoon and all evening, with live readings from all sorts of poets and authors, including London Lies author and Oxford local, Emily Cleaver.
A BIG thank you to everyone I forgot to thank last night, I hadn’t written a speech, so it was very off the cuff.
And a very big thank you to all the writers, in AWARD WINNING Weird Lies and all the other books, you are all brilliant.
And an especially big thank you to Alix, who turns out for almost every live event and does front-of-house so brilliantly. For someone who said she didn’t want to be involved, she does an epic amount, and it wouldn’t happen without her.