I’m just getting to grips with the report for the Arts Council who kindly assisted us with the costs of the last few books and associated book tour, plus Solstice Shorts Festival 2016: Shortest Day, and The Story Sessions, so I’ve been looking back through the feedback – 136 people went to the trouble of giving us written feedback, for which we are VERY grateful! We invited people to describe themselves in 3 words (some used more, but really it doesn’t matter) and tell us what they thought of the event.
Here’s what some of them had to say – these are just my out-and-out favourite comments, there were many more. Eclectic was the favourite adjective!
|Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch||2 excellent poets, 2 different styles, and evening of magical words. Long live poems and their publishers!||Fairly succinct really|
|Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch||Narrative weave of Jennifer McGowan’s poems, succinct beauty in the smallness of Joy Howard’s||Life-swept poet therapist|
|Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch||I delighted in Jennifer’s spirited and evocative readings of her work. She brings new life to words. I’d never heard Chinese spoken while reading the phonetic version before.||Middle-aged stressed editor|
|Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch||Stories as poetry, poetry as stories, in a spiritual home of poets (Keats House Library)||Necessarily evil author|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed burley F||The informality was initially relaxing, followed by a well-rehearsed & performed reading. Very personal and enjoyable way to spend the evening – like being in a living room full of engaging and inspirational minds||Under-worked London writer|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed burley F||Beautifully dark and comedic frivolity||Undervalued London actor|
|HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED Greenwich||Very interesting evening writer/actor great and well-spoken you should continue your good work of bringing up and coming authors together and giving them a voice||Maybe upcoming writer|
|HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED Greenwich||Good variety of style in the stories, actor interpretation was excellent, dynamic energetic author reading||Fascinated fiction fan|
|HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED Greenwich||Makes me think when passing statues in the streets … what if …?||Energetic, creative, idealistic|
|HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED launch||Very well organised enjoyable program with diversified activities. I really appreciated all the marketing material||New horizon explorer|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed launch||It’s events like these that make me think that maybe there IS a point to North London||Hairy bee enthusiast|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed launch||Nothing’s sacred, great venue, great writer, great narrative||Travelled, gypsy, overheated|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Lewisham||Enjoyably hanging darkly in a cloud of suspense||Overthinking underpaid scientist|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Lewisham||Made me tingly, a bit like the Dr Who theme did when I was a kid. Hide behind my hands, but can’t wait for more||Dreaming London lady|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Lewisham||Not heard of Arachne Press before, but will look out for them from now on. A fascinating assortment of short stories brimming with otherworldliness and simmering spasms of evil blessed with reliving streaks of humour. Full of weird and wonderful reverberations as it should be.||Bebop jazz poet|
|Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Oxford||Intimate, salon-like. As if I’d stumbled into an invitation only séance peopled by the spirits of Victorian huckster and exotic beasts||earnest, quotidian, boring
|Liberty Greenstead||The ay the storytellers involved us, brought us into the atmosphere of their narration||Quietly persistent|
|Liberty Greenstead||A joyous evening to delight
the listeners on this Burns’ night
with ne’er a haggis no’ dram in sight
a joyous evening to enthrall all right.
|pernickety political poet|
|Liberty Greenstead||Exciting expedition into previously uncharted area of poetry and short story reading ‘poetry to the ears!’||retired bored housefrau|
|Liberty Housmans||1st time experiencing, so didn’t know what to expect, but enjoyed the live experience of an author reading their own work||Lover of Ares|
|night write||such a new and beautiful experience, who would have thought that writing in darkness revealed such gifts||Restless London photographer|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath||Live, loud & varied, an eclectic mix of poems & prose that veered from tragic to whimsical.||Bath writer in need of sleep|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath||Bookish whirlwind of tales & poems that provide thought-provoking insight into the writers minds||Intensely formidable critic|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath||Entertaining varied & imaginative programme ranged from contemporary issues to timeless stories and poems vividly performed, Evoked a warm response from the audience||M&M|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath||Completely gripping, never thought such a mix could be entertaining. The very high quality of the writing made it so||Barmy Bath Bivalve|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath||An excellent evening with an inspiring mix of poems & Stories. Poignant, witty, intelligent work supported by the incomparable Cherry Potts who does such crucial work in supporting and developing opportunities for writers. A big shout out for Arachne Press!!||Enthusiastic Bathite|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Lewisham||beautiful eclectic mixture of styles completely inspiring if slightly unsettling at times, in a good way||Londoner by choice|
|SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Lewisham||A thrilling eclectic mix of humour dark reality and myth||Arbitrator/writer|
|Solstice Shorts Festival||Excellent evening of song & Storytelling. Intriguing short stories that made you wonder laugh & Cry Definitely an experience to savour and repeat. Next Summer Maybe?||Hopeful mother of twins|
|Solstice Shorts Festival||Huge variety of work, great introduction to an international set of writers. Loved the music and actors great work. Wassailing was such a wonderful touch!||Poetry loving librarian|
|Solstice Shorts Festival||Wonderful variety of writing and composition suitably short to match the daylight today. Always a joy to hear new writing performed||Broken armed poet|
|With Paper for Feet Lewisham||Quality and humour of stories and poems, engaging performance, erudite, clever, lighthearted, accessible fun, quirky. Thank you!||Frantically busy fan|
|With Paper for Feet Lewisham||Witchy, feisty, a brilliant way to celebrate International Women’s Day||Inspired every time!|
|WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford||Compelling narratives from a poet who gives her work and her audience the respect and pleasure of a lively direct performance.||Poetry reading regular|
|WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford||Fine writing well-read and artistically presented||Reader engineer listener|
|WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford||The poet is not only a fantastic poet, but a first class performer of her work. Very worth going out on a rainy night||P.S.|
|WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford||Visual, curious, mythical, resonant||Poetical psychologist|
|Story Sessions||A place to hear good fiction and more, practice with other writers, It’s always good to perform your work to an audience I encourage you to go along and listen, or perform||Ever learning writer|
|Story Sessions||Relaxing entertaining and intense in the best way||Fox loving optimist|
Brockley Max is coming – and we are getting involved.
2nd June 7pm at the Talbot Pub in Brockley SE4 1QG, Arachne authors Bartle Sawbridge, Rosalind Stopps and Cherry Potts join other writers from WooA (Writers of Our Age), Neil Lawrence, Anna Somerset and Hilary Dunn for Urban Myths. (the link says 7-7.30 that means 7 for 7.30, we aim to be there at least 2 hours.
You can join in with 100 words of your own urban myth, and get stuck in with the epic writing relay, which is definitely best experienced slightly sozzled.
On Sunday 4th June at 3.30, we join Vocal Chords Choir (who have supported Solstice Shorts Festival a couple of times) at their Songs of Protest gig at St Hilda’s Church SE23 1NL when actors Silas Hawkins and Carrie Cohen will read some of the poems from Liberty Tales to complement the songs.
Our final drop-in session is at Art In The Park Story-telling tent on Hilly Fields, on Saturday 10th June at 2.30, when Arachne stalwart Katy Darby will be reading our forthcoming younger children’s book, The Old Woman From Friuli by Ghillian Potts which is in the shops 6th June – you can buy direct from us NOW post free.
We have stories from Liam Hogan headlining, with two different takes on the incredibly long-lived: Internet Dating for Immortals, and Time the Devourer which will be read by resident actor and musician, Annalie Wilson.
Supporting Liam we have Math Jones reading part (possibly all? Still to discuss) of his exquisite Knotsman sequence.
and Donald Hiscock, who is coming up from Portsmouth to read In Those Days They Used Lined Paper
Sally Connors (More Bread) and Becky Pinder (Cretan Labyrinth Series 3) will also be read Annalie.
We will, as usual, have music from Annalie, and of course, we have our Flash from the Floor – you join in with your own fantastical tale, in 100 words or less! No dragon stories yet, so something on those lines would be popular (with me!).
Join us at North Kensington Library, 108 Ladbroke Grove W11 1PZ at 6pm on Thursday 20/4/2017
For this performance Liam is joined by actor Louisa Gummer
In the realms of fantasy, it is foolish to upset the wee folk, downright dangerous to incur the curse of a witch, and above all, it is perilous to ignore a warning.
Happy Ending Not Guaranteed
Contains twenty-seven stories of dark fantasy, from chess-playing automatons to smooth-talking Celtic faeries; from the Longitude Act of 1714 to the End of the World (in fractal form). Bad Kings, bad demons, and bad days abound.
There is humour even in darkness. You just have to look harder for it.
We had a substantial mailbag for our Retelling Tales theme, and had to turn down some really interesting work, either because it didn’t fit well enough or because it missed the mark in terms of what we were looking for, but we can confirm a poetry heavy list this time:
Supporting: Liam Hogan I, Igor (Story)
Math Jones: Frejya (poem)
Zoe Brigley: Letter to Leda on Getting Married and My Last Rochester (poems)
LMA Bauman-Milner Glass & Blood (Story)
Neil Slevin A Gaelic Chieftan (poem)
Joy Howard: Melangell and the Hare, Olympus Inc, Living to Tell the Tale (Poems)
Annalie is going to be busy as quite a few of the writers can’t make it because of geographical considerations. We have work from writers in Ireland, America and the North of England, which means they won’t bring their friends along either… so we’d really like to encourage an audience! Quality writing, magnificently read! Join in with Flash from the Floor (if you want to!) – give us your own retelling in 100 words or less! poetry or prose.
Lovely food and drink available, and free entry. What more could you possibly want?
Note to writers, we would REALLY like to see stories for next time’s Fantasy tales, we already have some shortlisted poems, so get writing – the deadline is 1st Wednesday of May.
A rather lovely way to celebrate Human Rights Day, back in December, reading stories inspired by Magna Carta at North Kensington Library. Stories from Cassandra Passarelli, Carolyn Eden, Jim Cogan and Cherry Potts, poems from Jeremy Dixon
You can catch us again, with our final Liberty Tales jaunt, at Greenstead Library, Colchester CO4 3QE next Wednesday, 25th January 6pm, with stories from Carolyn Eden, David Guy, Helen Morris, Sarah Evans, and poems from Jeremy Dixon, some of which will be read by Carrie Cohen and Cliff Chapman
We are back at North Kensington Library with Shortest Day, Longest Night on Saturday 4th February at 2pm, with Poems from Bob Beagrie, Lisa Kelly, and A J Akoto; and Stories from Katy Darby, Liam Hogan and Pauline Walker.
That’s TOMORROW, folks…Friday 7.30 06/01/2017
At Albion Beatnik in Walton Street
Sarah James Cut Short, and At the Hotel de la Lune.
A family Sunday ritual changed for ever, and night in an hotel.
David Mathews Mouse
Grandmother, child, and pregnant mouse all seek shelter in a wood
Pauline Walker Left of Earth, Right of Venus
Mother searches space for grief striken daughter
David Steward The Cutty Wren
In the trenches, solstice 1916
Wendy Gill A Little Favour
A trust betrayed, a friendship destroyed
Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council we are able to take Liberty Tales a little bit further than we have taken some of our books, and we will be visiting Oxford, Colchester, Newcastle and Bath, as well as several dates nearer home in London.
So first up:
Join us on Friday 18th November at 7.30, at Albion Beatnik Walton Street Oxford OX2 6AA for some Magna Carta inspired readings.
Stories from Jim Cogan, Carolyn Eden, Katy Darby, Nick Rawlinson, Poems from Bernie Howley, Elinor Brooks, Jeremy Dixon. Explore an unusual Gaudy Night, fish weirs, walking out, when it safer to appear witless, finding yourself in San Francisco, religious intolerance, and exactly what the value of a passport really is.
The Story Sessions in a live literature event, with themed sessions. We run it like a folk club, so there are headliners, support acts and floor spots*.
We have a ‘test bed’ section where you can try out a new piece on the audience just before the interval, and get written feedback.
*Floor spots: Flash from the Floor a maximum of 100 words on theme, immediately after the interval. Just turn up with your 100 words and let us know you want to read, or write something in the interval, if inspiration strikes.
We are looking for STORIES first and foremost, although we will consider very good poems. We are not interested in non-fiction of any kind.
ABSOLUTE maximum 2000 words, but we are happy with a lot shorter as it means more people can read.
This can be previously published work as it will not lead to a book, and we encourage authors from London and environs, who have a new book to promote, to offer us something suitable to the theme, but unpublished work also welcome. So if you have something on theme and can come and read it on the day, let’s hear from you.
Apply through our submittable account. (If you do it other ways I lose the emails and then people get cross.)
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