Videos from Mini Solstice at City Writes

Ian Kennedy &Sarah Lloyd sing Cold Time (from Longest Night)

Katerina Watson reads Threshold from Dusk

Cherry Potts reads an extract from The Midwinter Wife from Longest Night

Join us at Noon this Friday for all-new Solstice material in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Ynys Mon, Cork and London (Blackheath)

Solstice Shorts Shortest Day catch up

You know when you are so busy you don’t have time to look at what you are getting done? That.

Taking a swift breather before diving into designing posters and postcards and flyers and getting the author pages up on the website… to say THE BOOK IS AT THE PRINTERS! Oh yes. Going for a shiny cover to make the most of that lens-flare. What a treat you are all in for.


Twenty-three stories and thirty-four poems, of which fifteen short-short stories and eighteen poems will be read live at the Solstice Shorts Festival on 21st December 2016 in Greenwich. (BSL interpreted throughout)

Confirmed readers so far: Ray Newe and Patsy Prince, more news on this soon.

Right. Back to the designing stuff.

new shiny things coming soon to Arachne Press

NEW lottery_Logo_White RGBI can’t believe I forgot to put anything up on the website! I did a newsletter, put up the individual book pages, then got on with the work that results from good news! Anyway…

Trumpet Fanfare….!

After what turned out to be months of form-filling we have secured Arts Council Funding for this year’s Solstice Shorts Festival, and the next four books, including taking them on tour, and for four sessions of The Story Sessions (more later!).
We do have to raise some money ourselves – brace yourselves for more Crowd Funds – you can also help by becoming a FRIEND of Arachne.

The books we will be publishing:

Cotton Augustus II.106November: Liberty Tales

An anthology of stories and poems inspired by Magna Carta. Yes, we know, last year – but our Human Rights Act is once again being eyed for demolition, so when is freedom out of season?


Tour dates
Wednesday 7pm 16/11/2016 Brockley Deli The Story Sessions
Thursday 7.30 17/11/2016 Greenwich Launch West Greenwich Library
Friday 7.30 18/11/2016 Oxford Albion Beatnik
Wednesday 7pm 23/11/2016 Lewisham Library
Thursday 7pm 24/11/2016 Essex Greenstead Library Colchester
Thursday 7pm 01/12/2016 North London Housmans Bookshop


9781909208292December: Shortest Day, Longest Night

An anthology of stories and poems from the Solstice Shorts Festival for last year and this. (Writers – including Deaf writers – & Musicians the call out is open until 31st August)


Tour Dates:

Wednesday 5.30 & 7pm 21/12/2016 Greenwich Launch (Solstice Shorts Festival) West Greenwich Library & Made in Greenwich
Friday 7.30 06/01/2017 Oxford Albion Beatnik
Wednesday 7pm 11/01/2017 Lewisham Library
Sat 3pm 14/01/2017 Essex Wivenhoe library
Wednesday 7pm 18/01/2017 Brockley Deli story sessions


with paper for feet holding cover copy

holding cover

February: With Paper for Feet by Jennifer A McGowan

A collection of themed narrative poems exploring folk tales from several continents, Shakespeare and Troy.




Tour Dates:

Thursday 7pm 23/02/2017 London Launch Keats House Library
Friday 7.30 03/03/2017 Oxford Albion Beatnik
Wednesday 7pm 08/03/2017 Lewisham Library
Wednesday 7pm 15/03/2017 Brockley story sessions
Thursday 7.30 16/03/2017 Greenwich West Greenwich Library
Thursday 7.30 30/03/2017 Bradford on Avon Words and Ears
Sunday 8pm 30/4/17 Cheltenham Buzzwords

Happy Ending Not Guaranteed holding cover

Happy Ending Not Guaranteed holding cover

April: Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed by Liam Hogan

Witty, dark, deliciously twisted, fantasy shorts.


Tour dates:
Thursday 7pm 06/04/2017 London launch The Old Church, Stoke Newington
Wednesday 7pm 12/04/2017 Essex Basildon Library
Tuesday 7pm 25/04/2017 Lewisham Library
Wednesday 7.30 26/04/2017 Hoxton Burley Fisher bookshop
Friday 7.30 28/04/2017 Oxford Albion Beatnik
Thursday 8pm 04/05/2017 Greenwich West Greenwich Library
Wednesday 7pm 17/05/2017 Brockley story sessions
Weekend starting 02/06/2017 Stoke Newington Literary Festival – details won’t be confirmed until mid-October

We are also in discussion with Wandsworth and Kensington & Chelsea libraries for more dates for all of the books. Run a bookshop/library/ lit fest? Want us to come and read? Ask!




Longest night – the complete videos

It’s twelfth night, and the official end of the festive season, so as you pack up your Christmas baubles, here’s something to cheer you up: your opportunity to experience the entire evening of Longest Night, in the same order as the audience, but without me waffling on in between, and without the mulled cider, unless you happen to have some to hand of course.

Wassail Vocal Chords

A Little Favour by Wendy Gill Read by Annalie Wilson

Past Three a Clock Vocal Chords

At The Hotel De La Lune by Sarah James Read by all the actors

Naughty Baby Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd

Midwinter Wife by Cherry Potts Read by Annalie Wilson

Ba Ba Lamie Noo Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd

Life Between Lives by Sarah Evans Read by Patsy Prince

Solstice Carol Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd
How We Know the Cold is Coming, or October by Abigail Beckel Read by Annalie Wilson

The Cold Time Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd

Mouse by David Mathews Read by Lorraine Spenceley

Dunstan Lullaby Vocal Chords

Spooning by Abigail Beckel Read by Annalie Wilson

Soulmate Annalie

Dancing To Silence by Neil Brosnan Read by Lorraine Spenceley

The Snow it Melts the Soonest Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd

The Lover.s Ghost Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd

Vigil by Abigail Beckel Read by Lorraine Spenceley

Crossing the Bar Vocal Chords

Dunking For a New Sun by Bob Beagrie Read by Saul Reichlin

Drive the Cold Winter Away Vocal Chords

What He Doesn’t Know by Frances Gapper Read by Patsy Prince

Waves Annalie

Doubting Thomas by David McVey Read by Saul Reichlin

We Will Be Heard Annalie

Left of Earth, Right of Venus by Pauline Walker Read by Patsy Prince

The Astronaut Annalie

Left of Earth, Right of Venus


Today’s story from Longest Night is Left of Earth, Right of Venus written by Pauline Walker, read by Patsy Prince, accompanied by Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd.

First Longest Night Video up on YouTube


It’s a slow process editing all the videos, but we are getting there. here’s the first: Sarah James’ At the Hotel de la Lune, read by Annalie Wilson, Lorraine Spenceley, Patsy Prince and Saul Reichlin.

Solstice Shorts:Longest Night got a review

We have a picture of Vocal Chords performing (thank you, Eddie Saint-Jean)

Vocal Chords Wassailing

Vocal Chords Wassailing: L-R Caroline, Isabelle, Nicki, Mel, Carrie, Cherry, Alix, Laura Penny and Jeremy

here’s the actual song:

And finally, we have a lovely review on What’s Hot London. (Thanks to Eddie again; and no, we don’t know him!)


Longest Night Photos


Full cast of readers performing At The Hotel de la Lune by Sarah James. (L-R: Annalie Wilson, Lorraine Spenceley, Patsy Prince, Saul Reichlin.

IMG_0363Sarah Lloyd and Ian Kennedy singing one of their lullabies.


Annalie singing


Patsy, Sarah & Ian performing the final story: Left of Earth, Right of Venus by Pauline Walker.


Saul reading Doubting Thomas by David McVey



Lorraine reading Mouse by David Mathews.

IMG_0361Annalie reading The Midwinter Wife by Cherry Potts.IMG_0359

A small segment of the above capacity audience…

I’m hoping other people will share their photos… especially as I don’t have any of Vocal Chords as I was singing with them. (HINT)

25 hours to go to Solstice Shorts Festival 2015: Longest Night

In just 25 hours Solstice Shorts kicks off, with music, stories and drink. What better (or more suitable?) way to celebrate the turning of the year?

Join us at West Greenwich Library. Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NN

at 7pm sharp for an evening stuffed with all the  things that make a solstice celebration truly festive.

And you can even do some last minute christmas shopping at our bookstall.

Oh, it’s FREE!

Music, Music, Music

The solstice is almost upon us, and in the best traditions of midwinter we are planning to make a lot of noise. We have three musical interventions happening at Solstice Shorts 2015 Longest Night, with Vocal Chords, Annalie Wilson and Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd

Here’s some music from Vocal Chords to get you in the mood –

Their CD of English Folk Carols will be available on the night.

 Annalie’s music is available here

And here’s Ian & Sarah at last year’s Solstice Shorts Festival


But the music doesn’t stop there. Wendy Gill, whose story A Little Favour we are reading on the 21st, has also written a Christmas single in aid of CRISIS UK,- (under her newly married name, Wendy Martin-Gray) Christmas Spell – buy it here

  YouTube here


“Christmas Spell” Brings the Warmth of the Season
to Help the Homeless

A brand new Christmas anthem, written by Wendy Martin-Gray and performed by a variety of musical theatre stars has been released to raise funds for Crisis UK, the national charity for single homeless people.  “Christmas Spell” literally spells out the spirit of Christmas in all the ways that represent being ‘home for holidays’.  But, for single homeless people, this can be a distant memory.  Working with award winning musical director Paul Boyd who gathered a choir of singers from the West End and produced the inspiring arrangement, Martin-Gray has created an instant classic that lifts the soul.

Performers include The Voice star Jordan Lee Davies (currently appearing in “Les Miserables” in the West End), Olivier Award-winning actress Leanne Jones, and “Mrs. Henderson Presents” star Jane Milligan along with other singers and even pipers from The Black Watch to create “The Stages of London Singers”.

“A Christmas Spell” is available on iTunes (click here), as well as Spotify, Amazon Music and from most online music retailers for just 79p. The promotional video is now online on YouTube here.  All profits raised will be presented to Crisis UK in the New Year.  Social media can be followed @crisispeople using the hashtag #christmasspell

“I wanted to do something meaningful this year to raise money and lift the spirits,” says composer Wendy Martin-Gray. “A Christmas Spell reminds us of the comforts of home and support at this time of year, something which Crisis works to provide for single homeless people.”

Ed Tait, Director of Fundraising for Crisis, said: “Homelessness is a devastating and isolating experience.  The average age of death for a homeless person is just 47. No one should face these dangers. But thanks to the dedication of our fundraisers, each year Crisis can help thousands of people to rebuild their lives. I want to say a huge thank you to Wendy for helping end homelessness for good.”