Solstice Shorts Festival 2021 call for submissions

It’s that time of year again, the Spring equinox, (technically last week, but this got stuck in drafts!) when writers start to creep from their burrows and look hopefully for signs of regrowth and renewal; and we start the process of chosing material for Solstice Shorts.

But what if…

What if there are no signs of regrowth?

What if there are no signs of renewal?

What if we have pushed nature too far?

 

We don’t have a final title yet for this year, but we do have a theme.

We would like you to address the climate crisis before it becomes a climate catastrophe.

Current possible titles are:

For a Future / For the Future

What are We Waiting for?

Time is Running Out

No Time Left

What Next? (or even, What NOW?)

The Weather the Cuckoo Likes (It’s a quotation from Hardy)

You can see where we are going here. We like a time concept, because that’s the overarching theme of Solstice Shorts, but it needs to address the sense of anxiety about, and responsibility for, climate change.

You can help influence that title by sending us not only stunningly good poems and stories, but also giving them startling and appropriate titles.

You can also send us your ideas for a good title, but please do that straight away! We might even give you a book* as a thank you.

Poetry and Short Fiction: Maximum 2000 words, your own work, in English, not previously published.

Songs: maximum 5 minutes, traditional or your own work, (ie NOT someone else’s copyright) in any language but please provide a translation if not in English, and you need to be available to perform** it yourself, or teach it to someone who can.

Deadline 21st June 2021 23:59 (Summer Solstice)

By the way, we want to see actual stories and poems, not thinly-disguised polemic please; and, equally, there has to be more to it than a description of nature. Are we demanding? Yes, we are!

Submit via Submittable

The Solstice Shorts Festival is recorded for posterity, and all chosen material is included in the anthology, which will be published in time for the festival. We pay royalties. Sometimes, depending on funding, we pay a performance licence for use of your work at the event as well.

*On the subject of books, we’ve had a World Poetry Day offer running this weekend which includes most of the Solstice Shorts anthologies. Head over to our poetry pages on our webshop, and apply the code IPD2021 at the checkout. The code expires on Monday.

**We usually hire actors to read the stories and poems so that there is no limit on where people can submit from, usually we expect songsmiths to sing their own work, but things being as they are, we are open to suggestions.

We don’t yet know where exactly the festival will be held this year, whether on the ground or online, so it’s still a bit fluid. If on the ground, we’ll definitely be somewhere in Greenwich, London – possibly elsewhere as well. We will keep you posted!

Thanks to Barbara, Jane and Margaret for sharing ideas for titles.

 

Claire Booker reads at virtual launch of Time and Tide

Here is Claire Booker’s launch video tidied up a bit.

We’re still here and have plans to entertain you

There’s been some bad news in the book world, Gardners, the major wholesaler who supplies most independant booksellers has shut up shop for the forseeable. (Yes, this is C-19 related.)

This means it will be even harder to get books out to the public. We are however in the fortunate position of having the estimable NBNi as our distributor, which means bookshops can get books direct from them, if they have an account. All the big shops and quite a few of the smaller ones do. Phew!

WE ALSO HAVE BOOKS HERE.

Not in massive quantities, but enough to see us through of most titles. Yo can order direct and we will post them out to you, so long as they will fit through the post box slot, and so long as you have a large enough letter box. A couple of books might not suit – Outcome is probably ok, The Dowry Blade probably not.

Head over to our shop…

If for any reason our stocks dry up, or the royal mail goes into meltdown, we have ebooks available from your usual supplier, some reduced to 99p for the duration of the lockdown, and we are converting the poetry, which wasn’t converted before for format reasons, the first of these titles will be available 10th April with more on 17th and the last lot, the ones I think will be most difficult to work with electronically, on the 24th.

In the meantime we are working out ways to keep you happy.

We are organising some guest blogs from our writers, and some of them have offered to video readings. We are also getting them to interview each other. Some of these interviews will be video links (when I work out how) and some will be text based, but if you’ve always wanted to ask onr of our writers a question, we invite you to send some in! If there’s a particular author or poet you want to answer the question, let us know, and we’ll do our best. You can comment on this post to ask your question.

 

Inspired by Lady Hale – a Spider anthology for our eighth anniversary

Inspired by Lady Hale I’ve been buying spider brooches (and that T-shirt that’s also supporting Shelter), like a mad thing, and then I thought…

Next August (8th Month) is Arachne Press’s 8th anniversary. What about an eight-legged arachnid inspired anthology?

Get writing, I’ll put a proper call out later in the week but maybe 2000 words-ish, deadline January-ish.

I’m going to make it difficult for you – NO Horror, NO spiders to be killed.

Think Charlotte’s Web for adults, not Arachnophobia. Some sort of homeless connection too? More when I’ve had time to consider properly.

I’ve resisted the temptation to use a close-up photo of a spider here. Imagine one.

 

Solstice Shorts line up for London

Our London line up:

 Stories

A Vampire at Noon, Patience Mackarness
High Noon, Marka Rifat
Toast Crumbs, Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier
Under the L, Liam Hogan

Poems
An Autumn Noon, Ian Grosz
Arthur Streeton Advises his Students, Mandy Macdonald
I am not Beautiful at Noon, Elinor Brooks
Mad Dogs and English Men, Laila Sumpton
Noon Son, Alison Lock
Precarious, Michelle Penn
Still No Name, Marika Josef

FREE TICKETS from Eventbrite

Performers Marika Josef and Michelle Penn will read their  own poems, and the excellent Carrie Cohen and Grace Cookey-Gam will be helping us out with work by authors who can’t be there in person.

Music will be provided by regular Solstice collaborators Ian Kennedy and Sarah Lloyd.

We are crowdfunding for Solstice Shorts Noon

I hate asking people for money, but at least Crowd funding can be fun, and the generosity of our authors in coming up with novel rewards is a constant pleasure.

We hope to announce our final line up of stories and poems tomorrow, but in the mean time…

This is a fast crowd fund, less than a fortnight to go already, so please, if you are thinking of supporting this year’s Solstice Shorts, Noon, don’t dawdle! We didn’t try to get arts council funding this year (to be honest still recovering from last year’s epic fundraising) so the festival is modest, locally funded as far as possible, and short – Noon, after all, despite how long it takes a clock to strike 12, is only a second long, blink and you missed it. So please don’t blink!

Because we are on 6 sites (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Ynys Mon, London and Cork) there will still be a book, which will be published on 21st March – for the spring equinox, and this is one of the rewards:

If you would like to preorder a copy of this book, or buy one of the previous solstice shorts books

head over to the crowd fund on kickstarter.

Solstice Shorts Festival SHORTLIST for NOON

Here is the shortlist for Solstice Shorts Festival:

Poems

A Change in the Weather, Colin Dardis
After Hours, Stuart McKenzie
An Autumn Noon, Ian Grosz
Angelus At Noon, Patricia McCaw
Arthur Streeton Advises his Students, Mandy Macdonald
By the Obelisk Sundial Drummond Castle, Jane Aldous
Farewell My Father, Anne Bevan
Fire at Midday, Susan Cartwright-Smith
High Summer at Fionnphort Bay, Seth Crook
I am not Beautiful at Noon, Elinor Brooks
Mad Dogs and English Men, Laila Sumpton
Moon Jellyfish, Vanessa OwenNoon Son, Alison Lock
Noon Talk, Graham Burchell
On the First Calculation of the Circumference of the Earth, Alison Gerhard
Pocket Watch, Catriona Yule
Precarious, Michelle Penn
Ravens At Noon, Paul Waring
Still No Name, Marika Josef
Sun Beats over New Orleans, Natalie Gasper
The Mind is Made to Drink the Sun, Edward Venning
The Sun Suspended, Derek Crook
Twelve o’Clock From The House, Nicholas McGaughey
Unleashed, Paul Foy
Winter Ritual, Sara Elgerot
Winter Solstice, Gareth Culshaw

Stories

#Noon, Su Yin Yap
A Vampire At Noon, Patience Mackarness
Always Noon, James Woolf
And The Phone Went Tick Tock, Ian Richardson
Dinnertime Dance, Cindy George
High Noon, Marka Rifat
Mother And Child, Barbara Renel
Mother Hand, Karen Ankers
Jackdaw, Elaine Hughes
Noon Child Unknown, Diana Powell
On Kings And Falling, Roppotucha Greenberg
Toast Crumbs, Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier
Under The L, Liam Hogan
Up On The Roof, Lily Peters
Veranda, Clare Shaw

Our regional organisers are now picking their set lists which will create our finalists. There is always the possibility, with some venues having performers to read on behalf of the writer, that some work could be performed at more than event on 21st December. We hope to be able to announce the final list of stories and poems soon, but definitely within the next fortnight.

Solstice Shorts 2018 submissions open

This year’s Solstice Shorts Festival (21st December 2018) will again be a multi-site affair, and again will last only 45 minutes. But this time will happen at exactly the same time – Noon.

At the moment we are looking at events in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Carlisle, Ynys Mon (Anglesey), and London.

We are looking for SHORT stories no more than 1000 words, shorter is better, (think flash not vignette – something needs to happen!) and poems, also short – up to 40 lines, in English, Welsh or Scots/Gaelic (with a translation please!) On the Theme of Noon – deadlines, midday meals, heat and light – whatever it means to you (We are strict though- afternoon is not noon!) These works are for performance. Other sites may be added.

We are starting this process with no funding, but hope we may have some in time to allow us to pay actors to perform, but if not, we’ll need you to be able to get to one of these sites to read.

Celebrate the shortest day of the year by sending us a story or poem on the theme of NOON.

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 7TH OCTOBER!

A pamphlet (or a very slender book!) of the stories and poems chosen for performance will be produced. Royalties will be paid, together with at least one copy of the book to each successful writer.

Writers who are successful in being included in a performance/ anthology are subsequently invited to submit a collection/novel for consideration.

submission via Submittable only (this is so we don’t lose your submission, and so multiple people can review your work as simply as possible.)

Mental Health Awareness Week

In case you wondered, our writers and other collaborators are always welcome to talk about their mental health or lack of it with us at Arachne. Mental Health is an important issue too readily ignored. (An organisation I once worked for were doing risk assessments, and put ‘stress’ on the list because
people might make mistakes if they are stressed.
The head of HR and I both rose up and said very loudly, more or less in chorus,
no, stress is a risk in itself.
We didn’t win that one, I like to think that these days we would.

This week we are publishing Erratics a collection of poems by Cathy Bryant, who has several disabilities including ones that affect her mental health.

Here’s a suitable poem for this week that addresses an old chestnut:

Seeing the Glass as Half-full or Half-empty
Cathy Bryant

There are many other possibilities.
The busy homeworker sees more washing up to do.
The cat sees something to knock over.
The lovers see something to share.
The conspiracy theorist sees that the water was drugged,
and the glass had a gun and was on the grassy knoll.
The racist believes that the glass will be stolen by immigrants.
The tv presenter sees (whether it’s there or not) his reflection.
We depressives see something
that we’ll no doubt drop, spill and break.
The musician flicks the note E. Ping!
The child sees a drink, or water for paintbrushes.
The surrealist sees that the glass is made of political bananas.

copyright Cathy Bryant/ Arachne Press 2018

An Outbreak of Peace contributors announced

Subject to confirmation from the writers, issuing of contracts and so on, we have the line-up for An Outbreak of Peace, our anthology responding to the centenary of the ending of WWI, which will be published in November.

They are:

Ellery Akers
Karen Ankers
Annelise Balsamo
Valerie Bence
Anne Bevan
Elinor Brooks
Katy Darby
Peter DeVille
Sarah Deckro
CB Droege
Ken Farrell
Corie Feiner
Norman Franke
David Guy
Chantal Heaven
Anwar jaber
Steven Jackson
Peter Kenny
Peter Shaver
Julie Laing
Katy Lee
Gerald McCarthy
Nicholas McGaughey
Nina Murray
Ness Owen
Clare Owen
Lily Peters
Nick Rawlinson
Rebecca Skipwith
Lucy Smith
Sarah Tait
James Toupin
Rob Walton
Nick Westerman
Martin Willitts, Jr
Mantz Yorke

We have an eclectic mix of poems and short stories some of which deal with WWI, some with the ending of other wars, and some not about war at all, as such, which is as it should be.