Events at our Cover Art Exhibition – BSL tour, Diaspora Poetry/Art conversation

Arachne Press: Ten Years of Book Cover Art, continues until 15th February
Tuesdays to Fridays 11-5 and Saturdays 11-4
Stephen Lawrence Gallery University of Greenwich
10 Stockwell Street, Greenwich London
SE10 9BD

More information about the exhibition can be found here

As part of the exhibition, we have two LIVE IN PERSON events at the gallery

Tuesday 7th February 6.30 BSL interpreted curator tour with Cherry Potts and Deaf artist, Nina Thomas.

Recently, we have been choosing cover artists who share the experience of our authors, and for our Deaf anthology, What Meets the Eye, we asked Nina Thomas to provide the cover. Her complex, multi-layered photographic creations perfectly captured the theme of Movement that we chose for the book.

Join us for a BSL interpreted wander around the exhibition and find out about books, book covers, art, and putting on an exhibition.

BSL interpetation provided by Paul Michaels

 Details and  Free tickets

Tuesday 9th February 6pm Routes, Imagining the Diaspora with artist, Suman Gujral and poet, Rhiya Pau:

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Suman and Rhiya met when we chose Suman’s Story Plate for the cover of Rhiya’s poetry collection Routes. Both are inspired by their families’ journeys and the diaspora more generally.
Join them for a poetry reading, art sharing, discussion of where their work intersects, and a short hands-on workshop making poetry boats, which you can take home, or leave to be displayed in the gallery.
You might want to bring a favourite pen, relevant newspaper articles or family photos printed onto (both sides of) paper that will easily fold.
Free tickets

NOTE!! Stephen Lawrence Gallery is in STOCKWELL STREET, not to be confused with Stephen Lawrence Centre or Building also in Greenwich.

Joy//Us LGBTQ+ Poetry Anthology… Submit

Arachne Press has long been a champion of LGBTQ+ writers, but we’ve never before published an anthology of LGBTQ+ poetry. That is all about to change. The title of our forthcoming book is Joy//Us, because we want to publish your joyful poems, ones that celebrate all that is best about our community/ies and lives. This is not an ‘explain it to the straights’ book, this is for us. We want LGBTQ+ readers to be able to open the book at random and find a moment of poetic queer joy for themselves, however big or small.
Spurred on by the success of his Wales Book of the Year 2022 Poetry Award winning book, A Voice Coming From Then, we asked poet Jeremy Dixon to join Arachne Press editor Cherry Potts in editing this anthology.
This is a call for poetry by LGBTQ+ poets, for LGBTQ+ readers. If you don’t identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community, then please do not submit. We are not looking for sexually explicit or derogatory poetry. Nor are we looking for poems about trauma or distress (we recognise it is out there and needs writing about, but this is not that book).
Send us your unpublished poems, in English (or Welsh, with a translation*). This is a UK/Republic of Ireland only call, but within that, we want to see as many submissions from poets from the global majority as want to be published by us. Send us up to 5 poems – we will consider a maximum of 3 for publication. Poems can be any length, but think first, do you really need all those words? Send us your best!
Submissions are open from 1 February 2023 (for the start of LGBT History Month) until 11 October 2023 (National Coming Out Day) and will only be accepted through Submittable.
The book will be published to coincide with IDAHOBIT on 17 May 2024.
*The poet must submit their work, not the translator, so if you have not translated your own work, the translator must give permission, and must be credited.
 

Arachne Tenth Anniversary Sale – FEBRUARY

Featured

We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary by exploring our back catalogue and inviting you to do likewise with special offers on books celebrating their anniversaries in each month.

So for FEBRUARY we have a voucher, ARA10FEB, to get 50% off the following books

 

the first few books are poetry, the last is an epic lesbian fantasy novel.

The Significance of a Dress by Emma Lee – a book that didn’t really get its moment in the sun, being published just as we went into lockdown, explores feminism and the refugee experience in sharp, effective poems.

In Retail by Jeremy Dixon tiny poems originally written on the back of till receipts behind the counter of a high street pharmacy.

Foraging by Joy Howard poems of natures and bereavement

With Paper for Feet by Jennifer A McGowan takes on Shakespeare’s women, witches, and folk tales from around the world, served up in witty pithy angy poems.

The Dowry Blade by Cherry Potts described by another Arachne author as Game of Thrones with lesbians and without dragons.

All you need to do is use the code ARA10FEB at the checkout when you buy any or all of these books – you can only use the code once, so we encourage you to buy in bulk!

Arachne 10th Anniversary – the Authors – a short series part 5

A reminder that this anniversary festival is all the work of our authors, from making suggestions as to what they would want to attend, to putting together the events. We just promote and host!

I thought it would be useful to give you all a bit more detail about the authors who have put together our amazing, eclectic anniversary events.

For our fourth week we have events on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and  Sunday (two events)

Tuesday Jan 24, 2023 6pm The Business of writing– The Society of Authors This is very kindly being run for us, by two of the coordinators of the  Society of Authors Poetry & Spoken Word group: Johanna Clarke and Mathilde Zeeman

Johanna Clarke has been an advisor at the SoA since October 2021. She advises writers on publishing contracts and issues, and works closely on their outreach programme. Johanna is one of the coordinators of the SoA’s Poetry and Spoken Word Group.

Mathilde Zeeman joined the SoA in 2022. She recently transferred from the Membership team to the Advisory team where she will continue her work advising writers on publishing issues, and is a coordinator of the SoA’s Poetry and Spoken Word Group.

[not part of the festival, but on Wednesday 25th, 7.30pm Jeremy Dixon is reading from his award winning poetry collection, A Voice Coming from Then at Verbatim, at the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishops Castle, Shropshire.]

Thursday Jan 26, 2023 7pm The Empire Writes Back: “Space, place and belonging” is being run by Nikita Aashi Chadha 

Nikita is a writer, poet and social commentator who advocates for an intersectional lens and approach to be utilised – she is committed to spotlighting the ‘other’, those who are chronically unheard and underrepresented within society. Her poetry focuses on the experiences of the South Asian diaspora, mental health and identity. Nikita’s poem Jallianwalla Bagh appears in our anthology Where We Find Ourselves, and she chaired our Writing the Diaspora panel. Nikita is also a patient voice advocate, lead facilitator and speaker for Cysters (a non-profit that specialises in supporting marginalised people with reproductive and mental health problems. Instagram: @nikkaayyy_c @didacticdiaspora @cystersgroup

Friday Jan 27, 2023 6.30pm Using family history/photos as inspiration for poetry with Seni Seneviratne

Seni was born and raised in Leeds, of English and Sri Lankan heritage. Published by Peepal Tree Press – Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin (2007), The Heart of It (2012), Unknown Soldier (2019). She is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and has collaborated with film-makers, visual artists, musicians and digital artists. She is one of ten commissioned writers on the Colonial Countryside Project: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted. She is currently co-editing a Bloodaxe anthology of post-independence Tamil, Sinhala and English poetry and working on her fourth collection. She lives in Derbyshire and works as a freelance writer. Arachne published Seni’s poem,Triptychs Without Borders, in our Global Majority anthology, Where We Find Ourselves, and Seni took part in our writing the Diaspora panel.

Sunday Jan 29, 2023 11am  Writing About Mental Health in YA fiction: Cormorants & #cornishgothic with Clare Owen

After working as an actor and arts administrator in London, Clare married a boat builder and moved to Cornwall. She promptly had three children and set up an improvised theatre company, re-enacting the stories of their audiences around the county. More recently she has co-written and performed with the all women ensemble, ‘Riot of the Freelance Mind’ and she regularly reads her short fiction at spoken word events and local festivals. Her first YA novel Zed and the Cormorants, was published by Arachne Press in April 2021 and is the winner of the Holyer An Gof YA prize and the Ann Trevenen Jenkin cup. Clare also had a story in our anthology, An Outbreak of Peace, both the short story and the novel explore various aspects of mental health through the lens of a young adult protaganist, and the way the natural world can help.

Sunday Jan 29, 2023 3pm  Marketing on a Tight Budget for Writers with Saira Aspinall

Saira is our marketing expert. What she can achieve with no budget and in only one day a week is positively miraculous, you really want to hear what she has to say!

Arachne 10th Anniversary – the Authors – a short series part 4

I thought it would be useful to give you all a bit more detail about the authors who have put together our amazing, eclectic anniversary events.

For our third week we have events on Tuesday, Saturday (two events) and Sunday

Emotion as Ignition Tuesday Jan 17, 2023 7pm with Kavita A Jindal

Kavita A. Jindal is an award-winning poet, fiction-writer and essayist. Her novel Manual For A Decent Life won the Eastern Eye Award for Literature 2020 and the Brighthorse Prize. She has published three slim volumes of poetry: Raincheck Accepted, Raincheck Renewed and Patina.  She served as Senior Editor at Asia Literary Review and is co-founder of The Whole Kahani writers’ collective. Kavita’s workshop is aimed at short fiction and poetry writers, and is about harnessing emotions for creativity. She says that her story Cocoon Lucky in Where We Find Ourselves came out of anger, and I can relate to that, as it was temper that created Arachne Press!

On Saturday 21st our first event is at 12:00, when we have the first of our looking after yourself as a writer sessions, Resilient writers with writer and coach Neil Lawrence.

Neil taught Wellbeing Education in secondary schools for 25 years. He is now a Life coach and Organisational Consultant. Keenly creative, he is a musician who has performed on the acoustic circuit as well as being an impassioned writer.Neil sent this little video to explain his workshop.

The second Saturday workshop at 3.30 is Deaf poetry and BSL translation with DL Williams, Lisa Kelly and Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford

We had a huge BSL translation project for What Meets the Eye, and the conversations between writers and translators were fascinating and I really wanted to share them, so this is our first attempt at that. this workshop will be conducted in BSL with english interpretation and auto captions

DL is a deaf queer poet fluent in British Sign Language and English. Working with such different languages has inspired a deep interest in translation and how her work can be made accessible to signing and non-signing audiences. They have performed around the UK including at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Millennium Centre and the Albert Hall, as well as in America and Brazil.

Lisa Kelly is one of our two guest editors for our Deaf Anthology What Meets the Eye? The Deaf perspective.

We have published Lisa’s poems in Solstice Shorts Anthology, Shortest Day, Longest Night and Dusk

Lisa Kelly has single-sided deafness. She is also half Danish. Her first collection,  Lisa is co-editor of The Deaf Issue, Magma 69. She has been shortlisted four times for the Bridport Prize, longlisted for the National Poetry Competition in 2016 and 2018 and won the 2016 University of Lancaster (MA) ‘Reading’ Prize. In 2019, she read at Poetry International, Southbank Centre for d/Deaf Republic: Poets on Deafness. In 2020, she was commissioned by Nottingham Trent University in partnership with the Science Museum to create a film-poem in collaboration with other poets responding to telephony from a d/Deaf and marginalised perspective. She is currently studying British Sign Language, and is a freelance journalist writing about technology and business. Her latest pamphlet, From The IKEA Back Catalogue, is published by New Walk Editions 2021.

Mary-Jayne is a theatre maker and workshop facilitator. She is passionate about deaf / disabled theatre and empowering people through the use of theatre and drama. Mary-Jayne has a degree in Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies from the University of Reading, and since graduating in 2005 has have worked as a freelance facilitator, scriptwriter, BSL storyteller, actor, stage manager, ambassador, director and BSL poet. She has taught BSL poetry, with a focus on poem translation from BSL to English rather than English to BSL.

And finally (for this week) Sunday at 6.30pm, a second looking after you workshop, What’s it about? Synopsis and Pitch with Katy Darby. Katy has co-edited several of our anthologies, teaches creative writing at City, University of London and co-runs London Live Lit series Liars’ League. I’ve heard her accurately reduce a doorstop of a book to 9 words, so she knows what you need to pitch and write a synopsis, difficult tasks at the best of times.

Arachne 10th Anniversary – the Authors – a short series part 3

I thought it would be useful to give you all a bit more detail about the authors who have put together our amazing, eclectic anniversary events.

15th January and our second Sunday, and we have two events.

First at 11am we have 14 great pickup lines, a poet’s guide to sonnets presented by Jennifer A McGowan

Jennifer A McGowan

Jennifer has been published by us consistently, from a single poem in our very first poetry anthology The Other Side of Sleep,  to her first full poetry pamphlet With Paper for Feet and her most recent collection, How to be a Tarot Card, (or a Teenager) which we published in October. Jennifer lives in Oxfordshire. She has been a semi-professional mime and performed in five countries as well as more traditional work as researcher, editor, and writer for a strategic management company. She has taught both at several universities, in subjects as varied as English, history, and heritage studies. Jennifer is also an historical re-enactor who disappears out of the 20th Century for weeks at a time. Jennifer was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome at age 16, and has had long covid for most of the past 2 years, and can still come up with a snappy and beguiling title for a workshop!

Later in the day at 3pm, we have Barddoniaeth Cymraeg Gweithdy Cyfieithu Welsh Poetry Translation Workshop with Lowri Williams.

The root cause of our bilingual anthology, A470 Poems for the Road/ Cerddi’r Ffordd was realising there were Welsh poets writing (beautifully) in English, who weren’t confident enough in their Welsh to write poetry in their native language. If ever there was an overhang of English cultural imperialism, there it was staring me in the face, and I was outraged. You can’t get specific grants for translation into Welsh, only out of it. I was more outraged! So I decided to do something about it.  So this workshop is very much in the same mode of enabling people in their goddess given right to write in their native language. My welsh is limited to Diolch (Thank You) Bore da (hello)  and what I read on road signs – appropriately – and I’m very grateful to Lowri for taking it on!

Lowri is a Creative Writing graduate from MMU, nature writer, and bilingual poet for BRAG magazine. She loves the sea and spends her spare time surfing at Porth Neigwl. During the evenings she’s a cocktail bartender who enjoys drinking Margaritas with her aunt. Lowri’s poem in A470 proved very useful when I was driving up and down that very road, touring the book to bookshops and libraries – here’s why. I pretty sure she’ll be great company for the workshop!

Arachne 10th Anniversary – the Authors – a short series part 2

I thought it would be useful to give you all a bit more detail about the authors who have put together our amazing, eclectic anniversary events.

Our second saturday, and we have two events.

First at 11am we have Tales of Transformation: Bisclavret presented by Elizabeth Hopkinson.

Elizabeth Hopkinson

We’ve published  Elizabeth in our 2018 women only Liars’ League anthology We/She and our 2019 Solstice Shorts anthology Time and Tide, and our 8th anniversary anthology No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book.
Outside Arachne publications, Elizabeth has written loads of stories which have been published in anthologies and magazines. More recently she has published three books of revisionist mythology, Asexual Fairy Tales, More Asexual Fairy Tales, and Asexual Myths & Tales.

Later in the day at 3pm, we are introducing the call out for Joy//Us, an anthology of LGBTQ poetry, which will be presented by Arachne editor Cherry Potts and Poet, Jeremy Dixon who will be the co-editor; and poet Rick Dove. We publish lots of LGBTQ writers but it feels like time to actually showcase that, and give a bit of focus to the work we are creating with our LGBTQ authors and poets.

Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts (me!) is the founder/owner of Arachne Press, which she started in a fit of anger after a fall out with her then publisher (a case of I could do it better myself... which I could, but my goodness, I didn’t realise it would be such hard work). She has published an epic lesbian fantasy novel The Dowry Blade and 2 short story collections Tales Told Before Cockcrow and Mosaic of Air, and has numerous stories in anthologies and magazines.

Jeremy Dixon

Jeremy Dixon has been published by us consistently, from a single poem in our very first poetry anthology The Other Side of Sleep, and in Solstice Shorts anthology Dusk,  and our bilingual anthology A470, via three poems in Liberty Tales, to a poetry pamphlet In Retail,  to Jeremy’s first full collection, A Voice Coming From Then which we publishedin August 2021 and WON the poetry category for Wales Book of the Year English Language Poetry. Jeremy is a great supporter of Arachne, providing workshops and hand made books for our crowdfunds.

Rick Dove

Rick Dove is joining us to give an additional example of our existing cohort of LGBTQ writers. We published a poem by Rick in Where We Find Ourselves, a long three part family history, which so delighted me I went in search of a biography of Ricks Great Aunt, the first black woman to sing on the BBC!
Rick is a mixed-race, London based poet whose work draws narratives, and styles, from wide influences, always takes a keen interest in both societal and personal change, and how these cardinal forces interact as we grow. A regular performer on the London poetry scene since 2015, Rick has been published in numerous poetry zines and the national press. His first pamphlet, Haigha’s Noosphere Canticles, was published in 2017 by William Cornelius Harris Publishing, and his debut full collection Tales From the Other Box, was published by Burning Eye in 2020. In July 2021, Rick became the UK Poetry Slam Champion for 2021.

Arachne Tenth Anniversary Online Festival

To celebrate our tenth anniversary we are having an online festival throughout January 2023, mostly weekends and Thursdays, although a couple of Tuesdays and Fridays have snuck in.

We invited our authors and friends to run the events they wanted to see, to set their own prices and number of tickets. It’s quite an eclectic mix, readings, discussions and workshops for writers, and about writing, or the business of being a writer. We invite you to join us! Visit the Eventbrite Collection

Saturday 07/01/2023 11:00-13:00 Cath Humphris
Why Flash Fiction? (Writing Workshop)
12 places, donation recommended £5
details and tickets

Saturday 07/01/2023 17:00-19:00 Readings from authors
Hiatus eBook Launch
95 places, FREE
details and tickets

 

Sunday 08/01/2023 19:00-21:00 David Turnbull
Longevity In Fiction: Time Bestowed, Time Stolen (discussion)
30 places £6
details and tickets

 

 

Thursday 12/01/2023 19:00-20:30 Jackie Taylor
Writing the Climate: Questions for Writers (discussion)
12 places free/donation
details and tickets

 

 

Friday 13/01/2023 19:30-21:00 Diana Powell, Melissa Davies & Sherry Morris
Three Takes on Place (reading)
95 places free/donation
details and tickets

Saturday 14/01/2023 11:00-13:00 workshop Elizabeth Hopkinson
Tales of Transformation: Bisclavret (workshop)
12 places  £8
details and tickets

 

 

Saturday 14/01/2023 15:00 reading/open mic/discussion Jeremy Dixon & Cherry Potts
Joy//Us LGBTQ Poetry
40 places  free/donation
including 10 open mic spots of 3 mins each – max 2 poems!
details and tickets

 

Sunday 15/01/2023 15:00-16:30 Lowri Williams
Translating poetry from Welsh into English (workshop)
suitable for advanced learners of Welsh and native speakers.
10 places – pay what you can £3/£5/£8
details and tickets

 

 

Tuesday 17/01/2023 19:00-20:30 Kavita A Jindal
Emotion as Ignition (workshop)
20 places £20
details and tickets

 

 

Saturday 21/01/2023 12:00-1:30 Neil Lawrence
Resilient writers (workshop)
10 places £20
details and tickets

 

Saturday 21/01/2023 15:30-17:00 DL Williams, Lisa Kelly, Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford
Deaf Poetry and BSL translation
20 places Free/Donation
details and tickets

 

 

 

Tuesday  24/01/23 18:00-19:30 The Business of writing– The Society of Authors This is very kindly being run for us by two of the coordinators of the  Society of Authors Poetry & Spoken Word group: Johanna Clarke and Mathilde Zeeman

free tickets

Thursday 26/01/2023 19:00-20:30 Nikita Chadha
The Empire Writes Back: “Space, place and belonging” Interactive lecture/workshop
15 places £10
details and tickets

 

Friday 27/01/2023 18:30-20:00  Seni Seneviratne
Using family history/photos as inspiration for poetry (workshop)
20 places £12-£20
details and tickets

 

 

Sunday 29/01/2023 11:00-13:00 discussion/reading Clare Owen
Cormorants and #cornishgothic: creative ways to write about YA mental health.
15 places £5
details and tickets

 

Sunday 29/01/2023 15:00-16:30 workshop Saira Aspinall
Marketing on a tight budget for writers
12 places £10
details and tickets

 

 

Rhiya’s Routes – Ba

The release of Rhiya Pau’s upcoming poetry collection, Routes marks fifty years since her family arrived in the U.K. Routes began as an attempt to chronicle the history of Rhiya’s family, and her community, and much of the collection draws on the experience of Rhiya’s grandparents – her Ba and Bapuji.

We asked Rhiya about her favourite poem in Routes, and she chose ‘Enough’, which paints a portrait of her grandmother, through her well-stocked kitchen cabinets:

My grandmother houses gods in her closet
among tower blocks of cereal boxes and canned
chickpeas so we may always know enough.

“Enough paints a portrait of my grandmother and her ability to be in two places at once. How she can know about the miners, the tower blocks, the Post Office – live in this country for fifty years and still not feel British enough. It’s about longing and belonging, the sacrifice of the mother tongue, and how even in the absence of language we find ways to love.

Over the past two years, I have been on my own migratory journey, trying to obtain a visa to live and work in the USA. This poem is a favourite of mine because it articulates an enduring sense of displacement that has only been amplified for me as I move back and forth between places.”

Watch Rhiya Pau reading Enough:

Routes will be published on 24 November 2022. You can pre-order your copy now. 

Join us for a free event with Rhiya Pau and author Anna Fodorova at Forest Hill Library on Wednesday 23 November. Details and tickets.

Rhiya’s Routes – Bapuji

This month we are delighted to be launching Rhiya Pau’s debut poetry collection, Routes, almost exactly a year since we published Rhiya’s first poem ‘Departure Lounge’ in our Where We Find Ourselves anthology.

Routes chronicles the migratory histories of Rhiya’s ancestors and explores the conflicts of identity that arise from being a member of the South Asian diaspora. Ahead of publication, we asked Rhiya about the inspiration behind the collection:

“In many ways, my grandfather has been the inspiration behind Routes. Bapuji was born in Kenya but moved to India in the 1940s to become a freedom fighter in the Independence movement. He participated in marches and sit-ins, and was laathi-charged several times by British soldiers for his disobedience. In one instance he was even shot in the leg. Later in life, after moving to the UK he was awarded Membership of the British Empire by the Queen for his community work, an accolade he was incredibly proud of. I created Routes as a space in which to document the migratory history of my family and community and explore the conflicts of identity that emerge. The release of this collection reflects on the fifty years since much of our community moved to the UK, following the expulsion of the Asians from Uganda.

My grandfather was a salt-march pilgrim
in a fleeting incarnation of this nation.
Now how do I wash the blood from his flag?

Bapuji is remembered as a bold and principled man, who was unafraid to stand by his convictions in the face of disapproval. He believed this to be a necessary act in service of societal progress. In Routes I hope to pay tribute to his legacy. It is only by examining our history that we can begin to answer – what is worth holding on to? What memories, what stories, what truths? When we piece these together, what is the narrative we choose to tell? And how are we going to address the silences that remain?

Routes will be published on 24 November 2022. You can pre-order your copy now. 

Join us for the in-person launch of Routes at Keats’ House on 24 November, from 6.30pm. Details and free tickets.