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

 

 

Discovering ourselves in soil and sky on National Poetry Day

It’s National Poetry Day and the theme this year is The Environment. To celebrate, we asked poet Claire Booker about her relationship with the natural world, and the way she represents it in her new collection, A Pocketful of Chalk:

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in awe of the natural world: its endlessly creative
hutzpah; the refreshing disinterest it has in our little human concerns.

A Pocketful of Chalk came together from what I could see was a build-up of poems
connected to natural phenomena. By nature I also include the dream world, which arises
from our inner natures. Dreams are forces inside us which we ignore at our peril, just
like the forces outside us.

Five years ago I moved to the village of Rottingdean just outside Brighton in East
Sussex. I’d spent three decades living and working in south London, which is
particularly blessed with woodland and open spaces. Urban nature is a force for change,
because it offers millions of people a relationship with the wild which they wouldn’t
otherwise have. By virtue of its fragile hold within the city, urban nature is also a potent
symbol of what we’re losing.


Moving to a rural, farming area, placed me right in the middle of wildness (it can get
pretty wooly up there on the Downs if a storm’s coming!). But even this wildness is
under threat. During this year’s drought, the wheat fields were scorched, newly planted
woodland saplings dropped their leaves, there were tiny, misshapen black berries. Then
the rains came in biblical proportions, and top soil was lost.

As humans, we’re in a unique position. We’re part of nature, but also the enemy outside
its gates.

So what, as a poet, can I do about this? Very little, in reality, but even that little is worth
going for. Poetry can take you to the heart-beat of emotion. It can remind people of
what they’ve lost, or fear losing, or want to fight for. Above all, poetry offers quiet
contemplation, an enrichment of understanding – questions that could do with answers,
answers that need questioning.

The environment is us, it’s our relationship with each other, made manifest. We live in a
rushed, frenetic, some might say, frantic world. Poetry can help us draw breath, stop,
consider, appreciate. I find that by simply walking along the sea front, or up on the
Downs, the world starts to unravel a little. I get to see the same places over and over
again. But of course, they’ve never the same place more than once. And when I feel a
poem start to pupate, I pick up my pen. Learning about the planet, is learning about
myself.

So in A Pocketful of Chalk, there are poems about evening shadows on the Downs, and
how we can be stretched by light. There’s a poem about drought and how the loss of
plants is like losing children. There’s a young child who is impatient with her little
radish patch, but then flings herself onto the soil to listen to the seedlings grow. There
are poems that are fantastical, apocalyptic, about a drowned world, and others that look
at rain as a flow of emotions. Some of the poems are persona poems where I imagine
what it’s like to be a wild creature. I find it fascinating to try and enter a world without human parameters. After all, the best poetry leaves ego behind, and that’s always worth
striving for.

At times, in the face of the night sky, or mesmerised by a murmuration of starlings,
even the idea of writing can seems absurd. The very first poem in the collection,
ironically, is about just that. When you’ve seen the “the impossible exactness” of a
Marbled White butterfly, words can seem a pointless add-on. As Ted Hughes wrote in
Poetry in the Making: “It is not enough to say the crow flies purposefully, or heavily, or
rowingly, or whatever. There are no words to capture the infinite depth of crowiness in
the crow’s flight.”

So that’s the challenge. To be part of nature, yet at the same time its observer and
protector. Poems live as much between the lines as in them – surely an ideal medium for
expressing such a paradox?

Not crows, but herons… watch Claire Booker reading Grey Heron at the launch of A Pocketful of Chalk:


#NationalPoetryDay is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends. www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk

Popup Event: Plotting for the Future

Plotting for the Future: Survival Renewal and Optimism

Bottleworks Bookshop, 8 Riverside Walk, Byker, Newcastle, NE6 1LX

24th May 2022 19:00-21:00

Free

Join local authors, short fiction writer Lily Peters, and poet Rob Walton, as they read from their recent Arachne Press Publications, Accidental Flowers and This Poem Here.   They will talk about how their very different writing (Science Fiction and poetry) connect in their themes of navigating the personal and political through an imagined, but horribly likely, ecological disaster and an all too real pandemic, to make room for optimism for the future… and an accidental connection through allotments.

Join in with Q&A and an opportunity to write your own 100 word story including at least one of the words Survival, Renewal & Optimism – or a variant of them.

Books will be available to buy at the event – if you can’t make it, head to our shop

Thanks to our sales partners Inpress for setting up this popup bookshop and inviting us to come along.

Arachne Press at Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival

We’re pleased to announce that we will be at Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival on Tuesday 17 May with a panel event based on Where We Find Ourselves: Poems and Stories of Maps and Mapping from UK Writers of the Global Majority.

Join us at Clapham Library for readings and a Q & A discussion with:

Ngoma Bishop

Marina Sánchez

Nikita Chadha

Farhana Khalique

Rick Dove

Emily Abdeni-Holman

L Kiew

The event is free, but ticketed.  Book your tickets here.

You will be able to buy a copy of Where We Find Ourselves at the event, or you can buy one from our webshop now.

A470 launches

Eat your heart out Route 66, we’ve got the A470, and the poems to prove it!

We are holding a bilingual ONLINE launch for A470 on 3rd March (World Book Day) at 7pm.

Line up: Adele Evershed, Cas Stockford, Ness Owen, Sian Northey, Angela Graham, KS Moore, Rae Howells, Becky Lowe  Siôn Aled, David Mathews, Seth Crook, Simon Chandler, and Sammy Weaver.

free tickets, and copies of the book

2pm Saturday 23rd April 2022/ 2pm Dydd Sadwrn, 23ain Ebrill, 2022
Our first in person event/ Ein digwyddiad cyntaf â phawb mewn ystafell
Bilingual readings by poets/ Darlleniadau dwyieithog gan feirdd
plus open mic

Caffi Soar
Canolfan Soar, Pontmorlais,
Merthyr Tudful, CF47 8UB
Line up: Nicholas McGaughey, Des Mannay, Gareth Writer-Davies, Sian Northey, Matthew MC Smith, Mike Jenkins, David Mathews, and provisionally, Sara Louise Wheeler and Becky Lowe.
free, just turn up

Eighth Anniversary events coming up

arachne 8 logoTechnically it was our 8th anniversary yesterday, as the day we registered the company in 2012, but eight is an important number for Arachnids, so we are celebrating throughout August (eighth Month) for our Eighth year.
We have:
An Anniversary Anthology: No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book, launching with online readings.

Lots of authors are joining in, A. Katherine Black, Carolyn Robertson, David Mathews, Daniel Oliveri, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Emma Lee, Hugh Findlay, Jackie Taylor, Joanne LM Williams, KT Wagner and Kate Foley, Phoebe Demeger, Seth Crook and Stella Wulf, on the website, and we will be premiering on our YouTube channel and our Facebook page, on 8/8/2020 at 8pm BST.

you might like to go and subscribe/follow the channel/page so that you get a reminder!

Normally when we launch in real life, we have a cake. Obviously thats a bit of a challenge, so I’ll be sharing the recipe the day before so you can bake your own!

I’ve been thinking about spidery cakes, and its not an appealing notion, apart from maybe spun sugar web – but my skills don’t stretch to that, so I’m planning to riff on Miss Muffet’s curds and whey, and make some sort of cheese cake – possibly an Austrian one my mum used to make. It has currants in. I’ll leave that thought with you…
BUY A COPY OF NO SPIDER HARMED FROM US!
In addition, we have video interviews and readings with most of the authors of our single author titles, and we are working on getting more people involved; we have a sort of animation of The Old Woman from Friuli (reminiscent of Jackanory style) and introductions to each of our anthologies from the editors.

I don’t want to over promise on this because we haven’t actually finished filming, never mind finished editing, but there should be something every day during August. Again: on our Facebook page, our YouTube channel, and of course, right here on our own website** (actually not, if the upload keeps failing… maybe the shorter ones… but not consistently here.)
The first few events, are as follows (at 8pm BST unless otherwise noted):
01/08/2020 Mosaic of Air
02/08/2020 The Old Woman from Friuli (2pm!)
03/08/2020 Katy Darby – Liars’ books
04/08/2020 Stations
05/08/2020 Jeremy Dixon – In Retail
06/08/2020 Jane Aldous – Let Out the Djinn
07/08/2020 Kate Foley – A Gift of Rivers and The Don’t Touch Garden
08/08/2020 No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book LAUNCH
09/08/2020  The Brook Storyteller Series (2pm)
10/08/2020  Math Jones The Knotsman
11/08/2020  Rosamund Davies and Kam Rehal: Story Cities
and so on…

ON 15TH AUGUST WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE FINAL LINE UP FOR SOLSTICE SHORTS

We will also be announcing plans for publications for the next three years, at least, later in the month.
Everything is a bit tentative, funding and covid being what they are, but we think if we say we are going to do something, it makes it a lot more likely – after all, we managed to get our anniversary anthology together in the teeth of a pandemic!

Throughout August there will be special offers on books

Expect around a pound off most books, and some buy one get one cheaper, or buy the whole series offers when bought from our webshop, starting 1st August. Our webshop isn’t very sophisticated so I think I’ll have to set them up on the day, so be patient!

Once upon a quarantine

Arachne author Carolyn Eden‘s story Free White Towel from Liberty Tales

is up on Once upon a Quarantine

read by Heather Bleasdale

Lots of other stories by famous authors and read by famous actors. So that’s our Carrie famous too now!

Carolyn

Lockdown readings VG Lee reads an extract from Alpaca Moonlight

Reading from Story Sessions Anthology, Departures, VG Lee reads an extract from her story Alpaca Moonlight.

You can buy Departures and all other Arachne books  from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

Preorder No Spider Harmed… – out 8th August for our eighth anniversary!

If you would prefer eBooks, all our books are available from your usual retailer, now VAT free! We recommend Hive for ePub.

Human Rights Day 2019

Can’t let this go by without a little something.

Here are some videos of readings from our anthology, Liberty Tales.

 

Videos from Departures Launch 2

Meant to upload these ages ago, but preparing for Solstice Shorts got in the way!

Here is the second half of the launch of Departures, with readings from

Gloria Sanders reads poems that link beautifully to the theme

Helen Morris teases withthe first page of her extraordinary take on departures – The Change

Liam Hogan a ‘chance’ meeting in the departures lounge, set by fate…

and Barbara Renel with her flash piece inspired by a painting.

Thanks once again to Brockley Brewery for hosting, much appreciated!