Tickets are available free, or for £9 to include the book, plus a £1.30 transaction fee, but to make up for that, we will post the book to you for free.
The following day, Thursday 25th March at 7.30pm, (which is the official publication day) Rob is reading at One Year On, an online poetry event marking the anniversary of lockdown, alongside Rosie Johnston, Alex Josephy, Colin Pink and Jacqueline Saphra. This is a free event and the link can be got from the organiser Irena Hill.
The Audio book will be out a month after the physical and e-books. More news as we have it.
We could all do with some cheer in the bleak days of January, especially this year, so courtesy of Arts Council England, we are here to do just that.
We are the proud and happy recipients of a £45,000 grant from Arts Council England
This will pay for our next ten books, and (drum roll) audio books! Which means we can smack Covid on the nose by providing another way to enjoy our books without leaving home, and provide some work to actors who aren’t allowed into a theatre just now. I’m anticipating it will also be huge fun. Putting the plans together now with our audiobook partner Listening Books
Thanks to everyone who gave us their thoughts on whether this was the right way to go. It’s one of the fastest growing sectors in literature, but it’s tough to get right, and harder still to market, so the funding will also pay for …
A part-time marketing person, and a (separate) part-time admin person for a few months, so that I can concentrate on finding and supporting new writers and guest editors. We will be advertising these posts very soon. They will be remote working, so if you think that could be you, start polishing your CV, but don’t send anything until you see the advertisment please!
The books that are being supported by the ACE grant are:
Back in 2012 I was thrilled to have two stories included in Stations, and five years later I’m delighted to be taking part in the anniversary celebrations.
Another of my writing adventures which saw the light of day five years ago was the New Hartley Memorial Pathway. This was a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of a terrible pit disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 204 men and boys. It also led to legislation, which went some way to prevent such a tragedy happening again.
I visited the pathway recently and it was looking splendid in the August sun, and I couldn’t help feeling a sense of pride. This is something I haven’t necessarily felt in the same way with everything I’ve written or had published in the intervening five years. I’ve heard from others over the years that the local community are proud of the pathway and the memorial garden which is its home.
To write my stories for Stations I did what I do every day – sit at the desk in my study writing notes, scraps, lines and thoughts and seeing where they take me.
The New Hartley experience was a huge contrast in that I was collaborating with (a) Russ Coleman, a friend and public artist, (b) the lovely people who commissioned the project and (c) members of the local community, whose ideas and words were incorporated into the text.
When I first wrote about the project, I referred to myself as the writer, but I started to feel uncomfortable with this as things were much more nuanced. I was using words from contemporary accounts, newspapers, official reports and the input – including actual words and phrases – from local schoolchildren and other community groups. I decided to refer to myself as collating the text, and felt better for it. I think this possibly downplays my creative role in some ways, but I’d rather that than take credit for something which wasn’t entirely my own doing – and I don’t like to blow my own trumpet.
*A new experience for me, matching sound files to video – the aircon (or something) at the Brockley Deli interfered with the sound on the video so I had to use the recordings from my audio machine. Something of a challenge getting them in sync!