Year of the woman

Today is International Women’s Day, in the centenary year of partial suffrage for women.

So an important day for women, but, you know, women are women every day, and there’s still plenty of work to be done, on all sorts of fronts, so celebrate and then roll up your sleeves…

Our small contribution is to do what we do anyway, but do more of it. We are publishing a number of books over the next nine months and most (not all) will be by women.

April
Kate Foley Poetry Collection: A Gift of Rivers

Kate is reading from the collection at Gay’s the Word on 5th April and we are investigating a launch in Amsterdam.

May
Cathy Bryant Poetry Collection: Erratics.

Cathy and Kate are taking part in a seminar on diversity and inclusivity in the poetry world at London Book Fair on 10th April at 17:30 at the ‘Poet’s Corner’

June
The final installment of The Naming of Brook Storyteller: Wolftalker arrives from Ghillian Potts.


Also in June we have the official launch of Dusk which will also kick off thinking about 2018’s Solstice Shorts festival, Dawn!

July Five by Five: 5 short stories each by Katy Darby, Joan Taylor-Rowan, Cassandra Passarelli, Sarah James, Helen Morris

August
We are teaming up with Liars’ League for our official #womensvote100 anthology, We/She featuring stories about women by women. Final line up yet to be finalised but expect stories from:
Carolyn Eden, Katy Darby, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Elisabeth Simon, Elizabeth Stott, Fiona Salter, Ilora Choudhury, J. A. Hopper, Arike Oke, Jennifer Rickard, Jenny Ramsay, Lucy Ribchester, Peng Shepherd, Rosalind Stopps, Joanne L. M. Williams, Swati Khurana, Uschi Gatward.

September
Vindication: an anthology of up to 10 poems each from
Sarah James, Sarah Lawson, Jill Sharp, Elinor Brooks, Adrienne Silcock and Anne Macaulay

November
We are commemorating the end of WWI with poetry and short story anthology An Outbreak of Peace.

 

Poetry Book Fair readings – video and audio

We were at the Poetry Book Fair a couple of weeks ago, but it’s been so busy since I’ve not had a chance to get the recordings of the readings up.

Here they are!

Jeremy Dixon Flax, San Francisco, Pearls over Shanghai, and Tabernacle Lane from Liberty Tales

Math Jones (the end of Grithspell) from The Other Side of Sleep

Sarah James At The Hotel de la Lune

Lisa Kelly Daylight Saving Time

#Arachne5 I missed Jeremy!

I don’t know how that happened – actually I do, the live feed on Facebook of Jeremy Dixon reading In Retail (xxiii) (from The Other Side of Sleep) was getting so many plays I forgot to upload the more professionally recorded version!

Here it is…

And here is audio of him reading his Liberty Tales poems, later in the evening when I had run out of camera battery

Jeremy is joining us at The Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall this Saturday, and will be reading from around 4.30 in the garden cafe in Red Lion Square, alongside Sarah James and Lisa Kelly.

Jeremy is on our list of people to publish over the next three years. Just got to land some funding!

Live lit events coming up

Being busy people we can’t always arrange our own events as regularly as we might like, so we are very happy when we get asked to take part in other people’s.

Next Friday 22nd September 7pm Liam Hogan is reading from Happy ending Not Guaranteed at the launch of London Writers’ Eclective at Waterstones 11 Islington Green, N1 2XH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday 27th September 18.15 we are at Archway with Words at Archway Library, Hamlyn House Highgate Hill N19 5PH where Liam is reading again, alongside Katy Darby, Cherry Potts, Carolyn Eden, and Wendy Gill

On Saturday 30th September we are at Free Verse Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall where we will have a stall all day, and are reading in the Red Lion Square garden cafe at 4.30, with Jeremy Dixon, Lisa Kelly and Sarah James.Experience a flush of openness in San Francisco, a long day on a till, an even longer night in a hotel, and time shifting about the three occupants of a house.

In October we are off to the Shoreham Word Fest with a Liberty Tales/ Songs of Protest evening at the Yacht Club on Thursday 12th at 19.30 (£10) with Elinor Brooks, Greg Page and Carrie Cohen reading poetry and Cherry & Liam reading prose, and Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd and some of Vocal Chords singing. We will be teaching two very simple protest songs!

Followed on the Saturday Morning at 11am with a Children’s event in the Library, (Free) with The Old Woman From Friuli by Ghillian Potts being read by Tash Fairbanks, and a kind of demonstration of woodcut printing from Cherry Potts, because we couldn’t get hold of Ed Boxall, the illustrator of the book, to join us. No sharp objects will be let near children!

Significance #Arachne5

As part of our Arachne 5th Anniversary celebrations, we’ve asked all of our authors to come up with a blog, that might have something to do with writing or anniversaries. Some of them responded! This one is from  Sarah James whose poem and flash fiction we published in  Shortest Day, Longest Night.

Significance

Is the number five more or less significant to a writer than anyone else? Five fingers for writing. Five senses we can use to make that writing as atmospheric as possible. Five days to the working week…or, at least, there used to be.

Working hours have shifted for everyone in our always switched-on society, but writers have never really had a day off as such. As a poet and fiction writer, my subconscious is always busy –  listening for stories, rhythms, the sounds of words.

Maybe I’m trying too hard here to find symbolic links and connections to the number five because Arachne Press is celebrating its fifth birthday. But this is what language and writing are all about – evocative symbols that we use to make connection between us and other people, the page and the reader, the performance and the audience.

In any case, all of these observations filter one way or another into the writing of my poem ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’ and short story ‘Cut Short’ in the Arachne Press anthology Shortest Day Longest Night.

The man in 512 is trying to sleep
but he can hear his ex’s breath
in the air conditioning’s webs…

(From ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’)

There is a phrase ‘If the walls had ears…’ that sums up both part of my writing process and the background to ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’ in particular. The poem hangs on the passing flow of visitors through the hotel and all the stories they bring with them, if only the hotel rooms could pass these on. The beautiful thing about being a writer rather than a wall is that I not only have ears to hear but also a tongue to speak and hands for writing or typing. As writers, readers and audience, we also have something else that’s even more important – imagination.

These aren’t real stories, only stories that could be real. The hotel is a fictitious place conjured up by my mind. Each of the rooms , with its characters and its stories, is a room inside my head. Each character in this poem also has their own rooms inside their heads, with their own stories, hopes and dreams.

But who is in charge of all these rooms? Is it me as the writer/dreamer? The night porter, Billy – a potential modern-day Shakespeare (in his own head at least) – who aspires to theatrical stage stardom? Or the spiders and bugs that scuttle in the mind’s shadows and across this poem’s mundane yet nightmareish everyday stage?

Perhaps the ultimate control is actually with the reader or individual audience member – choosing how to interpret the words and scenes that they’re presented with…

“Damn, late again! I fidget with my car keys, a reflex action, as I’m tempted to bail on lunch. Sundays should be the longest day – lazy sex, coffee in bed, newspapers, novels, Netflix, not getting dressed until three, if at all… Ever since university, I’ve made it my personal quest to stretch these twenty-four hours of the weekend as far as humanly possible. But not today…”

(From ‘Cut Short’)

While ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’ is infused with a touch of A Midsummer Night’s Dream madness, my writing approach for the flash fiction ‘Cut short’ is more inspired by Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage,| And all the men and women merely players” (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII) .

The family politics and matriarchal power dynamics in this short fiction are ones most likely being played out in homes across Britain even as I type this.  At one level, the plotline is a small almost invisible everyday drama. Yet it’s one that moulds the very

personalities of every character in the story and, by extension, wider society.  What can the young woman in this story do to change things? And what will happen if she does try to rock the existing structure?

Tradition and innovation

It might sound like an overly grand aim but in many ways literature as a whole is constructed on two principles brought to a head in this flash fiction – building upon the existing tradition while simultaneously reacting against and rocking it.

This brings me back not to ‘five’ but to ‘thrive’. As a poet, my most immediate response to the word ‘five’ is how close it is in sound terms to ‘thrive’. As words, these are similar yet different. As a writer what I strive for is to create pieces that are both similar (to real life, existing exemplars…) yet different (innovated, unique…). And, of course, yes, I also want my work to be strong, to thrive.

Five years of publishing is a strong stepping stone on thriving’s path. I hope this is a word that will keep resonating, both through my own writing and Arachne Press’s work ten, 15, 20 years from now.

Image: ‘Handling artistic imagination’ by S.A. Leavesley

Come to the 5th anniversary party!

Shortest Day Longest Night on Tour Oxford Recordings

We had a bit of a technologically challenged evening at Albion Beatnik. I won’t go into the whys and wherefores but there’s no video, no photos and the sound recording cut out temporarily too.

Here’s what I managed to salvage!

All but the first few words of Wendy Gill reading A Little Favour

Sarah James reading At the Hotel de la Lune

Pauline Walker reading Left of Earth, Right of Venus

A tiny bit of David Mathews reading Mouse

David Steward reading The Cutty Wren

You can catch us on tour Sat 14/01/2017 3pm  Wivenhoe Library, High Street Wivenhoe, Essex
Stories: Rosalind Stopps, Cherry Potts, David Steward, Katy Darby, Poem: Lisa Kelly

Buy the book: Shortest Day, Longest Night

Help us crowdfund for the rest of the tour and the next books

Shortest Day, Longest Night TOUR starts in Oxford

That’s TOMORROW, folks…Friday 7.30 06/01/2017

At Albion Beatnik in Walton Street
Line Up:

 Sarah James Cut Short, and At the Hotel de la Lune.
A family Sunday ritual changed for ever, and night in an hotel.

David Mathews Mouse
Grandmother, child, and pregnant mouse all seek shelter in a wood

Pauline Walker Left of Earth, Right of Venus
Mother searches space for grief striken daughter

David Steward The Cutty Wren
In the trenches, solstice 1916

Wendy Gill A Little Favour
A trust betrayed, a friendship destroyed

9781909208292

Solstice Shorts Video: Cut Short

Cut Short, a Short Story by, Sarah James read by Patsy Prince and BSL interpreted by Paul Michaels at Solstice Shorts Festival 2016: Shortest Day 21st December 2016 at West Greenwich Library London #ACEFunded

Catch us on tour

Friday 06/01/2017 7.30 Oxford Albion Beatnik
Poem (and story): Sarah James. Story: Wendy Gill, Pauline Walker, David Mathews, David Steward.

Tuesday 10/1/2017 7.30  St James Wine Vaults 10 St James Street, Bath, BA1 2TW
Combined reading with Liberty Tales. poem: Bernie Howley,  Elinor Brooks, Jeremy Dixon, Jill Sharp;  story: Nick Rawlinson,  Pippa Gladhill, Cherry Potts, Polly Hall

Wednesday 11/01/2017 7pm Lewisham Library, Lewisham High Street SE13 6LG
Poems: Lisa Kelly, A J Akoto. Stories: David Steward, Cherry Potts, Liam Hogan

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 

https://youtu.be/P9iL6VDTazk
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

First Longest Night Video up on YouTube

Video

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.