We had so much fun at the party on Friday. The quality of the live video (find it on Facebook) is a bit ropey so here is some better quality!
Here are Summer All Year Long singing the song from the original launch party for Stations, Sweet Train Roll Softly based on (the much better) Sweet Thames Roll Softly, by Ewan MacColl. We had a different arrangement originally, by Peter Morgan, but an almost entirely different choir membership and very little rehearsal, so this is Melanie Harrold‘s arrangement (more or less) which we learnt more recently.
And Bartle Sawbridge reading the middle section of Rich and Strange, the story he wrote for the Shadwell stop on the journey the anthology takes from Highbury and Islington to West Croydon.
With the 5th Anniversary celebrations heading into view I was thinking about the thank you speech, and like the Oscars it is in danger of going on, and on. And on. So I thought I’d blog it instead, a section at a time. So I’ve been catching up with authors past and present in the course of the fifth anniversary planning to ask what they are up to now, (not that I don’t know in some cases) because after all, without them there would BE no Arachne Press.
Several of them will be at the party, and even reading, come along and say hello, it’s free (but ticketed)
As they were…
What they are doing now…
Adrian Gantlope Andrew Blackman Since Stations was published, I’ve had my second novel A Virtual Love published, and am at work on a new one. I’ve also been travelling around Europe and North Africa for three years, freelancing to pay the travel expenses as I go.
Anna Fodorova My novel The Training Patient was published by Karnac in 2015 and is now in the process of being translated into Czech to be published by Prague publisher LABYRINT next year. I am writing another novel called In the Blood.
Bartle Sawbridge Since Stations was published I have read from it and Lovers Lies to two people and a dog in a public library in Harrow, a packed room at Keats’ House, a literary festival in Faversham, and lots else in between.I self-published my first novel, A Piece of String two years ago, (look at the excellent reviews on Amazon, and buy it!) and I’m making good progress on its sequel, based not in inner London but in a fictional village in Middle England.
Caroline Hardman I’m still writing, although not as much as I would like to… I went freelance a few years ago, and that took over my life a little more than I thought it would! However, I do have a story (Straw Houses) appearing in the forthcoming Stories for Homes 2, a charity anthology raising money for Shelter. The e-book is due for publication next month and a paperback version in November.
The other project I’ve been working on over the summer is Raw Stories, a new fiction podcast which launches 4th September! A new episode every fortnight. I read a story (which may still be a work in progress – hence the ‘raw’ in the title) and then chat a little bit about it afterwards. It’s on iTunes or there’s an RSS feed. I’m tweeting about it @rawstoriespod.
Cherry Potts Running Arachne gets in the way of much writing, but I’ve managed to squeeze a story into most of the anthologies, and publish a collection and a novel, and had several stories published elsewhere.
David Bausor Ellie Stewart Since being published in Stations I’ve had my writing published in various places including Popshot Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears and Hippocampus Magazine. I spent 3 months travelling round New Zealand in a camper van with my partner at the end of 2016, and I’m currently working for a children’s charity in Kent.
Louise Swingler Max Hawker Michael Trimmer Paula Read Peter Cooper Peter Morgan Rob Walton Since being lucky enough to have two stories in Stations, Rob Walton has been writing flash fictions and poetry, appearing in various anthologies and magazines. Publishers included Butcher’s Dog, The Emma Press, Sidekick Books and The Interpreter’s House. A poem for children found its way onto the 2016 National Poetry Day website, and he won the 2015 National Flash Fiction Day micro-fiction competition.
Rosalind Stopps Wendy Gill Since being published in Stations, one of my stories was chosen for the inaugural anthology Words and Women One, and I was delighted to have another story published last by Arachne Press in Shortest day, Longest Night. I have written and released a charity Christmas single and my musical That Man had it’s West End debut at The Hippodrome in 2016.
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.
As part of the run up to our celebration of our fifth anniversary we are highlighting our first five books, all available for £5 each from our shop
Also available to bona fide libraries and book charities free please contact us to enquire.
Number Two: Stations short stories inspired by the Overground Line
Stations Cover. Image copyright Gail Brodholt
Stations really was inspired by the Overground. At a meeting of the writing group I belong to, WooA, held in the tiny Broca cafe opposite Brockley Station, a conversation about how brilliant the Overground was, despite MANY personal sleepless nights while the work was carried out, turned into a – let’s write about the Overground, let’s take a station each, which turned into wouldn’t this make a great book, and where can we get the rest of the stories? An open call and many, many stories later, Stations was born.
From tigers in a South London suburb to retired Victorian police inspectors investigating train based thefts, from collectors of poets at Shadwell to life-changing decisions in Canonbury, by way of an art installation that defies the boundaries of a gallery,
Stations takes a sideways look through the windows of the Overground train, at life as it is, or might be, lived beside the rails: quirky, humorous and sometimes horrifying.
Twenty-four new short stories in homage to the East and South London section of the Overground Line: a story for every station from New Cross, Crystal Palace and West Croydon at the Southern extremes of the line, all the way to Highbury & Islington.
Ideal for the commuting reader, Stations makes an excellent souvenir of a visit to London and a perfect gift for lovers of London everywhere.
Londoneer Review ‘Stations’ is certainly an eclectic group of stories, but I enjoyed every one – well-written and engaging stuff. I imagine that it would be ideal for dipping in and out of while you’re passing the time between Kensal Rise and Clapham Junction…
Londonist reviewThere’s a surprising amount of emotional depth … much of it bittersweet and yearning, particularly the further down the line we go. Sadness shot through with flashes of beauty: perhaps that’s a perfect metaphor for south east London … We’ll never look at Penge West the same way again.
…Caroline Hardman’s ‘Bloody Marys and a bowl of Pho’ (Hoxton) is a modern-day, urban take on the vampire narratives so current at the moment. It is well-written and funny. ‘Platform Zero’ (Haggerston) by Michael Trimmer also offers a quirky version of another, familiar theme – that of the parallel universe. ‘The Beetle’ by Ellie Stewart (Wapping) is also well-paced and moving in its portrayal of a broken relationship. Peter Morgan’s ‘Mr Forest Hill Station’ (Forest Hill) also stands out due to its tender depiction of the bond between strangers, meeting occasionally in the big city.
We had such fun planning this one, complete with a photo shoot on the Overground featuring several of the authors and family members
We have a great fondness for LGBT history month at Arachne Press, and we are also exceptionally fond of libraries. As a result the combination definitely works!
Our last outing for February was to Richmond lending library, one of the oldest public libraries in London (lovely building, glass roof, unfortunately on the flight path for Heathrow…)
Here are some readings from that evening, mainly from Cherry Potts, but with assistance from Alix Adams on the first one. The sound isn’t wonderful (those planes…) but it’s better than what we managed on the video camera.
In order of appearance:
Arachne’s Daughters from Mosaic of Air (Cherry Potts)
Death & Other Rituals from Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time (Tannith Perry)
A Place of Departures from Stations (Cherry Potts)
The Other Side of Sleep from the anthology of the same name (Kate Foley)
Tasting Flight from Lovers’ Lies (Catherine Sharpe)
Peter Cooper & Louise Swingler read from Stations as part of their all singing all dancing event for Ilkley fringe. Thanks to Louise for overcoming the technical problem and getting them onto the site.
Arachne has authors scattered all over the globe, but there’s a little knot of them in Yorkshire. Of those, two wrote stories for the same Station for Stations. Out of this meagre fact came the wonder that was On the Write Track, a reading, singing, sliding razzmatazz of a show from Peter Cooper and Louise Swingler.