Feedback from the tour

I’m just getting to grips with the report for the Arts Council who kindly assisted us with the costs of the last few books and associated book tour, plus Solstice Shorts Festival 2016: Shortest Day, and The Story Sessions, so I’ve been looking back through the feedback – 136 people went to the trouble of giving us written feedback, for which we are VERY grateful! We invited people to describe themselves in 3 words (some used more, but really it doesn’t matter) and tell us what they thought of the event.

Here’s what some of them had to say – these are just my out-and-out favourite comments, there were many more. Eclectic was the favourite adjective!

Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch 2 excellent poets, 2 different styles, and evening of magical words. Long live poems and their publishers! Fairly succinct really
Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch Narrative weave of Jennifer McGowan’s poems, succinct beauty in the smallness of Joy Howard’s Life-swept poet therapist
Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch I delighted in Jennifer’s spirited and evocative readings of her work. She brings new life to words. I’d never heard Chinese spoken while reading the phonetic version before. Middle-aged stressed editor
Foraging/ WITH PAPER FOR FEET launch Stories as poetry, poetry as stories, in a spiritual home of poets (Keats House Library) Necessarily evil author
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed burley F The informality was initially relaxing, followed by a well-rehearsed & performed reading. Very personal and enjoyable way to spend the evening – like being in a living room full of engaging and inspirational minds Under-worked London writer
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed burley F Beautifully dark and comedic frivolity Undervalued London actor
HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED Greenwich Very interesting evening writer/actor great and well-spoken you should continue your good work of bringing up and coming authors together and giving them a voice Maybe upcoming writer
HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED Greenwich Good variety of style in the stories, actor interpretation was excellent, dynamic energetic author reading Fascinated fiction fan
HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED Greenwich Makes me think when passing statues in the streets … what if …? Energetic, creative, idealistic
HAPPY ENDING NOT GUARANTEED launch Very well organised enjoyable program with diversified activities. I really appreciated all the marketing material New horizon explorer
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed launch It’s events like these that make me think that maybe there IS a point to North London Hairy bee enthusiast
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed launch Nothing’s sacred, great venue, great writer, great narrative Travelled, gypsy, overheated
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Lewisham Enjoyably hanging darkly in a cloud of suspense Overthinking underpaid scientist
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Lewisham Made me tingly, a bit like the Dr Who theme did when I was a kid. Hide behind my hands, but can’t wait for more Dreaming London lady
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Lewisham Not heard of Arachne Press before, but will look out for them from now on. A fascinating assortment of short stories brimming with otherworldliness and simmering spasms of evil blessed with reliving streaks of humour. Full of weird and wonderful reverberations as it should be. Bebop jazz poet
Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed Oxford Intimate, salon-like. As if I’d stumbled into an invitation only séance peopled by the spirits of Victorian huckster and exotic beasts earnest, quotidian, boring

 

Liberty Greenstead The ay the storytellers involved us, brought us into the atmosphere of their narration Quietly persistent
Liberty Greenstead A joyous evening to delight

the listeners on this Burns’ night

with ne’er a haggis no’ dram in sight

a joyous evening to enthrall all right.

pernickety political poet
Liberty Greenstead Exciting expedition into previously uncharted area of poetry and short story reading ‘poetry to the ears!’ retired bored housefrau
Liberty Housmans 1st time experiencing, so didn’t know what to expect, but enjoyed the live experience of an author reading their own work Lover of Ares
night write such a new and beautiful experience, who would have thought that writing in darkness revealed such gifts Restless London photographer
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath Live, loud & varied, an eclectic mix of poems & prose that veered from tragic to whimsical. Bath writer in need of sleep
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath Bookish whirlwind of tales & poems that provide thought-provoking insight into the writers minds Intensely formidable critic
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath Entertaining varied & imaginative programme ranged from contemporary issues to timeless stories and poems vividly performed, Evoked a warm response from the audience M&M
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath Completely gripping, never thought such a mix could be entertaining. The very high quality of the writing made it so Barmy Bath Bivalve
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Bath An excellent evening with an inspiring mix of poems & Stories. Poignant, witty, intelligent work supported by the incomparable Cherry Potts who does such crucial work in supporting and developing opportunities for writers. A big shout out for Arachne Press!! Enthusiastic Bathite
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Lewisham beautiful eclectic mixture of styles completely inspiring if slightly unsettling at times, in a good way Londoner by choice
SHORTEST DAY, LONGEST NIGHT Lewisham A thrilling eclectic mix of humour dark reality and myth Arbitrator/writer
Solstice Shorts Festival Excellent evening of song & Storytelling. Intriguing short stories that made you wonder laugh & Cry Definitely an experience to savour and repeat. Next Summer Maybe? Hopeful mother of twins
Solstice Shorts Festival Huge variety of work, great introduction to an international set of writers. Loved the music and actors great work. Wassailing was such a wonderful touch! Poetry loving librarian
Solstice Shorts Festival Wonderful variety of writing and composition suitably short to match the daylight today. Always a joy to hear new writing performed Broken armed poet
With Paper for Feet Lewisham Quality and humour of stories and poems, engaging performance, erudite, clever, lighthearted, accessible fun, quirky. Thank you! Frantically busy fan
With Paper for Feet Lewisham Witchy, feisty, a brilliant way to celebrate International Women’s Day Inspired every time!
WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford Compelling narratives from a poet who gives her work and her audience the respect and pleasure of a lively direct performance. Poetry reading regular
WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford Fine writing well-read and artistically presented Reader engineer listener
WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford The poet is not only a fantastic poet, but a first class performer of her work. Very worth going out on a rainy night P.S.
WITH PAPER FOR FEET Oxford Visual, curious, mythical, resonant Poetical psychologist
Story Sessions A place to hear good fiction and more, practice with other writers, It’s always good to perform your work to an audience I encourage you to go along and listen, or perform Ever learning writer
Story Sessions Relaxing entertaining and intense in the best way Fox loving optimist

The Story Sessions Fantastical Tales Video part 3

Final section of the videos from The Story Sessions on Wednesday, and the Liam Hogan Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed set which had a decidedly immortal theme to it:

Time the Devourer, read by Annalie Wilson

Internet Dating for Immortals, read by Liam

and

the final take on Bad Day, with a little music from Annalie to top and tail it.

These are the final posts, from the final Story Session of the season.

We’ve made the decision to retire the Story Sessions as a regular thing – and it will only stick its nose out into the light (and inevitable rain – have we EVER done a session when it didn’t rain?) as part of festivals and if asked for – it is regretably too much work for far too little return even when part-funded by those nice people at the Arts Council (Thank you ACE, really). There are other things to get busy with. So Festival organisers – if you ask us, we will put together more sessions, but if you don’t, this is your lot!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks to The Brockley Deli for hosting this season.

 

The Story Sessions Fantastical Tales Videos part 2

Math Jones show case today.

Math contributed a long narrative poem to our anthology The Other Side of Sleep, and has been an enthusiastic Story-sessioneer this season. His final contribution is a four-part skim of the 50 pieces that make his Knotsman Sequence.

The Story Sessions Fantastical Stories Videos part one

There is something about The Story Sessions, and Brockley, that makes it rain, and it came down stair rods last night. Actors and authors arrived dripping. But that didn’t stop us having some fun. I’m going to post the videos in three segments, starting with three videos from a disparate group of writers:

The Cretan Labyrinth Series Three by Becky Pinder read by Annalie Wilson (Annalie started before I got the video turned on, but the audio recorder was running so I’ve recovered the beginning, just be patient with the lack of picture!)

In Those Days They Used Lined Paper by Donald Hiscock

and

More Bread by Sally Connors read by Annalie Wilson

Tomorrow I will post Math Jones’ Knotsman sequence, and on Saturday, the final outing from Liam Hogan, Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed tour.

 

 

The Story Sessions: Fantastical Tales announced

The final Story Sessions of the season approaches – 17th May at The Brockley Deli 14a Brockley Cross, SE4 1BE

We have stories from Liam Hogan headlining, with two different takes on the incredibly long-lived: Internet Dating for Immortals, and Time the Devourer which will be read by resident actor and musician, Annalie Wilson.

Supporting Liam we have Math Jones reading part (possibly all? Still to discuss) of his exquisite Knotsman sequence.

and Donald Hiscock, who is coming up from Portsmouth to read In Those Days They Used Lined Paper 

Sally Connors (More Bread) and Becky Pinder (Cretan Labyrinth Series 3) will also be read Annalie.

We will, as usual, have music from Annalie, and of course, we have our Flash from the Floor – you join in with your own fantastical tale, in 100 words or less! No dragon stories yet, so something on those lines would be popular (with me!).

 

How to choose a story for a reading

When you are touring a book of short stories, and it’s an anthology, it’s usually fairly simple – who can get there to read? and then a bit of tweaking, so that we don’t end up with wall-to wall-fantasy from a book that is less than 30% that genre.

When it is a single author collection however, with 27 stories to choose from, it is more complicated. The discussion goes something like this:

Author: these are my favourites. (list of 12 stories)

Publisher: Yes. This is my favourite, let’s have this one too.

Author: Or this one?

Publisher: It’s a bit long, what about an extract? No more than 10 minutes.

Author: So from here – until the cliff hanger?

Publisher: Yes, but leave out that paragraph, it doesn’t make sense without the beginning,

Author: I love this one too.

Publisher: It’s a first person narrative of the opposite gender. But I can get an actor.

(long conversation full of stereotypes about the people likely to come to each reading, which stories are most representative of the book, balancing light and dark, how often the author is willing to read the same story… leading to a long short list)

Publisher: OK, so which do we read where? I think this one is a shoo-in for Greenwich, it’s set there. And this one is about werewolves so the reading that’s up the road from Monster Supplies?

Author: Yes, and the Alice in Wonderland one for Oxford. Do you think the Art installation is too obvious for Hackney?

Of course, on the day, sometimes, we change our minds – but a lot of thought goes into preparing a reading, to make it a professional enjoyable evening out for the reading (listening) public.

So here is a little quizzette for you.

Which stories are Liam Hogan, Carrie Cohen, Lisa Rose and Annalie Wilson reading where?

Match the story to the venue!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stars
Temp
To be a Hero
Worming Advice For Werewolves
Miscellaneous, Spooky, Weird
Late
Feathers
Bring Rope
The Burden
Greenwich, Noon

Tuesday 25/04/2017 7pm Lewisham Library, Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LG with Carrie Cohen reading one of the stories (free)
Wednesday 26/04/2017 7.30 Burley Fisher bookshop, 400 Kingsland Road, Haggerston, E8 4AA with Carrie Cohen reading one of the stories (free)
Friday  28/04/2017 7.30  Albion Beatnik Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AA (£2 on the door)
lisa rose
Thursday  04/05/2017 8pm West Greenwich Library, Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NN with Lisa Rose reading one of the stories (free)

 

 

annalie wilsonWednesday  17/05/2017 7pm The Story Sessions, Brockley Deli, 14a Brockley Cross, SE4 1BE with Annalie Wilson reading one of the stories. (free)

 

The Story Sessions: Retelling Tales – poems – audio

The poems not caught on camera…

Joy Howard‘s Melangell and the Hare,

Olympus Inc  and Living to Tell the Tale (explicit language warning!)

All these and more available in Foraging

and Zoe Brigley Thompson‘s Letter to Leda on Getting Married

all read by Cherry Potts

The Story Sessions- Retelling Tales- Jennifer A McGowan

Jennifer A  McGowan retells tales pretty much non-stop in her poetry. Here are her takes on Fairy Tales, the Bible, Shakespeare, Nigerian Folk Tales and Greek Mythology. These and more are available in With Paper for Feet

Jennifer is reading at Words & Ears in Bradford on Avon on 30th March, and Buzzwords in Cheltenham on 30th April.

The Story Sessions Retelling Tales – Poem Videos part one

We had a lot of poems this month at the Story Sessions, perhaps it’s easier to give a new twist to a familiar story by taking it into a different medium.

Not everything made it onto the video owing to my trying to do too many things at once, but here is some of what did, and there will follow more video, and on audio, the ones I missed.

So here are: Neil Slevin‘s A Gaelic Chieftan and Zoe Brigley Thompson’s My Last Rochester read by Annalie Wilson, and Math Jones reading his own Frejya, In Fire Forged

The Story Sessions – Retelling Tales – Stories

LMA Bauman-Milner’s visceral retelling of Cinderella brought to life by Annalie Wilson.

Glass & Blood

Liam Hogan’s sideways look at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

I, Igor (an extract, as it weighs in at 18 1/2 minutes!)