The London Launch of News from Nowhere

Jane Austin's gipping World War I novel, News from Nowhere received a warm welcome at its London launch on 15 March. Rowan Fortune introduced the reading — a novel he knows very well as he mentored it as a part of the Cinnamon mentoring programme — talking about the family letters that inspired the book and about the central character, Bronwyn's, development as a result of the upheavals caused by the war.

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Ruth Bidgood at The Hours, Brecon

It was a delight to travel down to Brecon last Friday (10 March), to be with Ruth Bidgood as she read at The Hours bookshop, as part the Brecon Women's Festival, coinciding with International Women's Day. Ruth was once again joined by Mary MacGregor and our own Jan Fortune, to read selections from her wonderful Land-music/Black Mountains collection. The audience hung on her every word — a wonderful reading and a great afternoon.

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Jane Austin & Jan Fortune at Hen Bost

It's always nice to be able to do a launch at our local bookshop, Hen Bost in Blaeneau Ffestiniog, and last Friday's (24 February) was particularly enjoyable event, with excellent readings by Jane Austin, from her remarkable First World War novel, News from Nowhere, and Jan Fortune, reading extracts from her exquisite new novel, This is the End of the Story.

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Jan Fortune & Sarah Watkinson at The Albion Beatnik

Last stop on our mini-tour last week was The Albion Beatnik (Saturday, 11 February), Oxford's best bookshop and most charming landmark, where Jan Fortune gave another great reading from her new novel, This is the End of the Story to a packed audience, and Sarah Watkinson read from her wonderful debut pamphlet, Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight. Many thanks to The Albion's head beatnik, Dennis Harrison, and to everyone who came a long to this very special evening.

Jan talks to the rapt audience
Jan reads by the light of a standard lamp
Jan reads to the packed audience
Sarah at the start of her reading
Sarah and the packed audience
Sarah at a dramatic pause in the reading
Jan leads the applause at the end of Sarah's reading
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Launch at The Big Green Bookshop

Last Friday (10th February) was pretty chilly in London, but we had a warm welcome at The Big Green Bookshop, Wood Green, where we launched both Edward Ragg's second collection, Holding Unfailing, and Omar Sabbagh's latest, To the Middle of Love. Our thanks to the staff of the bookshop and to everyone wo came along to listen to these two remarkable poets.

Omar and Edward discuss poetry as Jan prepares the evening's introductions
Edward talking to a packed Big Green Bookshop
Edward in the midst of his performance
Edward gesturing at a dramatic point
Omar reading from his latest collection
The view from the back row of the bookshop
Omar receives a round of applause
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Jan Fortune at Greenwich

Jan Fortune launched her gorgeous new novel, This is the End of the Story (described by one reviewer as: "incredible … one of the finest examples of experimental contemporary fiction I have read") at an event organised by the ever-firendly, ever-wonderful Irene Hill of in-words. West Greenwich Library formed the backdrop for this spellbinding reading, which kept a small but very appreciative audience thoroughly gripped.

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Cinnamon Mini-competition: Utopia

We had a wonderful assortment of prose and poetry pieces for our most recent mini-competition, on the theme of "utopia". Thanks in particular to:

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Cinnamon Press Debut Poetry Collection Prize, 2016

This year's Debut Poetry Collection competition was one of the toughest we've had to adjudicate.

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A Citizen of Nowhere Speaks

In another of our occasional series on the place of writing in the contemporary world, Jez Noond offers an impassioned argument for why art in general is more important than ever …

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Writing 'Mismapping Todmorden Moor'

The new Liquorice Fish Books anthology, What Lies Within, offers a goodly selection of innovative and unusual works but perhaps the most striking is Judy Kendall's "Mismapping Todmorden Moor" …

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Ruth Bidgood at Llangammarch

Ruth Bidgood appeared at the Institute, Llangammarch, on Saturday, 19th November, to give another reading from her new collection, Land-music/Black Mountains. An attentive and appreciative audience thoroughly enjoyed this joint reading from Ruth, her friend Mary MacGregor, and Jan Fortune. It really was a very special event.

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Ruth Bidgood at Hay-on-Wye

After launching John Barnie's new book, we headed across country to Hay-on-Wye and The Poetry Bookshop, to launch Ruth Bidgood's new collection Land-music/Black Mountains on a chilly 5th November evening. A packed audience thoroughly enjoyed readings from ends of this back-to-back double collection, hearing not only Ruth, but her friend Mary MacGregor, and Jan Fortune.

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John Barnie Launching Wind Playing with a Man's Hat

Seems like a long time ago — perhaps it is! — but we thoroughly enjoyed the launch at Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Studio room of John Barnie's new collection, Wind Playing with a Man's Hat, on 3rd November. John was joined by fellow members of Hollow Log (Dilwyn Roberts-Young on harmonica and Richard Marggraf Turley, guitar) for a great evening of poetry and country blues.

Jan introducing John's book
John reading on the stage of the Studio
John playing guitar and singing
The trio in mid-song
John gesturing as he reads another poem
The three members perform another song
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Moorings Reading

We're happy to hear that Kathleen M Quinlan will be reading from her debut collection, Moorings on 9 November, 2016 at Loose Muse, the Sun Pub, 21 Drury Lane (on the corner of Betterton Street only a few yards from the Poetry Café), London, WC2B 5RH.

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2016 Debut Novel/Novella Prize

Many thanks to all those who entered this year. It was a difficult one to adjudicate, with 20 long listed novels and 4 short listed. The short list entrants were:

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Penrith Poetry with Jacci Bulman

On Saturday, 20 October, Jacci Bulman, author of A Whole Day Through From Waking, organised a great poetry festival in her local town, Penrith, Cumbria. A grand total of 17 poets came along on one evening to read their works, share a delicious buffet and mix and meet each other. The event also raised funds for "Forward UK", a charity supporting women in Africa and the UK opposing female genital mutilation, and a local group "Support Uganda", who provide sanitary care for Ugandan schoolgirls, so they can stay in school all month long. The event raised £147, plus great fun and awareness. Jacci said she was inspired to set up the event after reading herself at the "Poetry Swindon" festival, where the friendliness and great atmosphere between poets was something she wanted to bring "up north"! She will be reading next at Keswick WBTW Festival on 7 March, 2017, where she is inviting 8 other great local poets to read with her.

Jacci and the poets at the festival
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Launching Entertaining Angels and The Truth in Masquerade

The last launch of October took place at the wonderful A Likely Story bookshop in Tywyn, with both Carole Strachan reading from The Truth in Masquerade and Petina Strohmer launching her novel Entertaining Angels.

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Launching A Time for Peace

The middle of October saw us in Leamington to launch both Marg Robert's impressive First World War novel A Time for Peace. The upstairs of the local Waterstone's was quite packed by the time things began, an attentive and enthusiastic audience enjoying two extracts from the book, the second reading featuring local poet Nigel Hutchinson as a second voice in a very compelling presentation.

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Launching Moving Pictures and Turn/Return

It seems like a long time ago but it was only the beginning of October when we were back at the Protico Library, Manchester, to launch both Marton Zarrop's Moving Pictures and Jan Fortune's Turn/Return. It was a great evening, with a fantastic audience who listened closely to both poets and gave them a warm and appreciative welcome.

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Launching Black Sheep Cottage

We launched Black Sheep Cottage, the debut novel by Michelle Angharad Pashley, last night (Friday, 30 September), practically on Cinnamon HQ's doorstep, at the Hen Bost Bookshop in Blaenau Ffestiniog. A sizable and enthusiastic crowd packed the shop to hear Michelle read extracts from the book, share a drink and a chat, and, of course, get their copies of the book signed by the author.

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