From Lisbon to Hay

A view of the bridge in the distance
Landeg White signing books at the launch of his novel, Ultimatum
Interior of the Libson bookshop where Ultimatum was launched

Lisbon is sleepy and quiet at 8.30 in the morning when I set out in search of breakfast after a good night's sleep in a tiny apartment on Rua Amadeu de Sousa Cardoso. Back at the LS Factory, a complex of restaurants, boutique shops and Livraria ler Devagar, where we launched Landeg White's novel, Ultimatum, last night, the cobbled street between former industrial warehouses and factories is totally deserted. There's a light on in the one café offering breakfast, but they don't open till 9.30 and I've got a plane to catch this morning, so I wander a little further down the hill.

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Launching The Kim's Game and In the Cinnamon Corners

Liz Hayward reads from In the Cinnamon Corners
Liz reads one of her poems
The audience listen as Stephanie introduces her novel
Stephanie holds up a snow globe similar to the one featured in the book
Stephanie explains an extract from the book
Stephanie's husband, Adrain reads an extract in the voice Hal, the book's central character
Adrian reads as the audience watches attentively
Jan Fortune leads the applause at the end of the readings

Another weekend, another Cinnamon launch? Almost. Well, hardly. It looked as though Liz Hayward wasn't going to make it at all, rushing in just in time — thanks to them wonderful English roads — but she didn't let the flusters get in the way of a great reading from her contribution to In the Cinnamon Corners.

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Launching Girl Without Skin

A view from the back of a packed room
Connie reading from her novel
Jan introduces the book at Connie looks on
Connie gesturing as she explains the background of the book
Connie, seen from a middle row, introducing the next story
Connie, seen from a middle row, introducing the next story
Connie, seen from a middle row, introducing the next story
Jan and the audience clap at the end of the reading

Last Monday (18th September) saw the launch of Connie Ramsay Bott's gripping novel-in-collage, Girl Without Skin at the Leamington branch of Waterstone's.

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Maria Jastrzebska on The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingenue

Front cover of The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingenue
Photo of Maria Jastrzebska standing, gesturing as she reads to an audience
Photo of Maria Jastrzebska sitting, talking to an audience

In this fascinating article, Maria Jastrzębska talks about the genesis and background of her eagerly awaited new book.

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Maria Jastrzebska Comes to Liquorice Fish

Front cover of The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingenue

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2017 Annual Short Story Prize

It's been a bit of a wait but we're happy to announce that the annual short story prize has now been adjudicated. The competition for the winning slots was close, the gap between third and first place was tremendously narrow, so the job of deciding was particularly hard. However, here are my final choices:

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The Story Continues

Cover art for Jan's forthcoming book

If you've been following Jan's blog you'll know she's been hard at work on the sequel to her extraordinary novel, This is the End of the Story — a book described by one reviewer as "incredible … one of the finest examples of experimental contemporary fiction I have read" and one we're very proud of indeed. Meanwhile, Cinnamon's intrepid team of artists have been labouring over the cover to this next volume, A Remedy for All Things (okay, not so much a "team" as me and Freyja, who generally works in an executive capacity although she's not above rolling up her sleeves and helping by, say, sitting on my keyboard or swatting the mouse to the floor). A much anticipated and debated cover it has been, too (at least by Jan and Freyja … mostly Jan, if the truth be known) and, at last, in this exclusive preview, we can unveil the finished artwork. Drum roll, Don …

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What Rain Taught Me


To celebrate the official launch of her new collection, What Rain Taught Us, at the Cinnamon Summer Picnic in Wirksworth on 2 July, Gail Ashton tells us something of the background of this remarkable new work:

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Approaches to Writing


A photo of Nigel Hutchinson
A photo of Nigel Hutchinson

With the official launch of his debut collection, The Humble Family Interviews, at Waterstone's, Birmingham, this week, Nigel Hutchinson offers some thoughts to the hows and whys of writing.

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Poetry at Chichester University

Emma-Jane introducing her book
Emma-Jane introducing a poem from her book
Emma Jane listens as Donna introduces her pamphlet
Donna reading from her pamphlet
Donna reading from her pamphlet
Emma-Jane and Donna share a laugh before the start of the Q&A
Emma-Jane answering a question
Donna considering her answer

We travelled back to Chichester University last week to launch Emma-Jane Hughes's debut collection The Mechanics of Love and Donna Kirstein's pamphlet Borderlands.

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Richard Douglas Pennant at Kyffin

Richard talking to poet Gwynne Wheldon Evans
Richard signing a copy of Lines in the Sky
Richard chatting while signing books
Jan and co chatting at the end of Richard's reading

Richard Douglas Pennant's delicate debut collection of prose poetry, Lines in the Sky received an intimate but intense launch at the end of April.

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New Eden Poets

Jacci with Kenneth Wilson and members of the New Eden Poets

Saturday, 22 April saw the 'New Eden Poets' plus cellist Kenneth Wilson performing and fundraising at a great new venue, The Old Fire Station, in Penrith. Jacci Bulman, who organises events through 'Eden 4 Poetry', was very glad to see a happy audience enjoying a night of brilliant poetry and music, all raising funds for the charity 'Practical Action'. Over £100 was raised, and everyone enjoyed a great evening together, celebrating poetry in Cumbria.

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To the Middle of Love - Punch-drunk?

Cover design for To the Middle of Love
Omar reading from To the Middle of Love
Omar reading from To the Middle of Love

Okay, terrible pun but great book …

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High City Walk Shortlisted

The cover of High City Walk

It came as quite a surprise to find my collection, High City Walk, shortlisted for Best Short Story Collection in this year's Saboteur Awards — a very pleasant one, I might add. Voting in currently underway to decide the winner and we'll find out the results on 13 May.

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Launching Under the Pipal Tree in Greenwich

The audience before the reading began
Anjana shares a joke with the audience during her introduction
Anjana laughing with the audience
Anjana explaining an aspect of the novel during the questions session afterwards
Anjana talking with her hands
Anjana laughing

Anjana Chowdhury launched her novel, Under the Pipal Tree at an event organised by the wonderful Irene Hill of in-words. West Greenwich Library was filled to capacity by a very enthusiastic audience who were thoroughly enjoyed what was a warm and captivating launch.

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Cinnamon Press at York Literature Festival

The panel of authors and their audience
Jane, Jan and Marg share a joke during the talk

As part of this year's York Literature Festival, three of our novelists took part in a panel discussion about historical novels set during the First World War. Jane Austin (News from Nowhere), Rebecca Gethin (What the Horses Heard) and Marg Roberts (A Time for Peace) joined Jan Fortune to talk about their novels, the process of creating historical fiction and to read extracts from their work before a large and rapt audience.

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The London Launch of News from Nowhere

Jane talks about the book as Rowan Fortune watches
Jane listens to questions from the audience
The audience talk over the book

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

Ruth and Mary share a laugh before the reading begins
Ruth reading from Land-music
Ruth reads as a rapt audience listens
Mary, Ruth and the audience as Jan introduces Mary's part of the reading
Mary introduces one of the poems as Ruth listens
Jan talks about Land-music at the end of the reading

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

Jan talks about News from Nowhere as Jane Austin watches
Jane pauses in the middle of her fascinating presentation
Jane giving an impassioned reading from one of the letters that inspired her book
Jane reading abother extract
Jan talking about the book at the start of her reading
Jan glancing up at a dramatic moment
Jan in mid-flow

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

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

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.

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