As the memory of two world wars and Hiroshima — great crimes against humanity on any, on every scale — slips into chapters of just more unbelievable history, it seems my generation, which has only known the voluntary expeditionary wars of our times, has decided to forge alone.
My book launch-party was a truly happy celebration, which meant I could 'launch' my book almost like pushing a boat out to sea, at last, after years of hard preparation and literal crafting. It went with a good crash of the bubbly! Creating this collection has been about not just editing so carefully every word and comma — with the invaluable help of Jan, as my editor — but also making the poems work together, in a sequence that hopefully flows into each other.
We're to announce that the annual short story prize has been adjudicated. The competition attracted a large number of entrants, so deliberations have been long but enjoyable, with many fine stories to consider and weigh up. This year's judge, Cinnamon's own Adam Craig, had a tough struggle deciding the top places, but he's made his decision, and here it is:
Just one more Cinnamon reading before the summer break and it promises to be a particularly good one: Ian Gregson reading from his novel The Crocodile Princess and Omar Sabbagh reading from Via Negativa — both great books and both authors highly entertaining in person. Promises to be a standout evening … so why miss out?
The result of the EU referendum has left many people frightened, bewildered, and deeply confused as to what is going to happen to them, their families and livelihoods, this country, and Europe as a whole. The Artuo Ui-meets-Père Ubu rise of Trump as US presidential candidate only mirrors the Absurdist figures of England's Farage and Johnson and creates an inescapable sense that the world, once again, has gone insane. In the face of these uncertainties and threats, can one, small imprint respond? Can, and should, Liquorice Fish Books, even attempt to continue, or should it bow to the scale of these changes, admit its irrelevance, and disappear?
It was a tremendous pleasure to return to the Made in Greenwich Gallery last Wednesday (16 March), not least to hear Alex Josephy reading from her pamphlet, Other Blackbirds, but also to see Omar Sabbagh as we officially launched his extraordinary novella, Via Negativa. Alex brought a roomful of people to support her and they all stayed on, listened attentively and were utterly won over by Omar's reading – they bought plenty of books, by both authors, too. So, congratulations to Alex, but most especially to Omar. A wonderful evening.
Patricia Debney's powerful and personal narrative sequence, Baby will be with us soon. Described by Jane Monson as mirroring with a precise and unflinching hand the stuff of life at its most human, Baby is an honest and striking examination of relationships and our struggle to both navigate and make sense of them. In this post, Patricia candidly discusses the work's origins and the process of its writing
Omar Sabbagh's extraordinary first prose work, Via Negativa: a parable of exile is launched this month. Subtle, layered, filled with beautiful prose and imagery, the novella is both an evocation of its central location, the city of Beirut, and a remarkable display of literary prowess that, nevertheless, never lets its verbal and thematic dexterity overwhelm the human and humane story at its heart. A truly beguiling and stunning debut novella, here Omar discusses the work's themes and influences.
As some of you probably already know, Cinnamon holds writing weeks in the idylic surroundings of Ty'n y coed, in the Conwy valley, every spring and autumn. To give a flavour of this year's spring sessions, here are the impressions of one of the writers who attended the course, Nick Jones:
Our recent course Ty'n y coed had a lot of memorable moments but one that particularly struck us was hearing Tamsin Treverton Jones reading the following article about her own pilgrimage along the Via Francigena. Cinnamon will be publishing more of Tamsin's work in future years but, meanwhile, here's her account in full …
Home again after an extraordinary — and extraordinarily intense — few months out and about, celebrating Cinnamon's Tenth Anniversary. Thursday, last, saw us installed in the Arts Centre Bookshop, Aberystwyth, with a grand line-up of authors (Maria Apichella, John Barnie, Mark Charlton, Matthew Francis, Ian Gregson, Hazel Manuel, Kathy Miles, Elizabeth Porter, Susan Richardson, plus Jan and, er, me!) for a marathon reading to an appreciative and enthusiastic audience — as you can see for yourself by going to the YouTube vid of the evening. It was a great way to round off our celebrations and a tremendous credit to Jan, who has guided, shaped, and nurtured Cinnamon Press into the respected and valued force it is.
We're just back from a stunning week-end at Cinnamon's 10th anniversary bash at the NN Gallery, Northampton. I was lucky enough to lead a workshop on the last day, for a very attentive and enthusiastic group of writers, on the topic of non-linear narratives. During a general discussion of innovative (or "experimental" — you pays your money and takes your choice) writing, I mentioned a couple of books that I'd found helpful and promised to do a short list of titles I've found useful in a future blog. So, without further ado: