At Cinnamon Press we love books. We adore poetry and fiction, literature that defies genre and books that take risks. We find writers with distinctive voices who have something real to say exciting to work with. So what would make an independent press in love with words and story declare we don't want good books?
We were extremely sorry to hear that Landeg White passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 3 December. Born in South Wales in 1940, Landeg was a gifted writer, academic, novelist and poet, who published two of his novels with Cinnamon Press, most recently Ultimatum, which will be launched in February.
The notion that you are here for some purpose; that all you have to do is discover the one thing hidden deep in the recesses of your soul or psyche in order to fulfil your life's goal or nature or some other externally determined objective, is a pervasive one. An Internet search will bring up many and various ways to discover your purpose with the assumption that there is an esoteric 'very reason why you exist', more colloquially 'what you were put on earth for'. Yet not only are these supposedly deeply-embedded purposes hard to find, most of them seem to be described in sweeping statements so general as to become meaningless. Things like being here 'to bring peace' or 'radiate light'.
I've attended 4 book events in 4 countries in the last ten days and although each one has been completely different from the next, they've all been excellent experiences. From the launch of Landeg White's Ultimatum in iconic Lisbon bookshop, Ler Devagar, to an upstairs room in a pub in the Welsh border town of Presteigne, where myself and Susan Richardson read from several of our poetry collections; from an art-space café/bar in Edinburgh for the launch of Jay Whittaker's debut collection, Wristwatch, to the cosy and well-stocked Drake's bookshop for the launch of the second in Tracey Iceton's Celtic Colours Trilogy, Herself Alone in Orange Rain, there were key ingredients that meant the audiences were delighted, moved and engaged. And books were sold. So what is the magic list that makes a book event work?
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.
At Peirene Press, Meike Viervogel has been gathering signatories from literary and cultural organisations in support of Britain staying within the EU. There is a range of arguments on whether to stay in or leave Europe, but at Cinnamon Press we are with Meike and her colleagues in maintaining that any isolationist impulse is culturally destructive.
The theme 'dark interiors' brought in a diverse and intriguing selection of microfictions and poetry, with a huge contingent that focussed on painful memories and disturbed childhoods. The strongest pieces were the subtlest; those that took an oblique look at the subject and produced something fresh.
In the depths of a cold North Welsh January, replete with storms, fourteen writers and three tutors met at Ty'n y coed in two consecutive groups of seven students to celebrate a year of intensive mentoring and to look at how far the work had come over that year.
Cinnamon Press is proud to launch a new website to coincide with its tenth anniversary. Over the last five years we've had new design and a great site generously provided by Armin Osmancavic and maintained by Cinnamon author, Adnan Mahmutovic. Earlier this year this lovely site was hacked and, whilst we were going in ever decreasing circles trying to remove the unwanted adverts for prescription medications, Sarah Willans came to the rescue.