Articles and comments by Cinnamon authors.

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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Launch at The Big Green Bookshop

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

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.

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Jan Fortune at Greenwich

Jan reads to a spellbound audience
Jan shows the audience the cover of the book
Jan looks up as Irene Hill listens
Jan and the audience under the library's ornate cupola
Jan reads from the novel, framed by the cupola and the back of an audience member

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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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 and Matt chat before the reading
Ruth and Jan wait for the reading to begin
Ruth reads from Land-music as Jan and Mary look on
Ruth reads from Land-music
Ruth pauses at the end of her first reading
Mary reads from Black Mountains
Ruth begins her second reading as Jan and Mary follow along
Ruth laughing with audience members

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

Jan introducing Ruth's book
Ruth reading from Land-music
Ruth pauses between poems
Jan taking a turn to read from Land-music
Mary explains some of the background to a poem
Ruth listens as Mary reads from Black Mountains
Matthew Jarvis discusses the Black Mountain poems with audience members
Poet Christopher Meredith talks poetry
Ruth chatting as she signs another copy of Land-music
Ruth Bidgood as she finishes the launch

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

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

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.

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Penrith Poetry with Jacci Bulman

Jacci and the poets at the festival

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.

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Launching Entertaining Angels and The Truth in Masquerade

Carole reading from her novel
Carole holding the audience enthralled
Petina's dynamic presentation watched closely by the audience
Petina always in motion
The audience enjoying the readings
Carole and Petina pausing in the midst of signing more copies of their books

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

Marg and Jan chat before the reading begins
Marg chats with two of the audience members
Marg and the audience share a laugh at the start of her reading
Marg reads from her novel
Marg reads from her novel
Marg and Nigel reading the second extract
Marg and Nigel reading from their scripts
Jan congratulates a happy Marg on her reading
Marg autographing a copy of her book

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

Martin Zarrop reading to the audience
Martin Zarrop in front of an attentive audience
Martin Zarrop reading one of his poems
Martin Zarrop under the library's domed ceiling
Jan Fortune reading at the lectern
Jan reads to a packed room
The audience at the Portico during Jan's reading
Jan in mid-flow
Jan reads in the impressive surroundings of the Portico Library

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

Michelle Pashley chatting with guests
Michelle Pashley chatting with guests
Watching the reading begin
Jan and Michelle
Michelle reading from the book
Michelle reading from the book
Michelle and guests during the reading
Michelle reading from the book
Michelle and a guest after she has signed a copy of the book

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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Launching Lockdown at Greenwich

signing books
signing books
signing books
signing books
reading from Lockdown
reading from Lockdown
reading from Lockdown
reading from Lockdown
audience aplauding
Jane and Jan after the reading

Jane McLaughlin launched her excellent debut poetry collection, Lockdown last Saturday, 24 September, at the ever-friendly Made in Greenwich gallery. There was a handsome and very enthusiastic turn-out, the audience enjoying not only two extracts from Jane's book, but a couple of sets from singer-songwriter Bernadette Reed. As ever, our host, Irene Hill, was welcoming and eternally helpful, and we'd like to offer our thanks to her as well as all who came along to this wonderful, special evening.

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Letters from the Somme

Photo of Glyn Roberts
Photo of Jane Austin standing beside Glyn Roberts' grave
Photo of soldiers and civilians paying tribute at the Royal Welsh Fusiliers' memorial at the Somme

Exactly 100 years ago this month, Welsh Fusilier, 21-year-old Glyn Roberts fell at La Boiselle in the opening incursions of the Battle of the Somme. His battalion, the 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, engaged in an attack 'regardless of loss'. Glyn was killed on 3rd July 1916, days before the ensuing battle of Mametz Wood. A collection of moving letters home to his mother and sisters are the inspiration behind Jane Austin's debut novel, News from Nowhere. To honour the memory of her great uncle, Jane journeyed with the South Wales Western Front Association to the Somme battlefields for a memorial ceremony on the centenary of one of the bloodiest battles in British military history. The emotional trip resulted in Jane receiving, for the first time, a message that never reached her family at the time. This is her account of the extraordinary pilgrimage …

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Forging Alone: Some Thoughts on why Art Matters

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.

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Ian Gregson and Omar Sabbagh at Kyffin

Ian Gregson talking with Omar Sabbagh
Ian Gregson reading from The Crocodile Princess
Omar Sabbagh reading from Via Negativa

We had a great evening with Ian Gregson, reading from his novel The Crocodile Princess, and Omar Sabbagh reading extracts from his novella, Via Negativa, at the Kyffin café, in Bangor, last night (6th July).

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Launching A Whole Day Through from Waking

happy people with Jacci at her launch
Jacci signing books

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.

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Entering Competitions

Sheila Wild's long-awaited debut collection, Equinox will be released shortly. Here, Sheila talks about the process of entering writing competitions.

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