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.
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 …
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
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 …
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:
Growing up in the age of the gatefold sleeve and the triple album, I always wanted to design record covers and was deeply upset to have to accept that I was never going to be Roger Dean or Rodney Matthews. Fast forward, oh, at least that many years, and here I am, designing covers for Cinnamon books. Is it as exciting, as glamorous, as just, well, stunning as I'd dreamed? Well …