It's never easy judging a competition and this year's entrants to the Debut Novel Prize were a particularly knotty group to unpick. But, at last, we managed to decide on a 15 strong long list to go over — and over — to arrive at the final short list of:
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.
In this fascinating article, Maria Jastrzębska talks about the genesis and background of her eagerly awaited new book.
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:
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.