Quartet - Jennifer Bailey, Helen Holmes, Jane McLaughlin, Jez Noond

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For Jennifer Bailey the quotidian is never quite what is seems; appearances are slippery and life turns on small risks and encounters. Helen Holmes’s finely tuned ear and astute observations deliver not only authentic dialogue and convincing characters, but also a humane sensibility that can move us quickly from the poignant to the amusing. Jane McLaughlin can move us from sympathetic to spine-chilling with deft, highly compressed narratives that are beautifully paced and believable. And Jez Noond delivers gorgeous, linguistically rich prose that takes us into strange and sometimes strained relationships; a slanted perspective that makes for layered and satisfying narratives.

Together, these four highly talented emerging writers make Quartet an anthology that we are proud to be publishing in our tenth anniversary year.

Jennifer Bailey grew up in Lancashire, left at eighteen, and gradually travelled south, via Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester, to London.  During that migration, she taught at a series of universities that included Leicester, Nottingham, California State in Sacramento and London’s City University.  The serious writing took hold recently and a number of stories have been published in Slow Dancer, The New Writer, Fish Anthology, Staple, and by Cinnamon Press.  A novella, Pictures of Margaret, was runner-up in this year’s Manchester Metropolitan University Novella Competition.

Helen Holmes revved up her idling brain by taking an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University after a career in Education,. One of her short stories won a New Writing North competition; others have been shortlisted for Cinnamon Press, Mslexia, The Fine Line and Lightship competitions. Her work has been published in six anthologies. She was one of the first cohort to take part in Cinnamon Press’s mentoring scheme, which resulted in the completion of a collection of short stories. Helen lives with her husband in north Northumberland.

Jane McLaughlin writes poetry and fiction and her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. She was longlisted in the National Poetry Competition 2012, shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2013 and has been commended and listed in other major competitions. Her story A Roof of Red Tiles won the Cinnamon Press Writer’s Award and is the title story of the anthology. Her e-book The Abbot’s Cat, also published by Cinnamon Press, a crossover novella for adults and older children, has received excellent reviews on Amazon. She was selected for the Cinnamon Press mentoring programme in 2013 and completed it in 2014. Jane lives in London and belongs to several writers’ groups there. She works as a consultant in adult and further education.

Jez Noond is a writer and educator. After many years working as a visual artist he completed a creative writing masters degree with NTU in 2013. He became a Cinnamon Press mentee the same year. This year, his short fiction has been long-listed for the Bristol Short Story Prize and found publication with Cinnamon Press. Jez lives in Nottingham, England but likes to travel as part of his research. Recently, after spending time living in a forest in Estonia, he travelled to the Russian. He is currently writing a novel and planning a trip to Moscow.