Stale Bread and Miracles – Jan Fortune
From the moment Meg seeks entry into the priesthood, her vocation is challenged. Charting a path through the campaign for women’s ordination, Stale Bread & Miracles unfolds into a story that is heart-breaking and hopeful… an unflinching meditation on the dehumanising power of the institution and the humane tenacity to re-invent life, told in language that combines the rhythm and lyricism of poetry with the narrative minimalism of pared down prose. This is an extraordinary narrative, now in it’s third edition.
‘Far beyond the clear-sighted documentation of institutional attitudes, this is the examination of one woman’s journey through a process. It is a word-dance of seven-times-seven veils, each peeled off, held up to the light and then laid aside until we see Meg, alone in the spotlight, as the curtain comes down. I found myself giving her a standing ovation – Brava! Brava!’ — Ann Drysdale
Jan Fortune was born in Middlesbrough and grew up in Redcar. She read theology at Cambridge and completed a doctorate in feminist theology at Exeter University. Jan has worked as a teacher, priest (ordained at the first ordination of women to the CofE) and charity director. She is the founding editor of Cinnamon Press and has edited around 400 books and led numerous creative writing courses in the Wales, the UK (including courses for Arvon and Ty Newydd), Spain, France, and online. She mentors writers from beginners to highly experienced, across genres and hosts a writing community, Kith, that includes weekly prompts, courses and inspiriation for the writing life via her site Becoming a Different Story.
Her previous publications include non-fiction titles in alternative education and parenting and the major book book for writers: Writing Down Deep: an alchemy of the writing life (available as both hardback and paperback editions) ; the novels Dear Ceridwen and Coming Home. Her previous poetry collections include Particles of Life (BlueChrome), Slate Voices (a collaborative collection with Mavis Gulliver), Edge (a companion to Adam Craig’s Year W), and Turn/Return, a pamphlet inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Her most recent work is the Casilda Trilogy of novels, This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things and For Hope Is Always Born, and the spin-off, stand-alone novel Saoirse’s Crossing.
Her cross-over novels re-envisaging the Arthurian legends in a near-future authoritarian UK are The Standing Ground (originally published in 2008 and being relaunched in a new edition in autumn 2021) and The Roots of the Ground, written during the first UK lockdown as a live project with a group of writers as daily audience for first draft readings, and also due out in autumn 2021.
She is currently working on a haiku and lyric sequence tracking the seasons of a forest.
Jan is in the last stages of qualifiying as an aromatherapist, about to begin her second apprenticeship in herbalism and is currently training as a yoga nidrā teacher. She lives in a surviving area of ancient forest in Finistère, Brittany.