Sunday 18 December 2022

Newsletter 63

Dear Friends of the Glue Factory

So here it is, the distinguished thing, as Henry James reportedly said in different circumstances. Not death, in this case, but the very last Glue Factory newsletter. 

I've been thinking about the future and about the current list of 1000+ subscribers. Over the past month or so I've been inviting a number of indie publishers to use my Zoom account as a platform to promote new and forthcoming books and to showcase their past, current and future writers. This seems to be a good idea so in 2023 you'll get occasional invitations to such events and I hope you'll join the audience (as shall I). More of this later in the newsletter.

We'll also host a number of special events online, including the announcement of the Barbellion Prize shortlist and winner in March and the launch (in May) of London Consequences 2, the collaborative novel featuring 18 of the best contemporary writers which I'm co-editing with Jonathan Gibbs (see below). Other events are planned.

So - to business.

Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   2022 Barbellion Prize long list 

3.   Indie press news

        Bluemoose Books

        Vanguard Editions

4.   Beckett Foundation Fellows

5.   Kevin Boniface klaxon!

6.   Oh no it isn't!

7.   New Year gift ideas

8.   Forthcoming in 2023

9.   The Way Things Are Now

10.  The final nudge

11.  PS.  Rare collector's item



1. Aid for Ukraine

Today is - horribly, unbelievably - the 298th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and there's no sign whatsoever of peace in sight, or of any let-up in the violence. The suffering and loss of life on both sides is quite unthinkable - the death toll for both civilian and armies is heartbreaking.  

I first added this opening item in February following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and I hope - I know - it has prompted readers to donate to the British Red Cross, which is doing a lot of good work in the devastated region. You can donate quickly and easily here. Whatever you can, whenever you can.

Thank you. 


2. The 2022 Barbellion Prize longlist

Thanks entirely to the generosity of subscribers to this newsletter and to the audience at the final Glue Factory gathering last week, the Barbellion Prize will go ahead as planned  this year, and next year. 

The 2022 long list was announced on Friday this week and the range of writers and subjects serves to confirm the importance of the Barbellion in raising awareness of disability and the discourse surrounding it. I've read only Polluted Sex (which is shockingly brilliant) and Hybrid Humans (which featured on The Glue Factory when the author joined us for a memorable conversations and reading). The rest will bear closer scrutiny! The shortlist will be announced in March next year, and we'll host some kind of online event to mark the occasion.

Here's the 2022 long list:

Head Above Water - by Shahd Alshammari (Neem Tree Press).

Recovering Dorothy: The Hidden Life of Dorothy Wordsworth - by Polly Atkin (Saraband).

Polluted Sex - by Lauren Foley (Influx Press).

163 Days - by Hannah Hodgson (Seren Books).

Book of Hours: An Almanac for The Seasons of The Soul - by Letty McHugh (Self-published, with support from Disability Arts Online).

Chouette - by Claire Osketsky (Ecco/HarperCollins).

Hybrid Humans: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Man and Machine - by Harry Parker (Profile Books/Wellcome Collection).

Congratulations to all the authors and to their publishers. Good work Jake!

It's not too late to donate! If you were in the audience last Sunday for the final gathering and haven't yet donated please dig deep and click here. It takes less than a minute to do so and you'll have a clear conscience for the rest of your days.

3. Indie press news

Bluemoose Books

Forthcoming from the mighty House of Bluemoose:

Wes Brown's Breaking Kayfabe 'a novel about wrestling and northern masculinity')

Kevin Boniface's short story collection Sport Club

Both authors will be familiar to Glue Factory audiences and I know these two books will just smash it. Smash it out of the park.

Also - we've almost reached the end of London Consequences, the collaborative novel project involving 18 authors, the writing of which began at the end of August. It's been a wonderful four months for me and Jonathan Gibbs (as co-editors), each week bringing a new chapter, each chapter a benefical shock. We'll be editing the complete book over the next couple of weeks with submission in mid-January. The novel will be published in May 2023 and we're planning launch events, both online and (as hybrid gatherings) in real venues, with live audiences. 

Vanguard Editions

The Hinge of Metaphor is a unique collection of essays on the world of Cinema, its films, actors and directors, by a spectacular array of poets, playwrights, essayists, interdisciplinary writers, novelists and academics. Includes new, exclusive work on subjects as diverse as Pete Docter’s computer-animation Inside Out, Hitchcock’s The Trouble with HarryPanos Cosmatos’ Beyond the Black RainbowOlivier Assayas’ Après mai, Hal Hartley’s Amateur, Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, the function of episodic memory in Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindAmadeus as both play and film, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in AnatoliaPsycho & hypnosis, a comparative study of Claude Sautet’s Un Cœur en hiver vs. Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher, mirrors in the films of Jean-Daniel Pollet, Croatian filmmaker Ivan Martinac.

Contributors include:

Victoria Best / David Collard / Dan Dalton / Andrew Gallix / Jonathan Gibbs / Susana Medina / Mathilde Merouani / Rachael de Moravia / Dan O’Brien / Christian Patracchini / Imogen Reid / Richard Skinner / Matthew Turner / Owen Vince / Tony White / Eley Williams 

(How many Glue Factory compadres can you spot?)

Published in March 2023 by Vanguard Editions


4. Beckett Creative Fellows

The Samuel Beckett Research Centre at the University of Reading this week announced the appointment of two new Creative Fellows 2022-23: Claire-Louise Bennett and Simon Okotie.

Over the course of their year-long Fellowships, the two authors will engage with the contents, history and spaces of the world-leading archive relating to Samuel Beckett’s work which is held at the University’s Special Collections. Supported by colleagues at the Samuel Beckett Research Centre, through this engagement with the archives they will produce new creative work, to be premiered at the end of their time with us. Claire-Louise and Simon follow our previous fellows, Hannah Khalil, Duncan Campbell, Eimear McBride, and novelist Robert McCrum and composer Tim Parkinson, in accepting a Creative Fellowship at the Centre. We are very excited about the opportunity to work with them

5. Kevin Boniface klaxon! Our Kevin in conversation with Joe Thompson in The Quietus: "As far as creativity is concerned, for me it’s the access you get. You can go wherever you want and people tend to ignore you, which is very useful. People don’t ask too many questions, because you’re a postman. Making notes and writing things down, the observational stuff, that was the real eye opener for me. Having access to all different parts of town that I never would have gone to. These are all residential areas that people don’t go to, unless you’re working there. There’s no shops there half the time. Just wandering around residential areas, people don’t do that, unless they’re a postman or a thief!"

Read the complete interview here. Kevin gives generous shout outs to the writers he admires: Wendy Erskine, Tim Etchells, Tony White, Sayaka Murata, Amy MacAuley, Rónán Hession and Dan Rhodes. 

Solidarity with the postal workers!


6. Oh yes it is!

The Glue Factory is now closed, shuttered, heavily graffitied and soon to be targeted by arsonists. But the Carthorse Orchestra Players will reunite for one more time in that otherwise flat period following Boxing Day, and we'll be performing a timeless classic. There's also likely to be some swearing.


     A GRAND   seasonal  pantomime       


          At 7:30pm ON tuesday 27th DECEMBER 2022

                 The Carthorse Orchestra Players 


          P E T E R    P A N                              or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up 

                                adapted from the celebrated play 

                                  by MR. J.M. Barrie        


       A Benefit Performance in aid of 


                                   S T A R R I N G


                                        in the role she she was born to play    

      Miss Wendy Erskine

                                                As Wendy darling

   ********************                                                             That polygot phenomenon

                        Mr Frank Wynne  

                                     As Captain Hook

                                           Celebrated Author and Musician

            MR. Rónán Hession

                                                                        as Mr. smee


                              The dashing matinee idle           

       Master  SAMUEL SKOOG 

                         As  PETER PAN


                                       Whitstable’s pre-eminent tragedian

                  Mr. Kevin Davey       

                                                                    as  J. M. Barrie


             Ooh la la! Anglo-Gallic hilarity!


                 Mme. Susanna Crossman   

                         MONSIEUR ANDREW ZeC 

                                         as Mary & George George darling

                      Alice &  Sophia

                  as themselves

 "The two daves"

            Henningham  &  Collard


                                      And diverting contributions from


                                  Yorkshire’s First Family of Fun

               Mr.  Kevin ‘Sherry’ BONIFACE  

                    Mrs.  Georgia ‘Giggles’ BONIFACE                

                                     MISS   MOLLY BONIFACE

                               (By kind permission of the Camel Club, Huddersfield) 

                               That broth of a boy from the emerald isle

                    Mr Gavin Clarke as Pirate Murphy                                            

                        the mermaids


     Marie-Elsa Bragg * Emma Devlin * Ariel Andressen



                       ‘The Fast Belle of Belfast’

                  Emma Devlin

                                                                 As Tinkerbell                    




                                    with an instructive preamble by

       Miss Melissa McCarthy


                                     a valedictory appearance by 

               Miss AEA VARFIs - VAN WARMELo


Original music composed and performed by  Acclaimed 

                                    empress of all the Ivories

     MISS Helen Ottaway



                            This production contains mild peril, flashing lights and swearing


                         - NO REFUNDS -


7. New Year gift ideas

Struggling for inspiration? There are still a few copies of Multiple Joyce left and they're likely to be valuable collector's items because they are, uniquely, unsigned.

Buy buy buy here here here: 

And here's a recording of me gassing on about the links between Joyce and Anthony Burgess with Andrew Biswell of the Burgess Foundation. Perfect easy listening for this time of the year. 


8.   Forthcoming in 2023

As mentioned in the previous newsletter I'll continue to subscribe to Zoom and have invited indie publishers to use the platform to launch new books or promote their authors. I'm happy to say therte's already been some interest so if you're on this mailing list you can expect the odd invitation to online events in 2023.

First up will be the novelist Todd McEwan's new collection of essays Cary Grant's Suit, published by Notting Hill Editions


9.  The Way things Are Now

An eloquent four minute news update from Jonathan Pie. Do click and watch.


10. The last nudge

For food banks this is usually their busiest time of the year.

Click here to donate The earlier you can get your donations in the better, so there’s time to get them where they need to go in time. Thank you for supporting your local food bank this winter.


11.  PS

Finally, and for nostalgists, here's a copy of the very first Glue Newsletter, or 'Gluesletter' if you will, from October last year. It's changed a bit since then, but not that much. My choice of Courier Bold as afont was there from the start, although the blood and custard masthead chaned to the colours of the Ukrainian national flag in February. 


           The Glue Factory  


1. Sunday 3rd October 

Let’s see if this works - a weekly newsletter to keep the balls rolling after the end of Carthorse Orchestra, and a way to stay in touch.

The plan is to send these out every week on late Sunday afternoons. 

The Glue Factory (an obvious sequel to The Knacker’s Yard) will bring to your attention the kind of things that featured in our online gatherings. 

I’m open to suggestions, so please email me with anything you’d like to see included in future issues. Authors, indie publishers, press agents, creative practitioners of all kinds are welcome with open arms. Within reason.  


Stay well.



In Search of Lost Tim

Tim Etchells delivered two mesmerising monologues at the final Carthorse gathering. He couldn’t be present in person because he was otherwise engaged, launching a huge public artwork at the Centre Pompidou. He sent a picture, which I attach: QU’Y A-T-IL ENTRE NOUS?(Roughly: WHAT IS THERE BETWEEN US?). This is one of five neon artworks dotted around the city. More details of this and Tim’s other activities here: 


Hail, Fellows

Congratulations to Carthorse regular Wendy Erskine, who joins singer Tim Wheeler and the poet and philosopher Denise Riley as a Seamus Heaney Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast.

More on that here: 

Oddly the press release doesn’t mention Denise Riley’s astonishing Time Lived, Without Its Flow. A slender book about loss and grief described to me by the author David Hayden as ‘a cathedral in a matchbox’.


Your only man

Tony White’s hilarious short story ‘Plain Speaking’, a highlight of the last Carthorse, will be published this Tuesday to mark the 110th birthday of Brian O’Nolan, aka Flann O’Brian aka Myles nGopaleen. See Tony’s website:


Reel lives

The film maker Chiara Ambrosia (who shared her beautiful short film The Ghost Frequency about an abandoned Italian village on A Leap in the Dark last year) has a new film which will have a first screening in London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery this week. On Thursday, in fact.

Details here:

And you can watch Samuel Skoog’s extraordinary and startling poetic short Aphos Collage here:


Indie presses 

The links to indie books promoted on the final Carthorse are below:

Blackstaff Press, Belfast

Emma Devlin posted this in the chat room: from the indie Belfast publisher Blackstaff Press (new to me), which includes a story she wrote about ‘a strange and wilful sea’. 

Galley Beggar Press

Sagging Meniscus Press

Weatherglass Books

Henningham Family Press

Books currently published by David and Ping Henningham:

The Tomb Guardians by Paul Griffiths:

Pupa by J. O. Morgan:

The Blackbird by Claire Allen:


The Lost Spell by Yismake Worku trans. Bethlehem Attfield:

Foulness, a novel by David Henningham crowdfunding now :

Email to express an 

        interest in Dedalus by Chris McCabe

And another thing…

I was unable to include this in the selection of forthcoming books from indie publishers, so here’s news from Kevin Duffy of the mighty Bluemoose Books in Hebden Bridge:

I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam


Devika was born in Brunei, moved to London and now lives in Edinburgh. She has an MA in Creative writing from UEA and is an award winning short film maker and her recent film of the same name was shown last year at the Poona Short Film Festival in India. She has spent 17 years writing this novel and received a grant from Scottish arts to go and do research on Tahiti where she met Teha'amana's great grand daughter.

A few words from Devika:

The idea for the book began with the painting Manao Tupapau/The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch. It is Paul Gauguin’s masterpiece from his first stay in Tahiti from 1891-93. In it, Teha’amana, his '12 year old' muse and lover, lies naked on his bed, looking back at him. I wanted to give her a voice, the Tahitian girl who became Gauguin’s ‘wife’ and whose story has never been told.

Gauguin died of syphilis. Was he already carrying the disease when he arrived on the island? What did she think of the painter – the man who makes human beings? What did she think of the painting that connected me to her, across time, race, and geography? What happened to her after he left? These questions, her story haunted me, and bringing her voice to the page has been my obsession for the 17 years it took to write it!

Gaugin gives her a broach and she says:

'They glint, your gift, in the half-light of this half-life, for me, your half-wife.'

It is a novel of a woman finding her voice, of being unsilenced, about European exceptionalism and the exoticisation of the islands and the islanders. It is a lyrical literary love song to the islands, its myths and legends and I can say that in the 35 years of being involved in publishing, I have never read anything like it. It moved to me to tears. Of course the Gaugin family will hate it and throw up their hands about different times but he wouldn't have wanted the same life for his 12 year old daughter back in Paris, would he?

Published by Bluemoose Books on March 28th 2022.


Stakeholders only

Dracula - the Untold Story (designed by Laura Hopkins) is now running at the Leeds Playhouse and then touring. Read the FIVE STAR review here:

Laura is working on a new website. Meanwhile here’s a slide show of her pre-pandemic work in theatre:


Latte adopters welcome

Paul Stanbridge is the genius behind Forbidden Line (his first novel, which I blogged about here:

His next novel will be My Mind To me A Kingdom Is, published by Galley Beggar Press. Between the two lies a singular creation which we shared on the last night of the Carthorse: 

Encyclopaedia of St Arbuc

You know what to do, so get weaving and be part of the most outrageously original work of contemporary fiction - a book as big as the world. And the merry prankster who added my name to the landing page? Just you wait.  


What the young people are doing

Finally, the ever-resourceful Jake Goldsmith has launched something which I don’t fully understand, because computers. But it’s a Very Good Thing and enables recovering Carthorsians a way of keeping in touch with one another. Here it is:


And that’s it from the Glue Factory. 

Thank you all.

Let’s stick together.

David x


All good wishes for 2023 and beyond

David x