Sunday 26 June 2022

Newsletter 38

If you're horrified by news from the United States this week you may want to sign this open letter expressing support for all those affected by the overturning of Roe vs Wade. What else can we do?

Quiet a lot, as it happens. Here's another link to a list of ten US abortion rights organisations that you can donate to: 

Where was I? Oh yes: For this newsletter I welcome suggestions from authors, indie publishers, press agents and creative practitioners of all kinds, in any medium, so please email me with anything you’d like to share with our readers in future issues. 

And don’t forget that you're also invited to the live online gathering on Sundays at 7:30pm UK time. They are always free to join (but donations to The Trussell Trust or your local equivalent outside the UK are appreciated). Details of this week's gathering are in the newsletter. Do join us.

Let me know if you’d rather not receive this regular update and I’ll happily stop bothering you.  

Let’s stick together.



Newsletter contents

1   Aid for Ukraine

    ROAR (Russian Oppositional Arts Review) Issue 2

2   This week’s online gathering

3   Indie press news

        Galley Beggar Press


4   Clare Hutton's Bloomsday lecture

5   Harry Parker at the Wellcome 

6   Let Joyce be uncoffined!

7   Borges...Burgess, Burgess..Joyce: an Irwell Foundation podcast

8   Work in progress 

9   The Edge Hill Prize

10  Victoria Kennefick klaxon

11. Natalia Zagorska-Thomas: two shows


13  Next week's gathering

14  Me and My Spoon

15  Two Dublin chums

16  Nudge


1. Aid for Ukraine

I open with this message every week, with wearisome predictability as the war drags on.

You’ll have many calls on your time and generosity when it comes to supporting the people of Ukraine and the ghastly term ‘compassion fatigue’ has been circulating for so long that we're all experiencing compassion fatigue fatigue. 

This weekly newsletter will continue to highlight some of the less visible initiatives but the most far-reaching programme is the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. You can donate quickly and easily here.

And a note from poet Caroline Clarke that the second issue of ROAR (Russian Oppositional Arts Review) is now live online with work by almost 200 Russophone writers, artists and musicians, all opposed to the Russian attacks on Ukraine. 


2. This week’s online gathering

This week's online gathering (starting at 7:30pm) will feature the poet Aea Varfis-van Warmelo performing her extraordinary new piece ‘Lacrymatory’; author David Hayden’s new short story ‘Good Pizza’ will be read by Stephanie Ellyne, followed by a conversation with the author. We'll have a first appearance by poet Abigail Parry and, and I'll  be marking the re-issue of Stan Barstow's classic novel A Kind of Loving.

You'll get a unique Zoom link at 6:30pm UK time - please join us.

                                    Aea Varfis-van Warmelo


3. Indie Press news 

It's suddenly gone very quiet out there. Publishers? Indie publishers? Hit me up, as they say.

Galley Beggar Press

One welcome arrival in the post this week, from Galley Beggar Press, is an advance copy of MY MIND TO ME A KINGDOM IS by Paul Stanbridge. This is his second novel (I blogged about it back in 2016) Since then Paul has created the astonishing Encyclopaedia of St Arbuc which featured on the final show of my online series Carthorse Orchestra in October 2021. The audience that night will never forget the revelation of this magnificent, demented, game-changing, life-enhancing project.  

So the arrival of a new novel by Paul Stanbridge is a Very Big Thing and I hope the author will join our Glue Factory gathering to share some thoughts. My advance copy sits, still wrapped, on my desk, giving off a low steady thrum of genius. You can read an extract here 


Featured on last Sunday's gathering, Deceit by Yuri Felsen is now available from Prototype Press in an elegant translation by Bryan Karetnyk. A long-lost modernist masterpiece, iy can be bought direct from the publishers here


4. Clare Hutton's Bloomsday lecture

To mark the centenary of the publication of Ulysses, Dr Clare Hutton delivered a Bloomsday lecture entitled 'a gaud of amber beads', about Ulysses, Feminism and Biography. It's now available for all to watch online and warmly recommended.


5 Harry Parker at the Welcome Institute

The artist and author Harry Parker was a guest on The Glue Factory earlier this year talking about his non-fiction book Hybrid Humans, a brilliant and eye-opening study of the many ways in which innovative technologies are being deployed in the service of medicine.

                                      Harry Parker

He'll be appearing at the Wellcome Institute in London on 7th July and this is (appropriately enough) a hybrid event, so you can attend in person or access it online. 


6. Let Joyce be uncoffined!

Here's a review of my new book by a smart young American blogger called Chris Via 

This is something entirely new to me - a straight-to-camera piece of literary criticism. He's been doing this for some time, and is very good at it. 

He's the first reviewer to notice the structural tipping-point midway, and the (deliberate) change of tone that follows. There are a few 'Easter eggs' scattered through the book, although not enough to keep the professors busy for three hundred years. I'm no Joyce.

Multiple Joyce is launched in London tomorrow, 27th June, at the Irish Literary Society in Bloomsbury. It's not too late to book a ticket and you get a 50% discount if you enter the code 'BUKE' So that's a night out in a swanky West End venue for a fiver.

I'll be in conversation with Rónán Hession, with music by Melanie Pappenheim and Sarah Angliss and readings by Stephanie Ellyne and Frank Grimes. There will be a generous giveaway of Joyce books also, and signings. Do come! 


7. Burgess/Borges/Joyce  - a new podcast

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation manages the legacy of the great Mancunian writer, and I was honoured to be invited to take part in a Foundation podcast recently, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Ulysses and chatting to Andrew Biswell about Burgess, Multiple Joyce, and much else besides. This is the latest in a series of podcasts exploring Anthony Burgess’s love of the novel and the many connections between Burgess and Joyce. It's available on YouTube 

And, finally, I also discuss Multiple Joyce and matters arising with Katy Ward of Litro magazine here: 


8. Work in progress

It's all still under wraps and utterly hush-hush, but I'm very excited by the prospect of a unique collaborative project involving 18 contemporary writers, starting in September and leading to print publication in Spring 2023. We're still ironing out the details, but all will be revealed in a future newsletter. Watch this space...

9. The Edge Hill Prize longlist

Fourteen collections of short stories were this week long listed for the prestigious Edge Hill Prize, which awards £10,000 to the best single-authored short story collection from the UK & Ireland. They're all marvellous I'm quite sure, but here's a particular tip o'the hat to Glue Factory favourites Wendy Erskine (for Dance Moves) Ben Pester (Am I in the Right Place?), Lucy Caldwell (Intimacies) and the late, much-missed Uschi Gatward (English Magic). How on earth can anyone choose between them?

10. Victoria Kennefick klaxon

Delighted to learn that Eat Or We Both Starve by Victoria Kennefick, published by Carcanet, is the winner of the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2022. Congratulations to Victoria and her publisher. (She appeared at a Carthorse Orchestra gathering exactly a year ago, on 26th June 2021, in an evening devoted to Irish Women's poetry curated by David Wheatley and Ailbhe Darcy.

Buy her book direct from the publisher here.


11. Natalia Zagorska-Thomas

One of our favourite artists, the blazingly talented Natalia Zagorska-Thomas (who runs the Studio Expurgamento in Camden Town) will be taking part in two shows coming up in July.

Thursday 7th July: Mother's Ruin is an exhibition in a Grade I listed building which used to house an old gin factory on an island surrounded by the river Lea in London. Bespoke, local, heritage gin rolled on the thighs of virgins will be served. [I'm in - DC] Details of the PV here:

From Sunday 3rd July: Catch Your Breath at the gorgeous St John's Churchyard in Waterloo. Artists respond in the historic Churchyard gardens using wood; steel & wire; site-specific installation; found objects; bamboo canes & plastic foil; tarpaulin; soil, water, clay, straw, sand, and cement; papier mache and paint, and much more.

St John’s Churchyard
St John’s Waterloo, 73 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8TY
Sun 3 July – Thurs 30 July
Open: 9am – 10pm
Picnic & Artist’s Talks: Sat 30 Jul, 1 – 3pm
Nearest tube: Waterloo



The third issue of TOLKA, 'a journal of formally promiscuous non-fiction' has just been published in Ireland and features Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and her piece 'Lacrymatory', which she'll be performing for us in this week's online gathering. You'll certainly want to read this, and can order a copy here:


13. Next week's gathering

Next Sunday (3rd June) I'm lucky enough to have a ticket for an all-day screening of Béla Tarr's magnificent Sátántangó. It starts at 10am and runs (with breaks) for nearly 8 hours. This means The Glue Factory next week will be a pre-recorded programme from the archive (with a live introduction). The next live Glue Factory will be on 10th June and it's going to be a night to remember. Details will be included in the 10th June newsletter.

                              Still from 
Sátántangó (1994)


14. Me and My Spoon

Invited by Elly Millar of Galley Beggar Press to contribute some thoughts to their regular 'Quality Time' feature in which participants share their  cultural highlights I agreed like a shot. 

I hope you'll all make room in your lives for Legally Blonde (the musical), Ali Millar, Panique au village, The Stephens Collection, Osebol, Jake Goldsmith, Béla Tarr’s Sátántango, Auden's newly-published Complete Poems, Beckett's Murphy, the Neuromantics and Backlisted podcasts, Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport, Trio Mandili and plenty more There's even an unexpected plug for Multiple Joyce


15. Two Dublin chums

Finally with thanks to photographer Lisa Wolfe here's a snapshot of me with Joycean non pareil Peter Chrisp - we bumped into each other in Dublin on Bloomsday and I had a copy of Multiple Joyce in my bag which I'd planned to give him at the launch later in the day. Peter was the first reader of the draft manuscript, a brilliant, generous and supportive critic and duly acknowledged. Look at the pair of us, 'as chummy as two mashed spuds.' 


And here's one of me and Lisa, photographed by Peter. They were just on their way to Sweny's pharmacy, featured memorably in Ulysses when Bloom drops in to buy a bar of lemon soap. Lisa hitting the right note in her striking lemon-yellow jacket.


I really must stop banging on about this blasted perpetration. 



16. Nudge

There are over 1,200 food bank centres in The Trussell Trust network. The services provided by food banks may vary from area to area as they react to the needs of their community to provide help and support to local people in crisis.

Food donations

Non-perishable, in-date food is donated by the public at a range of places, such as schools, churches, and businesses, as well as supermarket collection points. It is then sorted into emergency food parcels by more than 28,000 volunteers, to be given to people in crisis.

Food vouchers

Care professionals such as health visitors, staff at schools and social workers identify people in crisis and issue them with a food bank voucher. This means people can receive a food bank parcel of three days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food from their local food bank.

Additional support

Our food bank network helps people break free from poverty by providing additional support to help people resolve the crises they’re facing so that they don’t need to use a food bank again in the future. This could include things like debt advice, mental health support, or benefits guidance . Food banks rely on the support of their local communities to support people in crisis. Find your nearest food bank here.

And you can donate with a mere click here:

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Make a single donation using a debit/credit card or cheque or by text, and help us work towards a future where food banks are no longer needed.


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