Sunday 3 July 2022

Newsletter 39

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

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 this newsletter. Do join us.

Let’s stick together.



Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   This week’s online gathering

3.   Indie press news

4.   The Barbellion Prize: a statement

5.   The 2022 Pen Ackerley Prize

6.   The 2022 Gordon Burn Prize

6.   Can you help the Ulysses cause?

7.   Splonk - a call for submissions

8.   Multiple Joyce London launch - pictures

9.   You'll have had enough of this, but here goes...

10.  Barbellion Prize on Wikipedia

11.  Eliot on the BBC

12.  Next week's online gathering

13.  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 features:

-  Jonathan Gibbs and myself with news of an exciting new literary project featuring 18 contemporary writers - a Glue Factory exclusive!

- a conversation between me and the leading Irish novelist Nuala O'Connor, recorded in March at the Irish Literary Society. We met to celebrate the launch of this year's 'One Dublin One Book' campaign, which chose her novel NORA, based on the life of James Joyce's muse and partner Nora Barnacle. This meeting was a literary highlight of my year and I'm delighted to be able to share it.

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


I'll send this week's Zoom link later than usual, at around 7pm UK time. We're spending all day at a rare screening of Béla Tarr's epic Sátántangó, which runs for over seven hours and is scheduled to end at 6 so won't be home until just before then. I aim to start the programme at 7:30pm UK time as usual.  




3. Indie press news

After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz will be published by Galley Beggar Press on the 15th July 2022 – and the author (who lives in California) will be in the UK in August. Foyles in the Charing Cross Road will be hosting a launch event for her on Thursday 11th August.

Selby will be in conversation with writer and biographer Diana Souhami (author of No Modernism Without Lesbians, winner of the 2021 Polari Prize, among many other fine books). The discussion will be followed by audience Q&A and a book signing. (The cover on the right is the American edition. )Doors will open from 6:30pm.

Tickets: £8 General Admission / £13 Book & Ticket, inc. a copy of After Sappho (RRP £9.99). Click here for details.


4. The Barbellion Prize

The Barbellion Prize, as you;ll all know, is dedicated to the furtherance of ill and disabled voices in writing. The prize is awarded annually to an author whose work has best represented the experience of chronic illness and/or disability. 

The awarded work can be of any genre: in fiction, memoir, biography, poetry, or critical non-fiction from around the world - whether it is in English, in translation, traditionally published, or self-published.

Here's a message from our friend Jale Goldsmith, founder of the prize:

"2022 has been slower and more difficult than previously for organising the prize. I have been in and out of hospital very frequently and this makes being the main administrator of the prize challenging me and the good people supporting the prize are still committed to it and I’m sure it can keep progressing, but it is still supported on a voluntary basis by already hardworking people.

Organising anything can be tough, especially if you are very ill, and book prizes are often onerous to deal with - if still rewarding. While I’m sure the prize will keep going for 2022 any future is uncertain and it has always been known, with my own health, that maintaining the prize will be complicated.

Donations, submissions, and support are all welcomed so that it may continue.

The prize should always be a modest effort, but it is as least something to go towards a greater appreciation for disabled life and literature.”

Can any of you support this essential part of the contemporary publishing scene?

Jake's forthcoming book Neither Weak Nor Obtuse will be published on July 15th, and the Glue Factory online gathering will mark the occasion with the author and special guests Lynn Buckle and Riva Lehrer and others.

More on Jake's book here. ____________________

5. The 2022 Pen Ackerley Prize

Another prize. English PEN this week announced the shortlist for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2022 for memoir and autobiography. The three shortlisted titles are: Arifa Akbar, Consumed: A Sister’s Story (Sceptre); Frances Stonor Saunders, The Suitcase: Six Attempts to Cross a Border (Jonathan Cape) and Roy Watkins, Simple Annals: A Memoir of Early Childhood (CB Editions)

The winner of the prize, which celebrates its 40th year in 2022, will be announced at The London Library (Thursday 14 July, in person and online) as part of the ongoing partnership between English PEN and The London Library.

The prize is awarded annually to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality, and published in the UK in the previous year.

The PEN Ackerley Prize is judged by biographer and historian Peter Parker (Chair), writer and editor Michael Caines, author Georgina Hammick, and writer and critic Claire Harman. The winner receives a cheque for £3,000.

Congratulations to Arifa Akbar, Frances Stonor Saunders and (espcially) Roy Watkins, who appeared last year in our online gathering Carthorse Orchestra reading from his truly miraculous memoir of a Lancashire childhood, Simple Annals (CB editions). As the Pen Ackerely announcement says: 'Unusually for a memoir, it restricts itself to the author’s first eleven years, reaching back to his very earliest memories. Highly original in form, it is a kind of prose poem, and like memory itself, is made up of vivid fragments, bright flashes that illuminate a specific time and place and recreate the sheer oddness of ‘ordinary’ life as perceived by a small boy.'


6. The 2022 Gordon Burn Prize

The twelve-strong longlist for the Gordon Burn Prize 2022 was announced this week. (And you'll know I have mixed feelings about prizes, and prize culture, and the whole longlist/shortlist thing, but this one strikes me as among the best)

The prize covers both fiction and non-fiction, awarding works that are 'fearless in their ambition and execution, often pushing boundaries, crossing genres, or otherwise challenging readers’ expectations.'

The prize honours the memory of the Newcastle-born writer Gordon Burn, (1948-2009). A journalist and author of ten books, Burn’s work includes the novels Alma Cogan and Fullalove and non-fiction titles Pocket Money: Inside the World of Snooker and Happy Like Murderers: The Story of Fred and Rosemary West. 

The longlist is:

About a Son (Phoenix), David Whitehouse

Aftermath (And Other Stories), Preti Taneja

Case Study (Saraband), Graeme Macrae Burnet

Companion Piece (Hamish Hamilton), Ali Smith

Constructing a Nervous System (Granta), Margo Jefferson

Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (Allen Lane), Lea Ypi

Keeping the House (And Other Stories), Tice Cin

Oxblood (Bloomsbury), Tom Benn

The Perfect Golden Circle (Bloomsbury Circus), Benjamin Myers

Scary Monsters (Atlantic), Michelle de Kretser

Wayward (White Rabbit), Vashti Bunyan

Your Show (Faber), Ashley Hickson-Lovence

The shortlist will be announced in August 2022 and the winner will be announced at Durham Book Festival on Thursday 13th October. 

[That's enough prizes - Ed.]


7. Can you help the Ulysses cause?


Clare Hutton (who gave an excellent talk at our Ulysses centenary gathering on 28th January) is looking for survey respondents in relation to her work on Women and the Making of Ulysses, an exhibition she has curated at the Harry Ransome Center in Texas.  


The survey is here and takes a couple of minutes to complete. Do spend a moment supporting her excellent research. No special Joycean knowledge needed!  


Further information on the exhibition here, a recording of Clare's Bloomsday lecture on the women who made publication of Joyce's masterpiece possible here (and recommended), and her latest blog post here 


8. Splonk - a call for submissions

Splonk is an online flash fiction journal set up in January 2019 by Nuala O'Connor and a group of flash writers and editors in Ireland. The word ‘splonk’ is the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘splanc’:

        splanc, noun fem. flash, spark. 

        A splaincín (derived from splanc)is a spirited, fiery female.

Issue #8, autumn 2022, will be out in mid September

Issue #8 subs will open 1st to 31st July 2022

Submission guidelines are here. Get involved!



9. Multiple Joyce London launch

An audience of more than a hundred gathered in a Bloomsbury Hotel last Monday to launch Multiple Joyce, a book I wrote and may have mentioned once or twice in this newsletter. 

Many thanks to the Irish Literary Society for organising and promoting this shindig, and the the Irish Embassy in London for donating a hundredweight of Joyce titles for free distribution on the night. Thanks also to a wonderful cohort of talents - the musicians Melanie Pappenheim and Sarah Angliss and performers Stephanie Ellyne and Frank Grimes. Rónán Hession flew over from Dublin and was a very generous and engaging interrogator.

Images below courtesy of Peter Chrisp and Laura Hopkins


        Rónán Hession and a James Joyce finger puppet fridge magnet

            Stephanie Ellyne reading 'Write like a Kardashian'

        Melanie Pappenheim and Sarah Angliss perform 'The Old Nag'

Frank Grimes tackling Finnegans Wake

     (l to r) David Henningham, Rónán Hession, DC and Philip Hancock

                       Eimear McBride (left) and me


You'll have had enough of this, but here goes:

Keenly aware that I've been banging on about Multiple Joyce since the lockdown, but still feel an urge to share some recent notices. Humour a flailing hack...

This year being the centenary of the publication of Ulysses, there has been a flurry of new books and republications […] But to my mind David Collard’s Multiple Joyce is the most joyful and the most Joycean […] There is a real pleasure in reading a book about Joyce that actually makes you laugh.  (Stuart Kelly, The Spectator)

“A rare, delicious treat for readers, and a book that would have tickled Joyce, with its vibrant potpourri of playfulness, punning, and pathos…. I defy Joycean purists not to be totally beguiled by this absorbing, upfront, funny, erudite, and charming book.”

—Nuala O’Connor, in Books Ireland Magazine

“Simply charming…. His voice and his style are infectious…. Anybody who’s even remotely interested in Joyce should own this book.”

—Chris Via, in Leaf by Leaf (video)

“Collard is a wry and gifted essayist as well as an expert on Joyce. But he simply refuses to take himself—or Joyce, or indeed anything—too seriously…. [Multiple Joyce is] frequently bloody hilarious. It’s also erudite and considered, written by a cultured soul with a highly polished proclivity for satire…. I cannot recommend this delightful, unusual work highly enough. Bravissimo.”

—Anne Cunningham, Meath Chronicle

“David Collard’s book reminds you, first of all, to plunge in. The novel is funny and entertaining and so is this book. If you are new to Joyce and Ulysses this is as good a place to start as a Martello tower…. You can go to a scholarly book and find accounts of the novel deconstructed, feminised, decolonialised, and culturally materialised, but this book, for me, was nearer to the truths of how we read, digressively omnivorous.”

—Richard Clegg, in Bookmunch

“I wish that the first time anyone heard about Joyce was from David Collard.”

—Rónán Hession, author of Leonard and Hungry       Paul

“Collard’s Joyce nerdiness excels!”

—Eimear McBride, author of The Lesser            Bohemians

“What’s the opposite of lockdown, as a noun, a verb, a state of mind? It might be, to enjoy reading, thinking, and forging connections with as much expansive conviviality as David Collard does here. James Joyce has led him a merry dance this last century, down Dublin tram-routes and through literary lineages, and Collard now takes his turn as a generous and free-thinking guide. Multiple Joyce is a tour de force of curiosity.”

—Melissa McCarthy, author of Sharks, Death, Surfers: An Illustrated Companion

“Neither a Joyce scholar nor a Bloomsday amateur, Collard knows the value and risk of both approaches to the man and his books, and steers a brilliantly idiosyncratic and richly digressive course between them.”

—Jonathan Gibbs, author of Spring Journal

“The story goes that a man in Zürich once asked James Joyce if he could kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses. Joyce declined, saying it had done many other things as well. Multiple Joyce is a book inspired by those other things—it fizzes and astonishes at every turn, springing Joyce’s masterpiece free from the idolatry of academe and reminding us how strange and hip it must have seemed in 1922.”

—John Mitchinson, co-host of Backlisted Podcast

“Written with impressive intellectual rigour but also a strong undercurrent of wit…. a most enjoyable way to learn more about Joyce.”

—Jackie Law, in Never Imitate

Click here to buy a copy 

And thank you.


11. Barbellion Prize goes wiki

A call back to the earlier item. The Barbie (as only I seem to call it) now has a Wikipedia page


12. Eliot on the BBC

From the T S Eliot Society website:

The BBC this week announced several programmes on radio and TV which will celebrate the centenary of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land.

On 10th July, on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds, He Do The Waste Land In Different Voices “will see the poem performed for the first time as if an audio drama, the text unchanged from the original, but with a focus on the collection of voices within it.”

An ensemble cast for the performance “bring the characters from the poem to life”:
Marie & Madame Sosostris: Maggie Steed
The Seer: Adrian Edmondson
The Hyacinth Girl: Esme Scarborough
The Poet: Paul Ready
The Woman in the Pub: Tilly Vosburgh
The Actor: David Haig
Tiresias: David Calder
The Typist: Matilda Tucker

“Carefully created to evoke a sense of fractured time, with haunting whispers of catastrophes to come, the sound remains faithful to the themes of anxiety, loss and anger found within the text as well as the uncertainty of the modern age we currently live in.” Produced by Caroline Raphael, the performance also features the work of award-winning sound designer David Thomas. Permission was granted from the Eliot Estate to mark the centenary with this new adaptation.

The programme will be preceded by a feature about the poem, for which Paul Keers (Chair of the TS Eliot Society) has interviewed leading Eliot scholars Lyndall Gordon, Mark Ford, Seamus Perry, Stephen Connor, and Nancy Fulford, archivist for the T S Eliot Estate. “Taking listeners into the Eliot archive, the feature will contextualise the text and provide insight into Eliot’s own inspirations as well as the story behind The Waste Land.”

He Do The Waste Land in Different Voices is broadcast at 19:30 on Sunday 10th July on BBC Radio 3 and subsequently available on BBC Sounds, and full details are here.

We'll be marking the centenary of the publication of The Waste Land with a special gathering of The Glue Factory on Sunday 4th December. This, by the way, will be the penultimate programme. The following Sunday (11th December) will  be the final programme in the series, after which the plug will be pulled.


13. Next week's online gathering

The Phil Silvers Show, is an American sitcom which ran on CBS from 1955 to 1959. The series starred Phil Silvers as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko of the United States Army.

The series was created by Nat Hiken, and won three consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series. It is widely-regarded as the greatest television comedy ever produced, and that’s down to scripts and casting, to Nat Hiken’s visionary genius and above all to Silvers as Bilko, the role he was born to play.

Next week’s Glue Factory is dedicated to Phil Silvers and all those who worked with him on the show. It’s curated by Steve Everitt, founder of The Phil Silvers Museum in Coventry. We'll have an exclusive after hours tour of this amazing collection and be joined by some very special guests.

Whether you're a diehard Bilko fan (as I am) or a newcomer, this is an evening not to be missed.


14. Nudge

From Femi Oluwole @Femi_Sorry, who tweets:

'Imagine if someone in 2016 had said that a vote for Brexit would leave UK politics so broken that in the space of 12 months, there'd be government misconduct over porn, rape, paedophilia, bribery, blowjobs, bullying and 126 crimes committed in Downing street, and they'd still be in power.'

On top of which a lot of people in this country can't afford to feed their children or themselves. We have food banks, many of them operated by The Trussell Trust.

Find out more about the Trust and their good work on this website

Please support them (or your local equivalent if outside the UK). Every donation will support people who are facing hardship. Let's stick together!


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