Sunday 24 July 2022

Newsletter 42


Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   This week’s online gathering

3.   Indie press news

        Dead Ink Books


4.   The publishing event of the decade!

5.   On David Wheldon

6.   Ghost Signs by Stu Hennigan

7.   Don't pay your energy bills

8.   Next week's online gathering

9.   Nudge

10.  PS



1.  Aid for Ukraine

Please give what you can, when you can: the most far-reaching programme is the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. You can donate quickly and easily here.


2.  This week's online gathering

To mark the imminent UK publication of W H Auden's Complete Poems (the final two volumes in the magnificent Complete Works edited by Edward Mendelson) we'll have a rare screening of Don Owen's luminous short film RUNNER, a luminous poetic documentary about the Canadian athlete Bruce Kidd, with a poetic script by Auden. Plus Aiden O'Reilly on the late David Wheldon, a fascinating writer but much overlooked; me on the genius of Matt Pritchett and celebrating the most grotesque catastrophe in European history.

Also: more news about the exciting collaborative novel by 18 contemporary writers and some thoughts about Stan Barstow's short stories (if there's time).


3.  Indie press news

Only one item this week. Dead Ink Books is a Liverpool-based independent publisher with an impressive tack record:  Naomi Booth's Sealed and Exit Management, Lucie McKnight Hardy's Water Shall Refuse Them, Missouri Williams's The Doloriad

They're now trying top raise £14k to cover the set up and rental charges for a new bookshop that will stock books only by independent publishers.

The Dead Ink Bookshop will be a small shop championing books from small businesses across the UK and making space for the non-commercial. Also on offer

    Coffee and tea

    Children's books

    Monthly coffee mornings with Editors and Publishers

    Book launches

    Book clubs

    Workshops with publishing professionals

They've found a site in Smithdown Road. The rent is affordable, the location is perfect, and there is very little work required inside to make it ready.

There is, however, a problem. Despite  being able to afford it all and despite being ready to go in an instant, the tenancy requires a guarantor other than the owner, who is also the Director of the company. And he doesn't know anyone who earns above the threshold required to act as a guarantor.

The alternative is to pay one year of the rent upfront in advance. That's £14,400.

This GoFundMe is set up to raise that amount. 

Would you like to help us make this happen?

Here's a link to the GoFundMe page, with more details:

The Dead Ink Books website is also worth a dekko. (Does anyone ever say that now?)

4. The publishing event of the decade!

As mentioned above, on 26th July Princeton University Press publish two volumes of W H Auden's Complete Poems, bringing to a conclusion the magnificent ten-volume Complete Works, all edited by Edward Mendelson.

The two poetry volumes (1927-1939 and 1940-1973 are available now for around £40 each on


5. On David Wheldon

This week's online gathering features the Irish writer Aiden O'Reilly, who will be talking about his friend the poet, novelist and pathologist David Wheldon.

Wheldon was better known as a doctor, and especially noted for his research into multiple sclerosis (and his name lives on in the so-called 'Wheldon Protocol').

He was also a writer, and briefly acclaimed when his first novel The Viaduct (1982) was praised by Graham Greene and William Trevor and shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize.

The Guiltless Bystander, a collection of Wheldon's short stories, is published by Confingo

For more details of the published works see


6. Ghost Signs by Stu Hennigan

Here's a link to my review in the latest issue of the Times Lit. Supp. (or 'TLS' as the young people like to call it)

You can (and really should) buy this important and essential account of the way we live now direct from the publisher here


7. Don't pay your energy bills

It's a simple idea: it's a campaign that demands the government scraps the indefensible energy price rises and delivers affordable energy for all.

The aim is to build a million pledges and if, by October 1st, the government and energy companies fail to act we cancel our direct debits. Read more here:

Please consider supporting this petition.


8. Caroline Clark klaxon!

The poet Caroline Clark is a Glue Factory regular, most recently interviewing the Swedish author of the verbatim masterpiece Osbal

Here she talks to Liam Bishop in his excellent literary podcast Rippling Pages about her forthcoming poetry collection Own Sweet Time, published by CB editions in September and available to pre-order here.

She bases the book on a conversation with an oncologist, alongside fragments of more poetic and abstract thoughts on the past and the future and the nature of time. Caroline discusses the experiences which formed the book, as well as its composition.

Her previous collection, Sovetica, is available here


8. Next week's online gathering

Next Sunday's live gathering has a railway theme.

We'll be looking at the life, work and legacy of the writer and preservation pioneer LTC Rolt; broadcaster Tim Dunn will share some thoughts on Heritage Railways; we'll share an absolutely enchanting short film about the narrow gauge Talyllyn line in Wales; the poet Simon Barraclough will read his epic poem Iarnród Éireann; there will be other guests and we'll see some amazing railway documentary from Manilla...


9. Nudge

In the Uk inflation this month hits 40-year high of 9.4% as cost of living crisis mounts - and it’s set to hit 11% by end of the year. That's the official figure.

In the UK this year the price of bread is up 13%; pasta is up 16%; baked beans are up 21%; butter is up 21.5%; milk is up 26.3%; fuel costs are up 42% in the year; and energy costs are up 54%, and rising.

For ordinary people real inflation is over 20% and climbing.

Rising energy prices, food bills, fuel costs and more. We’re all experiencing them. But for people on the lowest incomes, the cost of surviving this crisis is already too high.

Last winter saw people having to make impossible decisions between heating and eating. And, as it stands, this summer will be unbearable for thousands of families.

Many people can’t afford to buy food due to huge price rises and inflation. Some food banks are having to provide cold food because people can no longer afford to heat meals.

School summer holidays mean no free school meals for many children.

The Glue Factory newlstter and weeklyu live gatherings are free to all. So please donate to or (if you're outside the UK) your local equivalent.

Thank you.


PS 26th July is the 838th anniversary of the Erfurt Latrine Disaster of 1184, when the weight of a gathering of noblemen caused a wooden floor to collapse. Many fell into the latrine cesspit below, where about 60 of them drowned in liquid excrement. More on this at Sunday's live gathering.

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