Sunday 7 August 2022

Newsletter 44

7th August 2022

Hello again, again.

I hope this finds you all very well indeed. 

Please let me know if you'd rather not receive a link to this weekly newsletter every Sunday and I'll be happy to stop badgering you. The link currently goes out to around 1,000 subscribers, although the live gathering attracts a very modest attendance WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY FINE BY ME although I hope our very special Larkin event this week will attract a larger crowd of sensation seekers than usual. As you'll see below we have a remarkable cohort of contributors.

Later in August we'll have a programme curated by Amy McCauley with her special guests, a feature on British Values as promoted to the Empire in the 1930s, an expert graphologist looking at MPs' handwriting, a flash fiction showcase curated by Michael Loveday, the poet Jay Gao and authors Toby Litt and Susanna Crossman plus no end of other diversions. I hope you'll join us for some or all of these.

Let's stick together!



Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   This week’s online gathering (and a note about last week)

3.   Indie press news


        Peirene Press


        Rack Press

4.   RSL funding

5.   Paul Stanbridge London gig

6.   Foyles: OK TRANSLATOR

7.   Frankenstein's monster in Clapham

8.   Lynn Buckle klaxon!

9.   Toby Litt klaxon!

10.  FILET

11.  Next week's online gathering

12.  Nudge



1.  Aid for Ukraine

It drags on, and on, and the dire need of those caught up in this ghastly war demands a response. We all have many calls on our generosity and disposable income (if any), but few are as pressing as this.

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 centenary of Philip Larkin's birth (on 9th August 1922) we will be celebrating the work of one of the twentieth century's most popular and durable poets.

We'll be joined by the writer Roy Watkins who knew Larkin well when he was an undergraduate in Hull, but who has never shared these fascinating memories in public before. Dr Penny McCarthy will talk about an intriguing connection between Larkin's poem 'High Windows' and a celebrated 19th century novel. Here, in case you don't know it, is the poem:

    High Windows

    When I see a couple of kids

    And guess he’s fucking her and she’s   

    Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,   

    I know this is paradise

    Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives—   

    Bonds and gestures pushed to one side

    Like an outdated combine harvester,

    And everyone young going down the long slide

    To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if   

    Anyone looked at me, forty years back,   

    And thought, That’ll be the life;

    No God any more, or sweating in the dark

    About hell and that, or having to hide   

    What you think of the priest. He

    And his lot will all go down the long slide   

    Like free bloody birds. And immediately

    Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:   

    The sun-comprehending glass,

    And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows

    Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

    Philip Larkin, "High Windows" from Collected Poems

    Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin.  Reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber, Ltd. 

We'll have readings by Michael Hughes, Abigail Parry, Lara Pawson, Jake Goldsmith and others, as well as wonderful archive footage and some hot jazz. Plus Larkin himself, of course. You'll get a Zoom link at 6:30pm UK time - please don't be late as it really throws me when folk turn up in the waiting room asa I'm doing my level best to masquerade as a competent host.

A friend once observed to me, rather waspishly, that the less one knows about Larkin the more one like and admires him. I can see the point of such an observation and realise that Larkin, more than most 20th century poets, is subject to the massive condescension of posterity (to borrow a useful phrase from E. P. Thompson).. My own life wouldn't bear close scrutiny, so I'm not lining up to cast stones. What survives of him, and what matters to us, his grateful beneficiaries, is the poetry. And anyone immune to the poetry of Larkin, or who condemns the man without recognising the ineffable beauty and humanity and permanent value of his work, is somehow failing to be fully human. So ner.

PS at the end of last week's live gathering I shared (or thought I shared) a six-minute film about the trolley pushers of Manilla, railway workers of a unique kind. I now know that for the audience the sound was audible but no image appeared on the screen. I have no idea at all why this happened. Apologies to all who sat patiently through it and stayed to the end of the programme. Here's a link to the BBC News report and I urge you all to watch and listen.


3. Indie press news


Volume 1 of this literary journal is available to pre-order and expected to ship on 12th August. A spectacular line-up of talents, including some Glue Factory alumni! 

Order here

    ReWild by Claire Carroll


    What becomes of the night when there is nothing left to see? by Rosie Garland

    The Prepared Piano by Jonathan Gibbs

    Hidden Knowledge by Linda Mannheim

    bella ciao by Daniel Payne

    Exit Interview for a Valued Colleague by Ben Pester

    The Clearance by John Saul

    Ceramics for Beginners by Claire Thomson

    Daisies by Dave Wakely

Peirene Press

It’s August and that means it's Women in Translation Month, a time to acknowledge and honour all the women writers and translators who have shaped the international exchange of literature. To celebrate, this enterptising Bath-based indie has picked out some of their books written and translated by brilliant women, all of which are available half-price in the Peirene summer sale

Rack Press

Announced this week: four forthcoming poetry titles from the excellent Welsh indie Rack Press, published in September a snip at five quid each. 

    Exposed Staircase by Will Eaves

    Grief Dialogue by Eve Grubin

    Shreds and Patches by David Ricks

    A Conversation with George Seferis by Michael Vince

Pre-order here.


4. RSL Literature Matters Awards

Are you a UK-based literary creator/writer in need of funding for a new piece of work?

Applications are open for the Royal Society of Literature Literature Matters Awards - a total of £20,000 available to support innovative projects, engaging a wide audience. Closing date for applications is 24th August:

And yes, they really are called the Royal Society of Literature Literature Matters Awards. 😐 


5. Paul Stanbridge London gig

On Thursday 8th September 2022 from 7pm - 8:30pm at Foyle's, 107 Charing Cross Road, London.

An evening of conversation, reflection and music to mark Paul’s latest work, My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is, published by Galley Beggar Press this month.

My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is – part memoir, part novel, part history – responds to the death of Paul’s brother, who took his own life in 2015. This sad and renewing book follows a trail of thoughts as Paul searches for and retreats from the questions that surround his brother’s death.

Taking as its starting point the imagery and symbolism of the North Sea, travelling to the submerged plains of Doggerland by way of the art of cartography and the history of mathematics, My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is is a wandering, moving book. A feat of emotional strength and possessing the intellectual brilliance and lyrical beauty that earned Paul’s first book great praise, My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is is a singular achievement.

Paul’s debut novel, Forbidden Line, a modern-day retelling of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, won the first novel category of the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2017 and was longlisted for the Demond Elliott First Novel Prize. Paul has written a doctoral thesis examining creative method in literary modernism and, as well as a writer, he is a musician.

A chairperson for this conversation with Paul will be announced shortly. The discussion will be followed by audience Q&A and a book signing. Doors will open from 6:30pm.

Tickets: £13 Book & Ticket, inc. a copy of My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is (RRP £9.99) / £8 General Admission

Venue: The Auditorium (Level 6) at Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road

Further details and tickets here.

I blogged about Paul's first novel Forbidden Line here.


6. Foyles presents OK TRANSLATOR

Still at Foyles (the bookstore in London's Charing Cross Road) is launching a short series of events called OK TRANSLATOR, a series of discussions with writers and translators on the craft and politics of translation, coming on the first Monday of each month starting in September. Here's the programme:

5 September

Violent Phenomena Panel: Kavita Bhanot, Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi and Nariman Youssef

Catherine leads a panel of three contributors to Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation, published by Tilted Axis this summer, setting the tone for the series with a diversity of language backgrounds, translation experience, and literary interests.

Kavita directed an international literature festival in India and helped set up the country’s first literary agency; Ayesha is a writer and editor based in London, with essays and reviews published in the IndependentWasafiri, the Express Tribune and elsewhere; Nariman, is a Cairo-born, London-based literary translator whose translations include Inaam Kachachi’s The American Granddaughter, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Arabic Booker Prize.


3 October

Translating Clarice Lispector: Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson

The co-translators of Clarice Lispector’s Chronicles, Too Much of Life, published by Penguin this August, talk to Catherine about their translation and the wider significance of Lispector’s work. Margaret Jull Costa is a renowned translator of Spanish and Portuguese literature, including the work of José Saramago and Javier Marias. Robin Patterson was mentored by Margaret and they have worked together on a number of Portuguese to English translation projects since then.


7 November

Is Mother Dead Er mor død: Charlotte Barslund and Vigdis Hjorth

A conversation between writer and translator: Charlotte Barslund has translated four of Vigdis Hjorth’s works into English, most recently Is Mother Dead (Er mor død), which is published by Verso in October. Hjorth’s latest novel continues to explore the themes of motherhood and acrimony that earned her previous works international acclaim.


Tickets: £20 Season Ticket / £8 Single Event

Venue: The Auditorium (Level 6) at Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road*


7. Frankenstein's monster in Clapham 

Some of you will remember the author Owen Booth appearing at one of our gatherings to read reading his superb prize-winning short story 'Frankenstein's monster is drunk and his sheep have all jumped the fences'.

News just in that a theatrical adaptation of the story will be staged at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham between 25th and 29th October this year.

From the press release:

'The story begins in 1946, when they dig Frankenstein’s monster out of the glacier he’d crawled into after his Hollywood career had given up the ghost. Fully defrosted, he meets his match, a spark which ignites a love story of monstrous proportions, a duet of undateables who stand out, fit in and forge their own brutiful brand of domestic bliss in a small holding with their 67 (Italian) blue sheep.'

I'm in!

Book here.


8. Lynn Buckle klaxon! 

Do spend a few minutes reading this excellent piece by Glue Factory regular Lynn Buckle, in which she suggests ways to improve access in publishing and literary events

Read Lynn's piece here.

And there's more. Lynn has a gig with the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the English Department at Maynooth University on Monday 5th September 2022 at 7 p.m. via Zoom 

It's part of the lecture series, Texts and Trees, Literature and Ireland’s Trees, an IRC New Foundations funded research network led by Stephen O’Neill. Lynn will be talking about her second novel and also reading from it. 

This event is online and free and open to the public. Book here!


9. Toby Litt klaxon!

You should of course be following Toby's daily updates in A Writer's Diary, his ambitious year-long project to keep a public account of his life as a writer.

He teaches the MS in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College London, and is very good at it.

This week he announced the trial of a new departure, a a series of YouTube videos about writing.  The first is 'Making Decisions About Form in Creative Writing' and it's available to watch, free, here:



Based at 103 Murray Grove, London, N1 7QP [near Old Street], FILET is a space for experimental cultural production, a physical research organ that provides a space for the production, dissemination and discourse of contemporary culture, directed by Rut Blees Luxemburg and Uta Kögelsberger.

The latest show opens today and is the first in a series of events during August 

Details here. 



11. Next week's online gathering

Curated by Amy McCauley,'Field Days' will feature contributions from Amy herself and her four guests Nuzhat Bukhari, Sarah Crewe, Emma Devlin, Jemima Yong and others. Get involved!


12. Nudge

Rishi Sunak (who wants to be leader of the Tory party, has an estimated fortune £730m and is married to a billionaire's daughter who is herself richer than the Queen) was caught on camera earlier this week speaking to Tory party members in Tunbridge Wells:

'We inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.'

He later backtracked, claiming to news media that

'I was making the point that deprivation exists right across our country and it needs to be addressed.'

So his actual words, the words that he said, the words that he said that were caught on camera, had been misrepresented and that he was actually making an antirely different point to highlight the need ... ah forget it. This isn't politics. This is moral and ethical debauchery.

UK inflation is officially set to hit 13% , although for many people it's already running at over 20%. This year in Britain 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.

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.

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 newsletter and weekly live gatherings are free to all. So please consider making a donation to The Trussell Trust, the UK's leading food bank charity: (or, if you're outside the UK, your local equivalent).

Thank you. And let's stick together




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