Sunday 18 September 2022

Newsletter 50


Hello All.

The fiftieth newsletter. Well I never did.

This week also sees the 38th live online gathering, and (in case you'd like to know) the reason the two are out of synch is simply because the newsletter started before the Zoom gatherings. There now!

The newsletter currently goes out to around a thousand subscribers. If you'd rather not get it each Sunday please let me know and I'll stop badgering you.

But if you do want to continue getting it (and the weekly invitations to the live online event) a donation to The Trussell Trust would be welcome. I've never sought to 'monetise' these events over the past three years, and won't do so as we enter the final straight (or strait). There are just twelve more live shows before I pull the plug for good (and the newsletter will end on the same day - Sunday 11th December. After which I have a new book to complete submit and other commitments both domestic and professional. As, I'm sure, do you.


Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   This week’s online gathering 

3.   Indie press news        

4.   Helen Ottaway klaxon!

5.   London Consequences 2

6.   Simon Armitage acrostic????

7.   Patrick McCabe's Poguemahone

8.   Inside Story Grants for Writers

9.   Small Publishers Fair 2022

10.  M'website


12.  Next week's online gathering

13.  Nudge



1.  Aid for Ukraine

Please give what you can, when you can: the most far-reaching aid programme has been and remains the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. 

You can donate quickly and easily here.


2. This week's online gathering  

At this week's online gathering the poet John Clegg will be reading from his dazzling new collection Aliquot (published by Carcanet), Linda Mannheim will make a close reading of Wendy Erskine's short story 'Nostalgie' (with Wendy joining in), Charles Boyle on his latest book 99 Interruptions and Caroline Clark on her new collection Own Sweet Time and Irish author Pascal O'Loughlin on his second novel The Goddess Lens (published by Henningham Family Press). We'll also be joined by Joanna Walsh (author of My Life as a Godard Movie) who will share some thoughts on the film director Jean-Luc Godard, who died earlier this week.

All this and more from 7:30pm. You'll get a Zoom link at 6:30pm UK time.



3. Indie press news

There isn't any. Show some respect.


4. Helen Otttaway klaxon!

News from our Composer-in-Reticence about her latest project at the National Trust property Fyne Court near Bridgewater in Somerset.

LACHRYMAE: 24th, 25th and 26th September 

Lachrymae is a tree-themed sound and visual Installation in the grounds created by Artmusic, inspired by Ted Hughes’ translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  

Helen has based her composition on the end of the story of Phaeton, at the point when his sisters are grieving by the river and the gods turn them into trees, weeping amber tears.   

Details here:


5. London Consequences 2

This collaborative fiction involving 18 contemporary writers each producing a chapter in a novel set on one day in London is now barrelling along, and four chapters are now complete. Each writer has six days to pick up the narrative from the previous chapters (all shared anonymously) and the work so far completed is absolutely amazing, but that's all we can tell you! Co-edited by Jonathan Gibbs and myself, it will be published by Bluemoose Books in 2023 and feature anonymised chapters by (big breath):

Kevin Boniface, Marie-Elsa Bragg, Ruby Cowling, Wendy Erskine, 

Tim Etchells, Shelley Hastings, David Hayden, Vlatka Horvat, 

Michael Hughes, Heidi James, Toby Litt, Linda Mannheim, Melissa McCarthy, 

Sam Mills, Simon Okotie, Ben Pester, Devika Ponnambalam and Eley Williams.


6. Patrick McCabe's Poguemahone

Friday 7th October 2022 7pm - 8:30pm at Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road

One of Ireland's greatest modern writers (Patrick McCabe) and one of the greatest ever publishers (John Mitchinson) discuss McCabe's masterpiece Poguemahone.

This groundbreaking new novel marks a radical departure for McCabe in both style and scope – it is his most ambitious work yet. A boundlessly creative epic from one of modern Ireland’s greatest writers, Poguemahone is a sprawling monologue told by Dan Fogarty, an Irishman caring for his ailing sister on the shore of England. Dan’s account of his family saga is besieged by disordered memories, wild bursts of music and folklore, and the unquiet spirits who have haunted both siblings for decades. Patrick McCabe orchestrates all into a grand cacophony of unbridled energy and pitch-black humour – a book whose comparisons to Ulysses are thoroughly substantiated.

Get involved: 

Details and tickets here

PS I reviewed Poguemahone for the Times Lit. Supp. here.


7. Hayden on Beveridge

David Hayden 'Packed Stars Dividing' is the text for an exhibition by the artist Gabriele Beveridge at the Seventeen Gallery in Haggerston, East London.

'There is a bubble in the eye, chromatic lightful eye, air held in place for the duration of existence, a nothing around which a form is shaped, glossy, hard and fragile, and made of thought.'

The exhibition opened earlier this week and runs until 29th October


270-276 Kingsland Road


E8 4DG

Opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday. 11am – 6pm


8. Inside Story Grants for Writers

There are 45 free places available on this new five-week online Inside Story courses, funded jointly by authors David Nicholls, Marian Keyes and Curtis Brown's Breakthrough Writers’ Programme .


9.Small Publishers Fair 2022

Expect a reminder every Sunday until the day it opens. The much-missed Small Publishers Fair returned to the Conway hall in Holborn at the end of October and is not to be missed. Take cash, a tote bag or two and (my advice) a thermos and/or hip flask. And get there early

11am to 7pm Friday 28th and Saturday 29th October 2022 Free admission to the Fair, readings and talks plus

Bibliopoe: an exhibition of books by Steven J Fowler Conway Hall Red Lion Square London WC1R 4RL


10. M'website

I've added a a few features to my website - updating an already overlong list of publications (for anyone who's interested) plus the first six months of The Glue Factory archives (programme content, not recordings). There are a couple of essays (on Lady Bracknell's Handbag for one thing) and details of events I organised in another lifetime, before the pandemic

I've added links to reviews and other literary hack work, including three recent pieces in the Times Lit. Supp.

Original Sins by Matt Rowland Hill

Ghost Signs by Stu Hennigan

Poguemahone by Patgrick McCabe


11. Next week's online gathering

On Sunday 25th September we'll mark the birthday of T. S. Eliot (on 26th September) by presenting a rare performance of Sweeney Agonistes: Fragments of an Aristophanic Melodrama. 

The novelist Kevin Davey (author of Playing Possum and Radio Joan) will share some thoughts on this strange fragment, and I'll be talking about a particular friendship in Eliot's life and my (surely newsworthy) discovery of photographs of the original 'Practical Cats' in an off-trail archive. Also something about Valerie Eliot as a literary widow and brilliant custodian of her husband's legacy. Plus recordings of Old Possum himself and illustrious others.


12. Nudge

Tomorrow there's a state inhumation that will excite the rapt attention of many, the ferocious derision of some and polite indifference from the rest of us.

There will follow a further period of mourning while this far-right government continues to dismantle what's left of the Social Contract, at the end of which process we will find ourselves in an even smaller, even nastier country.

On the day of the funeral food banks will be closed, cancer screening and other urgent health procedures suspended and long-awaited dental and medical appointments cancelled. Morrisons (the supermarket chain) have muted the check-out beeps, bicycle storage racks in Norwich have been decommissioned and a lone protestor has been arrested for holding up a sign saying 'Not my King'. 

Thank you for supporting The Trussell Trust


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