Sunday, 2 October 2022

Newsletter 52


What do you think? What do you think about England, this country of ours where nobody is well?         - W. H. Auden, The Orators (1932)


Newsletter contents

1.   B. Catling

2.   Aid for Ukraine

3.   This week’s online gathering 

4.   Indie press news

        Broken Sleep Books

        Scratch Books

        Tenement Press

5.   Wendy Erskine masterclass

6.   Small Publishers Fair 2022

7.   Nemo's Almanac 2023

8.   The Barbellion Prize

9.   C. D. Rose klaxon!

10.   This was the BBC World Service

11.  Fill your boots

12.  How lo can you go?  

13.  NCLA forthcoming events

14.  Money-saving hack

15.  Next week's online gathering

16.  Nudge


1. B. Catling (1948-2022)

Another great loss this week. Brian Catling was a poet, sculptor, author and performance artist of extraordinary range and depth.

Find time today, or soon, to watch this Where Does It All Come From?, a compelling BBC Arena documentary about his life and work. His surreal epic The Vorhh Trilogy - consisting of The Vorrh (2012) The Erstwhile (2017) and The Cloven (2018) - is breathtakingly strange and original, a prose equivalent to Tarkovsky's Stalker. 

We'll have a short tribute to Brian Catling at this week's online gathering.


2. Aid for Ukraine

The same message as last week, and every week, because the war drags on, and on and the news gets worse each week. 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.


3. This week's online gathering

A tribute to the artist, writer and performer Brian Catling, who died earlier this week. 

New Ethiopian fiction - The Lost Spell by Yismake Worku. Publisher David Henningham will be in conversation with the translator Bethlehem Attfield).

On the 150th anniversary of Phileas Fogg's departure from the Reform Club in London to begin his journey around the world, we'll be joined by Dr Peter Urbach, the Club's archivist, for an exclusive tour of the exhibition celebrating the novel and its author.

Thoughts on the work of film maker and artist John Smith.

You'll get a Zoom link at 6:30pm UK time and the programme starts at 7:30pm. Do join us!


4. Indie press news

Broken Sleep Books

The Plum Review collects work from a selection of brilliant contemporary writers, responding to William Carlos Williams’ poem ‘This is just to say’. Ranging from political anger, to mid-00s pop music references, this anthology promises to be an engaging, sweet, cold read.

Contributors: Hollie McNish, Ross Sutherland, Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo, Ian McMillan, Alice Kinsella, Gita Ralleigh, Sam Riviere, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, Jenna Clake, Aaron Kent, Will Harris, Maria Sledmere, Andrew McMillan, Taran Spalding-Jenkin, Bobby Parker, Chrissy Williams, Stuart McPherson, J. H. Prynne, John McCullough, Daniele Pantano, Jessica Mookherjee, Michael Pedersen, Rishi Dastidar, Ian Patterson, Robert Kiely, Carrie Etter, Peter Scalpello, Len Lukowski, Ed Wall, James Byrne, Jack Belloli, Chris Laoutaris, Rob Taylor, U. G. Világos, John Welson, Jeremy Noel-Tod, Charlie Baylis, Ziddy Ibn Sharam, Penelope Shuttle.

This anthology is independently created and curated by Broken Sleep Books. All royalties will be donated to the Trussell Trust.

Order direct from the publisher here:

Scratch Books

Reverse Engineering II is a forthcoming collection of short stories likely to interest Glue Factory readers, featuring Anie Susie,Tom Drury, Wendy Erskine, Tessa Hadley, Yiyun Li, Ben Okri and Eley Williams Available for preorder at:

Tenement Press

Steven J Fowler's new novella MUEUM is published by Tenement and he'll be appearing on the Glue Factory on to read from and discuss the book

In addition to the novella's launch at Brick Lane Books on Wednesday October 5th,, there will be additional launches as follows:

Thursday October 13th at 7pm, at Waterstones, Kingston Upon Thames 


5. Wendy Erskine masterclass!

Wendy Erskine again! 

Short and Sweet: The Art of Writing Short Stories is a one-off Masterclass led by Wendy online from 10am to 1pm on Saturday 19th November 2022 

Glue factory regulars will know what a wonderful writer Wendy is - now  there's a chance to find out what a wonderful tutor she is also.


6. Small Publishers Fair 2022

A welcome return after a two-year pandemic hiatus. This year 69 small publishers will gather for two days at Conway Hall in Central London, including many that have featured on our weekly gathering: 

Friday 28th and Saturday 29th October 2022, from 11am to 7pm.

Admission is free to the Fair, to all readings and talks and to an exhibition curated by S J Fowler Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

Nearest tube: Holborn (5 minutes away)

Full details here.

Take cash, cards and tote bags.


7. Nemo's Almanac 2023

    Among connoisseurs of literary competitions, the most coveted laurel has        long gone to first-place mention in Nemo's Almanac  

                                                               - New York Times

A hot event in Literary Quiz Land... The longest-running and most              
difficult literary competition in the world.  


Appearing quietly every year since 1892 (and now in its 131st year), the latest edition of this 'fiendish literary quotation quiz' is now available to order direct from the editor. We've featured Nemo's Almanac at our online gathering and it's a great if not especially well-known national asset. Its followers and competitors (two different communities that nevertheless sometimes overlap) are passionately committed to it.

    You're an adult now, and you can take any kind of quiz you want. May I        recommend Nemo's Almanac, a very old, very pedigreed literary quiz? 

                                                                - Paris Review

A perfect stocking-filler for all your  bookish friends, and a year's reading for the price of tea and a bun. Available to order for just £4 per copy (3 for £10) plus £1 postage and packing).

        The Editor

        Nemo's Almanac

        Magnolia House

        High Street 


        Suffolk IP17 3EP

More about Nemo's history here:


8. The Barbellion Prize

The Barbellion Prize is a book prize 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 Prix Goncourt offers a symbolic €10 prize, where its prestige is the greater reward. In some way this would be interesting to pursue, book prizes always come with complex talk and discourse, and it’d certainly be easier at least to maintain the prize if some sort…

We can maintain our existence in finding a regular benefactor, sponsor, or by better fundraising. With all of that we still need more support in the short term. You can donate to the prize via Paypal:


9. C D Rose

Glue Factory stalwart Chris Rose, writing about music. Very good piece.


10. This was the BBC World Service

The BBC World Service has this week announced proposals to end radio services in Arabic, Persian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Hindi, Bengali, Chinese, Indonesian, Tamil, Urdu. 

Britain is closing down. As Will Eaves put it in an eloquent tweet:

The diminution of the World Service cuts us off from foreign news, from the reality of life elsewhere, from a sense of cultural difference and interconnectedness. It’s hard not to see in it a sign of our authoritarian paranoid moment as an insular and failing state.


11. Fill your boots

I've been writing for the TLS (or Times Lit. Supp. as we old timers still call it) since 2009 and you can find around forty of my reviews and articles here.

My most recent review was of Original Sins, an addiction memoir by by Matt Rowland Hill, which was long listed last week for the  2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction. 

Full details of that BGP long list here. I'm delighted to see a striking example of nominative determinism in the author of The Restless Republic: Britain Without a Crown. Her name? Anna Keay.


12. How lo can you go?

Let's all blow raspberries at everyone involved in commissioning, perpetrating and then signing-off the pisspoor new OUP logo, better suited to a type shop. How. Could. They.

It was apparently introduced a year ago, and went largely unnoticed, but is now circulating on the internet and universally derided..


13. NCLA forthcoming events

Preti Taneja, Director of Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, this week announced the Autumn season of free, public events featuring some of the most brilliant writers, poets, theatre makers working today, with readings and discussions with outstanding talent in prose, poetry, theatre and journalism, talking climate change, fandom, refugees, disability rights and more...


14. Money-saving hack

Do you depend on published research for your work? If, like most of us, you can't afford professional books & journals, you can order FREE copies of journal papers & books from z-library at No fee, but they accept donations. Check it out.


15. Next week's online gathering

Author Keiron Pim on Endless Flight, his acclaimed biography of Joseph Roth. Susanna Crossman reads from and discusses her brilliant Aeon essay about being raised in a commune. The author Ariel Anderssen, former Jehovah's Witness and now an award-winning BDSM model, will talk us through the current Prime Minister's choice of personal accessories and what they say about her. Plus some lost Auden poems, if there's time.


16. Nudge

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, states that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and of his family". Yet in the UK, in 2022, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are going hungry and cold.

Former Tory MP Edwina Currie spoke in 2014 of being 'very, very troubled at the number of people who are using food banks who … never learn to cook, they never learn to manage and the moment they’ve got a bit of spare cash they’re off getting another tattoo.' 

Read what Matthew Sweet has to say about such a perspective here.

As for Kwas Kwarteng's wreckless budget, which takes from the poor and gives to the rich, here's what one high earner has to say about his windfall:

“I’ll be at least £50k better off – a gigantic pile of free money that I didn’t ask for, don’t need and which doesn’t affect my lifestyle. And incidentally, because I earn in dollars, and my pension stocks are in dollars, I have been given another pile of money because of the weak pound. It’s obscene and personally embarrassing. Give £5k to 10 poorer people instead. Imagine having to explain to someone on £30k, what I’ve just received.

“It’s laughable. I don’t understand what I’m meant to do with this boon, to help the economy. Spend it? I don’t need more stuff. My business doesn’t need it. Put it in my pension? Surely that doesn’t help anyone. I will give it away to charities, but I don’t know how that’s an efficient routing of the money.” 

                          - James, 48, a strategy consultant from London

More on that here.


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