Sunday, 30 October 2022

Newsletter 56

A reminder that I welcome suggestions for the final Glue Factory online gathering (which will be on Sunday 11th December). The show will feature recorded highlights from the entire series - so if there's something you missed, or would like to see again, do let me know. Thanks to all those who have already made suggestions - duly noted!

After this week we have six more shows, of which five are now programmed. They include an indie showcase from Sidekick Books; a night of the surreal and grotesque curated by Vik Shirley; Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry; the centenary of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus; Michael Rosen on the Johnson/Mogg correspondence; OPLIPO (the Italian equivalent to the French Oulipo movement); adventures in apostasy; a forgotten friend of T S Eliot (and a newsworthy archive discovery); Beckett's sucking stones and Pasolini's poetry. All this and more. Do join us.

Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   This week’s online gatherings 

3.   Indie press news

4.   Beckett at Reading

5.   Samuel Beckett’s Visual Imagination

6.   T S Eliot Lecture 2022

7.   Boniface klaxon

8.   Shocking fillers

9.   Professor Kulpana Shankar 

10.  Tolka issue 4 launch      

11.  Next week's online gathering

12.  Nudge



1. Aid for Ukraine

250 days of misery. Please give as much as you can, whenever 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.

Thank you.


2. This week’s online gatherings 

Our annual Hallowe'en gathering and this year we welcome back as our guest curator the Chicago-based artist and writer Riva Lehrer (author of the prize-winning memoir Golem Girl) with her guests Hayley Campbell (author of The Living and the Dead)Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveller's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry), and the artist Landis Blair. 

They'll be joined by the Glasgow-based writer and artist Rose Ruane who will produce a unique artwork which will be offered for sale to the highest bidder at the end of the evening (with proceeds to The Trussell Trust). 

And there's an extra show on Hallowe'en night itself (Monday 31st October): an exclusive screening of Dracula: the Untold Story, the acclaimed stage production introduced by Laura Hopkins, who last week won the 2022 award for Best Design. 

‘a technically flawless and thrillingly ingenious take on Bram Stoker’s vampire classic’ - The Stage

Read the Guardian review here.


3. Indie press news

I spent the past two days at Conway Hall in Holborn, home to the revived Small Publishers Fair. It's the first such event in three years thanks to the pandemic and it was a wonderful thing to be back in this lovely building and to spend time with the 70+ indie publishers taking part.


- a reading by Natalia Zagorska-Thomas on her forthcoming book The Camden Hoard, a collaboration with Charles Boyle and featuring contributions from the likes of Will Eaves, Julian Stannard, Amy McCauley, Gavin Clarke, Kevin Boniface and illustrious others.

- a fascinating exhibition by poet/writer/performer S J Fowler (a Glue Factory guest earlier this month), showcasing his extraordinarily productive career over the past decade.

- an object, nine years in the making, by the Mexican artist Ximena Perez Grober, who shredded a 1965 Faber edition of Finnegans Wake then knitted the shreds together into a unique artwork. See her website here.

- newcomers Tenement Press with a terrific display of their striking bright yellow books and a very powerful reading by Cristina Viti of her forthcoming translations of Pasolini's poetry (all entirely new to me)

- Nicholas Royle of Nightjar Press, who kindly gave me a copy of his new short story collection Manchester Uncanny (Confingo Press) and Vik Shirley (many thanks to her for a copy of her darkly witty new collection Corpsespublished by Sublunary Editions, which will feature on The Glue Factory next month). 

- David Henningham (below) of Henningham Family Press, who introduced a reading by HFP author Claire Allen from her novel The Blackbird.

It was good to see old friends and catch up, and to make new ones.

The last newsletter will be on December 11th, although I'll continue to send the occasional email if something interesting comes my way that I think you'd like to know about. Discussion with some of the indie publishers at the Fair suggest an afterlife for the Glue Factory as an occasional pop-up shop - so keep watching the stars.


4. Beckett at Reading
A two-day gathering on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November - an event that will appeal to all Beckettians, and prompted (apparently) by the fiftieth anniversary of the trailblazing 1971 exhibition of Beckett manuscripts assembled by James Knowlson. Fifty-one years ago.

I have the original catalogue of what was then a modest collection but which has since expanded colossally.

Full details and bookings here.

NB There's a rail strike on the Friday, so plan accordingly


5. Samuel Beckett’s Visual Imagination

Thursday 24 Nov 2022, 5:00 PM

More Beckett. A presentation by Dirk Van Hulle and Mark Nixon that will examine Samuel Beckett’s personal library, which has remained in his apartment in Paris since his death in 1989. It will discuss the reading traces and marginalia found in these books to chart Beckett’s intellectual world. Beckett was fond of ‘reading wildly all over the place’ (as he told his friend Thomas MacGreevy in 1936), collecting material from a wide range of subjects that would influence his aesthetic thinking and his creative works. In particular, the talk will examine the Irish writer’s profound engagement with the visual arts, which played a pivotal role in shaping the striking images that pervade his texts for stage and page. Drawing on his surviving library in Paris, his books on art and gallery catalogues, unpublished diaries, manuscripts and published texts, this talk will give a unique insight into Beckett’s creative, visual imagination.

Dirk Van Hulle is Professor of Bibliography and Modern Book History at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Textual Editing and Theory (OCTET).

Mark Nixon is Associate Professor of Modern Literature and Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading.

Tickets are just 120 CZK (£4.30)


6. T. S. Eliot Annual Lecture 2022

The Annual T S Eliot Lecture 2022 is to be given in London at 5.30pm on Thursday 17th November by Professor John Haffenden. Its title is Vivien Eliot – Woman and Writer.

John Haffenden is the “indefatigable, exemplary editor” (Evening Standard) of The Letters of TS Eliot, now in its ninth volume. This has given him a unique perspective on Eliot’s life and work. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Sheffield, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. In a TLS review of the most recent volume of the Letters, John Haffenden was praised for his “expert hands” and “a manner both companionable and erudite”.

This is the first time that the Lecture has been delivered in London – in the Bloomsbury neighbourhood where Eliot worked for most of his life - thanks to the English Department of University College, London, who will be hosting the event in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre at UCL.

The Lecture will be introduced by Professor Mark Ford, Head of the English Department at UCL, who has himself written and spoken widely on TS Eliot.

Admission is free, but the audience is limited and registration is required, via


7. Boniface klaxon

Here's our Kevin getting into the groove at the 2017 Congress of Psychogeography. Tuneful.


8. Shocking fillers

What follows is a plug. And when we say 'plug' do you think of bath plugs or electrical plugs? And why are we said to 'plug' something when we promote it?

None of these questions is addressed in my recent perpetration Multiple Joyce: 100 short essays about James Joyce's cultural legacy. Published in Dublin on 16th June (Bloomsday) this year, this is the only book about the author's cultural legacy you're ever likely to need.

It's not too late to order copies as Diwali gifts, and not too early to think about stocking fillers for bookish friends you're not that keen on. 

Here are some notices (more will follow in future newsletters until you give in:

“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)

“Some of the 100 essays in this rowdy exhibit hall offer intriguing trivia; others provide literary insights, and readers of all interest levels will find something unexpected to contemplate. We may already know that Joyce wrote stories, plays and novels, one of which, Ulysses, is considered by many to be ‘the greatest novel of all full stop.’ But were we aware that the Italian perfumer Mirko Buffini created a fragrance collection based on Finnegans Wake? Or that Joyce favored Borsalino hats, worn today by the likes of John Malkovich and Nicole Kidman? What has Moby-Dick got to do with Joyce, and why is that hyphen in the title? Collard will fill you in. These short essays exude infectious delight for a universe of such arcana.”

    — Lori Soderlind, in The New York Times Book Review

“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…. The strategy of the book … is to take bemusement seriously…. There is a real pleasure in reading a book about Joyce that actually makes you laugh.”

    — Stuart Kelly, in The Spectator

“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        

Buy one, buy many here


9. Professor Kulpana Shankar 

Congratulations to Professor Kalpana Shankar who was this week became the first woman of colour to become a Full Professor in Ireland. 


10. Tolka issue 4 launch

Issue 4 of TOLKA (as featured on last Sunday's Glue Factory gathering) has gone to the printers, and copies are expected very soon! Pre-order yours now 

Tolka Issue Four will be launched as part of Dublin Book Festival on Saturday 12 November at 4.30pm in Dublin Castle. There will be readings readings from: Kasandra Ferguson, Sonya Gildea, Mark O’Connell and Isobel O’Donovan

Register for your free ticket here.


11.  Next week's online gathering

On Sunday 6th November we'll have second Sidekick Books showcase curated by publisher Jon Stone with guest writers

     Adam Crothers 

     Belle Roach

     Julia Rose Lewis 

     Lara Frankena 

     Lotte Mitchell Reford 


     Vika Gusak 


12.  Nudge

The reason behind nearly 150 live gatherings (more than 250 hours of online broadcasting) and the reason behind this free newsletter (issued weekly for the past year) is to raise funds for The Trussell Trust, the UK's main food bank charity. That's why I do it, and why so many fine creative practitioners - more than 500 to date - have donated their time and energy and talent to the programme in its current and earlier iterations A Leap in the Dark and carthorse orchestra.

I don't labour the fact, and you're welcome in the audience whether you donate or not. These gatherings are free and by invitation only (which gives me, as host, plenty of freedom when it comes to copyright material). But I hope all of you reading this, and all of you in the online audience past, present and future, will dig deep and support this very worthwhile charity. The Trust does a lot of good in these dark days and offers a lifeline to many of the most vulnerable in our society.


PS Did you remember to turn your clocks back, if you happen to be in Britain. It's now GMT, not BST, so you'll have enjoyed an extra hour in bed this morning.

Don't forget the Hallowe'en screening of Dracula: the Untold Story tomorrow night at 7:30pm GMT, introduced by its award- winning designer Laura Hopkins.

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