The bascule chamber is the large, brick-lined space that houses Tower Bridge’s huge counterweights. As the saying goes, festivals abhor a vaccuum: I am delighted to be working with composer Tom Wilson on a commissioned new work that will attempt to take full advantage of the bascule chamber’s unique acoustics. Inspired by the history of the Royal Menagerie at the nearby Tower of London, we are lucky enough to have the Ben See Group performing the finished work for the Totally Thames Festival, curated by Iain Chambers.
The piece will be performed as part of a great programme of contemporary music on both Sat 24th and Sun 25th Sept at these times: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm. Tickets can be bought here (but please do note performances are subject to change up to 24 hours before due to the working nature of Tower Bridge — some terms & conditions here.)
This week sees the bookshop launch of An Unreliable Guide to London, the new anthology that ‘brings together 23 stories about the lesser-known parts of a world-renowned city’. With tales of the capital’s haunted taxidermy, wind nymphs in South Clapham tube station and sleeping clinics in Islington, I am delighted to have a piece nesting in its pages; not wanting to give too much away, purple and purpleness features heavily and featheredly.
Other authors include M John Harrison, Chloe Aridjis, Gary Budden, Yvvette Edwards, Courttia Newland, Will Wiles, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Nikesh Shukla, Juliet Jacques, Salena Godden, Stephen Thompson, Irenosen Okojie, Sunny Singh, Paul Ewen, Tim Burrows, George F., Gareth E. Rees, Aki Schilz, Tim Wells, Koye Oyedeji and Stephanie Victoire. If not spotted in the wild bookshelves of the outside, you can buy direct from the publishers Influx press here.
Edited to add: Chirpy nod in the East End Review, as well as generous mention in Time Out, Buzzfeed’s ’31 Incredible Books You Simply Must Read This Summer’ listicle(alongside Sarah Moss, Lauren Elkin, Dave Eggers and Eimar McBride!), as well as throughtful asides courtest of The Lonesome Reader blogger and the neverimitate site.
Image from the Guardian, by Noma Bar.
Thanks to Timothy Thornton and Verity Spott for collating responses to events of June 2016. Hosted by The Winter Olympics press, the document features writing spurred by the EU referendum result, so that ‘some of the writing in it directly reflects that result. Some too is still in mourning after the massacre in Orlando. Some may have nothing explicit to do with recent events; it was an open invitation to submit work. But that invitation was made right on the day of the result.’
I have a piece within its pages, alongside work by Rees Arnott-Davies, Ben Austwick, Frankie Basweld, cris cheek, Megan Clifton, Sam Cutting, Richard Dodwell, Caitlín Doherty, Emu Extraordinaire, Dominic Fox, Ben Graham, Rob Halpern, Caspar Jade Heinemann, Ben Hickman, Lisa Jayne, Antony John, Justin Katko, Laura Kilbride, Francesca Lisette, Ed Luker, Alex MacDonald, Sally Mercer, Kev Nickells, Ingrid Plum, Nat Raha, Daniel Spicer, Verity Spott, Rob Stanton, Kesh St Hewind, Keston Sutherland, Michael Tencer, Dolly Turing, Karl M V Waugh and Naomi Weber.
Links to a .pdf of collection can be found >> here <<, with instructions should one wish to print a booklet of the entries.
In addition, I am proud of my colleague Joanna Walsh at 3:AM Magazine for compiling this list of responses from various writers and practitioners.
Excuse me while I am sick in my children’s dream. — from Sutherland’s ‘June Pastoral’
I was very pleased to read at the launch of Hotel #1 at The Function Room on June 24th, appearing with fellow contributors Matthew Siegel, Will Eaves, Duncan White and a pre-recorded audio performance by Wayne Koestenbaum.
The first issue of Hotel features work by Will Eaves, Jon Auman, Duncan White, Tyler Malone, Jane Yeh, Erica Baum, Matthew Gregory and Jess Cotton, with many exciting ‘inhabitants’ scheduled for the next issue. My piece ‘The Alphabet’ pops up in there too. Many thanks to Tom, Dom, John and all at the editorial team; Hotel is available to buy from the ICA’s bookshop in London, the Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts in Bristol and Brussels’ Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, or via the journal’s dedicated website.
It was a pleasure to chair the reading and Q&A with wonderful writer A. L. Kennedy as part of the Emerald Street Literary festival, 11th June at the Royal Geological Society in London. Many thanks for her tips about fencing with women and how to best walk with a raven on your arm.
The full programme featured talks and readings from authors and organisations including Kate Mosse and the Baileys Prize finalists, Jessie Burton, Caroline Criado-Perez and Marina Lewycka on Britain’s European referendum, Maggie O’Farrell, Kit de Waal, Amy Liptrot and Bryony Gordon, Scarlett Thomas, Laura Barnett and Holly Bourne.
You can buy A. L. Kennedy’s most recent novel, Serious Sweet, here.
Celebrating the release of forthcoming An Unreliable Guide to London, I was very pleased to join Influx Press at the Library Gallery to read an extract from the anthology and discuss London’s fictions, past and present. Quite a thing to sit next to writers M John Harrison (let alone be described as ‘steely-eyed’ by him, as per confluence), Courttia Newland and Yvvette Edwards; many thanks to the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, for all the questions from the audience and to Gary Budden for chairing.
It was good to see my purpureus colleagues Emma Venables, Susan Gray and Ishita Mandrekar for one final performance of prose and poetry as part of Play!, the annual festival celebrating music, theatre, creative writing, film and art from Royal Holloway’s students and staff. This year’s festival theme was ‘Lost & Found Spaces’ and hosted over 30 events take place across campus. Many thanks to the student volunteers for assisting the smooth-running of the festival, and to our receptive audience.
Influx Press will be publishing a collection of my short stories and prose later this year. I could not be more proud, more humbled nor more thankful to be working with the team at Influx; please read the recent post from the London-based independent publishers and treat yourself to a browse of their back catalogue, featuring Darran Anderson’s Imaginary Cities, Linda Mannheim’s Above Sugar Hill and Chimène Suleyman’s poetry collection Outside Looking On.
There was a small announcement in The Bookseller (this William fellow sounds rather pleasant).
(when the reeling has stopped)
It was an absolute privilege to work with poets S J Fowler, Luke Kennard, Zaza Koshkadze and Lia Liqokeli as part of this year’s International Festival of Literature in Tbilisi, Georgia. The full programme can be seen here on the Georgian Writer’s House’s dedicated site; it was a wonderful week of collaboration, reading and exploration. S J Fowler’s account of the trip can be read on his dedicated journal, and some footage of the collaborations can be seen on the Enemies’ project website. Thank you to the Writers’ House on-site angel Davit Gabunia for co-curating, and to the International Literature Showcase Fund and the British Council for their support.
Sandeep Parmar & James Byrne
Carol Watts & George Szirtes
Mark Waldron & Rebecca Perry
Prudence Chamberlain & Eley Williams
Giovanna Coppola & Clover Peake
Mischa Foster Poole & Chrissy Williams
Julia Lewis & Harry Man
Tasimbaradzwa Kanyangarara & Susie Campbell
Rachel Long & Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Kathryn Maris & Amy Key
Videos of all the performances can be found on the Enemies’ dedicated blog. The Camarade series began at Rich Mix and I will always be grateful for the collaborations and work that I have been able to encounter at the centre both as audience and participant. Wonderful, too, to have the opportunity to work with Prue Chamberlain again not least because she has a number of new works being published this year. Nice nice nice nice.