Sunday, 24 May 2015

News, books and opportunities from Valley Press

Dear readers,

It's been a couple of months since I was last in touch - how have you been? Right, now the small talk is out of the way, I'll get down to business ... I have a lot to tell you, but I'll start (as ever) with our latest publications.

Both of the books pictured here were released on the 24th April; so I'll introduce them in alphabetical order. First we have Jonathan Davidson's Humfrey Coningsby, a short collection of "poems, complaints, explanations and demands for satisfaction" inspired by the (continuing) life of a 16th century Shropshire Lord.

Twitter has been getting quite excited about Humfrey, with the words "brilliant", "wonderful" and "lovely" being used to describe it in one 24-hour period. Our own Kelley Swain nicely summarised it as: "Sir Harry Flashman meets Sir Geoffrey Hill. Superb, a must-read!" And your Coningsby experience doesn't have to end with the book; Jonathan has also written a radio drama on this subject, currently scheduled for broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Wednesday 24th June, from 2.15pm. Should be well worth a listen! Check out a sample of the book here to see what the fuss is about.

Then there's Life Class, the second collection by one of our most distinguished VP poets (and noted artist) Jo Reed. Jo designed her own cover for this book, basing it around a portrait of herself by renowned graphic designer Ken Vail, and the interior of the book is just as unique and intriguing. Never trivial, Jo's poetry deals in memory, myth and magic; often combining unvarnished reality with breathtaking flights of imagination. A Scarborough-based event around Life Class is in the works; keep an eye on the book's homepage for news on that, when we have it.

Onto other matters now: near this sentence you should see a picture of the VP/EP stall at the London Book Fair - we had a marvellous time and hope to go back next year. You can read Emma's charming summary of our experience here.
I'll be back in London this coming Wednesday (27th), for the official launch of Richard Barnett's Seahouses, which is taking place at Blackwell's Holborn from 6pm. Hope to see you London Valley Press fans there!

I know many newsletter subscribers are anxious to hear about the submissions process, so here we go: our search for great new writing to publish in spring 2016 is about to come to an end. The details are all here, in case you've missed them, and the deadline for us receiving your work is 5pm on Friday May 29th. If you've almost got something together, but can't make that, don't panic! I'll most likely open submissions for autumn 2016 that very same day (with the same requirements), so only rush if you need a decision soon.

I'd actually like to request some help with that decision: I'm looking for fans of literary publishing to meet me in Scarborough one day in June, to read through a selection of submissions and give me some feedback. If you're interested in attending this, reply to this email and let me know; we'll discuss exact dates and times once I have five or six volunteers. If you've submitted something in the last six months, I'm afraid you're not welcome at this meeting - but the rest of you are.

I'd also like a few volunteers to read a forthcoming VP title, due for publication in September - it's prose, non-fiction, on the short side at just 70 pages; I'm looking for general feedback and answers to a few specific questions, which I'll be asking after you've read it. Again, if you're interested in helping out, please reply to this email and let me know. (You won't have to come to Scarborough for this one.)

Finally, I'll end by directing you to a couple of wonderfully detailed and eloquent reviews of our March novel Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space; one from 'Scots Whay Hae' and one by R J Askew. I also loved this short blog about the book by our sales agency's director Sheila Bounford. And very finally (sorry for going on so long!), thanks to Jim Hinks, a remastered version of Dame Judi Dench reading Sue Wilsea's short story 'Paper Flowers' is now online here. Would be a great way to spend 20 minutes of your bank holiday! (In addition to all the minutes you've spent on this newsletter...)

All the best, and thanks for reading,
Jamie McGarry (VP Publisher)