Sunday, 20 March 2016

This week at Valley Press: 'Reward for Winter'

Dear readers,

I'm pleased to report that, as of today, the wait is over: Valley Press is once again open to general submissions. We're looking for new works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction for publication in 2017; you can find out exactly how to go about sending us your work here.

There are a couple of changes to the process this time round, as part of our year-long Arts Council project (thanks again folks!); the first is the length of the window, which will be open from today right through to November 30th without closing (so plenty of time to consider what you'll send). The second is that, instead of the usual 'covering letter', we're asking you to fill in a short paper form; these will be sent out with all book purchases through the website from today, and also distributed at special 'author outreach' events we will be organising throughout the year. Details of those will be in future newsletters, so keep watching this space. And, best of luck!

This week's title isn't a reference to the re-opening of submissions (though it may feel like it for those waiting since December), nor is it a comment on the improving weather (though we're getting there) – it's actually the title of our next book, as pictured above, the first collection by poet and smallholder Di Slaney.

Due for release this coming Thursday, Reward for Winter was inspired by Di's 'life change', ditching her high-powered urban existence to become custodian of an ancient farmhouse in the village of Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire. There's a lot more to it than that though; a third of the book is a biography of a single chicken, and there are Vikings, witches, coal mining, King Charles the First hiding in the farmhouse's cupboard (true story), and tales of the other 150+ animal residents.

I could go on (a lot) – and I haven't described how great it is (take that as a given) – but you can get the gist on the book's homepage, the rest of the backstory in this article from the Nottingham Post, and read a sample poem on our site titled 'How to knit a sheep' (which is a must, if you have a spare moment). I'll talk more about this book next week, but Nottingham residents need to know about two launch events happening before then; one at Five Leaves from 7pm on Wednesday, and one at Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum from 6pm on Saturday.

We're a bit link-heavy this week, but I'll take advantage of that and end with a few more: a brilliant write-up of the launch event we had last week for Malene Engelund's The Wild Gods; an enlightening (yet enigmatic) interview with Malene; and the second part of my series of articles on small press publishing are all out there in the world – I don't want to hear any subscribers saying they are stuck for things to read in the next seven days!

The clocks go forward next Sunday, so the next time I speak to you spring will have definitely, unquestionably, sprung. See you on the other side.

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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