Sunday, 29 May 2016

This week at Valley Press: 'Flight of the muse'

Dear readers,

This week has been all about The Naked Muse, which was released on Thursday, and made it to bookshop shelves across the country – including the one pictured above (by Kelley Swain herself) in the biography section of Blackwell's in Oxford.

The book got some serious exposure this week, the kind money can't buy. Readers of the i newspaper (the cheap, classy one) might have spotted this double-page spread, containing the first chapter, with illustrations:

This feature was also trailed on the front cover – the front cover! I never thought we'd make it to the front page of a national newspaper. What will I aim for now? The front page of two national newspapers, I suppose. Perhaps soon, everything we do in this tiny room in Scarborough will be of immense national interest...?

Kelley also spoke about the book on no less than eight radio stations during the week – don't worry, I'm not expecting you to listen to all those interviews (though I notice Ireland's Today FM has a cheery website, could be worth a try!) If you have any spare time, you should take a look at this long, in-depth feature by Teddy Jamieson (of The Herald in Scotland); that's really the last word on Kelley's modelling experience, brilliant journalism.

I must thank Ana McLaughlin of Sarah Harrison PR, who has been working for us this year (but will soon be going on maternity leave); she's responsible for all of the above. Ana is one of those people who is a true pleasure to work with, but is also so talented and effective that you'd still hire them if they were the most unpleasant person ever to walk the Earth. (I struggle with big compliments – that was meant to be one!) Big thanks Ana, anyway; we really appreciate all you've done.

This Wednesday sees the long-awaited launch event for The Naked Muse, which will also feature a reading from Malene Engelund and 'rising star' David Nash. It's happening at the Peckham Pelican (in London, see map here), from 7pm on the 1st June. You are promised pizza, and some very special guests from the art world.

Also launched this week is our anthology inspired by David Oluwale, which is for sale now, first copies dispatched on Friday. There is an event, in Leeds on the evening of Friday 3rd, but it's not one I'm heavily promoting as we're expecting to fill the venue just with the organisers, contributors, and guests of both. I can probably sneak you in though – drop me a return email and I'll pull the necessary strings!

While we're in Leeds (which we seem to be regularly!), Saturday 4th June sees the first 'Northern Short Story Festival', which looks like a brilliant day – check out the programme here if you're interested. Of course, I'm involved (I get everywhere), and our own Michael Stewart will also be giving a reading.

I think that's it for this week – except to say, you now have only two days to submit to our Yorkshire anthology, and also to give 'a big shout-out' to my mother, an avid reader of this newsletter, who turned 60 on Thursday. I think you'll agree she's very lucky – not many mothers can claim their son writes to them every week!

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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