Sunday, 1 May 2016

This week at Valley Press: 'Thoughtful, weird, and naked'

Dear readers,

We've had two launches this week – they ranged from the intimate and thoughtful to the wild, weird and wonderful (you'll soon figure out which was which). Joanna Ezekiel has written a lovely blog entry telling the story of her launch, including photos; it was a great evening of literature, charmingly introduced by Rosa (another first for our 'Associate Editor'). Details of Joanna's book can be found here – her poems bringing the characters of Pride and Prejudice into the 21st century went down particularly well live.

Mark Waddell's launch, on the other hand, was introduced by a man dressed as a Mexican wrestler, and featured various acts including a belly-dancer and a man singing/shouting about worms while a lady tap-danced beside him. By the time Mark was escorted onto the stage (as depicted in the header image), this had happened:

As the last book was sold, I felt a strange mixture of pride and embarrassment... In terms of book sales at a single event, yesterday now holds the record at 99 (93 of which were Mark's book – I'd brought my usual 80). I rarely give out figures, but I think this one deserves a nod of respect. You can hear a little more about Mark (specifically, his hobby of putting poetry on a sign outside his house) in a segment from US radio station NPR here, and get your own copy of his book (before they all go!) here.

In other radio news, long-time Valley Press author Kelley Swain is appearing on BBC Radio 4's 'Start the Week' tomorrow (9am), discussing artistic matters with Grayson Perry and Emma Rice. One of those matters will be her new book, a memoir of life modelling titled The Naked Muse – officially released on May 26th, but hurried into print last week so there would be copies around for this broadcast (thus, I'm counting it in my 'five weeks, five books' mission).

I'll talk more about The Naked Muse in a future newsletter (and provide a 'listen again' link next week), but for now I'll just say that the experience of reading it is rather like listening to a very thoughtful, educated friend tell you about an extraordinary job they once had. I've put an excerpt on the site today so you can see what I mean; you'll love it.

The 'Tour de Yorkshire' is about to come through my village, which reminds me to give another plug to our call for Yorkshire poetry, for the still-untitled anthology due in October – we're taking submissions for that until the end of this month. If you've got something suitable, details of how to submit can be found here. Also, if you've been caught up in all the Tour excitement, don't forget Kate Fox's Tour de Force, written and published during the original 'grand depart' (a fact I amazed someone with in Wenlock).

That's all for now. Next week, another new book – what else?

All best,

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