Sunday, 16 October 2016

This week at Valley Press, #31: 'Raw Material'

Dear readers,

I want to begin this newsletter by taking you into the near future; to the start of November in fact. With the eyes of the world watching, events will take place (for the first time since 2012) that could decide the path of the free world for decades to come...

I'm talking, of course, about the release of another Valley Press book, with accompanying book launches (what did you think I meant?) After four years, legendary Hull-based writer Sue Wilsea is back with a new collection of her darkly witty short stories, titled Raw Material. If you've read her work before, there's no need for me to sell it to you; one reviewer said her last collection Staying Afloat was 'probably the best collection of short stories I have ever read by a living author' (though Sue wouldn't let me put that on the cover of the new book!)

I can't sugar-coat things theme-wise: there are a lot of stories about death in this book, and the others are mainly concerned with difficult relationships (in some cases, both); but despite that you will laugh, a lot, and your heart will ache at times when Sue points out a tiny detail (like the changing appearance of someone's hands over time). I don't know anyone else who can tell so much story in such few words.

One story, this one about difficult relationships after a death (for a change), is up on our site for you to read now, and you can pre-order the book here. There are two launch events planned, both following a new show by 'The Hull to Scarborough Line' (Sue's literary duo act with Felix Hodcroft) – they are at Kardomah94, in Hull, on November 2nd (main show 7pm, book launch 8pm), then heading to the Scarborough Art Gallery on November 6th (main show 3pm, book launch 4pm). Should be spectacular; I'll hope to see you then.

In other news this week: it's Sunday night, you've tuned your TV to BBC1, and you're settling down to watch a programme about a tousle-haired literary hero from Cornwall. That's right: Valley Press poet John Wedgwood Clarke has finally been given his own TV programme (again, what did you think I meant?) Here's a promotional still, with Dr Clarke looking authoritative yet approachable:

The programme, part of a series titled Books That Made Britain, was shown earlier today, but you can catch it for the next 29 days on the BBC's iPlayer service here. It's brilliant for anyone who wants to brush-up on the literary history of the Yorkshire coast.

Heading inland slightly, Robert Powell (another of our distinguished poets) has been involved in a very interesting project titled 'A Small Box of River'. Elaborating on some of the themes of his VP collection All, he's produced an exhibition and book with artist Jake Attree, which you can see at the Lotte Inch Gallery in York from the 20th October to the 15th November. There are a few events on as part of the exhibition too; you can find details of them on the gallery's newsletter here. After York, it moves to Salts Mill in Saltaire until Christmas, so you've plenty of chances to see it.

That's enough for this week – thanks for reading, as ever, and thanks to everyone who came to our gig in Manchester on Tuesday. Just because I can, here are Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Jo Brandon on their way to the event, about to enjoy an apple:

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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