What day is it...?
I'm kidding (just). Having been knocked off my feet by a bug at the weekend, I couldn't manage even the smallest apology for a newsletter, so please accept this mid-week special to cover last weekend and the one coming. We'll have one more of these to see out the year, on the 18th, then I may take a short break. There are submissions to read!
The great news today is that our last book of the year is at the printers: we've finally finished 2016, which has encompassed no less than twenty new titles. It's been a longer journey than expected, on a bumpy road, with a few wrong turns, but we've reached the destination safely and with our dignity intact. Any missed stops (like Helen's big book, and the Yorkshire anthology) can be painlessly slotted into next year's adventure.
Our final 2016 book is the third collection by long-time Valley Press poet Norah Hanson, titled Sparks. A lot of you will have got to know Norah and her work over the past five years, to the extent that I really only need to say 'Norah has a new book out' to do my job of selling a heap of copies – but maybe I should try a little harder than that. Her work is wise, funny and always important (but never self-important): there aren't any riddles and literary exercises, just language at its most purposeful, whether that purpose is to make you laugh, cry, think, or all three.
Her first two books are some of our best-sellers, and – in my expert opinion as fan and publisher – this new collection is even better than those two. But don't take my word for it; you can read advice for 'growing old disgracefully' on the website now, and read the whole book for £7.99 ... or less, entering discount code ZAP at the checkout. Plus, there's a launch: visit Hull's Artlink centre at 1.30pm on Saturday 17th December for readings, a hot drink and a mince pie. Can't say fairer than that!
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In other news: there's a nice little interview with Di Slaney on the web here, which fans of Reward for Winter will appreciate. Paul Sutherland is reading from his New and Selected Poems in York on December 14th, as part of the legendary 'Speaker's Corner' event – from 7.30pm at the Golden Ball, Cromwell Road. That's one of his first UK readings since the book came out, having been in Canada for a month or two.
On a less positive note, we still haven't got those Antony Dunn hardbacks, despite now having paid the printer in full just to get the matter over with. The latest excuse is that their office is 'closed for maintenance'; very suspect. Worst part is, they actually had me believing they were about to arrive, again – how many times am I going to fall for that?
I think the time to be coy has passed: the name of this printer, now a full month late with delivery, is D&M Heritage Ltd. I suppose they must occasionally complete a job to stay in business, but on this one occasion I have worked with them, they have provided the most abysmal service at every stage. If they'd been paid by an enemy of mine to specifically wind me up, I can't think of anything else they could have done. Please avoid them in future if you're someone who prints books.
And... breathe. Lots to look forward to. Tomorrow, there should be a fairly big full-colour ad for Valley Press books in the TLS (let me know if you spot it!), and even more exciting, I'm heading to a recording studio with Andy Seed to capture Poems for Pensioners in the form of sound, for an audiobook edition (hopefully something we'll be doing more of in future).
Thanks for reading, have a great weekend (I never get to say that!), and I'll be in touch on the 18th – by which point we should have our shortlist for 2017 publications...
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher