Friday, 8 December 2017

This week at Valley Press, #84: 'Your five a day'

Dear readers,

Another late newsletter this week – can you believe I've barely had a minute to myself since the last one went out? One of the things I've been doing tonight (besides publishing) is building another book tree, pictured above, this time at our local chapel and made out of non-VP books. They have a Christmas tree festival every year, and the theme this year is 'words that end in tree'; so after last week's pun, Mrs McGarry volunteered us to construct an actual 'poet tree'. Maybe you can spot some of your favourites? (If not, you might like to visit the 'optome-tree' someone built to our left, covered in pairs of glasses.)

This week, rather than lengthy anecdotes, I have five interesting links for you. Feel free to pick and choose which ones you click on, in line with your interests... or show the full extent of your love of Valley Press by engaging with all five!

Firstly, we launched Helen Cadbury's Forever, Now this week at York Explore. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, beginning to end; I felt so honoured to be involved with the book and the evening (as did the rest of the VP team). YorkMix have captured some of the spirit in their thoughtful write-up; for me, it was the first time I'd ever truly experienced 'bittersweet'... happiness and sadness pulling at your heart simultaneously. A truly unforgettable evening. If you missed out, I'm pleased to report we have more events planned for this book in 2018 (details coming soon).

Secondly, there's news that John Wedgwood Clarke will be teaching a five-day course on 'The Poetry of Rubbish' with the Poetry School in the new year. If you can't get to Exeter to take part, there is at least this wonderful long interview on that subject which they published a few days ago, a great companion piece to Landfill.

Thirdly, we were excited to see that the 'Travelling Man' chain of shops (more commonly known for comics and games) have taken a liking to Caroline Hardaker's Bone Ovation. Not only they did they post this glowing short review, they're also stocking it in all their branches, pitching it as a kind of stocking filler for the more thoughtful, quirky gift recipient in your life. Which I'd very much like to second!

Fourthly (is that a word?), lurking in this article about the reading habits of the 'great and good' is a tiny review of Madame Bildungsroman by the novelist Regi Claire. She says Madame B 'offers a brilliant perspective on existence through fragments and aperçus: ambiguous, acerbic, moving and searingly intelligent.' Once again, couldn't have put it better myself... though I did have to look up aperçus; it's an "illuminating or entertaining comment." One to add to your vocabulary; all part of the service here at Valley Press.

Finally, the latest episode of the 'Friday Morning Meeting' podcast (featuring myself and Emma Wright) is now online here. As this is the last one of the year, we've made it a Christmas special framed around the three spirits of A Christmas Carol... and then there's a little discussion of the value of coding skills at the end. Put on the spot to illustrate this episode, I cooked up the picture below starring Emma in the Cratchit/Kermit role and me as Scrooge... I laughed when I saw the result, and I include it here in case you do too.

All of which adds up to a full newsletter, in my eyes... which means you'll have to wait another week to find out about that final, secret Christmas book we're still working on. I'll get to it next week, for definite. It'll be worth the wait!

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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