Friday, 11 July 2014

Valley Press Friday Digest, #11

Last week I broke the news of Kate Fox and Alfie Crow's forthcoming 'Grand Depart' novella, and in the days since then it has been both written and published - you can pick it up on Kindle here for just 99p. It comes highly recommended! Here are a couple of quotes from the authors about the experience of writing Tour de Force:
Alfie Crow: 'My mind is absolutely exploding after such an intensive week of writing, but I love the challenge of writing something that responds to such a big event. I’ve always been quite a quick writer anyway, but there’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind.'

Kate Fox: 'I originally trained as a radio journalist and really enjoy responding rapidly to things as they happen. Plotting a comic crime novel is still a very new thing for me and I quite often have no idea of where we’re going to end up, but somehow Alfie creates all these intricate plot twists. I enjoy being able to put things I’ve actually witnessed into a piece of writing people can enjoy straight away; and the Tour de France has been such an amazing success for Yorkshire it feels like we’re celebrating it, in our own strange way!'
And today I can announce some more news: they're planning a third novella in the 'Makin News' series (making it a comic-crime trilogy), to be released on the 1st October. Here's the blurb, with everything they've told me about it so far: 'Jess and Reverend Ray find themselves accidentally influencing the Scottish Independence vote when they discover some important relics during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.' The title is The Forth Estate. And you want even more news? We've agreed to produce a paperback edition of the entire trilogy in time for Christmas! Watch this space for more info.

The main bit of business today is Miles Salter's examination of who might win the 'Next Generation Poets 2014' award - but before that, some Twitter highlights from the week.

That's 2013 intern-extraordinaire Sarah Olley at the end there, receiving a special signed copy for her work on Love and Eskimo Snow. Not only did Sarah work on the book during her time in the VP office, she took it away with her and edited it for months afterwards, in her own time, sometimes while in the middle of university exams! She is going to get one seriously good reference.

So finally, here's what Miles has to say about the 'Next Generation Poets' search:

Who will make the Next Generation Poets list? (Yes, I know, the whole nation is obsessed with this issue. But it’s interesting to play Guess The List.) The aim of the list is to give a bit of profile to poets that  are going to dominate the scene over the next ten years or more. At the moment, new poetry is headed by a gang of very talented young women writers. Foremost among these is Helen Mort, who has had such a stunning last 18 months that she’s now almost part of the poetry landscape – Division Street was shortlisted for T.S Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize. Alongside Mort are several excellent women poets, including Emily Berry (winner, Forward Prize Best First Collection for Dear Boy, one of the most striking collections I have read in the last few years), Rhian Edwards (Clueless Dogs was published by Seren and won Wales Book Of The Year 2013) and Hanah Lowe, another exciting young writer (Lowe’s debut Chick was shortlisted for Forward first collection in 2013.)  It’s hard to see how any of these four will be omitted from the list. Other strong female writers include Emma Jones (Faber), Rebecca Goss (Goss’ collection Her Birth about the life and death of her baby daughter, won accolades and press attention and was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize), Abi Curtis (two collections with Salt), Tara Bergin (Carcanet) and Hannah Silva (Penned In The Margins). Other contenders include Helen Ivory and programmer, water dweller and enthusiast Jo Bell. Any of these could potentially make the list. Sadly missing will be the excellent Liz Berry, whose debut Black Country is about to hit the shops, but misses the list deadline by just a few months, which is a big shame, as she deserves the ‘Next Generation’ tag as much as anybody who is currently writing.

As for the lads (the female writers are so strong in poetry at the moment that the boys come in second place) – I suspect that Luke Wright will make the list, as he’s something of a force in British poetry, performing to thousands every year, selecting the poets for Latitude Festival and frequently rubbing shoulders with John Cooper Clarke. He’ll be joined, most likely, by fellow Penned In The Margins writer Ross Sutherland (author of the acclaimed Things To Do Before You Leave Town) Daljit Nagra (several collections with Faber and much loved by the poetry establishment), Nick Laird (several collections with Faber), the witty and wry Luke Kennard (Salt), Adam Riordan and Sam Riviere (whose 81 Austerities was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2011). Jacob Sam La Rose is another strong candidate. Given that Salt has said it’s giving up on poetry, will they even bother to submit? Hmmm…

Several poets will not make the list, simply because of the dates that bracket selection: 2004 to 2014. This means that the fantastic Clare Pollard (on the panel of judges), Jacob Polley and Antony Dunn won’t be on the list, as their debuts came before 2004, and neither will Andrew McMillan, whose debut is due from Cape in 2015. I’ve only named a few of the many terrific writers who are out there, but the good news is with so many great young writers all operating in the UK at present, it’s safe to say that the future of poetry is in good hands. We’ll find out the full list on 9th September 2014.
[ Miles Salter is a writer, musician and storyteller based in York. His second collection of poetry, Animals, is published by Valley Press. You can see Miles read one of his poems here. ]

Very good and thorough work there I thought - Helen Mort's publisher may as well open the champagne now, as far as I'm concerned. Readers should note that Miles later thought to add Jack Underwood, and I'm confident Lorraine Mariner will be there. Other than that, here's hoping it's full of VP poets! See you next week.

1 comment:

  1. It will be interesting to see the final 20 - and how many books entered. I can't begin to imagine how many more it may be than the first two 'generation' picks. Sadly, I think Helen Ivory is probably in the same situation as Clare Pollard (on the panel of judges), Jacob Polley and Antony Dunn with regards to the start date.