Tomorrow – the launch of a very special book
DANCING WITH WORDS – the Brighton charity anthology in aid of Martlets Hospice – will be launched at 7pm on Saturday September 20th at the Amnesty Bookshop in the heart of North Laine. Everyone welcome.
The anthology took a year and 17 authors to make. They have taken the name of Portslade Penpushers and they have all attended my adult education class – the Route to Publication. The result of their hard work is something different. The 270 pages of short stories, poems and novel extracts cover everything from two versions of a Brighton murder, childhood memories of growing up in France and Ireland and a Satnav with attitude.
Just before publication I sent the manuscript to Brighton bestselling novelist Sarah Rayner in the hope she would find the time to review it. She was so moved by the first poem she bought a copy after shedding a few tears. This is her generous Amazon review.
Wave goodbye to any preconceptions you might have about a collection of stories and poems put together by a writing group – ‘it’ll be patchy/amateur/a-bit-of-a-slog-to-get through’ etc – this is absolutely excellent!
The first poem, Clayton Wood, is so moving I shed a few tears, but stories like The Rival made me laugh too, so you’ll experience both highs and lows as you read. If you live in or around Brighton or are familiar with the area there’s the added pleasure of recognising the setting of some of the pieces, but don’t buy it just because it’s for a good cause (though obviously that’s a fine reason), or because it’s local, buy it because it’ll be a *treat*.
I confess ours is getting a bit curled cover-wise as I’ve popped it in the bathroom, and we’re all taking turns to read it in the bath or on the loo. Apologies if this is too much information, but it does convey what this anthology is perfect for – dipping into – because unlike a full-length novel each contribution is a bite-sized chunk.
A suitable place to read Dancing With Words
What others have said:
This book is very creative and generous in spirit. Buy it – and support the Martlets Hospice.
Chris Gebbie, High Sheriff of East Sussex
Support a fantastic charity while reading about Brighton murders and the problems of being a frigid rabbit. Be transported to a sinister New York apartment block, and the harsh beauty of a Moroccan desert…and the streets of Hove and Portslade. Buy it! Read it!
Susanna Quinn, bestselling novelist of Glass Geishas
A fine effort in a very worthwhile cause. Some great stuff and the notes at the end of each section explaining how the various pieces came about is a really good idea.
Attila the Stockbroker, poet, songwriter and musician
Dancing with Words is an eclectic collection of poems, stories and excerpts of writing that touch you in different ways. This anthology is very easy to dip in and out of, and is particularly special because of the charity it is supporting.
Dorothy Koomson, international bestselling novelist
If you can’t make it to the Amnesty Bookshop on Saturday, you can buy the paperback online from Amazon. It costs £7.99 and every penny made will go to a wonderful hospice.
And here’s the poem that made Sarah Rayner cry. It is about a natural burial ground in the South Downs and is dedicated to my husband Mike Whelan. The author is Rosalind Johnston, a very gifted poet.
The soft bleating of sheep
High on the hill,
Beneath the watching mills;
Jack and Jill.
Down in the hidden hollow, a sudden
Train on the shadowed track startles;
Shatters the quiet –
Its shocking clackety-clack fading back into
A chill breeze stirs the saplings’ leaves
To dance above the butterfly, buttercup meadow.
Yellow, yellow, yellow, the petals
Call down the anointing of night
Onto their close-lipped buds.
This is a wood in the making.
In this incised greensward
Your father, your lover,
Your son, your brother
Lies down; birthed, betrothed
To the new-dug earth of his narrow bed.
He is not alone; a corolla of graves
Flowers out from the meadow’s heart.
A blossoming rod and staff of paths and names.
Written in the book of the coming wood
Is his name; indelibly inscribed
In the rings of future oak trees.
Just beyond the fences
The ancient woodland breathes and sways
In expectation of the rising body;
The longed-for chorus of skyward limbs.
Until then, be faithful.
Recite the litany of trees;
Let the sacred names speak him into the light –
Willow, rowan, hawthorn, ash and yew.
photo credit: DOS82 via photopin cc