News Roundup: Goldie win for Clare Ashton, Ke Payne Giveaway, Stella Duffy, Emma Donoghue, reviews, festivals and more!

3 Jul

My, what a lot can happen in a week. Everyone fell over at Wimbledon (and then blamed the grass!), the word “shitstorm” was added to the German dictionary, and the sun threatened to come out for a microsecond before heading straight back in again.

Meanwhile, in the UK LesFic world, all this has been going on…

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GCLS-2x2Blackweb---2Top of the Pops this week is Clare Ashton, whose second novel After Mrs Hamilton scooped a Goldie award in the Romantic Suspense/Intrigue category. Saturday’s awards ceremony was the highlight of the ninth annual Golden Crown Literary Society convention, which celebrates everything there is to celebrate about lesbian literature and creative non-fiction. The conventions are held in a different American city each year and the 2013 awards were dominated by American authors and publishers, so it was lovely to see UK LesFic being represented. Congratulations to Clare and all the other winners and nominees. If anyone is looking to expand on their To-Read list, a full breakdown of the 2013 Goldie awards can be found here.

Sticking with Clare for the moment, After Mrs Hamilton and her début novel Pennance and will be the focus of this month’s read on the LesficREADER Facebook group. Clare will be discussing both books through the weekend of 18th-22nd July weekend. The group is invite only, so try hitting the link and smiling sweetly at the admins.

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BSB_The_Road_to_Her_smallSpeaking of sweet, Ke Payne has free stuff to give out! She is holding a GoodReads giveaway for signed copies of her new novel The Road to Her. There are two copies available and the giveaway ends July 5th, so get your skates on. Hit this link to enter. The Road to Her will be released by BSB on July 16th. To read more about it, head to the New Releases page.

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I’m trying to write this news update in some semblance of order. Y’know, like a proper journo would. So, a word now about another new release (see what I did there?)

emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been talking about her forthcoming novel Frog Music over on her Facebook page. The novel is due for publication on 1 April 2014 and its blurb looks a little (well, a lot) like this:

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice – if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, Frog Music digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boom town like no other.

Aww, crap. Now I have this stupid song in my head. Quick, someone whistle something else. ANYTHING ELSE.

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorOkay, I give up. I can’t find a way to link frogs with Stella Duffy and it’s far too early to try. The lovely and very unfrog-like Stella will be teaching a two-day improvisation for writers/writing workshop on 22nd & 23rd August at MakeBelieve Arts in Deptford, as part of her Chaosbaby show week. Both days will run from 10.30-4.30pm and just £95 will get you your spot at the workshop. All the necessary info is on this image. For more details about the fabulous-sounding Chaosbaby project go here.

If any readers/authors do attend this workshop, be sure to let us know how you get on!

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Cherry PottsAnyone in Oxfordshire (or thereabouts) who may be looking for entertainment over the August bank holiday need look no further. Cherry Potts will be at the Towersey Festival, where David McGrath (a fellow Arachne Press author), Esther Poyer (a poet) and Cherry – otherwise known as the #SpreadtheWordThree – will perform on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday in various venues at various times, and run workshops to explore the joys of writing with the festival audience. If that’s not enough of an incentive to head on down, there will also be folk music, and more Real Ale than you can swing a stick at. Seriously, this is a festival that’s very proud of its booze!

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Nicola_05-08-30_003rA recent Reading In the Closet feature at the Work In Progress blog saw authors discussing the novels that helped them to come out. In a heartfelt piece, Nicola Griffith chose Mary Renault’s Alexander, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword:

The problem was loneliness: all my friends were turning into squealing, boy-fancying aliens. So I turned to books. I wasn’t looking for queer role models—or perhaps I was but, hey, Catholic school, north of England—just people I could understand. I found them in stories of adventure set in unknown and sometimes dangerous places.

Go here to read the full article where you can also watch a short video with Nicola.

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Back in May we gave you a heads up about a Niamh Murphy short story Is She? that was being posted as a work in progress over at Wattpad. The six chapter story is now complete and you can catch up with it here. Niamh has been chatting to readers over at the site so be sure to leave her some feedback.

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JK realityClosing out this roundup now with a little feedback in the form of reviews. This last weekend, The Guardian reviewed Jackie Kay‘s recent collection of short stories, Reality Reality, and ranked it “among the best of the genre.”

Listening to the voices in these interior monologues is like eavesdropping on the private thoughts and secret lives of a host of disparate women, many of whom share a quiet desperation and self-delusion. We all know that older women slowly become more invisible in our youth-obsessed society, so for Kay to place predominantly middle-aged and older women centre stage feels like a radical act.

The full text of the review can be found here.

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Desolation Point desktopHaving spent the last few news roundups blowing everyone else’s trumpet (so to speak), it seems a little daft not to blow my own. Queer book review blog Out in Print recently gave Desolation Point a smashing review, warning folks not to read it “too close to bedtime, or you might find yourself late for work in the morning”.

The result is a fully engaging and absorbing read that will keep you up at night in order to finish it. I found myself saying, “Just one more chapter, and then I’ll go to bed” until I finally turned the last page. I particularly liked the way the balance of power and responsibility shifted between Alex and Sarah and back again, both of them alternately courageous and vulnerable. Their dialogue is also well-turned, sounding spoken rather than written.

You can read the review at this link.

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Arrgh! It’s now an hour and a half later, and I’m still humming that bloody song. Please feel free to head to the earlier link and share my earworm pain.

4 Responses to “News Roundup: Goldie win for Clare Ashton, Ke Payne Giveaway, Stella Duffy, Emma Donoghue, reviews, festivals and more!”

  1. Hannah July 4, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Thank you for such a detailed round-up Cari and congratulations to Clare!

    • Cari Hunter July 4, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      You’re welcome, there seems to be a ton of stuff going on at the moment 🙂 And yes, the girl dun good, didn’t she?

  2. solargrrl July 7, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    Wonderful review, Cari! Thanks for sharing the link.

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