News Roundup: Stonewall Award Nominees, Jackie Kay in Sheffield, Spooky Fun at the Ivy House, Clare Ashton Interview, and much more…

18 Oct

With quite a few UK authors burning the midnight oil over at the Virtual Living Room last weekend and three hopping over the pond for Women’s Week, it’s a wonder there’s anything to report in this news post. But we like a challenge here at UK LesFic (unless it involves making something that resembles a brain covered in swiss rolls) and have discovered that there’s still plenty going on…

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charlotte-mendelsonWe’ll start this week by donning our posh frocks for the announcement of the eighth annual Stonewall Awards nominees. The awards are designed to acknowledge and celebrate those who have made a positive impact on the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain over the last 12 months.  Among the categories for Broadcast of the Year (obviously we’re rooting for the Great British Bake Off!) and Sports Award of The Year (Clare Balding is up for this one) is the award for Writer of the Year, where Charlotte Mendelson has made the list for Almost English. This is what the Stonewall Awards had to say about the work:

‘Longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize Almost English is described by The Guardian as ‘beautifully written, warm, funny and knowing’. It follows a 16 year olds disjointed life, torn between an unhappy existence at a mixed boarding school and her life with her mother who lives under the overbearing presence of three elderly Hungarians.

The complete list of nominees can also be found at the link above.

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With ever dwindling numbers of bookshops, it’s great to see Nottingham based publisher Five Leaves opening a new independent store.  Five Leaves Bookshop will open mid-November in Nottingham centre.  As well as specialising in lesbian and gay books it will also stock history, politics and landscape, general fiction and poetry.  For more information about the shop, head over here.

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JK realityBit last minute this, but poet Jackie Kay will be appearing at the Off The Shelf literary festival in Sheffield tomorrow. During the day she will be exploring the theme of “Outside” with various guests, while the evening sees her across at the Crucible Studio theatre reading from her new short story collection Reality Reality. The full program for the festival and information on booking tickets can be found at the first link.

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Those folks who like a blog post that prompts you to stand up and offer a rousing round of applause should head over to Nicola Griffith‘s latest entry, in which she has this to say about Hild’s sexuality:

Interviewers and reviewers have already asked me: So why is Hild a lesbian?

I say: First, she’s bisexual. Second, why the fuck not?

I am tired of having to have a reason for characters being queer. When my first agent told me that my proposal for Slow River was “not a selling outline,” I asked her to explain. She said, “Well, why does Lore [the protagonist] have to have a girlfriend?” I said, “Because she’s a dyke.” And fired her.

And if that doesn’t make you want to read Hild, I don’t think anything will!

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ArchnePressStorySessionsThose with a penchant for spooky fun, should plan to join Cherry Potts and VG Lee at The Ivy House in London on October 30th for a night of Halloween Tales, which sounds like a great event organised by Arachne Press. There will be readings by VG and Cherry and then a Flash from the Floor where anyone can read their 100-word story whether carefully crafted beforehand or scribbled in the interval. For more details, head to the special Event page on Facebook.

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3901374Lesley Davis has been blogging at Women and Words about her new novel Pale Wings Protecting. She talks about how the story evolved around a character from Dark Wings Descending (book 1 of the Wings Series) and how the main characters from that book muscled in too. Here’s a snippet:

When the character of Blythe Kent was introduced in “Dark Wings Descending” I knew I wanted to have that character in her own story. The FBI agent would play a small role in her best friend Detective Rafe Douglas’s investigation, being the profiler who unwittingly profiles something more than just an evil in a human form. But whereas Rafe and Ashley Scott’s story would involve all manner of heaven and hell, I had originally plotted that Blythe’s story would just be a crime book, without the added supernatural twist.

You can read the rest of the post here.

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clareashtonAnd rounding up this news is a fab spotlight interview with Clare Ashton over at Ylva Publishing, where Clare reveals a longed-for super power, her lottery dreams, and exactly how much of herself is in her characters:

Less than some people think, more than I’d like to acknowledge (even to myself).

Of course, my time as a high-class escort was vital for writing After Mrs Hamilton (Mum—this is a joke).

The interview is a great, fun read and can be found by bobbing over here.

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Speaking of bobbing, is anyone looking forward to Halloween quite as much as I am? Only 13 more days till I’ll be carving up pumpkins, decking the porch with icky stuff, and stealing all the Haribo I’ve bought for the nippers! We’re hoping to bring you a special Halloween feature for that week, so keep your fingers crossed we can round up enough authors who are willing to share their scares…

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