News Roundup: The Solstice Shorts Festival Needs You, New RJ Samuel Blog, Sarah Waters Reviews, Tour Dates from Catherine Hall & Nicola Griffith, and More!

29 Aug

In a week where the Great British Baked Alaska Sabotage scandalised a nation, how can we here at UK LesFic possibly live up to that level of excitement? Well, we can’t. But we do have news for you, once you’ve all calmed down a little.

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Cherry PottsFirst this week is the opportunity to spread a bit of festive cheer by helping to crowd-fund the Solstice Shorts Festival, a one-day short stories and folk music festival to be held at the West Greenwich library and the Royal Observatory on December 21st (the winter solstice). You can read all about the festival, watch a video from organiser Cherry Potts, and contribute to the funding at the above link. The deadline for contributions is Thursday September 4th.

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rjsamuel2Over at Women and Words, RJ Samuel has been exploring the topic of being “an outsider looking out” in a blog post that reveals details of her forthcoming novels…

I am currently working on the third in the Vision painter series which will feature my Indian-Irish vision painter as well two other main characters, an Irish woman, and an Indian woman brought up in Africa and America. And, for the first time, I’ll be working on another novel at the same time, this one featuring an agoraphobic Irish travel writer who needs to find the missing Indian wife of her ex’s new boyfriend. This will be set in Ireland and France.

…as well as taking a closer look at the inspiration behind those she has already published:

My novels mix genres as well as diverse characters, settings, and explore pacemakers, vision painting, and online deception amongst other subjects…my novels featured an Indian or Indian-Irish protagonist and my protagonists struggled with a sense of place, of belonging.

Head here to read the full piece.

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The Planet of the Books blog has been busy adding the profiles of several UK authors. Hit each individual link to read short, fun interviews with:

london callingClare Lydon

Have you created any characters you don’t like?

Yes! In my new novel, The Long Weekend, there are a couple of characters who are annoyingly self-absorbed. In London Calling, Jess had her moments too – she was a frustrating lead character at times, even if her heart was in the right place.

karencampbell2Karen Campbell

Where do you write? And what do you need around you?
I write anywhere I have an A4 pad and some music. Generally, I do it in front of my computer but that’s just so that I can lean on the table and blast my songs. In the summer, I was out in the garden. I shouldn’t though, as I get carried away and sing.

And VG Lee

Which character you’ve created/written do you wish you could spend a day as?
Mrs Botolph in my first novel, The Comedienne. She is the old friend of the main character’s mother and is very bossy and gets things done!

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theempath_lgA quick heads-up that Jody Klaire‘s debut novel, The Empath (book one of the Above & Beyond series), has been released onto Kindle this week. The full blurb for the novel can be found on our New Releases page, and if you like a soundtrack to go with your reading, Jody has published a playlist for the book here on her blog. If you enjoy this first book, its sequel Fractured will be out on November 14th.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Sarah Waters‘ latest release The Paying Guests is picking up reviews all over the place. There are too many for us to feature them all, but a five star review from Joanna Briscoe in The Express describes the novel as: morally complex, atmospheric, romantic and psychologically deep, and goes on to say that The Paying Guests is an astonishing achievement and a notable Booker omission, while the Independent found itself longing for more of a spark:

Perhaps Waters does not want to put on a fireworks display of plot surprises. She does give us a poignant love story which symbolically sees in the death of the old order, the death of the old-fashioned husband and maybe the birth of an era of love without secrets. Yet we find ourselves wishing for a few more fireworks all the same.

If you prefer to make up your own mind, the novel is out in all formats (yes, hardback, paperback, and e-book) as of yesterday.

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the repercussionsClosing out this week with some diary dates, and Catherine Hall will be talking about her new novel The Repercussions (due for release on September 25th) at various libraries, bookshops and festivals this autumn. For a full list of events, see this page on her website. You can also hop to her blog from there, where Catherine has recently been talking about the thorny issue of self-publicity:

One of the things I never thought about when I started writing was promotion. Even if I had, Twitter hadn’t been invented then, Facebook was in its infancy and blogging was something that felt far too narcissistic.

I had an old fashioned idea about what a writer was – someone who sat alone, preferably in a garret (preferably in Paris), and worked long into the night on an Olivetti typewriter sustained by cigarettes and gin. So far, so Moulin Rouge. I liked it…

The third link will take you to the rest of the piece.

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NicolaGriffithAnd rounding out this roundup, news that Nicola Griffith will be heading to the UK in October (1st-10th) to do “Hild-ish things”:

It will be the first time I’ve done a novel-related event in the UK since 1993 when I was there for the launch of Ammonite. There are so very many UK readers I’ve met since and talked to through the magical ether of the intarwebs. I wish I could meet you all. I wish I could spend a month in the UK travelling about. But ten days is what we have. So I hope you can come to one of the events above. It’ll be a blast!

For all the dates and details (with more still to come) go to this page at Nicola’s blog.

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Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to cram some sponge and ice cream into a meringue…

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