I’m very very delighted to share news that V. Press has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award.

It’s a real honour to see V. Press shortlisted and I’m very very proud of all the authors and books that we’ve published. More about the award can be found here and my V. Press blogpost on the news (with pamphlet offers) here.

The shortlisting ties in serendipitously with another exciting editing project that I’ve been involved with recently. Last month I agreed to take part in #edittheeditor with dna magazine.

The magazine publishes creative non-fiction on a theme specific to each issue. (I had a piece in issue 2 on the theme of identity.) For #edittheditor, editor-in-chief Katie Marsden asked me and another dna magazine contributor, Rob Walton, to consider an anonymous piece written by one of the journal editors on the theme for the forthcoming issue – locations. Our task was to decide whether we would accept it for the magazine, or reject it, with readers also voting whether to accept or reject. The piece can be found on the dna magazine blog, with #edittheeditor thoughts and decisions coming soon.

In the case of dna magazine, acceptance or rejection isn’t just about the quality of the writing, or even how it fits alongside other pieces, it’s also about the best pieces that respond to a particular theme.

For #edittheeditor, we were only considering one piece in isolation, which made the workload and task much easier. I loved the unusual slant of the family car as a location in ‘A Pickled Dinosaur’ – one that moves, and even changes make over the years in this piece, but still remains the generic family car. It’s the place where much of the action takes place and the place that these particular memories are linked to. But would you take a narrower stance on the theme? Head over to the site and comment/cast your vote now!

Taking part in the #edittheditor has been interesting. I used to be co-poetry editor, with Jenny Hope, of the Worcestershire Literary Festival magazine, and the project also made me think briefly again about some of the similarities and differences in editing a journal and solo pamphlets or collections.

With both types of publication, all the selected pieces have to work together – it’s not just about the quality of each piece individually. So, selection isn’t simply the best pieces, it’s the best pieces that work together to create the best overall magazine, pamphlet or book.

Themes can be great for both journals and solo collections in creating a common thread and flow. At the same time, they also mean each piece has to be different and striking enough compared to others on a similar theme to warrant a place in the journal or book. (This can easily become restrictive rather than a unifying element if trying to theme a solo pamphlet too tightly.)

It’s maybe also worth me mentioning an extra selection factor that comes into play for me at V. Press. This is the fact that the work we take on not only needs to gel as a whole pamphlet or book but also needs to gel with other V. Press titles. When I say gel, it has to fit with the range already published, but without encroaching too closely on styles or contents already published by V. Press, particularly recently. In some cases, it may also have to work to help set out the breadth of V. Press’s titles. This is particularly true for the first few titles in any genre new to V. Press, where we may want to establish the full range of subject matter and styles that we’re open to. Quality of work is important. But timing and the press’s range as a whole do also come into my decisions about which manuscripts we take on at any particular point in time.

While I’m on the subject of submissions, this week I was interviewed, as V. Press managing director and editor, for Six Questions For…. My short interview with Jim Harrington about the press and editing can be enjoyed here.)

MY NEWS:

PRIZES

Second and third prize, with my poems ‘The Angel of the North-West’ and ‘The Lamppost’, in the Wordpool Festival poetry competition 2017 on the theme of Illuminations.

Highly commended in the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Literature Festival and Virgin Trains flash fiction competition, with my flash ‘Taking the 14.03 to Edinburgh’.

PUBLICATIONS

‘Chicken for Dinner’ (poem) in the Algebra of Owls Selected Anthology Number 5 in November 2017.

‘Dear Clent’ (poem) published on Atrium Poetry 3 November, 2017.

‘Correcting a Stutter’ (poem) published in Eye Flash Poetry Journal in October.

‘How to be a Chinese Lantern’ (poem) published in Popshot Magazine, issue 18, the light issue, in October.

‘Out of the Box’ (flash fiction) published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, journal of the International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), Vol 9, No. 2, Oct 2016.

I’m also very pleased to have a poem, ‘A Catching Smile’, in the Nottingham Peacebuilders anthology SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS, which is launched later this month. LINK (Details of this in the flier below.)

Recent acceptances include a flash ‘No False Pretences’ for Fictive Dream and another ‘Extracting the Best Bits’ for Ellipsis Zine.

EVENTS

I also really enjoyed reading with Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris in our An Unconventional History of Maidenhood, Mothering and Mistresses at Birmingham Waterstones in October.

The launch of Against The Grain Press, who are publishing my pamphlet How to Grow Matches in the spring, was also a fabulous evening. I met my editors Abegail Morley, Karen Dennison and Jessica Mookherjee in person for the first time, which was lovely. It was also wonderful to hear my 2018 stablemates read and get my copy of Anna Kisby’s fabulous All The Naked Daughters.

Small Acts launch