Talking Tales #24 – 20th August – Bristol

Talking Tales is open for submissions for its flash fiction special event on 20th August. What’s special about it? You’re going to be there and you’re going to be reading.

If that seems a little presumptuous, let me explain. The flash fiction special is celebrating the art of very short stories, poems and all other forms of creative writing. We have an upper limit of 300 words and we have confidence in you.

We believe in your writing – whatever form that may take. We believe in your ability to knock our socks off at the beginning, the middle or the end. We believe you know that Talking Tales is a lovely night of stories, with a warm audience in a great venue. And we believe…this is the important bit…that between the tennis, the barbecue, the warm Summer nights, the paddling and the 99s – we believe you’ll pull your digits out and give us 300 of your best by 9th August (submissions close then). 

Hosted by the awesome Christopher Fielden who will also be launching two of his writing challenge anthologies on the night. Are you in them? If not, there’s no excuse not to be in the next ones.

Challenge Books  E-mail your submissions (300 words or less) to: stokescroftwriters@gmail.com

Event details – are stupendously straight-forward:

…venue:     Left Bank, 128 Cheltenham Road, Stokes Croft, Bristol BS6 5RW

…time:       we start at 7pm on Tuesday 20th August 19 – doors open at 6.30

…join-in:    the ‘finish the lines’ competition – win a Talking Tales badge.

Stokes Croft Writers would love to see you there.

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Three launch events for An Outbreak of Peace

Join Arachne Press to celebrate our latest book

An Outbreak of Peace

 

LONDON! Housmans 14th November

The official publication date for this anthology of new short stories and poems in response to the end of WWI, An Outbreak of Peace is the 8th November, but we are having the launch party on

Wednesday 14th, at Housmans radical bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX,

with readings from Clare Owen, CB Droege, Katy Darby, Chantal Heaven (fiction);

Karen Ankers, Valerie Bence, Peter Kenny, Sarah Tait (poetry).

There will also be a poppy-seed cake, and other, liquid, refreshments.

£3 on the door, redeemable against purchase of the book. (let us know you are coming cherry@arachnepress.com)

 

MANCHESTER! Blackwells 30th November

As our authors are spread all over the globe, we are trying to give as many of them as possible an opportunity to celebrate the launch in person. We can’t afford to jaunt off to the US and Australia, or even Germany or France, but we can manage Manchester!

Northern fans of poetry and short fiction are invited to join us at Blackwells, Manchester. Near Arthur Lewis Building, The University of Manchester Bridgeford Street, M13 9PL

on 30th November at 6.30pm

There will be readings from

Rebecca SkipwithLily Peters, (fiction)

Ness Owen, Sarah Tait, Mantz Yorke, and Valerie Bence, (poetry)

and cake and liquid refreshment.

Tickets are free. https://bit.ly/2CQcuVT

 

And finally, for now, a reading by Clare Owen of her story from the collection, The Cormorant, at Lost in Books, Quay Street, Lostwithiel, PL22 0BS on 16th November 2018 6pm
If you can’t make it to ANY of the launches, you can order a copy direct from us at our web shop (post free in UK!)

A Sense of Place in Short Fiction

Dahlia Publishing is delighted to be publishing Susmita Bhattacharya’s short story collection, Table Manners. I’ve been a fan of Susmita’s work for years and had the pleasure of working with her on our Beyond the Border anthology in 2014. It was only recently that I plucked up the courage to ask Susmita whether she had plans to work on a collection. I was delighted when she said yes. In this short blog, Susmita Bhattacharya tells us more about her fascinating life, moving from place to place on oil tankers, and how this informs her short fiction.

“Maybe you had to leave in order to miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.”
― Jodi Picoult

When I began my writing career, I had no idea how true Jodi Picoult’s quote would be and how much it would relate to me. I had no idea, in the first place, that I’d be leaving my home in Mumbai and travelling around the world on oil tankers for three years with my husband. I had no idea that I’d live in five cities in three different countries that I’d call home. And I certainly had no idea how much I’d miss the place where I was born. Where I’d grown up. Until I moved so far, far away from there.

I lived in Cardiff, back in 2004, when I wrote my first short story that was published. It was filled with nostalgia for Mumbai, the place I had left. I remember feeling so homesick while writing that story that I cried and ached to go back home. I also wrote about Singapore, where I had lived prior to Cardiff and that had a different feel to it. It was more to do with the culture, the sights and sounds and tastes – because that’s how I had experienced the city. It did not pull me emotionally like my city, Mumbai, did.

While in Cardiff, I did my Masters in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. I was putting together a collection of short stories as my submission. I realised most of my stories were set in India – one in Singapore. But I couldn’t set any of my stories in Cardiff. I lived there for nearly five years, but I didn’t dare to. I didn’t feel like I had immersed myself enough to be able to do justice to it. Except the one where the protagonist lived in Cardiff but pined away for Mumbai. That was kind of autobiographical, and I learned to move away from such themes quickly.

Finally, after moving to Plymouth, I got the distance I needed from Cardiff and did not hesitate to set my stories there. I realised that not being present in the place I was writing about gave me a new perspective about the place that I missed while actually living in that city. I still haven’t got that distance form Plymouth, having moved once again, to write about it. But I will – soon enough.

My days of sailing gave me the distance I needed from myself. It put me in an extraordinary position of leaving the ordinary life behind and experiencing new adventures. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to reflect and think about my life and my goals. It gave me time and space to write and to experience the world quite organically. It helped me see new worlds and cultures, and it definitely helped me figure out how much I valued my starting point.

The stories in my debut collection, Table Manners are my attempt to capture some of these experiences, physical and emotional, my starting points and create fiction that explores this sense of place.

Susmita Bhattacharya was born in Mumbai. Her short fiction has been widely published, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her novel, The Normal State of Mind, was published in 2015 by Parthian (UK) and Bee Books (India). It was long listed for the Words to Screen Prize by the Mumbai Association of Moving Images (MAMI). She teaches contemporary fiction at Winchester University and also facilitates the Mayflower Young Writers workshops, a SO:Write project based in Southampton.

Reviews for Table Manners

“Graceful, poignant and beautifully wrought – a masterful debut.” Angela Readman

“These triumphant, sharp eyed humorous stories mark the arrival of an intriguing new voice; tender, poignant and wry.” Irenosen Okojie

“A winning collection. These stories are delicately shaped around sharp and tender moments rendered in rich, vivid prose.” Mahesh Rao

Table Manners launches on 28th September 2018 at P&G Wells Bookshop in Winchester. Everyone is welcome to join us for an evening of readings and refreshments.

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