September 10, at 7 for 7.30
West Greenwich Library,
146 Greenwich High Road,
London SE10 8NN
Carole Strachan and Jan Fortune in conversation for the London launch of their novels, A Song of Thyme and Willow and For Hope is Always Born.
A Song of Thyme and Willow
How do we hold on to what is constant within us when circumstances challenge our sense of who we are?
At the heart of the story is the mystery of Isabel Grey, a successful opera singer who disappeared in the late 1970s and has not been heard of since. Steven Bennett and Alice Wade, two musicians who are facing life-changing crises of their own, decide to look for her. Their discoveries are woven into Isabel’s gradually unfolding story, the silent language of keepsakes becoming signposts to the past, revealing the truth of what really happened.
The new novel from the author of the well-regarded debut novel, The Truth in Masquerade, A Song of Thyme & Willow draws the reader ever deeper into the personal labyrinths of its central characters — a must read for literature fans and lovers of classical music, alike.
Carole Strachan grew up in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, and now lives on the coast near Cardiff. She’s spent most of her career working in theatre and music and for ten years was responsible for marketing at Welsh National Opera. Since 2008 she’s been Executive Director of the leading contemporary opera company, Music Theatre Wales.
For Hope is Always Born
What is the connection between the tenth century Moorish princess, Casilda, and a young Jewish woman, Miriam, completing a Masters degree in contemporary Toledo? What links both to the Spanish singer, Casilda Faertes and to her mother, another Miriam, born in Budapest and raised in Nice? Spanning a thousand years and bringing together the stories of three generations of women in North-east England, Budapest and Spain, For Hope is Always Born follows on from This is the End of the Story and A Remedy for All Things to ask huge questions about identity and the nature of love and loss.
Jan Fortune was born in Middlesbrough and read theology at Cambridge. She completed a doctorate in feminist theology and has worked as a teacher, priest (ordained at the first ordination of women to the CofE) and charity director. She is the founding editor of Cinnamon Press and has edited around 300 books, led numerous creative writing courses in the UK, Spain and France, and mentored writers who have gone on to publication. Her previous publications include non-fiction titles in alternative education and parenting; the novels: The Standing Ground, Dear Ceridwen and Coming Home; and four poetry collections, including Slate Voices (a collaborative collection with Mavis Gulliver), Stale Bread & Miracles, Edge (a companion to Adam Craig’s Year W), and Turn/Return, a pamphlet inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Her most recent novel, This is the End of the Story, marks the start of a major trilogy exploring ideas of memory, identity and perception. It will be followed, in 2018, by the next book in the series, A Remedy for All Things.
She lives in the wild wet foothills of the Moelwyns in North Wales, beneath the abandoned slate village of Cwmorthin.
FREE event, all welcome. Donations for refreshments much appreciated.
September 17, at 6.45 for 7
The Greenwich Tavern,
1 King William Walk,
London SE10 9JH
Graham Fawcett on Charles Baudelaire, with Susan Aldred as second reading voice.
Graham says: Choosing to put on a Baudelaire Night in London so close to the October 31st latest Brexit deadline makes a personal statement: whatever may or may not happen either on that day or in the near future to cut us off from the European Union has no power to divorce this country from the great European heritage it has been so profoundly nourished by over centuries and to which it has so abundantly contributed in every field of the arts and humanities.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less”, wrote John Donne four hundred years ago. Now we can add: and no nation is an island either.
The alarming statistic released only last week, that there has recently been a 67% reduction in the teaching of French in British schools, is just one example of how the props supporting our cultural entente with Europe can be kicked away.
The answer is a clarion call to discover, re-discover, and most of all, treasure the gift of cultural Europe on the page, the canvas, the stage, the platform. Those who have done so since he was alive know Baudelaire for a beacon to poets, lovers, citizens, dreamers and realists alike. Please come and add your presence to the argument that if the British ‘clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less’, and Britain terribly diminished.
So who was Baudelaire, is he, to this day? That, and not Brexit, is the subject of Baudelaire Night.
Baudelaire is an exhilarating poet of the sea-voyage and the love-song who becomes the wandering lone lover of a city, descendant of Homer’s Ulysses, forefather of Joyce’s. To read him is to be instantaneously young, a champion bourgeois-baiting Frenchman, charismatically jaundiced, eloquently susceptible to beauty, isolation, melancholy, the wonders of transgression and the dark side, and hungry to paint the hidden faces of the Paris he famously dubbed a ‘swarming city, city full of dreams’.
“The king of poets, a true God”
(Arthur Rimbaud on Baudelaire)
“You have found a way to rejuvenate Romanticism . . . You are as unyielding as marble and as penetrating as an English mist”.
(Gustave Flaubert to Baudelaire)
Booking open on https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/in-words-ltd
Tickets: £12 in advance and online, £14 on the night
Tuesday October 8
We will mark Mental Health Awareness Week with a special event. Details will be finalised soon, so watch this space!