Cinnamon Press Book Launch, September 10

Jan Fortune and Carole Strachan treated us to a very different evening, as they ‘interviewed’ each other about their latest works of fiction, how they differ from, or fit in with, their previous ones, what inspired and inspires them, their editing process, their love for and empathy with the characters they invent and their ways of tackling that most difficult aspect of fiction-writing: endings.

Carole’s works gain strength and credibility from her familiarity with the world she portrays, that of opera – and with the geographical areas in which the plots unfold. And yet she adds dynamic devices like varying points of view, quite a bit of mystery and suspense and different time frames.

Jan’s latest work is the third of her trilogy, and she assured us that there won’t be a fourth in the ‘series’, although her next book will have as protagonist a very minor character from the trilogy. She also uses different points of you and her story fluctuates withing a span of a thousand years and hugely different places.

The Truth in Masquerade and A song of Thyme and Willow (Carole’s) and This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things and For Hope is Always Born (Jan’s) are available from Cinnamon Press (cinnamonpress.com)

Photos by Adam Craig

Events

‘Proper’ summer is finally here and, while I’m reluctant to start thinking about autumn, I am inevitably and joyfully beginning to plan the first event of the ‘new term’. The first thing I did was to look back at all the in-words events from the very first one in January 2017, and I realised that over five years I hosted 49 readings, including a number of lectures by Graham Fawcett. 49! What shall I do for the 50th? I’m thinking that, although it would limit the numbers in the audience, I would really love to have an in-person event at the West Greenwich Library, like ‘in the old days’. And you never know, I may even be able to get to grips with ‘hybrid’…. Of course, it will depend of many factors, and as soon as I can, I shall post a date if not a full programme.

I love the new animation at the top of my homepage. Thanks to Paul Kley for creating it. The words on the flying page are not a quotation but a whole poem, a favourite of mine, by the Italian hermetic poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. It is impossible to translate, though countless attempts have been made. I am sure you can guess its meaning and I leave you to create your own ‘translation’ of it. Ungaretti fought in the trenches and those two lines represent a moment one morning – pared down to a sense of the absolute, maybe also of possibilities?

As we emerge from a not-yet-over pandemic and wake up every morning feeling the dread of conflict but also aware of the beauty of spring and the blessing of nature and community, Ungaretti’s words are more than ever appropriate.

I am taking a break from organising things over the summer. Whether I will be as dynamic as the train above, or I’ll take time on a siding, I’m not yet sure.

Either way, I am always happy to hear from you with thoughts and ideas, and wish to thank you for your support so far.

Be well!