2015 has started with a bang here at Seren following Jonathan Edwards’ triumph at the Costa Book Awards with his debut poetry collection, My Family and Other Superheroes, and the excitement doesn’t end there! It may only be January, but already 2015 is set to be the best kind of busy.
Jonathan will be participating in an Open Mic Night at the Imperial Hotel, Merthyr Tydfil on Thursday 22nd January. It’s free entry, so if you want to congratulate Jonathan on his win in person or share some of your own work with a band of keen listeners it’s the perfect time to do so.
But if you feel as though your work isn’t quite ready for the public yet, why not take part in an online course? Beginning Friday 6th February, Jonathan will be leading ‘No Laughs Please, We’re Poets’; a 10-week online poetry course on comic poetry where you’ll explore a range of approaches to the comic poem and look at some brilliantly funny poems from esteemed poets such as Glyn Maxwell, Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy and more!
What better way to get 2015 off to a productive start?
This year Seren is celebrating the centenary of Alun Lewis, the definitive writer of the Second World War. Well known for his war poetry, Raiders’ Dawn and other poems (1942) and Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets. Poems in Transit (1945), Lewis was also an avid writer of short fiction.
If you want to keep track of the various events we’ll be hosting for the centenary throughout the year then make sure you’re following @AlunLewis100 on Twitter, and if Lewis is a writer you’d like to learn more about then look out for the publication of his biography, written by John Pikoulis, which is set to be released in July. Until then, there are plenty more new releases to look forward to!
The Art of Falling
The Art of Falling is Kim Moore’s keenly anticipated debut poetry collection. A young poet from Cumbria, she writes with a compelling directness and power about her own life and those of others. Vigorously alive and often full of humour, there are poems about ordinary people: the scaffolders and plasterers, shoemakers and carers amongst us. Already a winner of multiple prizes, including the Northern Promise Award (2014), Moore writes poems that are both moving and memorable.
Rosie Shepperd’s The Man at the Corner Table is another sparkling debut collection, due to be released this year, along with new collections from established poets such as Paul Henry (Boy Running, February 2015), Anne-Marie Fyfe (House of Small Absences, April 2015) and Kate Bingham (Infragreen, June 2015).
Damian Walford Davies
Judas Iscariot – the byword for betrayal – tells his own story in Damian Walford Davies’s compelling and finely wrought new collection. Fully aware of how ancient enmities shape modern conflicts, the author draws on twenty centuries of representations of Judas to set out a tale that challenges our pre-conceived notions of holiness and betrayal.
March brings with it the release of A Fold in the River, a collaboration between T S Eliot prizewinning poet Philip Gross and visual artist Valerie Coffin Price exploring the River Taff through poetry and beautiful prints.
From England to Europe, Africa to South America, these stories by prizewinning writer Graham Mort explore relationships: father and child; man and wife; man and his environment. A rising star of winemaking understands his terroir, but oversteps the boundaries; a father taking his son on a day out is placed in unexpectedly terrifying circumstances; an aid worker in Uganda finds himself treading in his father’s footsteps. Sensitively told and beautifully written, Mort brings fresh perspectives to our place in the world around us.
His previous collection, Touch, won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2011.
Coming in March is the release of Seren New Welsh Short Stories. Including work from some of the best contemporary Welsh writers such as Stevie Davies, Cynan Jones and Trezza Azzopardi, the collection is edited by Francesca Rhydderch, whose story ‘The Taxidermist’s Daughter’ was shortlisted for the 2014 BBC National Short Story Award, and Seren’s own fiction editor, Penny Thomas.
In June we will be welcoming the release of Limestone Man, the latest novel from prizewinning author Robert Minhinnick. A meditation on age and opportunity, it is the follow up to the 2007 Ondaatje shortlisted novel, Sea Holly.
Murder at the Star
1921. In the mining town of Garnant, in South Wales, God-fearing, partially deaf shopkeeper Thomas Thomas was brutally murdered: stabbed, slashed and battered by his assailant. His safe is empty, the town is aghast. Scotland Yard are stumped. A number of suspects are identified but released. Who killed Thomas Thomas? For ninety years Thomas’s death remained a mystery, until journalist Steve Adams solved the case in Murder at the Star.
If your taste leans more towards the pastoral and the poignant then look out for Phil Cope’s Holy Wells: Scotland, coming in April, and Richard Collins’s The Road to Zagora, coming in May. Cope explores the beautiful, sacred wells of Scotland, while Collins’s memoirs, compassionate, funny and unmistakably human, tell of his inspiring travels after being diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in 2006.
How long does an attachment to a place or a culture last? Having lived more of her life outside Israel than in it Jasmine Donahaye questioned her relationship with the country and its people. The result was an uncovering of a piece of Israel’s hidden history, and of her family’s story. Revelations of the part her forebears played in the newly created Israel reveals unsettling knowledge about kibbutzim and land clearances. Challenged by this new and unwanted information, Donahaye’s notion of history and her understanding of Israel, of her grandparents and of her identity is completely transformed. Losing Israel is a moving and honest account which spans travel writing, nature writing and memoir. Through the author’s personal situation it explores the powerful and competing attachments that people feel about their country and its history.
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