International Women’s Day 2016 has arrived. We celebrate this year by highlighting just a few of the talented women we’ve been fortunate enough to publish. There will always be more names to mention and more works to appreciate, and you can find countless gorgeous books written by women on our website. But none-the-less, we hope you enjoy hearing about just a few of the Seren women writers and their achievements.
In this second International Women’s Day blog post, Fiction Editor Penny Thomas highlights just a few of the novels and short story collections by women we have published over the years. Penny has a talent for finding gorgeously written fiction, much of which is written by female authors.
Penny: Over the past few years at Seren we’ve had the pleasure to publish many wonderful women fiction writers from Leonora Brito to Sian James, from Francesca Rhydderch to Jo Mazelis. In the last few years alone we have published novels, short stories and novellas by dozens of women authors, writing stories set around the globe – from WW2 Hong Kong, to the US, the Irish borders, northern France, or Patagonia, or closer to home by the River Severn, Newport Pembs, Tonypandy or Swansea, not to mention exploring the mysteries of the Mabinogion. All have fresh voices, varied and vital writing styles and something to say about their world.
Francesca Rhydderch’s debut novel The Rice Paper Diaries was Wales fiction book of the year in 2014 and has since published in China too. Based on the experiences of her great aunt, it explores the life of a west Wales girl, travelling as a young bride to the expat community of Hong Kong in 1940, just before the Japanese invaded.
The Scattering by Jaki McCarrick is a collection of nineteen stories, many set on the Irish border. These stories explore states of liminality: life on the Irish border, dual identities, emigration, being between states – certainty and doubt, codependency and freedom. Some explore themes of catastrophe and constraint. All explore what it means to be alive in a fraught and ever-changing world. This first collection from prizewinning author and playwright, Jaki McCarrick explores the dark side of human nature, often with a postmodern ‘Ulster gothic’ twist.
Star-Shot by Mary-Ann Constantine is a modern-day fable and gives us a network of lonely souls set around Cardiff museum, finding strength in their unlikely relationships with each other to fight the silences invading the city.
Six Pounds Eight Ounces by Rhian Elizabeth brings us Hannah King, the ‘honest’ account of a Rhondda girl who may or may not have lied her way through her schooldays, swapping Barbies and books for Glam Rock and glitter.
Sugar Hall, a ghost story by Tiffany Murray delves deep into the red mud and murky colonial past of a crumbling post-war mansion on the edges of the River Severn and the secrets it holds.
Love and Fallout by Kathryn Simmonds combines the female relationships at the 1980s’ Greenham Common anti-nuclear camp with a modern day tale of mother and daughter relationships to great effect.
Dark Mermaids by Anne Lauppe Dunbar dives into East German noir with the tale of former child GDR swimmer Sophia, called upon to investigate the doping horrors of her own forgotten past.
Swimming on Dry Land by Helen Blackhurst tells the tale of the Harvey family, uprooted to Australia in a search for paradise, but finding themselves adrift in an alien landscape.
Our female fiction authors have also won awards for their writing.
Significance by Jo Mazelis
Winner of a 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered award, Significance is ‘feminist, Francophile, urban noir’ focusing on the murder of Lucy Swann and the ripples this event stirs in the lives of all in her vicinity.
American Sycamore by Karen Fielding
American Sycamore takes us into the lives of congenial American fly-fisherman Billy and his younger sister Alice as they meander alongside the Susquehanna River in an offbeat coming-of-age novel of death, madness and fishing. Gold winner in the Mid-Atlantic Best Regional Fiction category of the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Award.
2016 will be another exciting year for fiction published by women writers, with Jo Mazelis’ haunting new short story collection Ritual, 1969 arriving in April (now available to pre-order), Bethany W. Pope’s Masque (a richly gothic retelling of The Phantom of the Opera) in June, and other delights later in the year.