Friday Poem – ‘Nativity’ by Jane Simmons

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Nativity’ by Jane Simmons which is the winner of the 2020 Seren Christmas Poetry Competition.

Judge Amy Wack said, “It was tight this year, any one of the shortlisted poems might have pipped it. In the end, I went for the one which just moved me the most. I love how ‘Nativity’ evokes both birth and death, the biblical story and recent events; it is very apposite in this pandemic year, 2020. We hold our breaths with the poet, who is suspended at the bedside of an ill loved-one.” Read Jane’s winning poem below.

After leaving the teaching profession, Jane Simmons completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. She is now studying for a PhD at the University of Leicester. Her poems have been published in The Blue Nib magazine and the anthology View from the Steep (Pimento Press). She won the GS Fraser Prize for Poetry in 2019 and 2020.

The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on here at Seren. Browse new titles on our website or discover some of our festive favourites.

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Announcing the Seren Christmas Poetry Competition 2020 Shortlist

We’re delighted to announce the six poems which have been shortlisted for the Seren Christmas Poetry Competition 2020. The winner will be announced as our Friday poem tomorrow (4th December).

‘The Virgin Adoring The Sleeping Child Christ’ by Ellora Sutton

‘A Merry Different Christmas’ by Jane Burn

‘Nativity’ by Jane Simmons

‘Iktsuarpok’ by Rob Miles

‘The Winter Guests’ by Donna Gowland

‘Rudolph and the Mushroom’ by Stephen Payne

If you would like to hear each of the poets read their entries, join us for virtual First Thursday tonight (3rd December) from 7:30pm. Our shortlisted poets will be opening the open mic following our main readers Jenny Lewis and Adnan Al-Sayegh and Peter Benson. Tickets are £2.74 and available on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/129485662101.

Struggling for gift ideas? Take a look at the Seren Christmas Gift Guide which is chock full of inspiration to help you find something for even your most difficult-to-buy-for family member. Browse the guide.

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The Seren Christmas Poetry Competition Returns!

Yes you read that right, we’re already thinking about Christmas! We’re excited to announce the return of our annual Christmas Poetry Competition.

With only three months left until the big day, it’s time to put on your festive thinking caps and send in your best seasonal poems.

What’s the prize? The winning entry will be posted right here on the Seren blog as Friday Poem during December and you will also receive a Seren book bundle (your choice of fiction or poetry) and a small festive hamper.

How to enter? Upload your poem via our Google form as a Word Doc or PDF. The full rules, terms and conditions can be found at the top of the form.

Closing date: 23:59PM, Sunday 15th November

Good luck!

Support your local independent bookshops

As we all become accustomed to our new circumstances in what is set to be a challenging and unpredictable few months, books have the power to help us escape. Let’s use this as an opportunity to reconnect with literature.

We are fortunate enough to live in a time where the internet connects us to books even when we are stuck in our homes. Not only are Seren books available via our website, we also work with a number of independent bookshops and businesses who sell online and offer home delivery. Here are a list of some of the local independents you can help to support.

Griffin Books, Penarth

“We will be happy to take orders over the phone (029 2070 6455), by email (info@griffinbooks.co.uk), via the ordering form on our website or our social media channels. We will also be offering a FREE home delivery service in the Penarth, Dinas Powys and Sully areas, and can post books to customers further afield.”

Order online

Inigo Jones Slate Works

“For the time being we are staying open as normal. We are also offering free delivery to customers in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy.”

Browse website.

Bookish, Crickhowell

“BOOKSHOP: We’ll remain open and are able to take orders for anything in stock from www.book-ish.co.uk we can post anywhere in UK and Europe for a small P&P charge and can wrap too so any book and gift needs will be taken care of. We can help with presents and cards for birthdays etc.
But mainly we’ll still be here for you and will continue to serve our community with as much passion and pride for as long as we’re able with your support.”

Browse books.

The Hours, Brecon

“We intend to remain open here at the wonky green shop as long as we possibly can given the escalating Public Health situation. We’re here for whatever you need and contact-free delivery of all our goodies is available free of charge to anyone and everyone in the local area. So do get in touch…”

Contact the shop. 

Victoria Fearn Gallery, Rhiwbina

“Victoria Fearn Gallery is open as usual and also offers free local delivery as well as postage further afield.”

Browse online shop. 

Aardvark Books

“You can still buy books from us; if you can’t make it to the Aardvark Bookery, get in touch! Call 01547 530744 in working hours, visit our website, www.aardvark-books.com where you can search, browse and buy – We’ll post books to you!”

Online book shop.

Cover to Cover

“We’re offering free postage on any orders over £20. You can browse stock here – http://bit.ly/2xP5yIj – and we can order any book in 48hrs. Onwards with fortitude!”

View books online. 

Pen’rallt Bookshop

“From today we’re bringing into the mix a book delivery service; either from stock here in the bookshop or ordered as normal with minimum postage or – and this is what we’re really looking forward to – walking and cycling to deliver books locally, which might mean bringing in shorter opening hours/days. But we’ll let you know. We have also set up a postal (Royal Mail) book delivery service SEND MY BOOK through one of our Independent Wholesale Book suppliers, and are excited about that. Also a means for our customers to send books directly as gifts. To order – visit the ‘contacts’ page on our website, with details of the book and we will be back in touch with the best options for that title.”

Contact details.

Browsers Bookshop, Porthmadog

“If you would prefer to order your books by phone/online services we will send them free of charge. Call 01766 512066.”

Get in touch. 

We will be keeping this post regularly updated over the coming days so keep checking back for more information. You can also get individual updates from the shops online and on social media.

Find your local independent bookshop using the Bookseller Association’s bookshop search.

#TimeForAGoodBook

Help us spread the book love by telling us which book(s) you’re reading this month. Get in touch with us via Twitter or Facebook with the title of a book you’re reading and be automatically entered into our book bundle giveaway. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #TimeForAGoodBook. Winner announced 17th April 2020.

(Bonus points (but no extra entries) if it’s a Seren book or one you’ve purchased from us or your local independent!)

September Book Giveaway: win a copy of Welsh Verse

September giveaway Welsh Verse win

This month we are giving away a copy of Tony Conran’s milestone of translation, Welsh Verse.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st October:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Win a copy of Welsh Verse Tony Conran


About Welsh Verse:
Welsh Verse Tony Conran
Welsh Verse has made a triumphant return to print. Tony Conran’s unrivalled volume of Welsh poetry through the ages contains lively yet meticulous translations stretching from the sixth century to the late twentieth century. Virtually every significant poet (or poem: there are several Anonymous entries over the centuries) is present, and every poetic form: the epics of Taliesin and Aneurin, the poets of the medieval princes, Tudor poets, Non-conformist poets, hymn-writers, Romantics, Social Realists and political Nationalists.
Welsh Verse also includes an influential Introduction full of insight into the history of poetry in the Welsh language, and into the challenges of translating it, particularly over so many centuries and styles.

 

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st October. Make sure you have signed up to Seren News before then to be in with a chance of winning!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?
www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

Congratulations to last month’s winner, Norma Curtis, who is now enjoying her copy of Black Shiver Moss by Graham Mort.

 

 

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July Book Giveaway: win a copy of The Women of Versailles

July Giveaway The Women of Versailles

You’ll need to hurry, because there are only a few days left for you to enter our monthly giveaway – and this month, the prize is a copy of Kate Brown’s ‘extraordinarily timeless’ debut novel, The Women of Versailles.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st August:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Book Giveaway The Women of Versailles


About The Women of Versailles:
The Women of Versailles Kate Brown
Princess Adélaïde, daughter of Louis XV, is at odds with the etiquette of the French court. Adélaïde envies her brother, is bored with her sister and, when Madame de Pompadour, a bourgeoise, comes to court as her father’s mistress, she is smitten, with dangerous results. Adélaïde pushes against the confines of the court, blind to the difference between a mistress and princess, with tragic results. Forty-four years later, under the looming shadow of the revolution, what has happened to the hopes of a young girl and the doomed regime in which she grew up?

‘Dark and rich, The Women of Versailles is filled with political intrigue, sexual awakening, and the roots of revolution.’ – Peggy Riley

 

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st August. Make sure you have signed up to Seren News before then to be in with a chance of winning!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?
www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

 

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Book Giveaway: win a copy of Newspaper Taxis

Book giveaway win Newspaper Taxis

This month, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we are giving away a copy of Newspaper Taxis: Poetry After The Beatles.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st July:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Book giveaway win Newspaper Taxis


About Newspaper Taxis:
In January 1963 the single ‘Please, Please Me’ shot to number one, heralding the start of both Beatlemania and the swinging sixties. In the next few years The Beatles wrote the template for pop music. Their songs defined popular culture at a time when it was inspiring social change in Europe and North America, and this book collects poems that both respond to the music and to their influence on the way we lived then and the way we live now.
With contributions by a myriad of poets, young and old, including Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Elaine Feinstein, Peter Finch, Adrian Henri, Philip Larkin, Lachlan Mackinnon, Roger McGough, Sheenagh Pugh, Jeremy Reed and Carol Rumens, this book is a response to The Beatles’ creativity and capacity to influence successive generations.

 

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st July. Make sure you have signed up to Seren News before then to be in with a chance of winning!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?
www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

 

 

Book giveaway: win a copy of Mr Vogel by Lloyd Jones

Book giveaway Mr Vogel Lloyd Jones

This month we are giving away a copy of Lloyd Jones’ stunning novel, Mr Vogel, which is newly back in print.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st June:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Book giveaway Mr Vogel Lloyd Jones


About Mr Vogel:
Lloyd Jones Mr Vogel
Following a bout of alcoholism which almost killed him, Lloyd Jones decided to recuperate by walking around Wales. It was this epic walk which inspired Jones to write Mr Vogel – one of the most original and engaging novels to appear from – and about – Wales in recent years.
The novel begins with the discovery, in the attic of a second-hand bookshop, of an account of a lame man’s mysterious quest – the so-called ’Vogel Papers’. Our guide, a Welshman, becomes obsessed with the Vogel Papers: his investigations take him across three continents and around his homeland – from Anglesey to Pembrokeshire, from Bangor to the Black Mountains – in search of a strange man known only as Mr Vogel.

 

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st June. Make sure you have signed up to Seren News before then to be in with a chance of winning!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?
www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

 

 

Win a copy of Heat Signature by Siobhán Campbell

Win Heat Signature by Siobhan Campbell

Enter our monthly giveaway to win April’s prize: a copy of Siobhán Campbell’s new poetry collection, Heat Signature.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st May:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Heat Signature Siobhan Campbell giveaway

Siobhán Campbell has won awards in the National Poetry Competition, the Troubadour International Poetry Competition, the Templar Poetry Prize and most recently was awarded the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize. Heat Signature is her fourth full collection and follows Cross-Talk (Seren, 2009).

About Heat Signature:
Siobhán Campbell’s new collection is packed full of her lively, frequently provocative poems. An Irish poet, Campbell has inherited a rich vocabulary, the necessary ‘slant’ point of view, and a store of lively anecdotes. This is a poetry that resists rapture and/or easy solutions, it rather glories in difficulty: the cussed, intractable nature of humanity, of a natural world beset with swarming bees, weeds and feral horses. This is a poetic voice that once encountered, is never forgotten.

 

The winner of this giveaway will be chosen at random from all our email subscribers on 1st May 2017, so make sure you sign up to Seren News before this deadline to be in with a chance of winning.

Feeling generous? Why not invite your friends to enter, by signing up using the link below:
http://serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

 

 

Win a copy of Significance, Jo Mazelis’ Jerwood Prize-winning novel

Win a copy of Significance Jo Mazelis Jerwood Prize-winning novel

Enter our giveaway to win a copy of Jo Mazelis’ award-winning novel, Significance.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st March:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Significance giveaway Jo Mazelis

Significance was a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize-winner, 2015. Up for grabs in this giveaway is a copy of the new edition of the book, printed to commemorate the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered announcement.

About Significance:
Lucy Swann is trying on a new life. She’s cut and dyed her hair and bought new clothes, but she’s only got as far as a small town in northern France when her flight is violently cut short. When Inspector Vivier and his handsome assistant Sabine Pelat begin their investigation, the chance encounters of her last days take on a new significance.
Lucy’s death, like a stone thrown into a pool, sends out far-reaching ripples, altering the lives of people who never knew her as well as those of her loved ones back home.

Quite unlike any literary crime novel you will have read before, Significance takes the chance encounters of Lucy Swann’s last days and examines the characters she meets so fleetingly in unnerving detail. This is a murder mystery where the murder remains backstage, overshadowed by the many intermingling lives Lucy has brushed so briefly against.

 

The winner of this giveaway will be chosen at random from all our email subscribers on 1st March 2017, so make sure you sign up to Seren News before this deadline to be in with a chance of winning.

Feeling generous? Why not invite your friends to enter, by signing up using the link below:
http://serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup