Posts by Ian Anstice

Wordpool

Posted Tuesday 17 April 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Wordpool 2018Amazingly this is Wordpool’s twelfth year! Twelve years and eighteen festivals, hundreds of amazing writers, artists, poets, musicians and performers sharing the power of words with our audiences of all ages. 2018 promises to be yet another fantastic year.

Mark BillinghamWe’ll be reflecting the mood of the nation and sharing the romance of Royal Wedding week with an evening of bestselling romantic fiction from authors Carole Matthews and Fiona Walker. Our guest authors’ journeys to fiction often surprise us and actor, TV writer and comedian Mark Billingham is no exception. If he doesn’t mention playing Gary the guard in TV’s cult children’s series Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, we will!

Darren McGarvey aka Scottish rapper, Loki will be challenging our young audiences at Blackpool 6th Form College with his wise and witty manifesto for change, Poverty Safari.

Death in the seaWe’re always excited to be able to showcase new talent and 2018 publishing sensations C J Tudor and Nick Clark Windo are creating quite a buzz at Wordpool HQ.

Independent Publishing is transforming the literary world and we’re delighted to be working with CommaPress and BlueMoose Books to bring you events and writing projects focussed on the short story form.

This is the last year of our two year development programme funded through Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants, we thank them for their support.

It’s going to be a good one…come along and join us

Knowsley Crime Fiction

Posted Wednesday 11 April 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Knowsley Libraries are hosting some great crime writers this month. As soon as the police release them from this line-up that is.

Four authorsSarah Dunnakey
Friday 20 April 2018
Kirkby Library 11am...
Brought to you by Read Regional 2018
Winner of a Northern Writers Award and one of this year’s Read
Regional authors, Sarah Dunnakey will talk about her debut novel ‘TheCompanion’ and the starting point for her story of buried secrets, set between the 1930s and the present day, on the wild Yorkshire moors.

Martin Edwards
Friday 20 April 2018
Huyton Library 2pm
Martin Edwards is an award-winning author of more than 60 short crime stories. He’s also written a series of novels set in Liverpool about the lawyer Harry Devlin and seven books featuring Detective Inspector Hannah Scarlett and historian Daniel Kind set in the beautiful Lake District. Martin will give a fascinating talk about his career as a crime writer, inspired by his love of vintage detective fiction.

Four authorsA A Dhand
Monday 23 April 2018
Halewood Library 11am
Brought to you by Read Regional 2018
‘Girl Zero’ is a tense, forty-eight hours in the life of “DI Harry Virdee”, and the follow-up novel to the best-selling Bradford-based debut, ‘Streets of Darkness’. Raised in Bradford Amit Dhand will talk about how the city has inspired his writing and become an integral part of his fiction.

Ian Marsh
Tuesday 24 April 2018
Prescot Library 2pm
Dr Ian Marsh, from Prescot, has been a university lecturer for many years and has taught, researched and written widely on crime and criminal justice. ‘Gemma Makes her Mark’ is his second fiction book - following on from ‘Murderer: On Your Mark’, published in 2015.

Events are free but places are limited so book yours now by contacting your local library.

https://yourlibrary.knowsley.gov.uk/

A Vintage evening: book previewing in Manchester

Posted Wednesday 28 March 2018 by Ian Anstice in Events, Opinion

Vintage inviteOne of the serious perks of being the co-ordinator of Time To Read (well, apart from working from home with my dog, Gusto, sleeping on my lap while I’m typing) is being invited to book launches and there was a particularly good one put on by Vintage this week which I want to tell you about.

The Vintage 2018 preview event took place in the wonderful Waterstones at Deansgate in Manchester on a mild Monday evening.  It turns out that the bookshop has a secret events room behind double doors by the Costa on the top floor.

So what happens? Well, you walk in and there’s free drinks (wine and juice) as well as free nibbles (the best Marks and Spencers can offer) and six authors waiting around for the event to start. This is a great time to speak to them, as they’ve not formally been introduced yet and people are a bit stand-offish. I chickened out of talking to Irvine Welsh and instead spoke to the very friendly Abir Mukherjee, who’s an old hand at such things and politely underestimated my age, and Damian Le Bas and his wife, who were fascinating.

Then the event properly started and we all took our seats to listen to the speakers and to people form the publishers. The first speaker described who was there, including not only a sprinkling of us librarians, but also staff from Waterstones, independent bookshops and book bloggers. The publishers then summarised their favourite forthcoming books from other authors, including two which caught my eye – Star of the North by DB John, due out in May, about child abductions carried out by North Korea and the new one by Yuval Noah Harari, “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”.  If you’ve not read any Harari, well, start now … but don’t miss this one. The man is a genius.

Irvine WelshOK, now on to the speakers. Irvine Welsh, the megastar in the room, was first on and literally set his stopwatch at the start to make sure he did not speak too long. He was there to speak about his “third real Trainspotters” book Dead Men’s Trousers.  This is a “twisted redemption” for his characters.

Then we had Damian Le Bas whose Stopping Places is about his journey to places in the UK which Damian Le Bashad links to Travellers. I checked with him and he’s also fine with the terms Gypsies and Romany, although the fact I had to do this showed how touchy the subject still is, even in 2018. And, yes, some people do use the socially unacceptable term “pikey” but I bet none of them knew that they do so because it comes from the old word “turnpike”, which is a road-toll. He’s full of fascinating information like that and has a real flair for description, as his reading of his trip to Appleby Fair in Cumbria demonstrated. Did you know that you can so carefully control a coin toss that heads can come up nine times out of ten?

Diana EvansDiana Evans came nest with Ordinary People, a novel about black British middle class people from the day Obama was elected to the death of Michael Jackson in the same year. Themes like parenthood and middle age are touched on as is, of course, race, which she made clear was “not just a black person’s problem. Again there’s some good turns of phrase like the description of "Obama walking out victorious on to the bulletproof stage".  I love fact as well that the book has a playlist.

Andrew MacMillanPoetry is a notoriously hard sell but Andrew McMillan, now based in Manchester, gives it his best shot. Like his previous book, Physical is very graphic and eyewateringly personal, with lightning-quick turns of phrase that shock almost as much as the meteorological phenomenon itself. It’s about a homosexual adolescence but is basically also about awkwardness and the pains of growing up generally.

Christie WatsonThe next speaker grabbed the attention of everyone from the start. The story of a child dying in your arms from burns and the smell of her hair as it is washed is going  to stay with me for a long time. Such is the work of Christie Watson, whose book “The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story is, for my money, going to be – or damn well should be – the bestselling book here.  She’s a nurse in the NHS and talks about kindness as well as life and death. She is an absolutely riveting speaker and can move  from gruesome morbidity to humour in a minute. I think the time has come for this as it’s not misery fiction – it’s kindness non-fiction – and from a nurse, not a doctor or a midwife. I did video snaps of the other authors but I forgot to do it with Christie, she was that good.  There was a 14-way auction for the rights to this book and I can see why.

Abir MukherjeeAh, but then we had the infinitely likeable Abir Mukherjee –whose “Smoke and Ashes” is the third in a detective series based in 1920s India. It’s a good backdrop for thrillers and he does it well, with the latest being about the shameful medical tests done on Indian troops at the time, mixed in with preparations for the arrival of Prince Edward (the future Edward VIII) in Calcutta. I’ve not come across his work before but I’m going to jolly well read some now.

Abir then proved very popular in the next stage of the evening, which was a social get-together with the authors, although poor Irvine Welsh – who I suspect was too famous to be socially talked to – had to stand around for a bit while people just came up to him to autograph his new book. Oooh, did I mention there were piles of free copies of the books to just pick up? That’s rather good isn’t it? Or it would have been if I had not been so intent on speaking to people I forgot to get them until it was too late. Such are the problems of such a good evening. Here’s looking forward to the next one.

WowFest 2018

Posted Monday 19 March 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Wowfest 2018WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS responds to recent national and international political, social and cultural developments around issues of Brexit/The EU, migration, race, inclusion/exclusion, diversity, and nationalism. While Trump talks of building walls, and borders are back on the international agenda, WoWFEST 2018 - Crossing Borders will explore messages of togetherness, hope and inclusivity by building stories and experiences around the thoughts, ideas and hopes of our communities for the society and identity they wish to build for themselves and each other in the wake of Brexit.

working class writersWith the impact of Brexit hotly contested and unbridled Trumpery across the Atlantic, WoWFest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will explore literature, art, ideas, and practice that has transgressed and challenged accepted ways of thinking. From migrant literature to refugee stories, prisoner stories and translated works, we’ll be discussing race, gender, sexuality, Europe, politics, activism, satire, collaboration, grime music, and technology.

Shami CharkrabartiIn venues across the city WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will break down barriers - technological, geographic and those that frame our identity and ways of living.  Local national and international writers, artists and commentators will debate and discuss ideas of nationalism and identity and their impact on society, culture and artistic creation.  They’ll consider whether the gates protecting the most elite communities need to be torn down in the name of Social Justice and the Grenfell survivors. Subverting the theme, we’ll be exploring borders that need to be fortified #metoo. With guests including Lily Allen, Lowkey (and many more to be announced), WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will defy expectations, entertain and challenge, and invite you to get involved.
 
WoWfest 2018 is dedicated to Linda Meagor who crossed many borders and was an asset to many arts organisations and communities.

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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