Frances Gapper’s In the Wild Wood, where the mundane is made magical.

June 19th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

A couple of years ago, Frances Gapper won the Save As Writers’ Short Story Prize. Cultured Llama editor Maria C. McCarthy had judged the prize, and loved the winning story, ‘Broken Thing’, so much that she tracked down Frances Gapper, and asked her to submit a book proposal. Maria says, :”I was surprised that a writer this talented had not had a collection out for some years. Why hadn’t a publisher snapped her up?” The other publishers’ loss is is our again, and we are delighted to present In the Wild Wood.  Dear Reader, you are going to love it.

To walk In the Wild Wood is to enter worlds where the mundane is made magical. Loss of memory and self are rendered in dreamlike stories that owe as much to the lived experience of dementia as to fairy tale. In other tales, we learn of Sister Joy’s obsession with spiders, or a funeral parlour worker who collects false teeth from the dead. Poignant, funny and astonishing, this collection showcases Frances Gapper as a storyteller working at the peak of her craft.

978-0-9957381-6-4. Cultured Llama. PB. 203×127mm. 212pp. June 2017. Short Stories. £12.00 

Read a conversation with Frances Gapper, on the short story, on Alison Lock’s website.

Read more about Frances Gapper’s new collection, and order the book for £12 plus p&p: In the Wild Wood.  

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books, so why not add another story collection to your order? Find books by Maggie Harris, Anna Maconochie, Vanessa Gebbie, Nigel Jarrett, Emma Timpany and Maria C. McCarthy on the Stories page.

David Cooke in the Poetry Shed

June 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

David Cooke features on (or should that be ‘in’?) Abegail Morley’s Poetry Shed, with two poems from his new collection, After Hours. Read ‘Le Nu Provençal’ and ‘Ornithology’ here.

After Hours is also The Poetry Kit‘s book of the month for June 2017, and has received a glowing review, by Emma Lee, on London Grip.

Emma Lee quotes from ‘Last Orders’, a poem about a 1970s home bar that belonged to David Cooke’s late father-in-law:

Embalmed in a gloopy coat of varnish
that set to a brittle sheen, it lacked retro chic,
scuffed down to the wood along its edges,
its surface crazed with memories.

In days when family came to stay
it placed him centre stage, measuring out
precisely his perfect Irish coffees
or each medicinal dose of whiskey.

And yet, for all its high stool bonhomie
we dumped it, an eyesore for the viewers –
then missed a convenient shelf, sorting mail
that even now in his posthumous life

makes him offers he can’t refuse.

Read the full review here. Buy the book, for £10 plus p&p here: After Hours

Postage and packing is free if you buy two or more books via this website.

The Short Story explores internet dating and Flamingos in Thanet

June 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

An interview with Anna Maconochie appears on The Short Story, exploring Anna’s debut collection, Only the Visible Can Vanish. Charlie Parry asks Anna about the recurring themes of internet dating and the digitised world:

I’m not much of a tech person but I thought there’d be more writers out there writing about the NOW. When else in history have we been able to google our lover and find out she’s married, as Jeremy does? There’s this assumption that anyone who writes about internet dating will be writing their car-crash stories but the reality is far more complex, rich and sometimes banal. In Future Digital I wanted to get across how fifty-fifty Tara felt about Pete after their internet date. An agent told me that writer’s fear their work will sound dated eventually if they mention technology but nothing will stand in the way of a timeless story. And I think Google is going to be around for a while, so you may as well mention it if you want to!

Read the full interview here.

Buy Anna Maconochie’s debut story collection for £12 plus p&p here: Only the Visible Can Vanish 

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from Cultured Llama.

The Short Story has also reviewed In Margate by Lunchtime by Maggie Harris.

Maggie Harris

‘The Year The Flamingos Came’ is one of a number of stories telling very personal stories about the struggles of everyday life. Harris has a keen eye for people’s struggles, especially those of women, and manages to create a series of memorable characters.

This is definitely a book worth checking out, for the sheer beauty of the writing and the engaging and lively sense of narrative around Harris’s favourite corner of the country.

Read the full review here, and an interview with Maggie Harris here.

Buy Maggie Harris’s short story collection for £12 plus p&p here:In Margate by Lunchtime

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from Cultured Llama.

A big win for Rosie Jackson; ‘Light, love and quite a bit of kissing’

June 8th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

We are delighted to announce that Rosie Jackson’s poem ‘The Heaven that Runs through Everything’ won the 1st prize of £2,500 in the Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition 2017. The poem can be read on Rosie Jackson’s website.  Rosie has also been awarded 3rd prize in the Hippocrates Open competition for her poem  ‘A Ward Sister Remembers the Spencers’.

The lives and art of Stanley Spencer and Hilda Carline, Spencer’s first wife, have proved a rich seam for Rosie Jackson’s poetry, as Graham Burchell remarks in his review of The Light Box on Ink Sweat and Tears. 

There’s also wonderfully rendered ekphrasis, with particular emphasis on the work of British artist Stanley Spencer to begin each of the six sections, and the collection ends on a high note with an angle on one of Spencer’s Resurrection paintings with ‘bodies that cannot have enough of each other,/ this love that is always being made.’

Many other artists provide inspiration for Rosie Jackson’s poems in The Light Box, and other figures such as Margaret Thatcher feature:

Other characters are placed in unlikely settings or considered in suprising ways: Mrs Thatcher leaves her body and meets St Francis, Demeter takes up embroidery and Persephone blames the dress, but these are effective routes to exploring and keenly observing. We see Mrs Thatcher, her mind uncoupled, rising up from her sceptered isle, becoming unsettled, ‘till the light feels more like darkness,/ coal dust,’. So much depends (not on a red wheelbarrow), but­ on the richness and the weaving of Rosie Jackson’s own myths and inventions.

Burchell ends his review:

Stanley Spencer said he wanted to put himself in his work, and as an obvious enthusiast for this twentieth century artist’s life and paintings, Rosie Jackson likewise puts herself into her poems. They are deft, have a strong voice, and if reading extraordinarily good poems full of light, love and quite a bit of kissing, appeals, then ‘The Light Box’ comes highly recommended.

A glowing review of The Light Box appears in Poetry Salzburg Review. Speaking of the final poem in the collection, ‘Resurrection’, Danielle Hope writes:

The poem is an exemplar of the haunting yet light touch of Jackson’s writing. I started reading and couldn’t stop. She has a gift of turning the ordinary into enchantment with her writing. Her poem made me look again at Spencer’s painting. The allotments, gardens, “lamps pooling light over dinner” arise in Jackson’s writing, making everyday living suddenly an incredible and exciting gift.

You can buy The Light Box by Rosie Jackson for £10 plus p&p. Please support our small press by buying direct from Cultured Llama.

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