This is Porthtowan, on the north coast of Cornwall, a few days ago. Such beautiful light on the water. Moments like this, of warm, winter sunlight and stillness at the edge of the sea, feel very precious – perhaps more than ever this year.
I hope to have some news to share about 2021 soon; in the meantime, I’d like to mention Bookshop , an online bookshop which financially supports local, independent bookshops.
When placing an order, you can nominate a specific local bookshop who will receive the full profit from your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookshops. You can read all about the organisation here.
It is ten years this month since my short story, Katherine and the Lighthouse, was published in the lovely journal The Parabola Project. Since then, thirteen more of my stories have appeared in a wide variety of print publications. Others have appeared in literary journals online.
It’s been a great joy to see my stories in print over the last decade, and I wanted to celebrate by assembling copies of the journals and anthologies my work has appeared in. As you can see, there is a fascinating variety! From the tiny to the more substantial, they are all unique and lovely.
Thank you to all these publications and the great people behind them: The Parabola Project, The Yellow Room, The Frogmore Papers, Dream Catcher, The Interpreter’s House, Takahē, Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time, The Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, Elbow Room, Palm Sized Press, and Bonsai: The Big Book of Small Stories.
I’m so happy that a copy of my 2015 short story collection has found its way back to the island of Syros in the Greek Cyclades.
The left hand photograph shows the book cover against its inspiration, the town of Ermopouli, and on the right is Kini.
As you can see, Syros is a beautiful place. It is very much a working island with a fascinating history. Although I have not been back since the early 1990s, I hear from a reliable source that it still retains a good deal of its magic.
So, here’s to Syros – to those who were lost on her, and to those who have found themselves there.
I’m very pleased and excited to say that Travelling in the Dark will be launched in the US and Canada in May 2021, as part of the Fairlight Books release of their titles into the North American market.
A small selection of stories from Cornish Short Stories will feature on Source FM’s Story Hour at 2-3pm over the coming weeks. Listen in on 96.10 FM or online
First up, on Friday 12th June are ‘The Haunting of Bodmin Jail’ by Anastasia Gammon, ‘Roaring Girl’ by Alan Robinson and ‘The Superpower’ by Sarah Perry. You can listen again here.
On Friday 19th June, Sarah Thomas’s wonderful story ‘Ballast’ is included in the programme. A must for those who love Cornwall’s magical gardens.
A further two stories will feature in July – more details to follow.
The Story Hour is a weekly programme which broadcasts short stories by writers, past and present, from Cornwall. The show’s producer is Patrick Haughton and the stories are read as written by actors from Penryn Community Theatre.
Source FM is a community radio station which broadcasts to residents of Falmouth and Penryn and reaches 7,000 + listeners a week. Both Source FM and Penryn Community Theatre are not-for-profit organisations run by volunteers, and we are delighted to be working with these local organisations.
This year’s Hall and Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize is open for submissions until 20th March 2020. My novella Travelling in the Dark was lucky enough to win last year’s prize, which aims to bring to wider attention writing from or about the West Country.
The prize is open to book length submissions of works of fiction, non-fiction, or short stories published by a local independent publisher or self-published, from any writer based in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall or with a close connection to those counties.
Further information and a submission form can be found here.
Kind sponsors Hall and Woodhouse, whose brewery was established in 1777, have been supporting writers in various ways over their many years of business. Thomas Hardy was apparently very fond of their famous Badger Beer.
I am absolutely delighted that Travelling in the Dark has won this year’s Hall and Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize. The prize was set up in 2018 by Dorchester Literary Festival organisers Janet Gleeson and Paul Atterbury to celebrate writing from the West Country.
The £1000 prize was awarded by guest of honour Minette Walters at a ceremony held in the Duchess of Cornwall Inn, Poundbury, Dorset on 18 July 2019. My thanks to Lucinda Gray and Anthony Woodhouse of Hall and Woodhouse who kindly sponsor this award.
It was lovely to meet the other shortlisted writers and hear readings from their books. They were Susmita Bhattacharya for her short story collection Table Manners, Dee La Vardera for her work of non-fiction The Road toCivitella, and runner up Maria Donovan for The Chicken Soup Murder.