Monthly Archives: April 2012

Three copies up for grabs

If you fancy being in with a chance of winning a copy of my book, I’m planning to give away three copies on the books and reading website Goodreads. You don’t have to answer any questions – you just have to click on the ‘enter to win‘ button to be put into the draw. The giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world and ends on May 15th – good luck!

‘A story of dark and diamonds’ – an interview with Vanessa Gebbie, author of ‘The Coward’s Tale’

I’m delighted to welcome Vanessa Gebbie to my blog today to talk about her debut novel ‘The Coward’s Tale’, which has just been released as a paperback by Bloomsbury. ‘The Coward’s Tale’ is the story of a young boy called Laddy Merridew, who has gone to stay with his grandma in a small Welsh mining town – home to the Kindly Light Pit and the scene of a terrible disaster there a number of years earlier. Whilst there Laddy strikes up a friendship with Ianto Jenkins, a beggar who tells the stories of those townsfolk who have been affected by – and continue to be affected by – the disaster, either directly or indirectly. The book is a cleverly constructed tapestry of those stories, with Ianto Jenkins’ own story proving to be one of the most intriguing. As well as a novelist, Vanessa is also a renowned short story writer and has published two collections so far – ‘Words From a Glass Bubble’ and ‘Storm Warning’. She was also the contributing editor of a collection of essays on the short story, ‘Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story’.
AJ: Hi, Vanessa. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about ‘The Coward’s Tale’. It’s a beautiful book – wonderfully engaging and finely crafted. The writing is so precise and filled with genuinely original, thought-provoking descriptions and language. How did you approach the writing of the book? Did you concentrate on the individual stories and then work at linking them together, or did you have a bigger vision from the beginning?

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A reading in beautiful York

I enjoyed reading last Sunday as part of the ‘Pub Shorts’ event at the historic Black Swan pub for the last day of the York Literature Festival.

The Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York

After a few days of angst about what story to read, I opted for ‘The Rings of Saturn’ – a story about a reporter who goes to interview a couple for their golden wedding anniversary. The piece also features astronomy, a recurring theme of mine but one which I enjoy exporing and is pretty close to my heart, so I hope people in the audience enjoyed it. Others reading at the event included Steve Toase, Tony Dew, host Helen Cadbury and James Wall, whose story ‘Longer than Lunch’ will soon be published in respected literary magazine Tears in the Fence. (Please take out a subscription for yourself or a friend – the magazine is currently struggling financially and is in desperate need of support.) It was really nice to be asked along to take part in the festival and to hear a great selection of new stories from my fellow readers – writers who are definitely worth keeping an eye on for the future.

* I’ve just been interviewed by writer Adnan Mahmutovic, who was shortlisted with me in last year’s Willesden Herald short story competition. If you want to see me trying to answer some fairly tough questions then click here.