2015 has been a fun and busy year.
The year with Influx Press has taken in: an event and exhibition for Dan Duggan’s Luxury of the Dispossessed at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, events with George F promoting Total Shambles in Bethnal Green’s Common House, the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, Hydra Books and the Stoke Newington Literary Festival.
We launched Sam Berkson’s Settled Wanderers with a wonderful packed-out event at Rich Mix in east London. We curated a whole day of events at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, getting to invite Test Centre, Media Diversified, Unofficial Britain and Galley Beggar Press, with readings and talks from a wide range of writers such as Iain Sinclair, Courttia Newland, Eley Williams and Sunny Singh.
We’ve had the privilege of launching Darran Anderson’s astounding Imaginary Cities at Waterstones Piccadilly, and watching the book’s continued success with rave reviews coming in from around the world.
We’ve recently been promoting Paul Hawkins’ Place Waste Dissent with an exhibition up at The Arts House in Bristol and a full capacity event at Brick Lane Bookshop (who are always a pleasure to work with). We’re looking into recreating the exhibition of photography at The Arts House to a London venue in the new year so watch this space.
With my own writing, I had the pleasure in May of meeting, interviewing and getting royally drunk with my writing hero Niall Griffiths in Aberystwyth. I interviewe a musical hero of mine, Jay from Firepit Collective/Inner Terrestrials, about the links between folk music and alternative punk culture, and in August got to speak with Rob Cowen, the author of the excellent Common Ground.
I’m lucky to have had work published in some brilliant journals and magazine this year, including Structo, PUSH, Elsewhere, The Jawline Review, The Learned Pig, Boscombe Revolution, The Lonely Crowd, Unthology as well as continuing to write for Unofficial Britain.
I was shortlisted (top six) for the Spread the Word London Short Story Prize, which I was really chuffed with, especially Kevin Barry’s comment about my story - 'nothing much happens, but it's brilliant'. There were fun readings and talks in Stoke Newington, Oxford, Bristol, Norwich, Brancaster Staithe, The Society Club in Soho and many more I’m forgetting. A big big highlight was talking as part of the Unofficial Britain event at the Stoke Newington Lit Fest with Tina Richardson, Gareth E. Rees and David Southwell.
I had a Hookland inspired story, ‘Greenteeth’, picked up by the dark fantasy and horror magazine Black Static, which has been a big personal achievement and I can’t wait to see the new issue in January. Also in the new year is work coming out through the Short Anthology, Dunlin Press and more, so the new year’s looking good, especially with events and festivals already lined up in Liverpool, Kent and a few other places still waiting to be confirmed.
I’ve also been working on a series of blog posts called ‘Landscape Punk', about ideas of landscape writing, weird fiction and alternative, non-academic ways of engaging with place. The essays have been very well received, giving me the impetus to work harder on this as a fully fledged project in the coming year, which is going to be very exciting.
I also stopped being a private tutor and got a proper job as an editorial assistant for Unsung Stories, meaning I actually have a job doing something I enjoy – a strange feeling.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things. It’s been a busy year.
Books (and comics) of note I’ve read in 2015
Leviathan, or, The Whale – Philip Hoare
Darkmans – Nicola Barker
The Unsettled Dust + Cold Hand in Mine – Robert Aickman
Goat Mountain – David Vann
How the Light Gets In – Clare Sita Fisher (upcoming from Influx)
The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley
Haunted by Books – Mark Valentine
North American Lake Monsters – Nathan Ballingrud
The Wide Carnivorous Sky, and other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan
Britannia Obscura: Mapping Britain’s Hidden Landscapes – Joanne Parker
H is for Hawk – Helen MacDonald
So Long, Hector Bebb – Ron Berry
The Beauty – Aliya Whiteley (and Aliya’s upcoming novel, The Arrival of Missives, out 2016)
Songs of a Dead Dreamer & Grimscribe – Thomas Ligotti
Providence – Alan Moore
Common Ground - Rob Cowen
Exquisite Corpse – Robert Irwin
Collected Ghost Stories – M.R. James
Strandloper + Red Shift – Alan Garner
The Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume 2 – Various (Undertow Books)
I also reread M John Harrison’s The Course of the Heart and Signs of Life , because they are simply phenomenal.