Friday, 4 September 2009

THE WEEKLY POST - 4 September 2009

The Weekly Post is bit late off the press thanks to great couple of weeks in the Cornish surf.

Rose Metal Press calls female writers…
This message from them:
The press has recently re-opened to manuscript queries after having been closed to them for a while. We’re excited about reading innovative work by all kinds of authors, but we—like many, if not most, magazines and presses—have found that the vast majority of the queries we’re receiving are from men. We’re talking close to 85 percent here. We like to keep our list balanced and we know that there have to be plenty of women out there who are writing works in innovative hybrid forms, too, but for whatever reason, they’re not contacting us at the moment.
This is where we hope you come in. Could you please spread the word to the inventive, hybrid-genre loving female writers you know (including, of course, yourselves), and share with them that we are reading queries now and would especially like to hear about projects by women?

Rose Metal Press HERE

This year’s final judge is Richard Peabody. This from the Willesden Herald website:
"Richard Peabody is an author and poet based in Washington, D.C. A native of the region, he is perhaps best known as one of the founding editors for Gargoyle Magazine and editor for the anthology series Mondo. He also runs a small press called Paycock Press; aside from acting as the official publisher of Gargoyle Magazine, Paycock Press has released a number of anthologies and works by individual authors."

All about the competition, guidelines, entry details, on Willesden Herald HERE.

Followers of this blog will be aware that I sought legal advice about protecting unpublished work from misappropriation by a writer with whom I had worked closely for over a year after he approached me for mentorship and subsequently became a trusted colleague, but was then found to have closely used the work of other writers for his own gain. Including elements from my own unpublished work and ideas shared privately. (See the unravelling of the saga on How Publishing Really Works here and here, linked to this blog here.)

I am pleased to say that Douglas Bruton has now given me, through my solicitor, written assurances that he will not misappropriate my unpublished work by using my creations and seeking to pass them off as his own. He has agreed in writing not to use my named characters, their storylines and backstories, other plots, images and devices created by me, either from our collaborative work, or from the novel section I sent him for comment as a trusted reader.
He is apparently unable to return my work as requested.
A propos: It seems we were not the first writers to have unfortunate experiences at his hands, and certainly not the first working colleagues he has apparently used poorly. A representative from a writing group called Pentlands Writers, which he was asked to leave for copying, has been in touch.

The Fiction Workhouse has closed, and has been emptied of all the craft libraries, discussion threads, stories, flashes, poetry, and allied debates, and will remain in a state of suspended animation until I decide what to do with it. I am somewhat unwilling to work on my writing online these days. The team are all in fine fettle and are working in a new home called The Fiction Forge.
I had a very happy, creative two years and more working there with some excellent and decent writers, and would like to thank them for their professional companionship.

I said it here. Elegy for Easterly is very good. Also shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor.
Guardian First Book Award Longlist HERE


I am looking forward to playing landlady to four writerly friends for the festival.

Also looking forward to reading at Decongested again, and meeting up with writer Selma Dabbagh, who is staying for Small Wonder.


I am looking forward to attending the prizegiving brunch for this year’s Asham Award, in the morning of Saturday 26th September, and meeting the other readers for next years award.

I am then looking forward to driving like the wind up to Sevenoaks after the above, seeing fellow Salt writer Carys Davies on the afternoon of Saturday 26th September, when we are reading from our collections and talking about the short story at the Sevenoaks Celebration Book Groups Tea event.

The rewrite reached 11,250 words. The novel is now pushing 80K. And I am off to Anam Cara on Monday for fourteen working days. I hope to do the following:
Polish and finish all the individual pieces already written.
Write one more section from scratch.
Write three sections from extensive bits already there in wordcount.
And come back with a workable complete first draft for surgery.

Words from a Glass Bubble has had some lovely reviews on Amazon, and I have not acknowledged them here.

Thank you to Sophie Playle for this:

Just like a certain famous ogre, this book is like an onion: it has layers. These short stories have more depth to them than first meets the eye, and they leave quite an impact. They will make you cry, too, sometimes - both tears of laughter and tears of sadness.
Don't be fooled by the innocent skipping girl on the front cover. Even though many of these stories are poetic and subtle, some of them are gritty and dark.

Thank you to Mr Lee Williams for this:
Beautiful, lyrical writing, by turns thoughtful, passionate and funny. I loved it.
My favourite stories would have to be 'Dodie's Gift' and 'Harry's Catch' - they are masterpieces of understanding and compassion, without ever seeming mawkish or overly sentimental. All of the stories are great, though. I just can't recommend this highly enough.

Thank you to Nik Perring for this:
Loved this collection of short stories, some funny, some tragic, some downright dangerous and all written expertly.

Thank you to Melissa Houghton for this:
idiosyncratic and developed with sensitivity, bravery and a robust sense of wit. It is no coincidence that Gebbie's craft is at the forefront of a new-wave of literary storytellers. Her work is fine-tuned and Words.. comes as a remarkable debut for a versatile and extraordinarily talented writer.

Thank you to David King for this:
I have admired Vanessa Gebbie's short stories since she first started to write fiction seriously, and it was no surprise to me when prestigious prizes and awards began to come her way. Many of the stories that won those accolades are included in this collection, and I urge anyone who enjoys good literary fiction to buy this book.

Thank you to Fiona Mackenzie for this:
Intriguing, gripping and poetic stories whose characters live in your mind long after you've finished the book.

And thank you to Linda Witts for this:
I'm not usually a short story reader but I was lucky enough to meet Vanessa on a recent holiday and so decided to 'take the plunge' and I am so glad I did. As soon as I started to read 'Bones' I could visualise the Jewish cemetery in Prague and have found out that it was indeed that cemetery that was Vanessa's inspiration. I don't know if I have a real favourite among the collection but I thought 'I can squash the King, Tommo' utterly brilliant. I'm looking forward to Vanessa's next collection.

I also stumbled over this, on a bad day a month or so back, on a blog belonging to one Mike Harrison. It was heaven-sent.

S sends me Vanessa Gebbie’s Words from a Glass Bubble. I am captured instantly by the first three paragraphs of the title story, which begins:
The Virgin Mary spoke to Eva Duffy from a glass bubble in a niche halfway up the stairs. Eva, the post woman, heard the words in her stomach more than her ears, and she called her the VM. The VM didn’t seem to mind.
You think this is a voice, but it isn’t: it’s storytelling. You can’t easily find the point where “style”, “plot”, “characterisation” & “worldbuilding” separate, because they don’t. The result is, literally, to captivate. Myslexia called Gebbie’s “a blithe and energetic narrative drive”. I’d have called it that, too, if I’d been clever enough to think of it.

I don’t know who S is, but thank you to S for sending Words from a Glass Bubble to Mike Harrison, who turns out very happily to be someone whose opinion matters.

Thank you for your lovely words, Mr Mike Harrison.


Sophie Playle said...

Wow, loads of great reviews! Nice one :)

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Vanessa, congratulations on the lovely reviews. I'm especially pleased that the legal issues surrounding Mr Burton have been settled, I know they plagued your mind and such things just interfere with what is important.

Also- please send me your postal address to get the magazine sent to you. I'd have requested this through email but again a virus meant a thorough rubbing of my computer losing all contacts. :(

SueG said...

This all sounds great, V. Progress on all fronts. And I'm thrilled that you're off to A.C. Send them all my love. I'd be jealous, but I'm just getting back to London on Tuesday after 2 months away, so I really can't complain :-) Let me know when/if you're around in London. Time for a catch-up! xoxo

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Thanks Sophie, I am so grateful.
Hi Lauri - thanks. Address being emailed, sorry to hear about virus...aaagh!
Sue, thanks, I will miss your company at AC, but armed with my laptop and a new download that bans the internet, I will be working hard. See you very soon.