Many of you who’ve been visitors here a while will know that I moved to Manchester at the end of 2010 during a very turbulent time in my life. I was welcomed, distracted, rebuilt and made incredible friendships, some will be life long. So the news last night devastated me for the city, the people (especially as it seems to be people so young) and there loved ones. I just wanted to leave this poem by Adam O’Riordan here for people to understand the Manchester spirit and why I love it and it’s people so.
Category Archives: Random Savidgeness
So as many of you know, I cofounded a prize called The Green Carnation Prize which celebrates LGBTQ+ writers and their fantastic books be they fiction, poetry, memoir, graphic novel, short stories or non fiction. Well the winner has not long been announced AND as I am feeling full of the Green Carnation spirit I will be giving a copy away at the end of the post, but first here is all you need to know about the winning book which was chosen from an INCREDIBLE shortlist…
The Green Carnation Prize today announces David France’s insider account of the AIDS epidemic, How To Survive A Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS, as the unanimous winner at a ceremony hosted by Foyles in London, UK.
The third non-fiction winner in the Prize’s seven-year history, France’s book was up against a shortlist that also featured Stella Duffy, Garth Greenwell, Kirsty Logan, and Kei Miller. First released as a film in 2012, How To Survive A Plague was dedicated to France’s partner Doug Gould, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992, and went on to be nominated for best documentary in 2013 Academy Awards.
Double Emmy-nominee, France, an investigative reporter and a chronicler of AIDS since the early 1980’s, used his unparalleled access to the community to share the story of the AIDS epidemic and the grassroots movement of activists, many of them facing their own life-or-death struggles, who grabbed the reins of scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection into a manageable disease.
Chair of judges and internationally acclaimed author John Boyne said: ‘In this time of renewed activism in an increasingly uncertain world, France’s definitive account of the AIDS crisis and the activists who changed the fate of so many lives, seems vital and important to inspire everyone, not just the LGBTQ+ community. We couldn’t be prouder to choose this book as the rightful winner.’
Simon Heafield, Head of Marketing at Foyles, said: ‘I’m so glad to have another excuse to recommend David France’s magnificent book to Foyles readers. This essential and inspirational account of one of the darkest periods of recent history is also a breathtakingly riveting read, full of unforgettable characters. This is arguably one of the most important books published in 2016, and a very deserving winner.’
In addition to his trophy, France also received a bottle of champagne and his winning book will receive national in-store promotion across Foyles bookshops. Now in its seventh year, the Prize, with the support of Foyles, seeks to champion the best writing by an LGBTQ author in the UK. It is a vital recognition and celebration for books as diverse as the community it represents and unified by a common thread: sheer quality of writing.
Simon Savidge, Director of the Prize, said: ‘I am delighted that David France has won The Green Carnation Prize with this incredible and important book. We have made many steps forward in the 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, however some of the voices of our history have often been silenced. I hope this book will enlighten people, make them question what they think they know and encourage discussion. That is what every great book does.’
Previous winners have included Patrick Gale, Catherine Hall, and Christopher Fowler. Last year, following the highest number of submissions to date, the Prize was awarded to Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. Upon winning the prize, James said: “Six years ago I wouldn’t have been able to voice that I was LGBT, so to be recognised for that and for work the judges felt was great is fantastic.”
So there you have it. I now instantly have to start thinking about next year’s prize, well maybe after a few celebratory shandies. Before that though I promised you the opportunity to win a copy of the book. So how can you? Well simply leave a comment below telling me what your favourite LGBT book is and why by the 1st of June and I will select one entry from anywhere in the world and email you and send it over. That simple. So go for it and good luck!
So another month or so goes by and after promising to get the blog up and running and back in business, I haven’t. I am a dreadful sausage and should be ashamed. Well I am ashamed if I am honest, I am not going to apologise too profusely as a) I already have several times b) you can’t spend your whole life apologising for being busy can you? For I have been busy, very busy. There has been work where I have taken on another person’s workload because they have gone on maternity and I have also been part of the recruitment plus planning for the next year… exhausting. Then there has been all the bookish stuff which is frankly much more likely to be what you want to hear about isn’t it? Grab a cuppa this could be quite a post, ha.
So what have I been upto? Well… Firstly I was reading all of the Baileys longlist. As many of you know I don’t half love the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and so I was reading the longlist before the shortlist was announced which was quite a mission as even though there were 16 books instead of 20 it was still tough going. It does mean I have loads of wonderful books to talk to you all about though in the next few weeks and months (I may even cheat a bit and backdate some of them, ha naughty) which I am looking forward to.
Secondly I have been getting The Green Carnation Prize all sorted and the admin behind the longlist, shortlist and winner (which will be announced a week today) and the finale party. The judges have been amazing and the wonderful Maura Brickell has been a diamond organising things so really this year it has been minimal and I have felt slightly distanced from it but both long and short lists were wonderfully received, so I am thrilled. I am even starting to look towards next year. Have I read the shortlist? No, only one of them which is shameful isn’t it. But sometimes is it about time, which leads me on to the third and fourth things I have been upto.
Well actually I am a slight tease because one I cannot talk about until June, so let’s put the third on whole. The fourth though is amazing because (and many of you may have seen me explode with joy on Twitter) I have been asked if I will be one of the judges on one of my favourite book prizes. Can you guess which one it is?
Yes, it is the Costa Book Awards!!!! I am beyond excited and still think they might have had one too many coffees when they asked but I am running with it. I can’t tell you which category I have yet, I can say it is one that I am thrilled about and cannot wait to get reading. More in due course. Of course this does mean things might change with the blog as I can’t talk about the submissions I don’t think, however as I have been so shoddy with review since Christmas (ok and possibly a bit before) it does mean I have a stack of other books I can chat to you about. It’s almost like I planned it, in fact let us pretend I did. Ha.
Penultimately, fifthly, I have been doing lots of house and garden sorting. The library has been a slight nightmare but more on that in a future post, it is getting there now though and the lounge, dining room, bathrooms and master suite in the attic are all looking lovely. As is some of the garden, some not all.
Then finally, the sixth reason for being so bonkers busy, is because I have been doing quite a few events (I am wondering if I should have an events page on here?) with the likes of Paula Hawkins, Sarah Schmidt, Patrick Ness and Natalie Haynes over the last few weeks PLUS I have been quite a social butterly. I know, what happened to the man who liked to hide form the world with a book on the sofa or in bed? Well he has been up and down to London, had guests staying and been on a wonderful weekend in Kent. There are a couple more balmy weeks before June (do you want to come on some of these trips with me, would it interest you?) So it really has been quite busy. Oh and I have a wedding to plan, how do I forget that?
So that is me, what have you all been upto? I would love to know, let’s chat in the comments.
Once again the words ‘it has been too long’ are typed up on the screen, as once again all has gone a little quite on Savidge Reads. However for those of you who have been following me elsewhere on the internet, you will know that on Monday I had a rather large operation to remove the tumours and lipoma’s that my body produces as I have dastardly Dercum’s disease. These lumps can turn nastier but in the interim they just really hurt as they sit on a vein, a nerve or stretch the skin in the various places that they grow. (This has been getting really bad in the last few months and why I have been quieter, too much typing can be agony.) Anyway that is quite enough information, suffice to say I went in on Monday and was sliced to bits and now resemble a pin cushion/scarecrow/bruised cooking apple. Ha.
Due to some slight complications with my blood pressure not all of those pesky lumps have gone, but 12 out of 20 sure ain’t bad. And I am finally home, though I feel like someone is still stabbing me or using the top half of my body as a bouncy castle. Interesting. Now I have the three weeks recuperation to look forward to where I aim to rest, relax, read and get this old blog back on track. That said it has taken me almost two hours to type this because a) woozy and forgetful b) ouch. Good to have aims and things to focus on though. The most skills I have at the moment seem to be the ones that involve lying on the sofa and moaning a lot. Ha. I have had some lovely bookish parcels, chocolates and flowers (the ones below from lovely Rob and Kate of Adventures with Words) which have made me smile, look I have proof I am not just a wincing whinge bag.
So, how are you all? What are you reading? Any books you think I should be heading too while my body recuperates that will stop my mind being bored and me going insane with cabin fever? Not that I am desperately worried about that of course. Hope all is good with you all, fill me in on all your news and bookish recommendations please!
No this is not a blog post about some of the weekends I had in my twenties, and possibly into my thirties, this is an update on all things library wise since I told you last week that work had begun on the building of a library here at Savidge Reads Towers. Ha, if only this house had towers, I have always wanted turrets. Anyway, as I mentioned before, two rooms have been knocked into one and shape wise were looking much more like the final design…
So this week it has been all about getting plastered. Literally. There have been men in and out of there for most of the week (it has played havoc with my carpets, dust and dried plaster are now on my list of things I loathe) and where there was a divide is slowly starting to look more like it is all part of one room…
Well a room with a big alcove which is bang on what I want, I am aiming for a room that feels very much one room yet sort of two or three separate zones if that makes any sense. You can’t even spot where there once was a door.
What I hadn’t realised was that all the room was wallpapered. Oh the plasterers weren’t impressed when they made this discovery I can tell you. I thought it was just the wonderful (and camp as can be) pastel animal wall, which I know many people on here and on twitter have been huge fans of. Alas this will soon be no more, if you really loved that wallpaper then look away now…
…Yep it is going, going, gone.The question is of course what is going to take place of butterflies, giraffes and other unidentifiable creatures? This is the next big decision, paints. I know in my head I want it either blue or green, I just can’t decide between the two and of course the tones. Blue can become too oceanic or really cold, green can make you feel like your on acid or in an army bunker, so these are tricky times. Luckily I have discovered a very bookish series of paints which might help me whittle down my decisions, or go for something completely different, simply because it might be wrong to have anything but a pain collection called The Bookcase on my library walls.
I can hear you all gasp almost as loudly as I did when I discovered it. Any thoughts on paint do let me know, I have until the end of Monday to make my decision as there is a deadline between now and having my operation in late February to get everything done. No pressure.
Last year over on lovely booktube, I had the pleasure of joining in with a great initiative called #DiverseAThon which was started with the simple desire to make people read more widely and diversely. Well, we all want that really don’t we? I mean one of the great joys of reading is that we can learn about all walks of life from all over the world, walking in their shoes whilst actually sat on our own sofa’s or lying in our own beds. I have always been a fan of anything promoting diverse and minority groups, that is why I started the Green Carnation Prize for LGBTQ writing. So imagine my joy when the organisers of last years DiverseAThon kindly asked if I would like to be one of the hosts for its return, I jumped at the chance and excitingly it all starts today.
Now before anyone switches off or clicks away (unlikely I know, but possible) thinking this is something just for booktubers, this is most definitely not the case. Christina Marie, Joce, Monica and myself are all incredibly keen that everyone who wants to join in can join in. You don’t have to have a channel, a podcast, a blog (though if you do lovely), you just have to have some books to hand that fit the bill. Buy them, borrow them, root through your shelves, the more the blooming merrier. All we would like you to do is try and read books from own voices, so not just books about race, sexuality, disability etc, or with characters of those groups… We want you to find the authors writing from those groups and writing through that own narrative voice. That doesn’t mean we are anti straight writers writing about LGBTQ stories or white writers writing about issues around race, we appreciate those voice hugely but we all know the publishing industry could used a little more diversity and if we don’t support those own voices publishers won’t think we want them in our hands and then we miss out on some incredible books and we all lose out then.
I have made a video on the whole idea behind #DiverseAthon 2.0 including some of the books I am planning reading over the next week, I will link them down below. Grab a cuppa and have a watch if you care to take the time, if not ask me any questions down in the comments below.
I am quite passionate about this so I would love lots of you to join in, be it a twitter chat, the instagram challenges, posting on your blogs and vlogs and pods, ha the options are endless. I will be sharing some own voices reviews as the week goes on, some from the backlog I have mentioned a few times, and reviewing the books in my #DiverseAThon TBR as I go, so should hopefully be talking about and sending some great own voices stories, fiction and none, in the forthcoming week. Who is up for this then? Which books will you be reading? Which books do you recommend?
Apologies for the Savidge silence (again) I have a very valid reason though, there have been builders invading my life rather a lot of late as, get ready for it, my library is being built. No, you heard right I am having a library built here at the new house and work has finally started which is so exciting but also somewhat disruptive and distracting. I thought however it would be nice to have a series of posts as the process happens and that you might be quite keen to read about it and join the journey. Ugh, journey has become sucha cliche saying but you know what I mean. So what are the plans? Well they look like this…
However that doesn’t really cover the logistics as lovely as that picture is. Basically two bedrooms are being converted into one, though the smaller one will feel slightly like a separate space where my reading chair, youtube filming area and desk and the like is. The rest will be wall to wall bookshelves and nothing more, well apart from a comfy sofa bed for me to read on and very special guests to sleep in. Only very special ones, the others just get the normal two spare bedrooms though they have some bookshelves in too of course. So week one has been the rooms being joined, or as the Spice Girl fan in me likes to say, two become one.
Is it just me or does anyone find this sort of thing, getting to look at what makes a wall essentially, really bizarrely interesting? As you can see it has gone great guns…
Though they did make the hole between the rooms which will make the one room feel like two spaces a bit too big so they will be rebuilding some.
I was told this made me a diva by someone, however my thoughts are if this is my forever home and that is going to be my dream library then I need it to be just so. Plus they have to build a new wall where one of the doors has been taken out. It is looking good so far. Then next week, the second in what will probably be a month (so just in time for my operation in late February) the plasterer comes, and the floorboards get sanded down, week three is decorating, so I need to do the painful decision making on that, followed by week four when the bookshelves will get built. I will report back as it goes on. Hopefully it will be of interest…
In the interim how are all of you and what are you reading at the moment?