Tag Archives: Hometown Tales

Telling Hometown Tales Again… An Update

So, way back when in the depths of the past, I told you all about how I was joining the lovely team at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, part of Orion and the monster (in a large way, not scary or evil) publishing house Hachette. Basically, it is an initiative to find more diverse voices in the landscape of writing from all over the UK. We not only can I tell you what the first four books will be and who the eight authors are (as each book has a published author writing about their home town and then an unpublished author from the same town or region if you flip the book over) for the first in the series AND excitingly I can tell you who the next four published authors are and where we are looking for new voices. One of them could be you…

The first four books out in June are from Glasgow, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Highlands and Hebrides and they are…

  • Hometown Tales: Glasgow will include a “moving” account of growing up in the shadow of Woodilee Hospital by short story writer and author of The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker) Kirsty Logan, and “a deeply personal portrait of the city” by new voice Paul McQuade.
  • Hometown Tales: Yorkshire will feature Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache(Picador), writing about her childhood home in Snaith, and new voice Victoria Hennison on village life in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor.
  • Hometown Tales: Midlandswill pair a story about a Jamaican girl adopted by a couple living in Fleckney, Leicestershire, by Kerry Young, author of the Costa First Novel-shortlisted Pao (Bloomsbury), with new voice Carolyn Sanderson’s tale of young love in Milton Keynes.
  • And, last in the four-strong tranche, Hometown Tales: Highlands and Hebrideswill include an account of growing up on the Isle of Mull by Colin MacIntyre, author of The Letters of Ivor Punch (W&N) which won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award in 2015. MacIntyre’s piece will appear alongside a “bold and inspiring” coming-of-age story set in Inverness by new voice Ellen MacAskill.

As you will know if you have been round this neck of the blogosphere for a while I am a huge fan of both Kirsty Logan and Cathy Rentzenbrink as writers and as people. for a while what they have written (because I have read these between Costa submissions and everything else) is ruddy marvellous. As are Colin and Kerry’s, who have both been on my book periphery for a while so I am keen to go and read their novels even more now, and I can’t wait to see what Paul, Victoria, Carolyn and Ellen come up with in the future. Ooh, it is exciting.

Now then, what about the next set of books and the areas we are looking for authors from or to write about their links to? Well we have these fabulous four.

  • Hometown Tales: Birmingham will feature both a new writer and BAFTA award-winning comedian, writer and author Stewart Lee, who will write about the post-punk scene in Birmingham and how music has shaped his memories of the city.
  • Hometown Tales: Wales will be contributed to by Tyler Keevil, a writer originally from Canada, now living in Wales, who will explore the idea of migration. Keevil won the Journey Prize and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Prize, and is is one of the judges for the Wales Book of the Year 2017, while his new novel, No Good Brother, is due topublish with The Borough Press in February.
  • Hometown Tales: Lancashire will see a new voice juxtaposed by novelist Jenn Ashworth’s story set over a pub crawl one night in Preston. Ashworth, who has previously written about what it’s like growing up in a Northern working-class Mormon community and how it influenced her novel The Friday Gospels (Sceptre) for The Bookseller,last year published Fell (Sceptre)and lectures in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.
  • Hometown Tales: South East will welcome a new writer in the company of award-winning BBC broadcaster and founder of Boom Shakalaka Productions Gemma Cairney, writing about her home town of Margate.

I had a sneaky suspicion Jenn Ashworth might be up for it (because I asked her to her face) and I am so thrilled as she is just a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful writer – and also now a pal, but that doesn’t mean I have rose tinted glasses just to clarify. I also nearly passed out from joy when I heard Gemma Cairney had said yes, seriously, almost passed out. I am looking forward to what they, Stewart and Tyler come up with and just as importantly, if not more so, what some new writers come up with and submit.

So there we have it, if you are someone with a hometown tale to tell, or know someone with a hometown tale to tell then please make sure you head here and get in touch. Oh and if you are thinking ‘but my hometown isn’t on here’ we want this series to grow and grow and so please submit for your area too. Basically, get writing because we want to get reading.

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Some Very Exciting News…

So finally after what has felt like forever, I can spill the beans on something that I have been beavering away on in the background, which has now come to fruition and I can talk about. I am working with the lovely, lovely folks at Orion for a new and very exciting project, called Hometown Tales, which I will be Editorial Consultant on. Below is a little bit more (the official word, rather than my excited ramblings that you can see here) about the project that will be part of Weidenfeld & Nicolson

“Hometown Tales is the first initiative of its kind to focus on geographical diversity, with a guarantee of publication for the chosen authors. The series aims to open up the publishing industry by offering deals to authors from regions that are under-represented in the UK book market, and to authors who wouldn’t necessarily be found through conventional channels. By pairing recognised names with unpublished talent, the series will provide a platform for new writers, helping them to launch the first step of their careers, edited and mentored by editors at W&N. 

Hometown Tales

Working with key industry figure Simon Savidge, W&N is calling for submissions based on the idea of ‘hometown’. Writers who have not published a full-length work are invited to submit a piece of fiction or non-fiction, of approximately 15,000 words, about a place where they were born or where they have lived. It can be a village, a town, a city or a region. For more information on how to submit visit the website here. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2017″

How exciting is that? For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you will know the passion that I have for diverse narrative and the power I believe that books have to place you into the lives of others from a world of different backgrounds, so to get to do this with a project like Hometown Tales with a major publisher behind it is quite incredible. I haven’t been this delighted, bookish project wise, since I joined the judging panel on Fiction Uncovered last year. I cannot wait to start collaborating with all sorts of authors, from household names to people putting pen to paper for the first time. Seriously, I am on cloud nine.

The first titles will appear in paperback and ebook in 2017, with the launch list to be confirmed later this year. W&N will work closely with organisations such as the the Reading Agency, New Writing North and Literature Works and many more; along with libraries, literary festivals and local writing groups to encourage the widest possible outreach and pool of talent. I feel like I am going to be on the bookish version of the X Factor panel as I join forces with the wonderful Katie Espiner (who made me read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, which she bought when she was at Harper Collins, by putting it in my hands with a slight sense of threat and menace if I didn’t read it) along with the lovely Sophie Buchan, Jennifer Kerslake and Ian Wong… Or The Hometown Tales Squad as I affectionately think of them.

If you are worried that this means the end of the blog or the podcast or anything, fret not. I will still be reading books from all over the place, from all the publishers and carrying on as normal. Well maybe at a slightly reduced service, which I know it has been of late but with festivals, moving, pending operations, a holiday looming and this all happening you may be able to understand why it has been quieter of late. Thinking about it though, maybe I can blog about this adventure along the way. Would you find that interesting?

So that is my exciting news finally out of the bag. For more information on how to submit visit the website here with lots of lovely quotes and more information. What do you think about the initiative? Any authors, or people you know who can tell a bloody good yarn, that you think we should be looking in the direction of?

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