On Friday night, Five Leaves Publications had a great launch party in the ballroom of Nottingham’s Council House. They’ve published two new books to celebrate their tenth anniversary. One is ‘Poetry:The Nottingham Collection’, edited by my friend John Lucas. It features two poems apiece by 53 mostly living poets with Notts connections, and is a mere 7.99. The other is the imaginatively titled ‘Sunday Night And Monday Morning’ edited by my friend and neighbour, James Urquhart, who is a literary reviewer. It contains fifteen, mostly brand new, short stories by Nottingham writers like Jon McGregor, Clare Littleford, John Harvey, Nicola Monaghan, Eve Makis, Stephan Collishaw and Clare Brown, all of whom were at the party, and three of whom are graduates of the Creative Writing MA I run at Nottingham Trent University, which is nice. Oh, and I’m in it too, with a story called ‘Reversal’, a kind of science fiction piece, about what would happen if people were able to age in reverse.
The book’s title was chosen to emphasise that it represents a new generation of Nottingham writers (half of them under forty) after Stanley Middleton and Alan Sillitoe. Not that those two have stopped writing: Stanley was at the launch and has his forty-third novel out next year, and I saw Alan the following morning, looking dapper as ever. As at all good literary launches, one or two people drunkenly disgraced themselves, and there was mighty confusion over where to carry on drinking afterwards, but most us found each other and managed to make a little use of the freedom provided by the new licensing laws.
For some reason, Amazon doesn’t show ‘Sunday Night And Monday Morning’ being published until January 1st 2006. You might find it hard to find either book in the mightly monopoly that is Waterstones/HMV, since it comes from a small press. So why not support Five Leaves by buying direct from the publisher. It’s a snip at 9.99, has a cool cover, and makes an ideal Christmas present to suit every literary taste. (The other writers in the book are Robert Harris, Kat Pomfret, Stephen Booth, Elizabeth Chadwick, Tom Cox, Matt Haig and Julie Myerson.)
The December issue of online literary journal Pulp.net is edited by Nicola Monaghan and is titled ‘Saturday Night And Sunday Morning’. It features a review of Alan’s novel (and my latest). There are three fine stories (one by a current NTU MA student, one by a former one) and you can also read my literary top ten Pulp.net’s one of two UK literary sites that I check regularly (the other’s Stride). It’s completely updated every month. Bookmarks at the ready…