Last night I finished reading Irish writer, Noel Duffy’s two novellas, The Return Journey & Our Friends Electric published by Ward Wood Publishing http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk/
who, I’m proud to say, are also going to publish my novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, later this year.
Reading and enjoying, Noel’s book, brings me to an important and slightly nervous moment in my own writing career, as it brings me to the end of reading Ward Wood’s impressive fiction list. Doubly impressive considering the company has only been running since 2010. Nervous for me, because I believe that I’m next in line and it’s a hard act to follow. I’m still emerging from Noel’s two novellas, a lovely form, this the short novel or long short story especially when two of them are co-joined like these in one neat little volume. The novellas are stylistically contrasted but both reflect Noel’s poet’s sensibility and concision of language. They wear their erudition lightly too whether it is philosophy or 1980’s rock music. Also, dare I say this, they express his charming sense of hard-won optimism too. I’m still waiting to give his Hermann and his Tom a well-earned high-five.
So I’ve got to the end of the current list of seven paperback and two Kindle-only novels by this interesting group of writers who are rapidly in danger of becoming friends. I’ve now met five of them, Joe Stein, an ex-boxer, who is WW’s intriguingly existentialist crime writer, Noel Duffy, who is also an award-winning poet, Sue Guiney who writes movingly about her life in Cambodia, and Shauna Gilligan, the stylishly adventurous Irish writer and, of course, Adele Ward herself – she is the Ward in Ward Wood. I’ve also got to know and laugh with the other two, the Finland-based Mike Horwood and the fellow-Sussex writer and a funny stand-up comedian, V G Lee on Facebook. I’m truly proud to be joining their number especially as we seem to know how to have fun together too.
I’ve now moved on to Ward Wood’s poetry books starting with Noel Duffy’s In the Library of Lost Objects, excepts from which I heard him read in a recent London event and Peter Phillips’ No School Tie. Peter is one of the regular poets at the Camden-Lumen Poetry events http://camdenlumen.wordpress.com/ that I try to take part in on the first Friday of every month. I’m going tomorrow when Ward Wood is hosting the event with readings by Sue Guiney (my companion on an entertaining London underground journey) and Camden Lumen prize winner, Caroline Squire but the event is also launching Peter Phillips’ newly published collection, Oscar and I. I’ve heard some of the poems from this book already and enjoyed Peter’s wonderfully dry sense of humour which, I’m pleased to say, is very evident when you meet him too.
So I’m still on my way through all the Ward Wood publications adding Peter’s and Noel’s collections to previously read books by Bob Cooper, another Camden-Lumen prize winner and an ever vigilant eye on Birmingham inner city life, and Ward Wood’s own Adele Ward. Adele’s Never-Never Land was my introduction to her work and to her herself. It’s a moving autobiographical collection – a memorable way of getting to know the energetic and highly perceptive soon-to-be publisher of my own work.
Meanwhile, I’m getting into gear for the imminent publication (in October) of my novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
You can already pre-order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:
…or from Book Depository:
…or from Amazon: