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July 14th: These Mothers of Gods by Rache Bower (poetry collection) and Hassan's Zoo by Ruth Brandt (short story from 2021 shorts season) OR Andy and the Octopuses (short story, complementary to shorts season, author revealed on publication day)

August 18th: Sin Is Due To Open In A Room Above Kitty's by Morag Anderson (poetry chapbook) and Fauna by Dr. David Hartley (short story collection)

 

Blurbs:

These Mothers of Gods by Rachel Bower will be released on July 16th 2021.

This poetry collection seeks to recover the lived experiences of women who have often appeared only fleetingly in official histories, and also pushes towards a more expansive understanding of ‘motherhood’, inclusive of broader urgent issues about gender and our collective responsibilities for lives, environments and natural worlds.

 

“I am grateful to Bower for finding these women - historical, biblical, autobiographical – and offering me such inventive, arresting poems, brim-full with blistering truths.”

- Rebecca Goss, Poet

 

" These image-rich verses are poems of intense curiosity and beauty."

- Jason Allen-Paisant

 

About the Author

 

Rachel Bower is the author of Moon Milk (Valley Press) and Epistolarity and World Literature (Palgrave Macmillan). Her work has been commissioned by a range of organisations including BBC Radio (National Poetry Day), Collections in Verse (Poet in the City/ The British Library), Barnsley Museums and Apples and Snakes North.

 

Wet Nurse

Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, Wet Nurse to Muhammed

 

He was never mine to lose, unless you count

the milk fat thighs, creased at the knees,

the eyes, drenched clean with manna sap

from my own breast, teeth, sharp as kittens

 

his cry of ‘um halmah in the night, halmah

until dawn, and all was right as rain except

this was the desert and his real Ummi’s breasts

were rock as she handed him over, my gift

 

to wipe streaks of yellow curd on boulders,

tuck hamaat figs in his cheeks, drape blue glass

beads at his neck, surrounded by prints in the sand

from a thousand foxes, tented ears alert

 

to the loss of this milkchild, the eager arms

of the mother, the pain of handing him back. 

 

Hassan's Zoo and A Village in Winter by Ruth Brandt. Publication date: 6th August 2021

Part of the 2021 shorts season, a politically-engaged series of limited edition titles.

 

Hassan’s Zoo

When American soldiers invade Iraq searching for weapons of mass destruction, Kesari the Bengal tiger and other wildlife are at the mercy of guns and keeper, Hassan. Entrenched in perpetual fear, Hassan must exercise Godly powers over his creatures in his attempts to save them - and himself.

 

A Village in Winter

“Mrs Gregory said to leave Frizz and his mum be for a while. Stop pestering. That poor woman with that lad.”In the chill of winter, the villagers play by the river, their play as harsh as the ice.

 

Extract:

 

A scuffle diverted him, low voices muttering over by
the penguin enclosure. Hassan’s heart sang out. Other zoo
keepers were there. His colleagues had turned up to tend to
the animals too. He ran, flitting between hiding places, his
recently acquired ability to move discreetly in self-preservation
already ingrained in him. He passed the lion enclosure,
noting the cubs lying on their sides panting while their mother
pawed the ground as if searching for roots to feed them. On
past Kesari’s cage where he paused while the elegant giant cat
raised her head from the earth floor to growl. On he ran.
Two men, one with a canvas bag, stood by the miraculously
intact wall next to the pit that had once been filled
with water. Hassan steadied himself. These weren’t men he
knew. He faded into the darkness behind a tree.
“… better than that dog,” he overheard.

 

Alternative:

Andy and the Octopuses (short story)

A complementary short story alongside our 2021 Shorts season - but who is it by?!

All will be revealed on launch day: July 20th 

 

Blurb:

In a world of Elevated Intelligence, where Octopuses are bred as computer-coding slaves, there are three types of people: the ignorant, the complacent and the activists. 

Couch-bum Andy has received a promotion and a wriggling mass of tentacles as his new team. Suddenly, Andy is a bread-winner for six hungry mouths whose intelligence intimidates his own. He’d rather run from this new-found responsibility, than look into their watery pupils directly...

 

"This is an inspired piece of writing! A wonderfully original concept communicated with crisp descriptions and realistic dialogue. The author shows a commendable eye for detail that, despite the surreal narrative, makes for moments of relatability, too." - Dr. Charley Barnes

 

 

Sin Is Due To Open In A Room Above Kitty's by Morag Anderson. Released August 20th. 

 

Scottish poet Morag Anderson explores relationships and the damage people can do to each other in her debut chapbook: concealed violence, love and everything in between.

 

About the Author

Morag Anderson is an emerging Scottish poet based in Highland Perthshire. The relationship between land, sea, and people influences her writing.  She was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2019, won Over the Edge New Poet and the Clochoderick Poetry Prize. 

 

"Stark, raw & devastatingly honest, these confessional poems will thunder like a night train through the darkest tunnel of your heart." - Ali Whitelock, Author of ‘the lactic acid in the calves of your despair.'

 

Sample Extract from Paterfamilias

 

...when cataracts cloud the clarified sky
and your intended ascension
seems less assured,

 

may your daughters labour with language,
give birth to books that punctuate
the end of your line.

 

Fauna by Dr. David Hartley: Released September 10th 2021

 

Fauna follows the lead of the bacon-skinned Pig with a menagerie of twisted tales about the lives and times of our fellow-feeling creatures. There are guinea pigs in the underworld, elephants in a virtual world, vengeful birds from a far-off world, and so much more beastliness. There will be nowhere for the humans to hide.


“Brilliant imagination and sharp storytelling aside,  Dr. David Hartley shows us a delightfully fresh way of looking at who should, really, be our closest friends.”

-   Nik Perring (Author of Not So Perfect, Freaks!)

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