Snail racing, perilous sleeping and close shaves to be found in Foster’s Welsh Oddities

9780719817540by Allen Foster

Did you know about the woman who accidentally swallowed a toothbrush? The dream that saved the life of a traveller in peril? The dog that accidentally shot its master? The girl who sleepwalked barefooted for four miles? The sailor who was washed overboard by a wave during a storm and washed back on board by another large wave? The woman who grew a four inch horn on her forehead? Neither did I until I started looking for remarkable Welsh oddities!

I have always had a fascination for odd facts since I became enamoured of the wonderful Ripley’s Believe It or Not television series starring Jack Palance many years ago. Since I loved to read of curious oddities I began to research and collect them. In the past few years I have written several books on the oddities and curious stories of Ireland, England, Scotland and Australia and it was only natural that I turn my gaze towards Wales – not least because my agent is a proud Welshman who encouraged me to do so! Unfortunately I never made it to Wales on a research trip. Instead I had to make do researching through old newspapers, magazines and books. This can be tiresome at times and involves a great deal of research before suitable gems are mined. It is always worth it when I find some extraordinary story and I never cease to be amazed by what I discover. Wales can certainly compete with any other country for bizarre oddities.

I am particularly fond of stories of close shaves and was lucky enough to find several Welsh tales.

Anne Williams was crossing a wooden bridge that spanned the River Usk at Caerleon on the night of 29 October 1772 when a large surge destroyed the bridge and bore away a large piece of the bridge with her on it. The poor woman clung to the railing and screamed for help. The bridge section was later smashed to pieces against another bridge downstream, but Anne managed to straddle a beam and stay safe. When the beam was swept down the river Anne resigned herself to being swept out to sea. When she saw a flickering light in a barge she shouted for help, and the occupants heard her and chased after the poor woman in a row boat. By the time they reached and rescued Anne they were almost at the mouth of the river.

A man literally escaped by a hair’s-breadth on 13 May 1869 after a train passed over him while he lay asleep on the track. The incident happened on the track between Bala and Dolgellau. About a mile and a half from Dolgellau the train was speeding down an incline when the train driver suddenly caught sight of a man, apparently fast asleep, lying with his head on the iron rails. The driver frantically blew the whistle to warn the man and tried to slow down the train to give him time to roll away. None of the driver’s efforts made any difference. The sleeping man did not stir and it looked certain that a shocking fatality would occur. By a stroke of luck, the man turned his head slightly just as the engine wheels reached him, and the train passed over him, only severing some hair from his head. Awakened by the noise of the passing train, the man saw the terrible fate he had just escaped and fled down the track.

The bravery of individuals such as the Anglesey fishermen who tied a rope around a whale stranded near the Menai Bridge on 9 December 1883 and fastened it to a boat can only be marvelled at. They were trying to kill the creature when the tide returned and the whale took off at speed, towing the boat and the four men, who were terrified at the unexpected turn of events. The boat nearly capsized several times before the whale beached itself again. This time the whale was dragged out of the water’s reach and it died soon afterwards.

In more recent times, the bravery of Stuart Crane from Carmarthen who was impaled by a large wooden post when his car crashed in November 2000 is astonishing. The accident happened at night and Stuart calmly phoned the emergency services and guided them to his location when they could not find him in the dark. Stuart suffered enormous injuries, but four months later was allowed home.

I also love quirky characters such as Dr Richard Griffiths (1758-1826). He was a wealthy eccentric from Llanwonno, a hamlet north of Pontypridd, Glamorganshire, who once won five hundred guineas on a snail race, by an underhanded trick. He fooled his opponent, pretending to prick his snail to make it go faster. The other man followed suit and actually pricked his snail, making it curl up and come to a standstill. Griffiths had a mischievous sense of humour. He left eccentric instructions for his funeral, directing that he was to be carried by six specifically named people, who were all lame.

I have been writing books of oddities for some years now and including this Welsh volume, have had six published so far. I don’t know when I will stop, for there is always more interesting stories to be found and I have a lot of research material to delve into. I know such obscure information or where to find it I can research a book by categories of oddities. For example, there is scarcely a country that a parachutist has not survived an incredible fall from thousands of feet if their parachute has not opened up! I would love to write more oddities books, for I never get tired of finding new gems of oddities that fascinate me.

Foster’s Welsh Oddities will be published by Robert Hale on 30 September.

 

 

New non-fiction: Model Planes by Martyn Pressnell

Model Planes: Aerofoils and Wings

9780719815409Model flying is a challenging and exciting hobby as well as a recognized international sport. The broad principles of flight as applied in full-size aviation are just as important to flying models, but these principles are not always recognized or understood fully by aeromodellers.

Written specifically with aeromodellers in mind, Model Planes: Aerofoils and Wings is a practical guide to the aerodynamic principles of the ‘aerofoil’ and the way that wings produce lift, which is vital to establishing flight. Included are over forty ready-to-use aerofoil sections in a range of typical sizes, together with a detailed method of plotting these sections on a home computer, using Excel or a similar software. A comprehensive glossary provides clear explanations of the modelling terminology used, and diagrams illustrate key principles and themes.

Written by a distinguished aerospace engineer with a passion for modelling, this comprehensive volume is perfect for the enthusiastic aeromodeller, whether starting out or looking to hone their craft.

Martyn Pressnell

Martyn Pressnell has been an aircraft enthusiast since childhood, becoming an experienced model designer by the age of eighteen.On graduation, he joined Handley Page to train as a professional airframe structures engineer. He went on to work at what is now the University of Hertfordshire, becoming Group Head, Aerospace Engineering, in 1992. For a time he was a CAA-designated Chief Stress Engineer in the airship business. Now retired, Martyn is as busy as ever pursuing model aircraft technology and acting as a consultant in airframe structures to the Engineering Sciences Data Unit, providing information to the aerospace industry worldwide.

Buy your copy of Model Planes here 

New fiction (Buried River Press): Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison

Murder on the Minneapolis 

9781910208267

Flora Maguire, a young governess, is on her way home on the SS Minneapolis after the wedding of her employer’s daughter. She meets the charming Bunny Harrington on deck on the first night, after having avoided the dining room, conscious of her status among the first-class passengers.

Flora finds the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway, but when his death is pronounced an accident, she is not convinced, and, having experienced her own tragedy as a child in the form of her mother’s disappearance, is driven to find out the truth.

Flora starts asking questions, but following threats, a near drowning during a storm and a second murder, the hunt is on in earnest for a killer.

Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast. Will Flora be able to protect Edward, her charge, as well as herself, and uncover the identity of the murderer? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

Anita Davison

Anita Davison is a regular blogger for various historical blogs including Unusual Historicals and English Historical Fiction Authors, and also reviews books for the Historical Novel Review. Details of her other published novels are available on her blog: thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.com

Buy your copy of Murder on the Minneapolis here

Journalism: The Essentials of Writing and Reporting by James Morrison

James Morrison

9780719809859When Robert Hale asked me to pen a book about journalistic writing, my immediate question was how could I make it stand out from all the other ‘how-to’ guides to journalism and plain English already cluttering college bookshelves, library catalogues and recommended reading lists? In the event, we quickly agreed that our contribution to the canon should have two unique selling points. Firstly, it should cover all forms of written journalism, from news writing to essays, rather than focusing exclusively on the business of reporting or crafting features (as most do). Secondly – and perhaps more ambitiously – it should be as much a critical appreciation of good journalistic prose as a step-by-step guide to the nitty-gritty of how to produce it. To this end, it would need to include not only made-up examples to illustrate the ‘dos and don’ts’ of written journalism, but extracts from classic (and not-so-classic) journalistic texts. I will spare readers a rant about the agonizingly labour-intensive business of clearing copyright permissions (suffice it to say, I am much greyer than when I started out). For what it’s worth, though, I think the book benefits greatly from the inclusion of excerpts from Orwell, Gellhorn, Wolfe and the like – and lesser-known contemporary writers whose work also sparkles – primarily because showing is always better than telling when it comes to explaining how to do something, but also because few ‘how-to’ guides have ever taken this approach.

So what of the book’s structure? As Journalism is the latest volume in an already established series – the Hale Expert Guides – it was felt that it would be wise to adopt a similar overall format to its fellow titles. For this reason, it is divided into two parts, respectively labelled ‘guide’ and ‘aid’: the first section introducing the various forms journalism takes, and the second focusing on specific technical aspects of writing, from how and when (if ever) to use first-person narratives to the importance of active sentences. Peppering the text throughout are examples of good (and, occasionally, bad) practice by named journalists, which have been chosen to illustrate key points about the writing process. As for the sequencing of chapters, I took the view that it was best to start with ‘the basics’: moving from the simplest, least fussy, most formulaic form of journalistic writing (news stories) towards longer-form, more colourful articles (features, reportage) and, in turn, less objective, more opinionated ones like essays, reviews and comment. And, of course, no book about journalism in the digital era would be complete without a chapter devoted to the multifarious pithy and more immediate forms in which it is composed for today’s web and mobile platforms.

But for which audience, or audiences, is Journalism intended? The simple answer is anyone and everyone with an interest in writing – a realization brought home to me ever more clearly as I progressed through the book. For all its limitations as a form of literary expression – a subject I address explicitly at the outset – there is so much variety to journalism, so much invention, so much, in essence, to love about it that I hope this book can be read as a celebration of its subject, rather than a dry, mechanical re-run of any number of previous tutorials on how to string an article together with passable competence. What I would like readers to take away from it is (if you’ll pardon the conceit) a feeling of itchy fingers – the sense of wanting to sit down at the nearest keyboard and have a go at it themselves. Although I expect the book’s primary readership to be trainees and early-career journalists working for newspapers, magazines and websites, I’d also like it to appeal to a wider constituency – the great mass of people out there who, from time to time or more regularly, feel the urge to put their thoughts and observations down on paper, to blog, or to interact with others via social media.

We live in an age when more of us than ever before are effectively journalists already, not only keeping diaries or journals, compiling information on our pet likes and dislikes or exchanging banter, gossip and speculation with our peers, but publishing all this material for the whole world to see – even if we don’t always consciously think of it as journalism. Much of this ‘citizen journalism’ has evolved out of the online firmament, and, as such, is busy establishing its own conventions customised to the needs and demands of today’s mobile, 24/7, forever-on-the-go audiences. At the same time, it is challenging the ways many traditional forms of journalism I explore in this book are done, as news stories and features written by professional practitioners are reshaped and reconceived as three-dimensional, multimedia packages replete with hyperlinks, video footage and discussion-threads.

Yet, for all this flux and change, the mainstays of prose journalism remain remarkably resilient. Indeed, the Internet itself – once seen as the enemy of long-form writing – has lately spurred its renaissance, with sites like http://longform.org/ and http://longreads.com/ curating the best new and ‘classic’ features, reportage and other non-fiction articles from across the web, and http://www.theawl.com/ commissioning lengthy pieces from scratch. Moreover, most people who go into journalism as a career, rather than flirting with it as a hobby, still need to master its tried-and-tested forms if they are to make more than a partial living from it – whether in print, online, or on radio or television. Here in Britain, the best way into the industry is still to enrol on a university, further education or private-sector course accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). The fact that the NCTJ diploma remains one of the few sure-fire passports into gainful employment – or, indeed, sustained paid freelance work – rests on the industry’s continuing confidence that it ‘does what is said on the tin’. Sure, this means equipping trainees with the ever-growing suite of digital skills they need to succeed – but, above all, it rests on nurturing their ability (and eagerness) to write.

Journalism: The Essentials of Writing and Reporting is available to buy now.

What We’re Reading in… June

Books can make you feel familiar in places you’ve never stepped foot in, or pull you right back home, regardless of geographical location.

Inspired by the great site Trip Fiction, dedicated solely to promoting books that “let you see a location through an author’s eyes”, we think of books that have taken us around the world…..

alchemistCatherine, Design and Production Manager:
I’m currently, finally, reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperCollins)- a slim volume from the pile of books yet to be read on my bedside table – only a few years after everybody else, then! So far I have travelled with Santiago, the book’s main character, from the Andalusian Hills in Spain where he tended his sheep to Tangiers as he heads towards the Egyptian pyramids. It’s an uplifting tale about hope and following your dreams while learning from the setbacks on the journey.

I must also recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini (Bloomsbury)a-thousand-splendid-suns – set in war-torn Afghanistan, it is beautifully crafted. Although harrowing and brutal at times, the writing is utterly compelling as the relationship between Mariam (sent to Kabul aged 15 to marry the surly and callous Rasheed) and Laila (a girl who is forced to become a second wife to Rasheed nearly 20 years later) develops. Hosseini’s descriptions of life in Kabul through its tumultuous history are vivid and heart-breaking, and yet the story is inspirational. These women endured so much but still show great courage and self-sacrifice in the face of the most awful circumstances. While it is fiction, there is no doubt that Afghani women have suffered greatly in reality. This book is nothing less than a masterful piece of literature.

netherlandSarah, Marketing and Publicity Manager:
I recently read Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (Harper Perennial), the story of a banker who becomes friends with an unsavoury New Yorker after he is left living alone in New York City when his wife returns to their home in the UK. I’m a little obsessed with NYC and try to read a book set there whenever I get a craving for it. O’Neill conveys the sense of being in the city incredibly well, incorporating the good and bad aspects of it. This is my favourite line: “Sometimes to walk in shaded parts of Manhattan is to be inserted into a Magritte:  the street is night while the sky is day.”


Sam, Design and Production Assistant:
I read Burmese Days by George Orwell (Penguin Modern Classics) on a nine hour bus trip from Zagreb to Berlin. I have a tendency to read books about personal suffering in foreign places while travelling long distances. Also on my list that trip was Richard Flanagan’s soul-pulverising but brilliant Booker Prize winner The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Vintage) and W Somerset Maugham’s The Gentleman in the Parlour (Vintage), although the latter’s author doesn’t suffer much more than being rigid and inescapably British in South-east Asia.
narrpw road                  gentleman in da parlour

Burmese Days’ protagonist is a fairly commonplace wood merchant with a distinctiveburmese days facial disfigurement, whittling out a living for himself in British imperial Burma. Despite having the best of intentions, he is universally derided and disdained by his fellow expats, a shallow and charmless flock of breakfast drinkers.

He is less dismissive of the local culture than his countrymen and befriends an Indian doctor whom corrupt local officials seek to defame and banish from his profession. The doctor hopes to safeguard his reputation by gaining membership into the British club, which the merchant struggles to get past the deeply bigoted committee. The merchant is introduced one night at the club to a charming but manipulative Englishwoman, who he projects his views of acceptance and egalitarianism onto despite her own bigotry and aristocratic pretentions.

The book is more than a thinly-veiled critique of the entrenched racism of British imperialism that Orwell would have witnessed as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. It plays on themes of lust and delusion, loneliness and impotence, and the consuming and in this case degrading struggle for decency in an immoral culture.

helen dunmoreEsther, Editorial Controller:
Love of Fat Men by Helen Dunmore (Penguin) is largely set in Scandinavia, though a few are set in places such as Austria and New York. The whole book has a distinctly un-English feel to it, in that the world Dunmore creates features icy, endless winters, glorious summer nights and European styles and traditions. She writes about human pain, sexuality, isolation and love between a parent and child, but you can never be entirely sure where exactly in Scandinavia these stories are taking place, which is part of the beauty of it all. I found the most memorable stories to be ‘Love of Fat Men’, ‘The Ice Bear’, ‘Short Days and Long Nights’, ‘North Sea Crossing’, ‘Spring Wedding’ and ‘Smell of Horses’ because they have a languorous, sensuous effect, and offer vivid imagery of snow-capped mountains, appetising European breakfasts, afternoon siestas and hot days near water’s edge – things we don’t have much of in the UK. When characters travel, we – the audience – travel with them and bask in their un-English ways that feel so alien to us, we long to be in those countries, even if it’s too hot or too cold!

And finally, some inspiration for your next trip….

9780719808784 (2)         9781910208120        9781910208014

 

 

 

 

New non-fiction: The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure bu Michael O’Byrne

The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure, 2nd edition

9780719816628This new, fully updated edition of The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure is the essential detective in your pocket – something to reach for when your writing needs that short, sharp shock of modern-day investigating. Every writer has paused at some key point in the development of their story to wonder what happens in real life. How would the murder in my story be investigated by the police? How far can I go without leaving holes in the plot? Can I use low count DNA to identify the killer? How does a cop react to a bloated body or, even worse, just part of one?

Written with answers to these questions in mind, this is the essential guide to police procedures and practice written specifically for writers.  A handy reference book to dip into, or a textbook to guide you from the outset while you are still developing your plot, this second edition of The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure will leave you confident that you have covered all angles of your thriller.

Michael O’Byrne

Michael O’Byrne began his police career as a constable with the Royal Hong Kong Police. He then moved to the Metropolitan Police, serving in London’s West End, Notting Hill and New Scotland Yard. After moving to Surrey, then to Thames Valley, he retired as a chief constable in Bedfordshire.

Buy your copy of The Crime Writer’s Guide to Police Practice and Procedure here

 

Our South London Indie Bookshop Crawl

Last Thursday afternoon, we left our desks in Clerkenwell and boarded a train from Farringdon station. Laden with cookies, book proofs and some other goodies, we headed out on our South London Indie Bookshop Crawl.images

On the agenda were Dulwich Books, Herne Hill Books and Review in Peckham.

dulwichWe chatted to some lovely booksellers, mainly about our new fiction paperback imprint Buried River Press, but also about what they look for when selecting titles for the store.
review
It was great to be out ‘in the field’ and to connect with booksellers, and we took away some useful insights. We asked what the most important criteria was for them as booksellers. The answer was quality, and recommendation by word of mouth! Social media was mentioned as a key tool too.

 

herne hill frontAbove all it reinforced the fact that independent bookshops are owned by people passionate about what they do, and committed to putting the best (and often relatively unknown) books out there for their eager audiences.

Hope you enjoyed the cookies!

What We’re Reading in… March

psycho film psycho

Back in 1959, Robert Hale published Bloch’s psychological thriller Psycho, which was quickly snapped up by Alfred Hitchcock and made into a film the following year.


What are our favourite book-to-film stories at Robert Hale? 

 

Sarah, Marketing and Publicity Manager:
My favourite is Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Trumabreakfast at tiffanys filmn Capote (Penguin Classics). The first half of the film follows the book very closely, albeit set in a different decade, and much of the early dialogue is almost word-for-word, but of course the film was given an ending much better suited to Hollywood audiences than that in the book.
TRUMAN_CAPOTE_Breakfast_at_Tiffanys_2009
The film certainly deserves its spot among the classics, but it’s a shame that the book is often overlooked. Truman Capote’s writing is so captivating, and the story is the ideal anti-fairytale for twentieth-century American life. And who doesn’t identify just a little with Holly Golightly’s desire for self-reinvention?

 

 

 

Esther, Editorial Controller:
They always say the book is better than the film, and in this case it is true. Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (Serpent’s Tail) somehow seems far more shocking in print; Eva’s narrative in the form of letters to her estrangkevin filmed husband, post Kevin’s organised mass-shooting at his school, shows how she’s suffering as a consequence of his actions. The fact that she jumps back in time through her letters, chronicling Kevin’s sixteen year existence, suggests she’s been suffering the entire time. Straight from the letters, there are unknown truths, long-hidden secrets and twists.kevin book

The film itself, compared to the book, seemed quite tame. With books, we imagine how the action plays out but when it comes to the film, it’s often very different. While the adaptation stays relatively faithful to the book, the pace was slow, it had an eerie quietness to it and the most brutal scenes felt a bit anti-climactic. Lynne Ramsay (director) probably was right to censor most of it; after all, it is horrendous to talk about.

 

 

Gill, Managing Director:
I suppose like all avid readers, film adaptations of much loved books are often a disappointment. The adaptations of Jane Austen’s books are for the most part no exception, but one film in particular is very well done. 

Persuasion (Vintage Classics) waspersuasion-1995 produced for television in the first instance by the BBC and then put on general release. Although it differs from the book in subtle respects, the performance of Amanda Root as Anne Elliot has never been bettered, and she inhabits the character completely. I fell out with the casting of Ciaran Hinds as Wentworth but then, every Janeite has their own vision of what their heroes should look like, but he has, over time, also persuaded me of his claim to the role.

The book is my favourite Austen and read every year or so in the original edition my aunt gave me as a girl. Pride and Prejudice had me hooked from the age of nine (again as persuasiona result of a gift from my prescient aunt) but Persuasion is the ‘adult’ Austen to which I turn when in need of comfort in both book and on film.

Hale’s series on Jane Austen continues her wonderful legacy. Adding to great contributions by Maggie Lane and Hazel Jones on ageing and travel in Austen’s books, Hale are publishing a new book by Stephen Mahoney in the autumn on wealth and poverty.

 


Isobel, Marketing and Publicity Assistant:
Ifight club book think Fight Club (Vintage) is a good example Fight-ClubMovie-Still2CRof a
book-to-film success story. Both book and film hold their own, but also complement one another. While it’s a lot to do with great script and actors, I think the subject matter – of crazy insomniacs and manic addictions – helps out too.
 The story is a fragmented, schizophrenic narrative which moves all over the place and works really well in book or film setting.

half yellow sunOn the other hand, one of my favourite books, Half of a Yellow Sun by  (4th Estate), was recently adapted until a film. Even though the two leads – Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton – are very good actors and the author has endorsed the project, I’ve resisted going to see it just in case it disappoints. I think there are some books for each person where its better to preserve the characters as you imagined them when reading the story.


Wendy Perriam: ‘My new short story collection, Bad Mothers Brilliant Lovers, is published today!’

Wendy tells us about her latest collection.

9780709093862‘The title may seem a tad blatant but, in my 35 years as a writer, I’ve been continually fascinated by the key influence parents exert over their children’s future development and life-chances, and also by the power of sex to enrich and exhilarate. Yet I’m equally aware of the darker side of sex, which, if violent or exploitative, can damage and debase. Taught by the Reverend Mother of my convent boarding-school that one single act of incontinence could land me in hellfire for all eternity, I was conscious from a tender age of the dramatic dangers of “the world, the flesh and the devil”.

Bad mothers certainly feature in this collection – negative, critical, or cantankerous – but I wanted to balance them with some positive, upbeat element – hence the lovers, who, although by no means all ‘brilliant’, engage in enough passionate and transformative sex to justify the adjective. However, there are also more troubling liaisons, for instance, an 82-year-old professor’s attempt to seduce a post-graduate student 60 years his junior. The encounter begins promisingly enough, as the Prof runs through his repertoire of erotic expertise but, when it comes to the crunch, he proves just too offputtingly ancient and the girl flees his bed in panic and disgust.

Another, much younger lover – a data analyst obsessed with numbers, algorithms and mathematical formulae – seems incapable of sexual spontaneity, adhering to a rigid sexual system, as if his every timetabled move is dictated by a dispassionate cyber-brain.

But many of my characters lack any kind of lover: essentially lonely souls, such as 93-year-old widow Primrose, divorcee Sarah, or single, childless Ellen. Yet, each of the three achieves redemption and reprieve – another recurring theme in my work. The basic notion of redemption was instilled in me, very early on, as a Roman Catholic child and I found it appealingly compassionate in that every person on earth can be saved, so long as they seek forgiveness. Of course, redemption for my fictional characters is rarely a religious matter; indeed, is sometimes achieved through bizarrely secular means – in businesswoman Helen’s case, a self-indulgent glut of marshmallows, or, for shy loner Ken, a home-made Christmas pudding – but the basic concept holds good, in that it remains a regenerative and liberating force.

As always, many of the stories sprang from personal experience: the fake gold ring I was offered in a scam; my encounter with a colony of mice at Clapham Common tube station; the bridal couple I saw posing for photos in the Lost Property Office, of all places; my horror as a pious child when I fainted during Holy Mass and believed I was plunging into Hell.

And that terrifying incident brings me back to mothers and lovers. Reverend Mother, who deplored my habitual fainting and refused to call me Wendy on the grounds it wasn’t a Saint’s name, was undoubtedly a ‘bad mother’. Yet I sought solace in God the Father, whom I regarded as a lover, in the sense of a powerful, life-enhancing Presence, demanding worship and surrender.

Oppressive mothers and unobtainable fathers have characterized much of my work since my first novel in 1980, along with Catholicism, of course, which has left indelible traces in the fibre of my being, like letters lingering in a stick of rock until the very last lick. And, in many of my books, I explore the struggle between rebellion and submission, and the drive for self-fulfilment in conflict with the pernicious lure of self-destruction. All these themes recur in Bad Mothers Brilliant Lovers, yet, in the interests of fairness, I’ve also included a few good mothers in the stories, as well as some downright crappy lovers. Take your pick!’

Order your copy of Bad Mothers Brilliant Lovers here

Submission information and holding page for website

Our brand new website is currently under construction but to reach us for any manuscript submissions to Robert Hale or Buried River Press please note the following:

We do consider unsolicited manuscripts for publication. Please send Robert Hale submissions to:

 

Editorial Department

Robert Hale Limited

Clerkenwell House

45/47 Clerkenwell Green

London EC1R 0HT

Or to submissions@halebooks.com

 

If your material is unsolicited, we would ask for three sample chapters and a synopsis in the first instance.

If you wish your typescript/sample material to be returned to you, please enclose a self-addressed envelope with the appropriate return postage. This can be in stamp, cheque or postal order format. Robert Hale Limited reserves the right to dispose of typescripts within three months if appropriate postage is not forthcoming.