Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Caroline Rance at Grit Lit Brighton

Previously featured in Exclusively Independent, was Caroline Rance's fantastic novel Kill Grief (Picnic Publishing). Here in Caroline's own words you can read all about the event, the experience as a whole and how successful she was.

I read from my historical novel, Kill-Grief, at Grit Lit in Brighton on 13 May. It was great fun but little did I expect that we'd win the Latest 7 Award for Best Literature Event of the festival – seeing off some brilliant competition including Hanover Poetry Society and Martin Amis.

I don’t get that nervous about events these days (jaded old author!) so when I arrived in Brighton at lunchtime, I could look forward to a whole afternoon of pretending to be on holiday. I had an omelette and chips at Buddies then sat on the beach working on revision notes for my next book, For the Love of Freaks. A stroll up and down the pier, and then I went back to my freezing B&B room to have a quick practice of my reading and make myself look as presentable as can be expected.

The other writers on the bill were Jake Kennedy, Tim Lay, Dave Swann, Amy Riley, Neil Ansell and Ross Sutherland, so it was an ecletic mixture of flash fiction, short stories, novel extracts, memoir and poetry. I was lucky enough to be second to read, which meant I’d be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Disconcertingly, I got on stage to discover there was a huge mirror opposite, but I ignored it and concentrated on the text and the audience.

Although the theme of the evening was unromantic realism, the packed Red Roaster Coffee House had a warm and happy ambiance. I read Kill-Grief‘s most gruesome scene and while it’s rather disturbing, I was delighted to get a good response to the dark humour offered by my surgeon-apprentice character. Humour, in fact, was in abundance throughout the evening – despite the premise, this was far from being a bleak, depressing event.

A couple of weeks later, we found out that we were up for the award, and were just thrilled to be nominated, never expecting to win. It's so exciting that Grit Lit won the award in only its second year as part of the Festival Fringe, and a credit to the organisers, Tim Lay and Amy Riley, that we were able to compete with high-profile events.

There’s a great review of the evening by Mathilde Madden at Fringe Guru, and Grit Lit has a Facebook page. On there are a couple of videos of me reading – I haven’t dared watch them though!


Latest 7 Awards

Fringe Guru review

Grit Lit Facebook page

Friday, 18 June 2010

Guest Blog from Arthur Butler

Featured in the next cycle of Exclusively Independent is People, Politics and Pressure Groups by Arthur Butler (Picnic Books). Below is a great blog by Arthur, giving a fantastic insight into the author behind the memoir...

Following a career as a political correspondent for four national newspapers, Arthur Butler quit Fleet Street and became a lobbyist, quickly winning national recognition by directing three successful campaigns against the Heath Government's local government reform bill, for Cardiff, Essex and Middlesbrough.

Major companies and pressure groups, such as Imperial Tobacco and the British Road Federation, became his clients. At Westminster he took over the prestigious Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and set up other all-party groups linked to industries.

He advised the CBI and the motor vehicle and tobacco industries; helped the Police Federation win major battles on pay which would assist Mrs Thatcher in taking over 10 Downing Street; and was then recruited by local authorities hit by the miners' strike to create the Coalfield Communities Campaign to aid the stricken areas.

International work included assisting the anti-communists in their campaign against Romania's President Ceausescu although bumbling MI5 still thought to question him for possible attachments to the Eastern Bloc.

Colourful crooks - from Robert Maxwell to John Stonehouse - and statesman inhabit the pages, the author's many political friends ranging from Edward Heath to Michael Foot. Credit is also given to lesser known names in the process of politics and lobbying is shown, hopes Butler, to be a valuable tool of democracy.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Legend Press author Bonnie Greer wins OBE!

Congratulations to former Exclusively Independent author Bonnie Greer for recently being awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list! Her works include the fantastic OBAMA MUSIC which was featured in EI earlier this year.

It's a fantastic achievement and congratulations to Bonnie.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

New Exclusively Independent List!

We are very excited to announce the brand new selection of Exclusively Independent titles, including the highest selling debut Swiss author Zoe Jenny, and her first novel written in the English language: The Sky is Changing. We have a variety of titles included in this round, so hopefully something for everyone!

The Sky is Changing by Zoe Jenny (Legend Press)
Ashes by Matthew Crow (Legend Press)
Clarice Cliff by Will Farmer (Shire Books)
Is by Derek Webb (Parthian)
Into Suez by Stevie Davies (Parthian)
People, Politics and Pressure Groups by Arthur Butler (Picnic)

The selection should be in independent bookshops in roughly two weeks time, including London Hammersmith, Fulham and Shepherds Bush Libraries.