Thanks for reading this letter. Hell, thanks for opening it. If you've been battling as many messages about GDPR as I have, I'm guessing you're currently looking forward to clicking on emails as eagerly as Vercingetorix anticipated appearing in Caesar's great triumph of 46BCE.
But hey! Where else are you going to get your ludicrously extended classical metaphors if not in an email from a smarty-pants independent publisher?
Anyway: GDPR. My current understanding is that you have to give your consent to continue receiving the kind of hot stuff I'm sending you now. So either scroll to the bottom of this message and clicky on the linky, or reply to this newsletter with some variation of "hell yes" in the subject line and we'll keep sending them. Otherwise, alas, I'll just be left screaming into the void again.
Wrestliana part one
But look! Alongside my nonsense, these emails contain the good news. It was fantastic, for instance, that a few readers accepted the invitation from a previous letter and came along to celebrate the launch of Toby Litt's Wrestliana with us on 9 May. Here's the crowd:
That Fitzrovia Chapel was some venue. It was also an excellent event. Toby gave a fantastic reading and a live demonstration of a nutmeg. We celebrated his superb book, sold some copies, felt proud. And, as I say, quite a few readers of this newsletter showed up, so a special thanks to them. (And if you’re reading this and wondering if you could come to our next event, please do. You’re just as welcome. Invitations - to both our Short Story Prize Prize and the launch of Lucia - will start making the rounds over the next week or so.)
Tell your brain to damn well get ready because Lucia is about to explode inside it like the start of the universe.
Our next release will be Alex Pheby’s Lucia on the 14th June, just in time for Bloomsday.
Elly put together a few bits of feedback we've been getting as the book goes out to press:
Lucia's going to be reviewed in over fifteen publications so far - yes, we feel pride and also terror - and Alex will also be on none other than BBC Radio 4's Front Row, as well as flying out to University College Dublin to give a talk at the start of July. More details to come... In the meantime, I'd suggest buying more than one copy of the limited edition. You'll need one to read, one to press on your friends, one to keep for posterity - and three to annoy everyone else who hasn't got one about all the money you'll be making when they're worth a FORTUNE.
Wrestliana part two
The first reviews of Wrestliana are also starting to come in and it looks like lots of readers are going to love it as much as we do.
On the Guardian podcast the book has been described as "... the perfect lens through which to study modern masculinity." (Have a listen to the whole thing - it's great. Toby talks really well about writing, failure, life, the works - and gives a fine reading.)
Over on Storgy, Matthew Brandenburg says: “Wrestliana is a fascinating trip down one man’s family history.”
Enrico Cioni has given it a really thoughtful review on his excellent blog Strange Bookfellows, saying: "I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered pages that better capture the curious mixture of meaningfulness and meaninglessness that comes with sharing the same genes as someone you’ve never met."
More soon! Including reviews in the Spectator, The New Statesman, and the TLS. Go Toby! While we're waiting, I'm also very pleased to say Toby will be in Cumbria. He'll be talking at Bookends in Carlisle on Thursday 7th June, at 7:30pm.
He'll also be in Grasmere the following day. And there's going to be a Google hangouts video call from that. (Have a look on Toby's (very excellent) blog for more details soon).
Right! A plea!
One of the best things we have going on here at Galley Beggar Press is our subscription scheme. We hope it's a really good deal. You get limited edition books first (usually signed), and cheaper than everyone else. You get special invites and offers for things we're doing. And, I hope, you get to feel like a part of the family (we like to try to make things as personal as we can, with separate letters, messages and updates) - and as well as all that you're furthering the cause of art and literature and free expression. Galley Buddies make all the difference to our ability to keep on trucking, to enable our writers to write just as they like - and to take risks on books we love and think are important. The only thing wrong with our subscription scheme is that we aren't quite good enough at pushing it and signing up new people. We've got a lot of exciting things coming up, several of our existing books are doing so well they're about to go to reprint - and it feels like a great time here at GBP. But we'd love to share it with more people - and getting our subscriber base up to 200 or so (we are currently on 120 much-loved Buddies) would go an awfully long way to keeping us stable. ... So if you've been thinking about becoming a subscriber, now would be a wonderful time. (And if you are a Buddy and it's working for you, please tell someone else.) More details here. Thank you!
Tinderbox! On fire!
Meanwhile! Megan Dunn continues to go from strength to strength. Here's a fine write-up of her appearance at the Auckland Writers Festival. ‘I bring the humour, but I bring the pain too,’ says Megan. That's why we love her. Tinderbox has been quietly, steadily, getting to more and more readers. We're going to have another print run soon - and in the meantime, we're selling the limited edition at a special cut price of £9 to help pay for the next batch. This is very much a bargain.
Biles! Taneja! Elle! Marie Claire!
Look at this:
That's Adam Biles in French Elle: "When Adam Biles describes old age, his hand does not tremble.” Adam is kicking all kinds of butt all over again - and he's doing it in French which makes it seem even cooler. Elly tells me that, incredibly, we've still got some limited edition copies of Feeding Time to sell. If you haven't read it, then well: you know my opinion. Here it is.
And look at this:
That's Preti Taneja in Marie Claire. Samira Ahmed says We that are young is “magnificent.” Yes, it is!
On the subject of Preti, I went to see a performance of her first novella Kumkum Malhotra in Norwich the other week during the Norwich Festival. This was quite an experience. It was not only sold out, there were people queuing to get in. And seeing an audience entranced by Preti's words was really something...
If you get me in my cups some time, I'll tell you the story of how someone came round to our little house one evening carrying a printed chapter of We that are young, a copy of Kumkum Malhotra - and how that moment has sent ripples around the world... Even as I type this, it occurs to me that we might have been out! Lucky for us we weren't... Also lucky for everyone else that's had the experience of reading We that are young.
(Preti is also currently shortlisted for one of the UK's - one of the world's - most prestigious awards for debuts: The Desmond Elliott Prize, which called We that are young "revelatory". The announcement is on 20th June - so please send some love to Preti then, and join us in keeping your fingers firmly crossed for her.)
Greenwich Book Festival
I can't believe I'm still typing and haven't yet got to this very important thing. One day I'll send a short and non-rambling newsletter. But clearly not today. Okay. Here goes. Please come and see us and some fine writers from Influx Press, Dead Ink, Little Island Press and more at the Greenwich Book Festival on Saturday June 16th.
At 11:00 am, the incomparable Eley Williams, unequalled David Hayden and superlative Clare Fisher will be talking about short stories.
At 12:30 we’re keeping it real with the outstanding Matthew De Abaitua, phenomenal Shiromi Pinto and magnificent Alex Pheby talking about writing about actual people.
At 3pm, OMG It’s a smackdown! The glorious Toby Litt and wonderful Carrie Dunn are going to be talking about wrestling, writing and wrestling with writing about wrestling.
And then, at 17:30 in association with the world-shaking @DeadInkBooksand their ground-breaking Know Your Place anthology, the superlative Abondance Matanda, Yvonne Singh, Shiromi Pinto and Matthew De Abaiatua are going to tell us why Class Matters.
Follow those links to get tickets - all very reasonable. There's also lots more going on at the festival. And I think Francis Plug may be there... Children are welcome. As are adults. So bring your whole crew.
Wasting time well
Okay! you’ve got all the way to the end of this letter instead of doing day-to-day grindy stuff. So why not spend some more time reading? Here's an article by Gonzalo Garcia saying wasting time is not a waste of time (if you work at it).
FINALLY, THIS LETTER LIMPS TO A CONCLUSION. ITS AUTHOR, TIRED AND EMOTIONAL, THINKS ABOUT EVIL THINGS...
Ye gods, the font has changed and I don't know why. Forgive me. Also: Go on. Hit that button. Imagine me typing a letter as crazy-long as this one and no one reading it. While you're imagining, close your eyes a while. Think about the night. Think about rats scrabbling under the rotting decking in thousands of suburban back-gardens. Think about their yellow chewing teeth chewing through your floorboards, your important wires, your sewerage pipes. Think of the uric smell of rats. Think of the smell of rats and broken poo pipes. Think of thousands of rat babies. All weird and pink and toothy and growing hairs. Now you've got the perfect internal metaphor for Amazon's algorithms, and they're crawling all over your data, they're in your computers and they're inside your head... They're destroying your everything. And the scandal about the data Alexa is gathering on all those suckers who've installed Bezos' home spy-ware is going to be even worse than anything relating to Facebook, surely, and through it all, Jeff Bezos will laugh and laugh and laugh. Then, once he's reduced us all to rat-picked bones, escape to space. What a bastard. Fondly, Sam