So what (un)earthly delights are we offering in 2017?
Here’s the line-up so far :
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile
by Adelle Stripe
“You write what’s said, you don’t lie. Or say it didn’t happen when it did all the time…”
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is the keenly anticipated debut novel by Adelle Stripe and is inspired by the life and work of the Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar.
This slice of kitchen sink noir tells Dunbar’s story in print for the very first time. Featuring a cast of real and imagined characters, it is the result of four years’ painstaking research that has unearthed the hidden story of one of the North’s most enigmatic figures. It is a tale of the North / South divide and reveals how a shy teenage girl defied the circumstances she was born into to become one of West Yorkshire’s greatest dramatists.
Set in the Thatcher era, it maps the extraordinary rise of a young woman from the Buttershaw estate, who is discovered via a Women’s Aid refuge. She is propelled into the London theatre establishment and an adapted screenplay of two of her early plays brings her wealth, accolades and notoriety, while raising three young children.
Rita, Sue and Bob Too! is a national scandal upon its release, and its tagline ‘Thatcher’s Britain with Her Knickers Down’ ensures it is a box office sensation. Fame brings anxiety however, and Dunbar is unable to cope with the media attention, pressures of family life and writer’s block. She slowly succumbs to the pitfalls of drink and spends her last days in her local pub The Beacon, where she completes her final script based on a gang of unscrupulous debt collectors. In 1990, aged 29, she collapses from a fatal brain haemorrhage.
One of the most important writers of her generation, this remarkably stubborn ‘genius straight from the slums’ recorded the everyday realities of working-class life. Dunbar’s unflinching autobiographical plays included themes of domestic violence, underage sex, poverty, racism, alcoholism and the declining status of men. By using frank and expletive-ridden dialogue she created a no-holds-barred account of the underclass composed in the tradition of social realism.
A bittersweet literary depiction, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile explores a world whose themes are more relevant today than ever. It marks the arrival of one of the UK literary underground’s best kept secrets.
Adelle Stripe was born in 1976 and grew up in Tadcaster. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University and is the recipient of the 2016 K Blundell Award for Fiction. She teaches at MMU.
Adelle is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry, the most recent, Dark Corners of the Land, was 3:AM Magazine’s Poetry Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in publications in the US and UK including The Guardian, Stool Pigeon, Caught by the River, Penny Dreadful and Chiron Review.
Her prose-poem The Humber Star will feature at Hull City of Culture 2017 as part of John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux programme. She has recently recorded vocals and lyrics for production duo Smagghe & Cross. Their experimental ambient track Cock of the North will be released in spring on Offen Music.
Find out more at:
Spit and Hiss
by Mike Watts
photo by Jerome Whittington
Spit and Hiss is the fourth collection by Hull born poet Mike Watts. As well as carrying Mike’s trademark brutal honesty and hardboiled insight, these poems betray a deeper and more lyrical maturity to Mike’s current way of looking at the world. From corrupt local councillors and lost weekend lovers to memories of youthful exuberance and present-tense mid-life panic, all life is here, in all it’s marvellous bare- arsed glory.
Here’s a little taster, a poem called Let The Good Times Roll, which has been selected for publication in The Morning Star:
Let The Good Times Roll
His tearful mug crumbling from the front page of the local rag,
the political candidate swore-blind he’d been punched
simply for posting his party’s propaganda.
Turns out he was being economical with the facts,
the alleged ‘man-mountain’ of an assailant insisting he
didn’t take a swing at all,
he merely objected to having unwanted junk posted
through his letterbox and attempted to return it
by pushing it back into the posters pocket.
The candidate assumed it would be good publicity if he
so the local press sent out a team to capture HIS version
The paper has an on-line comments section.
It stirred-up quite a debate.
Some said the guy was probably an unemployed thug
whilst others defended him.
Personally, I think the political candidate is a weasel
(I think most of them are)
and in this town I think he got off pretty lightly,
considering his politics.
This crappy bull-shit no-news story made front page,
so obviously all is well;
diminishing crime rate, zero unemployment and
the local economy booming.
Quick, pour the cognac, light the fire-works,
pass the cigars;
at last, we’ve cracked it!
In other news, Mike has just had a poem “Yorkshire Princess” selected in this year’s “Anthology Of Yorkshire Poetry”.
International Poetry Collection … TBC (!)
We Know What We Are
Short stories by Russ Litten
painting by Mark Hebblewhite
The debut short story collection from the author of “Scream If You Want To Go Faster”, Swear Down” and “Kingdom”. This latest batch of tales are all centred in and around Hull in the year 2017 and feature a cast of citizens whose lives play out in the furthest edges of the penumbra of the City of Culture spotlight.
Here’s a short excerpt from “The Light That Lights The Dark”, which previously appeared in “Pearl” in the USA and “Verbal” in the UK.
He gets up before you, goes downstairs and lays the table; a plate of toast with the margarine at two o’clock, the jam at three o’clock, a mug of tea on the right hand side and the knife on the left. You sit and eat together and talk about the day ahead. He tells you that it looks like it’s going to be a nice day outside and you should both go for a walk, blow away the cobwebs. When you’ve finished breakfast he runs you a bath and holds your hand as you step in. He washes and conditions and rinses your hair and then goes through to the bedroom and lays your clothes out on the bed from left to right; knickers, bra, fishnets, the long multi layered black and mauve skirt, the black satin bustier, your favourite mesh top. Then he gets himself dressed and flicks through the TV channels until you call for him to help you out of the water.
And when you’re dressed he blow-dries your hair, your head between your knees as the heat roars around your scalp. Then the backcombing, the gentle tugging and teasing of his fingertips and then the throat catching blasts of hairspray, the mist settling on your spikes like a sticky net. He sits you down in front of the mirror and does your make up. The cold lick of foundation and the tickle of the brush on your cheeks and forehead. He describes the colours he’s using around your eyes, the purples and the greys and the greens and then falls silent as he leans in closer and concentrates on drawing in the lines around your eyes, the arch of the brows and the cat lick at each corner, his warm breath at the side of your face.
I’m getting good at this, he says, and you say that you’ll be the judge of that.
Debut Poetry Collection from exciting northern punk poet … TBC!
We’ve also got amazing short story and poetry collections coming up from some very exciting new and established names. But that’s not until next year. In the meantime, if you want to get on the Wrecking Ball Press Book Club and take advantage of our ludicrously generous nature, please follow this link here:
In the meantime, steer by the light of the whalebone and look after each other.