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Hull’s Fourth Best Poet PLUS Hull’s Foremost Black Elvis Impersonator

WITH launch posterA new collection of 11 poems by Dean Wilson will be launched on Tuesday 11th December.

WITH, a large format magazine, is published by Wrecking Ball Press. The poems within were all written in the East Yorkshire coastal town of Withernsea, where Dean has a cliff-top chalet. The collection is subtitled You’re Sad And Lonely And You’re Coming With Me and comes in a goodie bag packed with surprise seaside-related gifts. Design of WITH is by Human Design, with photographs by Graham Scott.

The launch takes place at Hull’s Pave, at 8pm (free entry), where Dean will be joined by Elvis impersonator Bobby Diamond for an evening of fun that also includes a raffle.

Copies of WITH will be available on the night or can be pre-ordered here.

New Work From With-loving Wilson

WITH cover and bagThere’s been anticipation for new work from the fourth best poet in Hull – Dean Wilson – since 2017 thrust him in front of bigger audiences. The secret’s out, now, and Dean’s increasing number of fans want more.
 
Dean has been living in Withernsea, East Yorkshire, for the last few months, and the poems have been coming thick and fast. 
 
“Why With? Why not? When people read the poems from WITH I want them to feel the urge to jump in the air and then jump in a car and go to Withernsea.
 
“I’ve been going to With on my holidays since the 1970s and I love the place. It’s friendly, and I never get bored there. It helps me. I tasted my first alcohol in the Spread Eagle and used to stay in a caravan on the park. It’s a place of pure joy and happiness and it always brings back happy memories.”
 
Withernsea has brought Dean’s muse back, in a creative period that has generated in excess of 150 new pieces of work, and has also seen him commence work on his first novel. WITH is a small selection of these poems, published here in a large format magazine by Wrecking Ball Press.
 
WITH page 3The creative outpouring followed an invitation from fellow poets Mel Hewitt and Vicky Foster to join them for an evening in a Withernsea chalet that Mel was holidaying in. 
 
“It was the opposite of debauched. It was in July. We chatted, went for walks, watched the sunset, and there was a strange and beautiful energy in the air, as there always is in With. Without that trip this poetry wouldn’t exist. I liked it so much there that I decided to get a place there of my own. I’ve got a chalet on the edge of a cliff.
 
“That place saved my life. I’ve been there recuperating and I’ve been writing like a silly bastard. All of the poems in WITH were written in With: the town runs through them and the place inspired the work.”
 
WITH isn’t a follow-up to Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets, because Dean would feel unfaithful bringing out another collection just yet, even though he’s written so much about the town that there’s probably enough for a full-length Withernsea collection in the future. Instead, WITH is a collection of eleven poems, with stunning photographs by Graham Scott of Human Design that capture the town’s spirit and magic. 
 
Dean bumped into Graham and Wrecking Ball editor Shane Rhodes in a pub a few weeks ago.
 
“I told them I was thinking of putting my With poems together as a pamphlet, because I have a stapler and I know how to use it. But they said no, let’s do it properly, and help increase the house prices in With.
 
WITH page 4Human Design designed my last book. Once you’ve had that level of perfection you keep on wanting it. The photographs and the design bring the town to life on the pages.”
 
A short title for a short collection, but not to be outdone by Dean’s first book WITH is subtitled You’re Sad And Lonely And You’re Coming With Me.
 
“It was a very personal moment. Someone was very insistent about it and that’s what they said.”
 
The mystery and intrigue doesn’t end there. WITH comes in a goodie bag packed with surprise seaside-related gifts.
 
“The contents are a secret. Well. One of them is a sixpence, because I remember playing in the arcades and amusements with sixpences. And there’s a bingo card, too, which has been ‘Dobbed by Dean’.”
 
Dean has written four pages of his novel so far. He’s given himself two years to finish it. Until then, WITH will provide its readers with quite enough to consider.
 
WITH will be launched in Hull on Tuesday 11th December at Pave (8pm, free entry), where Dean will be joined by Elvis impersonator Bobby Diamond (“I think he’s wonderful, he’s mesmerising on stage”). There’ll be a raffle, too, where prizes might include a signed copy of Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Street or might be more compelling secrets from the mystical Withernsea.
 
A Withernsea launch of WITH is planned for early 2019.
 
WITH can be pre-ordered here.

Out Now: Dave McGowan’s Debut Collection

EarwiggingDave McGowan’s debut collection of stories – Earwigging – has been published by Wrecking Ball Press.

Earwigging is outside time. Conversations overheard in part, decontextualised by momentary existence, come together to create a world that exists only in the now. The man at the bar, the woman on the phone heading towards the Tube, the couple dragging their feet down Drury Lane: they are by no means connected but all inextricably linked, like the people in the background of a photograph, brought together for one time only, limited edition, a special occasion.

This overheard world is split apart by stories. Pieces of the past between the now, tales of who did what with whom and for how much. A world too unreasonable to have been real, but too unbelievable to be mere fiction. They say that there’s nothing as strange as the truth, and McGowan is the king. Travelling out of London, across the country, halfway around the world, the stories that punctuate Earwigging are absurd, hilarious, unlikely, and harrowingly real, dragging the reader on a rollercoaster ride of the bizarre until not even the normal is mundane anymore and each corner holds a new and strange surprise.

Earwigging & Other Stories is the momentary beside the memory: poignant, as unreal as only reality can be, and not to be ingested over tea for fear of surprise bouts of laughter turning beverage into projectile. The four-word foreword of only “Loose lips sink ships” sets McGowan’s book firmly in place: the telling of yesterday’s tales can begin a questioning of just how today happened, and private conversations held in public places are always going to be overheard by someone. Here, that someone is Dave McGowan – Londoner, writer, ale aficionado, wearer of hats – with his notebook of other people’s words.

“This is the real stuff. Stories from and about the street, from the soft belly of hard places. Stories that make you wince, laugh and wonder. A great collection from a writer of wit and talent.” — Kit de Waal, author of My Name is Leon and The Trick to Time.

“Dave McGowan is a trenchant observer of everyday life. These pieces are moving, insightful, hilarious and tragic by turn. Stories of London life in all its messy complexity — and a lesson to watch what you say, because you never know who is listening.” — Julia Bell, author of The Creative Writing Coursebook.

“Let Dave McGowan be your guide to a hidden seam of city life. He is part flaneur, part fly-on-the-wall, but be warned: once you’ve tuned in to the chatter you may not be able to turn it off.” — Tony White, author of The Fountain in the Forest.

Earwigging is available here.

First Wrecking Ball Title of 2019 Announced

JSS-BACHThe first Wrecking Ball Press title of 2019 has been announced. Martin Goodman’s J SS Bach will be published on March 6, 2019.

The book tells the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do.

Fast-forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog.

“Most moving and impressive. In J SS Bach Martin Goodman manages an original slant on what has become all too familiar – the ‘Holocaust novel’ – and has created something really worthwhile as a result. It is beautifully structured and has a distinctive and haunting tone. Altogether a very clever and memorable piece f work that deserves to do well.” – Simon Mawer, author of The Glass Room.

J SS Bach can be pre-ordered here.

Isaiah Hull: A Voice Far Older Than His Young Years

NosebleedsNosebleeds, the first collection of poetry from Isaiah Hull, has been published by Wrecking Ball Press.

“Nosebleed is the first time you feel alien to yourself, even as a child, so imagine how I felt, when this came out.”

Visceral and raw, this collection explores family, life, and the real world. Hard-hitting poetry written to be spoken aloud, but making the transition to the page with remarkable ease and clarity.

Coming from a voice far older than the poet’s young years, Hull’s writing is soul-searching and down to earth. Nosebleeds is an exploration of expression, traversing emotion and form.

“Isaiah’s writing holds a weight and maturity unparalleled by anyone his age. He is the voice we all need to hear.” – John Berkavitch, poet and creative director of Shame.

Nosebleeds is available here.

Shirley May Tells of Diaspora and Home

She Wrote Her Own EulogyShirley May’s first poetry collection has been published by Wrecking Ball Press. She Wrote Her Own Eulogy, slipping in and out of distinct patois, tells of diaspora and home.

The landscape of Kent and Manchester are brought to vibrancy via Jamaica: the twisting road taken by people displaced and making new communities on strange soil. There are stories, kept and told and shared.

There is wisdom, there is memory, there is future, and there is hope.

“Blazing with emotion, challenging all the senses, this life-affirming collection demands to be read. Charting a journey from Jamaica, these beautifully crafted poems offer a fresh, detailed insight into the experience of migration.” — Sue Roberts, BBC Producer.

She Wrote Her Own Eulogy is available here.

Helen Mort’s First Foray Into A World Beyond Poetry

ExireA new collection of work by Helen Mort has been published by Wrecking Ball Press. Exire is not a novel. It is not a collection of short stories. It is, instead, both of these things: stories that may stand alone whilst inextricably tied together. It is Helen Mort’s first foray into the world of fiction beyond poetry.
 
Dystopian Britain, the year unspecified. A new website, Exire, offers those who feel disconnected from their lives one last act of choice, packaged as a bespoke service. In this unsettling collection, voices fade in and out, people connected by Exire’s troubling appeal. At the heart of it all is Lorna, a young musician who has made a painful decision. We hear her story in reverse.
 
“Addictively sinister.” — Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.
 
Exire is available here.

Contains Strong Language Returns in 2019

CSL 2018Contains Strong Language, the UK’s biggest poetry and performance festival of new writing, will return to Hull in 2019.

The third festival of its kind to be held in Hull in three years follows a successful return in September this year, which saw more than 30 events taking place in the city over three days, with leading poets and world-class spoken word artists taking to the stage alongside new voices.

Contains Strong Language 2018 was a partnership between the BBC, Wrecking Ball Press, Arts Council England, Absolutely Cultured, 14-18 NOW and the British Council. 

18 of the most interesting and diverse poets formed the Contains Strong Language company of artists. The Hull 18 brought new and existing poetry to the festival. The Hull 18 were Amanda Dalton, Jackie Kay, Simon Armitage, Louise Wallwein, Jacob Polley, Isaiah Hull, Vicky Foster, Joe Hakim, Shirley May, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Jay Bernard, Malika Booker, Kat François, Ishion Hutchinson, Jay T John, Charnell Lucien, Vladimir Lucien and Tanya Shirley.

In 2017 the festival took place for the first time in Hull as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture celebrations.

Programme details for 2019 will be revealed in the coming months but Contains Strong Language 2019 looks set to be the biggest event of its kind to date.

Wrecking Ball In Store

Wrecking Ball Music and BooksWrecking Ball Music and Books opened its doors at the end of September in the East Arcade of Hull’s Princes’ Quay.

The new shop sells the entire Wrecking Ball Press catalogue, as well as a range of books from independent publishers, new and used vinyl, merchandise, gifts and gig tickets.

The independent retail outlet is a joint venture between Wrecking Ball editor Shane Rhodes and Gary Marks.

Three weeks in and the shop is proving to be a success and has quickly established itself as a relaxed place to browse, chat and buy music and books.

Seven times snooker World Champion and green baize legend Stephen Hendry will be dropping by the shop on Wednesday October 25 when he will be signing copies of his autobiography Me and the Table at 12.30-1.30pm.

Face-to-face With Norwegian Literature

Shakar ZeshanWrecking Ball Press visited Norway in September 2018 to explore the country’s literary scene, which, in 2017, saw 538 Norwegian books translated into 44 different languages around the globe.

The successful trip to the country steeped in literary history going back to the pagan Eddaic poems and skaldic verse of the ninth and tenth centuries has resulted in Wrecking Ball securing the UK rights to publish Zeshan Shakar’s Our Street (represented by the Gyldendal Agency) and ongoing negotiations, now at an advanced stage, to publish Lotta Elstad’s I Refuse To Think (published in Norway by Flamme Forlag).

Wrecking Ball editor Shane Rhodes said: “In the modern day when a lot of business is done via email or over the phone I felt that it was important to go and meet Norwegian publishers face-to-face, to have conversations in person and to really get a flavour of the nation, its writers and the exciting work that is being created there. It was a successful trip given that we ended up securing the rights to Our Street and also look set to publish I Refuse To Think.”

Shakar’s book is the Winner of the Tarjei Vesaas’ Debutant Prize 2018 and is set in Norway in the 2000s. Two boys grow up on the street Tante Ulrikkes street in Stovner, the north-east part of Oslo. Their parents had hope. They themselves are in the middle of the transition between suburb and wider society, between car wash and student canteen, exam grades and keef.

Heralded as one of the best books to come out of Norway in 2017, “Our Street isn’t important because it represents something or someone, but because it’s a really great novel.” (Morgenbladet)

Shakar is a profoundly literary and authentic voice, describing second generation immigrants’ position as both insider and outsider in Norwegian society.

Elstad’s I Refuse to Think is a dark, feministic contemporary comedy about politics, love – and an abyss that is getting dangerously closer. The book was nominated for The Oslo Prize in 2017 for Best Novel.

I Refuse to Think has been called “A Feministic Bulls-eye” and “…one of this year’s most enjoyable reads” by critics. Elstad, who is garnering attention around the world and destined to become the next Norwegian literary star, writes with sharp and smart humour and original style.