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The Ormering Tide is here

The Ormering Tide, the debut novel from Kathryn Williams, is published TODAY by Wrecking Ball Press. Follow our social media accounts today for links to Publication Day online readings from the author.
The Ormering Tide is a coming of age story set amidst a series of darkly foreboding events. Rozel lives with her triplet older brothers and her parents in the bay of a small island. One of her brothers goes missing and the family’s landlord, Mr. Willow, is implicated as the menacing truths are discovered. The island is rich with nature; and the islanders’ lives and the steady passing of the seasons contrast sharply with the realities of violence and inevitable revelations. The Ormering Tide explores the inherent human need to keep – and bury – secrets.
Praise for The Ormering Tide:
“I danced in my head reading this book, beautiful language from a poetic heart and soul. Every line is gold, spun in poetry and feeling, every page poignant and tender and true. I love the musicality in this, the story telling is sublime and captivating, it is a delight to all the senses.” – Salena Godden 
“Kathryn Williams’ haunting first novel blends memory and island landscape, community, family and dark secrets, to explore how we emerge from the maze of childhood and adolescence into ourselves, able to name the shadows. A darkly brilliant debut which stays in the mind.” – Carol Ann Duffy
“The Ormering Tide is a brilliant debut, full of beautifully observed, beautifully phrased, strange and magical things.” – Jacob Polley
Our arts venue receives £100,000 grant

Our arts venue receives £100,000 grant

Wrecking Ball Music & Books, on Whitefriargate, has received a £100,000 grant from the Humber LEP’s Humber High Street Challenge Fund.

The store, which moved from Princes Quay to Whitefriargate last year, is the latest business to receive funding as part of Hull City Council’s Whitefriargate regeneration project.

Wrecking Ball opened its retail offer in November and has plans to open its arts venue and café later this year.

Owner Shane Rhodes said: “We are excited by the council’s plans for Whitefriargate. When we opened before Christmas we had a fantastic response from the public and it was clear that there is a demand for this sort of retail offer in the area.

“When we open the arts venue and café we will be able to draw even more people to the area and contribute to the fantastic regeneration happening on the historic street.

“Customers still like and want social contact. The high street gives people the opportunity to browse and time to choose their purchases – it is not just about acquiring something.

“The independent sector can offer something different and can respond to local needs. Our offer will be diverse with retail and hospitality downstairs and an arts venue upstairs. We see this as an opportunity to innovate and be creative with a fantastic space in an historic area of the city.”

The Whitefriargate regeneration project includes a number of grant schemes and funding projects.

Whitefriargate has benefitted from £1m from the Humber LEP’s Humber High Street Challenge Fund and secured £1.75m from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

Funding can be used to undertake building and conversion projects that animate high streets, diversify the traditional high street offer and bring unused floor space back into use.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme can also fund lighting and interpretation improvements.

Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration at Hull City Council, said: “Momentum is really starting to gather now on Whitefriargate and it is fantastic to see so many exciting and diverse businesses and projects receiving funding.

“The council has made the regeneration of this vital thoroughfare a key part of our plans for the city centre. We have secured millions of pounds of funding already from Historic England and the Humber LEP, and will continue to support and invest in the historic street and our fantastic Old Town.”

Kathryn Williams

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kathryn Williams

Kathryn Williams’ first novel The Ormering Tide – a brooding and astonishing debut from the Mercury Music Prize nominated singer-songwriter – is published on March 22, 2021 by Wrecking Ball Press. Ahead of publication, we caught up with Kathryn to discuss her move into writing fiction and to find out more about her novel.  

You’re making the transition from musician and songwriter to author. How does that feel?

Well, I’m still a songwriter … but yes, it’s been a big learning curve and a long time not telling anyone while I worked that out in my own head. The imposter syndrome I had for years in my musical career has returned for a second series!  

How does the creative process of writing fiction differ from and compare to songwriting?

Size is the biggest thing. I can write a song in a day , three or four songs even. With a book there has to be a commitment and a work ethic that has to last longer than the initial spark. Even then when you’ve got things creatively going there are edits, more edits and re-writes.  

Making music is clearly a very collaborative process, compared to the solitary existence of a writer of fiction – how do you feel about the latter?

I started writing songs in secret – just the same as writing this novel. But yes the routine of the workload does make it solitary in the real world. When I finished the book, however, I really missed the characters.  

Can you tell us more about your writing process? 

I did a lot of the early stages when I was travelling on tour, on trains, in hotel rooms, backstage. I would write notes and email them to myself. As it grew I then started taking my kids to school, getting into bed and then realising I’d written all day and it was time for school pick up. A writer friend recommended Scrivener to use to write, as I could move scenes around in there and it has an archive and places for research.  

How and when did the idea for The Ormering Tide come to you?

The first idea for the story started when I visited a bay where my husband’s grandparents lived and he mentioned a woman that used to live on the cliff. I started to get down my idea of how she got there and then the characters just started speaking and doing things.  

Why this story, now?

I can’t really answer that because I didn’t have a plan or preconception of what I was writing being in the world we are currently living in now. But now we are here in this strange predicament, I think it’s like a dream, and it brings focus to the small beauty and the unseen we take for granted around us.  

What experience do you want readers of The Ormering Tide to have?

I want them to feel they they are standing in front of the sea, taking deep breaths and imagining the sky is inside them.  

Who do you think the audience for your fiction is?

I think it has a poetic way of seeing the world through Rozel’s childlike eyes. It’s a small book that you can dive into and stay enveloped in … so I would say even busy people can be whisked away by it.  

You’re undoubtedly a strong female role model in the arts – how important is this to you?

It means more to me now than it used to. Mainly because I now have the opportunity to support and promote other women in arts.  

Do you have any thoughts about your experience of independent publishers?

I know that they are willing to take a chance on something they love. They have to be inventive and creative in finding ways to reach people and survive. Having had my own music label, as well as having been signed to a major label, and now with an independent record label, I’ve seen the different corporate worlds in music which I think could probably translate to book publishing. I’m overjoyed to have my book’s first home with an independent publisher with such a great roster.  

What more can we expect from Kathryn Williams, the novelist?

I’m working on my second novel but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.   More generally, what else are you working on and what does the future hold for you as an artist? I’m finishing a project I’ve been writing with Carol Ann Duffy, which is an album of Christmas songs. It’s been a joy to make. I have a solo album in the works produced by Ed Harcourt. I’m writing a theatre and television piece with Kit Green and Mark Davies based on a gay bar in Liverpool in the 60s called The Magic Clock, which is in development with the Liverpool Everyman. I have also been co-writing songs for artists in Sweden and Norway. I do a live Instagram request show each Thursday which has been keeping me sane in lockdown and keeps me connected to fans. But also I’m home educating my kids and keeping on top of the wash loads!

Pre-order now directly from Wrecking Ball Press at

PRESS RELEASE: From music to fiction - Kathryn Williams makes debut as novelist

PRESS RELEASE: From music to fiction – Kathryn Williams makes debut as novelist

WRECKING BALL PRESS publish the debut novel from Mercury Music Prize nominated singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams – The Ormering Tide – on March 22, 2021.

The Ormering Tide is a coming of age story set amidst a series of darkly foreboding events. Rozel lives with her triplet older brothers and her parents in the bay of a small island. One of her brothers goes missing and the family’s landlord, Mr Willow, is implicated as the menacing truths are discovered. The island is rich with nature; and the islanders’ lives and the steady passing of the seasons contrast sharply with the realities of violence and inevitable revelations.

The Ormering Tide explores the inherent human need to keep – and bury – secrets. Kathryn Williams’ first novel, The Ormering Tide, is about processing the past, after the fact. This is a brooding and astonishing debut from the Mercury Music Prize nominated singer-songwriter. The Ormering Tide shines as brightly as the beautiful shell from which this novel draws its title and is as impressive and adventurous as the author’s music.

Praise for The Ormering Tide:

“Kathryn Williams’ haunting first novel blends memory and island landscape, community, family and dark secrets, to explore how we emerge from the maze of childhood and adolescence into ourselves, able to name the shadows. A darkly brilliant debut which stays in the mind.” – Carol Ann Duffy

“The Ormering Tide is a brilliant debut, full of beautifully observed, beautifully phrased, strange and magical things.”Jacob Polley

“A dark dream of an island childhood – every sentence is delicious. If you want to be enchanted, if you want to be swept away – reach for this book and don’t let go.”Kirsty Logan

“A beautiful novel, inside and out, shot through with the originality, poetry and emotional truth we know and love from Kathryn Williams’s music and lyrics. A lovely, shining shell of a book.”Laura Barnett

“A powerful and compelling coming of age tale. Kathryn Williams is an inventive storyteller whose beautiful writing draws you into the heart of this close-knit community.”Rhiannon Ward

Author Details: British folk singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams rose to prominence in 2000 when her self-released album Little Black Numbers was nominated for a Mercury Prize. A thoughtful and poetic songwriter with a delicate voice, Williams’ newfound stature earned her a major-label stint in the front half of the decade after which she reclaimed her independence and, in addition to releasing her own albums, embarked on a series of interesting collaborations including 2008’s Two with Neill MacColl and a 2010 children’s album with punk musician Anna Spencer under the name the Crayonettes. She continued to enjoy critical acclaim and more widespread success in the 2010s, signing with One Little Indian and releasing albums like 2013’s Crown Electric and 2015’s ambitious Hypoxia, which was based on Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Pre-order now directly from Wrecking Ball Press at

Job Opportunity: Wrecking Ball Press Bookseller

Post: Bookseller

Type: Full-time

Salary: £19,200 per annum

Reports to: Shane Rhodes, Wrecking Ball Press

Direct reports: Bookshop staff

Location: Hull

Closes: 22/01/21

Interviews: w/c 25/01/21 and w/c 01/02/21

Artform: Literature / events

Contact: Dave Windass

Applications should include a CV and cover letter outlining why you’re the perfect candidate.


Wrecking Ball Press wish to employ a specialist Bookseller with the knowledge and enthusiasm to drive book sales forward and develop literature events that engage with the public and increase the Wrecking Ball Press audience.

Based at the large, independent Wrecking Ball Music & Books shop in Hull city centre and reporting directly to Wrecking Ball Press, our dedicated Bookseller will be responsible for providing guidance and literary insight to customers wishing to learn more about the books on sale, an extensive range of books from UK independent publishers.

Our Bookseller will also develop a broad range of literature-related activities, initiatives and events in both the shop and its accompanying first-floor 100-seat capacity venue, in order to generate a growing interest in books and reading, generating sales and realising the ambition of Wrecking Ball as a hub for literature activity while raising the profile of Hull and the North as the centre of contemporary literature.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities of the post

Your primary concern as a Bookseller will be customer service, but you’ll also need an excellent knowledge of the UK’s independent publishers, the shop’s stock and the wider book market in general. You’ll help customers locate titles and offer information and advice about different books that are available. You’ll also be heavily involved in ordering and displaying stock, as well as working with publishing companies and their representatives.

Our stock of literature encompasses all forms and genres and our Bookseller is expected to have a deep understanding and knowledge of the widest possible range of literature and should be a self-confessed and proud bibliophile and poetry lover. While we’d expect our Bookseller to come pre-armed with this extensive knowledge we’re also aware that you won’t have read everything and that you may be unfamiliar with some of the independent publishers that we stock and love. There will, therefore, be a period of orientation and plenty of time to read, and lots of books to devour.

Ideally our Bookseller will also be able to demonstrate experience of creating or working to support an exciting programme of literature events and initiatives or have a strong desire to do so, and be able to work collaboratively with Wrecking Ball’s experienced events team across different areas.

Our Bookseller needs to be confident when talking and communicating with the public, publishing companies and their representatives and writers involved in delivering events and activities.

You should also be experienced and comfortable in the use of social media platforms as a marketing and promotional tool.


  • serving a range of customers

  • dealing with enquiries and identifying customer needs

  • offering advice and recommending books where appropriate

  • Organising, in collaboration with Wrecking Ball’s experienced events team, a programme of literature events, activities, and other book events, including (but not limited to) organising talks/readings, signing sessions and reading groups

  • maintaining up-to-date knowledge of current titles and changes in the market

  • promoting in-store and venue events and activities via social media platforms

  • undertaking bibliographic work using computer or print sources to identify and locate titles

  • processing customer orders and book reservations

  • dealing with mail order, email and web-based orders

  • handling payments by cash, card and using book tokens using electronic point of sale (EPOS) technology

  • buying from catalogues and publishers’ representatives

  • negotiating prices with sellers

  • processing book deliveries and returns

  • stock-checking books and other merchandise

  • creating in-store and window displays

  • maintaining commercial awareness including identifying business and promotional opportunities

  • liaising with other external account holders, for example schools, councils and companies

  • reviewing sales performance

  • a range of administration tasks

  • undertaking general housekeeping duties, such as unpacking, stock replenishment and tidying.

Personal Specification



  • Experience of working in a bookshop in a public facing role

  • Demonstrable knowledge of literature, books, publishers and independent publishers

  • Knowledge of literature events and literature related activities

  • Experienced user of social media/online platforms

  • Demonstrable experience of delivering excellence in customer service and associated problem solving

  • Strong record of operational support activities

  • Experience of working as part of a team

  • A knowledge of Health & Safety and other applicable legislation appropriate to a public-facing space

  • Ability to remain calm under pressure and the ability to deal with sensitive situations in a professional and diplomatic way

  • Excellent people and communication skills

  • Ability to manage multiple priorities

  • A willingness to learn and develop

  • Desire to build audiences for books and literature events

  • Comfortable with admin


  • Experience of working in events

  • Monitoring and reporting on events

  • Demonstrable experience of managing social media and online marketing campaigns

  • Experience of working with writers

  • Experience of projects involving the public

  • Innovative ideas to promote literature and develop audiences

Apply by 22/01/21 with a CV and cover letter via email to

Never Try To Outswim A Bear

Published today: Never Try To Outswim A Bear

Fiona Curran’s new collection Never Try to Outswim a Bear, is published by Wrecking Ball Press today (26/10/2020).
This second collection from poet, sonic artist and filmmaker Fiona Curran is a stunning combination of dark humour, grief, nature, botany and science: Reflecting on art, love lost and found, and the poetry of place and displacement – from where she sends us knowing postcards. Within these pages, Curran captures fleeting moments and momentous events as so many impressions caught in the corner of an eye. Her work resonates with those who are alive to their own burning experiences. These poems are a curveball. Catch and propel them forward, on fire with your own thoughts.
We asked Fiona to share the books that inspired her at the time of writing this new collection.
Fiona said: “What amazed me, when Wrecking Ball asked me to come up with ten great books which had influenced me during the time of writing Never Try to Outswim a Bear, was just what has made the cut. And in fact eleven books feature, and I could quite possibly have given you 11 x 11 more!
“I think that in Carson, Thackery and Woolf, there is joy, wit and nothing short of a delicious harmony of high style with epic storytelling. A smile rarely leaves your lips when reading these books. Educated, Stasiland & Chernobyl Prayer are testaments to people maintaining their humanity, under extraordinary, unthinkable pressure.
“Cohen, Graeber and Odell write on a subject, by which, I am quite obsessed: the “culture” of work, and how our sometimes unquestioning workaholic natures (combined with new home working conditions) have imprisoned us in a capitalist labyrinth.
“The Vanishing Man is certainly one of the greatest examinations of the folly and conviction of the art collector; as well as an exquisite love letter to Velazquez.
“The Lost Pianos of Siberia is an elegy to the impact of music at ‘The End of Everything’ – a place so far away, as to be the centre of the world. It is a magnificent, almost accidental, history of the Russian people and their hungry musical embrace.”
Fiona’s selection of inspirational books is as follows:
The Autobiography of Red – Anne Carson
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Orlando – Virgina Woolf
Educated – Tara Westover
Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall – Anna Funder
Chernobyl Prayer: Voiced from Chernobyl – Svetlana Alexievich
Not Working: Why We Have to Stop – Josh Cohen
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory – David Graeber
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy – Jenny Odell
The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velazquez – Laura Cumming
The Lost Pianos of Siberia – Sophy Roberts
Never Try To Outswim A Bear

Poet interview: Fiona Curran

Fiona Curran is a poet, sonic artist and filmmaker, and also a lecturer in filmmaking. Her first poetry collection, The Hail Mary Pass, was published by Wrecking Ball Press in 2006. Wilton Carhoot, editor of The Slab, said: “Fiona Curran is a bright and feisty northern voice. She treads the landscape of the urban and the domestic, from the smokey fug of the betting shop to the lavender scent of the bathroom. I like Fiona’s poems because she writes about real people who truly exist and whose lives and wine-fuelled loves I can believe in. The Hail Mary Pass is spunky, sexy and brash. This is a belter of a debut and I very very much look forward to the next verse.” Wrecking Ball Press will publish Fiona’s new collection, Never Try to Outswim a Bear, on October 26. We spoke to Fiona to find out more about the collection.

You’ve got a new collection on the way – Never Try to Outswim a Bear – great title, by the way. What can readers expect?

Hummmmm, it’s a real mix to be honest, black humour, grief, period pieces, nature, reflections on art, examinations of the language of flowers, lost lovers, found lovers, the poetry of place, The Postcard Series, Poetry as Script, The Scientist Series…

Can you tell us something about where this collection came from, when you started work on the pieces within, why you wrote it, how it developed?

It’s such a mixed bag, and frankly was written over quite a long time, but I think the underlying theme is one of loss in many forms. Also I was trying to capture some fleeting moments, the things (sometimes quite momentous) just caught in the corner of the eye.

Some of the poems are presented in the form of postcards, what is the reason for this?

I always loved the way that postcards “limit” what you can say, that you have to be succinct, and yet, no matter the picture, they always seem to me to be a joyful and unexpected thing, and I always loved receiving them. They deserve to be celebrated as a writing form. Angela Carter, for instance, was brilliant at them.

How does your work as a lecturer, sonic artist, filmmaker and poet intersect?

It intersects completely. Eventually I gave up trying to reconcile all of the practices and just decided to call myself an artist and be done with it. Nothing I do really stands alone, it’s all water from the same well.

You’re creating films to accompany the collection, can you let us know what to expect?

Some are already in the bag. For instance, The Scientist Series (where a lone female scientist tries to distill and understand grief) gave birth to four experimental films. These are pretty diverse and include a process documentary with a twist, set in a coffin factory, a dancer coming to terms with the lid of the final box, and the escape from purgatory of the dead (me, in fact), making my way back to the land of the living – in this case arriving finally in Ridley Road Market – God Bless Hackney!

Who are you writing for?

That is a very good question! Curious women who are shot through with their own burning experiences.

What experience do you want your readers to have with your work?

I’m just vain enough to hope that a single poem catches a reader and echoes in their mind – perhaps enough to lead them to explore a subject personally.

When you’re embarking on a new piece of work, whether a poem or a piece of visual or sonic art, what approach do you take?

I used to be a big over-thinker. I almost had it done in my mind long before I committed to paper. I’ve stopped doing that now. It kills it. I’ve learned, too, that if I am collaborating, to give the other people succinct direction, but also a lot of freedom – there’s got to be something in it for them. It pays to be surprised when you are making work. I like the feeling of “Good grief, where did that come from and what am I going to do with it?”

Tell us more about your process?

I used to be very much a morning person, but now I take it when it comes! Nothing is ever wasted. It’s all in there somewhere, so I work when I can and when I feel I’ve got something worth saying/showing. I am quicker to spot what won’t work now, before I’ve written myself into a corner and destroyed what was just about flowing. But I’ve also learned that even seemingly insurmountable problems are best addressed by temporarily walking away. Sleeping on it will often give you the solution, or the clarity, you need. And sometimes you just have to abandon ship.

Do you do a lot of planning or procrastinating before you sit down and get writing?

No – there is a Zen saying “We are wrong if we think there is time…” Procrastination doesn’t really exist if you have something driving you to examine your own humanity.

Do you have any thoughts about your experience of independent publishers?

Frankly, they have never been anything but good to me. I’ve had some wonderful relationships with publishers of small presses and magazines over the years, and I very much include Wrecking Ball here! It’s great to see some of the small presses managing to grow and being recognised as part of the reading culture, simply through their own publishing discernment.

The Hail Mary Pass was published 15 years ago. Looking back, what are your thoughts on the collection and the response to it?

My God, 15 years! It was such an urgent thing getting that first collection published, I wish I had just enjoyed it more! Some of the writing still stands up but in some other poems, it’s like meeting a stranger.

What else are you working on now?

Ahh, well it was going to be a new, much bigger film! I have a re-occurring image, but no detail I can share! But we will have to see what happens in a (hopefully) post Covid-19 world. I think all writers and artists will be reexamining their ideas in what could be a post capitalist world. Whatever we do next has to be relevant, and address that world, not be just more of the same schtick.

So what’s the future hold for Fiona Curran?

For the moment crossed fingers. And I’d like to go back to Rome very soon…

Buy Never Try to Outswim a Bear online.

Contains Strong Language 2020

BBC Contains Strong Language

Wrecking Ball Press is delighted to partner with the BBC once again on BBC Contains Strong Language.

The partnership has seen three previous Contains Strong Language festivals delivered in Hull, from 2017-2019. For 2020, the UK’s largest festival of poetry and spoken word has relocated to Cumbria.

The festival takes place from September 25-27 at multiple locations that include Wordsworth Grasmere, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. Live coverage of the festival will see events on BBC Arts BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 with additional programmes on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.

To find out more about Contains Strong Language 2020, view the brochure below and visit, where you can also view highlights from previous festivals.

The Dean Wilson Film Club

Dean Wilson Film Club

Wrecking Ball Press is overjoyed at the news that the Dean Wilson Film Club is about to become a reality.

Dean is the self-titled fourth best poet in Hull and the second best poet in his beloved Withernsea. He collects pebbles off the beach and posts them on twitter, and writes poems that make your sides burst with laughter one minute and have you crying into your handkerchief the next. 

Wrecking Ball Press has published three collections by Dean: Take Me Up The Lighthouse (2020), WITH (2018) and Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets (2016) and he also appears in The Reater.

Earlier this year, Back to Ours hosted the online premiere of Dean and Dave Lee’s short film East Coast Fever. There was so much love for it that Back To Ours decided to ask the dynamic duo to film some more of Dean’s poems to create what the world has been waiting for – the Dean Wilson Film Club.

To access tune in to Back to Ours’ facebook and twitter streams at 9pm on the last Thursday of every month for a proper Dan treat and, in addition, get your dabbers ready for a game of bingo.

Ahead of the Dean Wilson Film Club launch, and between those monthly Thursdays, stock up your shelves with Dean’s three Wrecking Ball Press titles by visiting the links below.

Take Me Up The Lighthouse


Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets