Out Now: Dave McGowan’s Debut Collection
Dave 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
The 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
Nosebleeds, 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
Shirley 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
Face-to-face With Norwegian Literature
Wrecking 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.