Category Archives: Publishing

Helen Moore’s new book The Mother Country

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Helen Moore’s third major collection of poems, The Mother Country, is published by Awen on 1 May 2019. Helen is a poet of passion, power, and precision. She writes with a commitment to the world – the ecological, the political, the spiritual – which fits perfectly with Awen’s vision. She has also garnered a considerable reputation in the literary world, having published many poems in top-notch periodicals and performed at major festivals and conferences.

In Helen’s case, the UK’s loss is Australia’s gain: she has just moved to Sydney with her Australian-born husband. The first section of The Mother Country, about Australia, reflects this present trajectory in her life. However, Helen will be back to launch the book with a whole tour of events through May, June, and July. I’ll give you the dates below, but first some information from the back cover of the book:

Under English law a parent still has the right to disinherit their offspring. This book is a poet’s response to being written out of her mother’s will. Exploring dispossession in a range of forms – from colonial legacies in Scotland and Australia to contemporary impacts of industrial civilisation on human health, planetary systems, and our children’s future – The Mother Country is simultaneously a journey through sorrow, a quest for poetic justice, and a movement towards forgiveness and ecological restoration.

‘She makes us see, hear and experience not only the grief of things across the planet but also the memories of the damaged and vanished worlds from which it rises … Perhaps in these perilous transitional times we are all disinherited now, and Moore’s poems perform an important duty by making us feel the pathos and the righteous rage of that condition.’ Lindsay Clarke

‘I love the vastness of Helen Moore’s vision and the unflinching way she puts it into the world … But Moore’s Blakean vision, tackling the toxic tyrannies of our own times, is always tempered by minute details which convey her deep love for what is under threat.’ Rosie Jackson

‘In these verbally dextrous, deeply rooted poems, Helen Moore demonstrates the truth of her quotation from Blake: “A tear is an intellectual thing.” … If our world is to awaken to its own danger, it will need ecopoets such as Moore.’ D.M. Black

TOUR DATES

​Wednesday 8 May

The Satellite of Love, The Greenbank, Bristol 

8.30pm Regular night at the Greenbank, Easton, Bristol for poetry, spoken word and beyond. Tonight launching ecopoet Helen Moore’s new book The Mother Country, alongside Callum Wensley, Bristol poet and spoken word artist, with open mic.

 Monday ​13 May

Frome Poetry Cafe

7.30pm Launch of Helen Moore’s new collection of poetry, The Mother Country.

 31 May to 2 June

Nature, Ecology and Place’, Hawkwood College, Stroud

Creative writing retreat facilitated by Helen Moore.

Thursday 6 June 

Lyrical, Trowbridge Town Hall
6pm. Our aim is to blend the Open Mic + guest poet format with conversation and also expand the slot to include talks, book launches and workshops. This month’s guest is ecopoet Helen Moore reading from her new collection, The Mother Country.

Wednesday 12 June

Lighthouse Books, Edinburgh

7pm. Book launch: The Mother Country.

14–16 June

‘Expressing the Earth’ conference, Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, Wiston Lodge

Helen will be and reading from The Mother Country on Saturday 15 June from 8pm.

Tuesday 25 June

October Books, Southampton,

7pm. Book launch: The Mother Country. Book your free ticket via Eventbrite here.

 Thursday 27 June

Words & Ears, Bradford-on-Avon​

7.30pm. Helen Moore will be reading from her new collection, The Mother Country.

 Thursday 4 July

Transition Town Forres, Forres, Moray

7.30pm. Double book launch with Geoff King, author of dystopian novel, Nutters, at Entry by donation.

 11–14 July

‘Writing the Land, Writing the Sea’

Helen is facilitating this creative writing holiday for the HighlandLIT, Cromarty, Scotland. Details here.

 Thursday 18 July

ONCA, Brighton

7pm. paper / needle / rock: Three Poets. Helen is reading with Naomi Foyle and Akila Richards, plus open mic.

Friday 19 July

Bermondsey Project Space, London

6pm. Writing workshop and reading at Marian Bruce’s solo show.

A Website with a Purpose

by Anthony Nanson

 

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve recreated the Awen website using more up-to-date software. It’s responsive now on mobile devices, you can order books directly from us via Paypal, and we’re making sure it has plenty of interesting information to advance the cause of ecobardic writing.

The homepage and About page outline in brief Awen’s mission to promote quality writing that ‘engages with the world’ – a phrase intended to convey the idea of a reciprocal relationship between literature and life: writing can draw inspiration and urgency from what’s going on in the world, and reading it can flip you back into the world with a new facets of insight and commitment. This includes our relations with the natural world, for sure, but also aspects of society and the bigger picture of spirituality. It’s a broad-church vision of engagement and  connection, not a narrow sectarian prescription.

There’s more detail about that in An Ecobardic Manifesto – the entire text of which can be found on the website. The original pamphlet of this document has nearly sold out; we may reprint it sometime, but it seems more important to have it available to as many people as possible online.

The website has lots of information about Awen’s authors and our books currently in print and on sale. We’re uploading contents pages and samples of text from each book so people can get a better idea what’s in the books. The author page of the late Mary Palmer includes a bibliography and links to a video of her performing, two poems written in her honour when she died, and the entire text of my short literary biography of her (printed in the second edition of her book Iona). This suite of pages is intended to be a lasting memorial online to Mary and her poetry.

There’s still plenty of work to do on this new website. Search engine optimisation, for example, is a fiddly business that is still underway. The facility to buy books by Paypal is up and running; please do use it! We hope soon to install an alternative credit-card payment option as well. A slate of new editions of Awen titles are coming back into print this year, plus a brand new title from Jeremy Hooker. Look out for information about them on this blog and on the website when they’re published.

Visit the site here – https://www.awenpublications.co.uk

Why I work for Awen

By Nimue Brown

Some months ago I put up a hand and offered to help get Awen Publications and its titles in front of people. Publisher Anthony Nanson invited me to blog about what led me here. The short answer is that I have friends with books at Awen and simply wanted to support them. The long answer, is a good deal more complicated.

The book publishing industry is worth a lot of money. In 2016, it was worth £4.4 billion in the UK publishers.org.uk/media-centre/news-releases/2016/ But at the same time, something like 95% of authors cannot make enough to live on. I have a lot of problems with the combination of those two figures, and with the consequences for authors.

Bigger houses tend to have shareholders. Books are published based not on merit, but on an accounting assessment of what will sell well for least effort and cost. Authors who don’t sell fast and well find themselves dropped. The middle ranking of the publishing industry has largely gone. The idea of developing an author over time has largely gone. The idea of professional authors (who are not TV celebrities) has largely gone and the industry does this while not investing in marketing in the way that competing leisure creators do (films, games etc). There’s a lot to be cross about.

I know far too many apparently successful authors who should be secure, and are struggling. I know far too many talented authors who don’t tick enough boxes to get the breakthrough. I know many part time authors, dealing with burnout, stress, exhaustion. And as an author I’ve experienced some of this too – when selling out your whole print run isn’t good enough to contract the next book because you don’t also have a movie deal…

In my early twenties I got involved with the ebook revolution, back before Amazon and the like would deign to touch them. I saw how it opened things out for self publishing and small publishers. Online giants are both a blessing and a curse now, creating opportunities, but also pushing down the price of books so that a pittance goes back to the publisher. 20% of the profits on an ebook that sold for $0.99 does not keep a roof over anyone’s head.

Since then I’ve worked almost entirely in small publishing – as a publisher myself, as an author, as a book publicist and as an editor. Small forays into the world of big publishing, and watching friends at big houses has convinced me to stay put in smaller, more ethical enterprises. Houses that care about the quality of books and want to get those books in front of readers, rather than caring primarily about the shareholders. Houses that don’t feel easy about the idea that authors are ten a penny, easily replaced and it doesn’t matter if you don’t pay them.

And so here I am. I’m putting in time and energy with Awen because this is a house with an attitude to quality that I really like. This is a house that isn’t set up to exploit creators. There are no shareholders. I doubt we’re ever going to make our fortunes this way, but there is more to life than profit. I do think we can sell books to people who want them, and make that work for all involved. I want to be part of that.