Launch partners: Benjamin Judge

Launch partners: Benjamin Judge

I’ve saved Ben until last on this launch introduction lark purely on the basis of the magnificence of that photo. Isn’t it fabulous?! He sent it to me a week or so ago, and I’ve been popping back for a chuckle at regular intervals ever since. It sums up so much: the absolute knowledge of being just the coolest thing ever to walk the earth, the whole 80s vibe, the regrets that any of it was captured in film… Ben, you are a superstar! Pleeeaase come dressed as that tonight!! I first came across Benjamin Judge through Manchester’s #Flashtag collective, and as a regular performer at Bad Language, the best spoken event night in the city. His work is of the short, flash kind, and packs a huge amount into very very few words. Often with a...

Launch Partners: Jo Bell

Launch Partners: Jo Bell

I’ve been down in that London for the past couple of days, with little internet access and less time. Which was a good reminder of why I should learn how to write things in advance and then schedule them to appear in a timely way. Can’t do anything about that now, but I can still introduce my final launch partners before the big party. Tonight! Can’t wait!! Jo Bell wouldn’t give me a photo from when she was sixteen, so I asked if I could use this one. Yes, she replied, but you do know that I’m 27 there? I didn’t know that, no. Older than sixteen, certainly, but more in a just-at-university way. It doesn’t matter, anyway. Jo is a cracking poet and, more importantly, another boat-dweller. We first met and bonded at an Arts...

Launch Partners: Tania Hershman

Launch Partners: Tania Hershman

I’m so impressed with Tania Hershman: she’s only managed to find a photo from her 16th birthday party! Very chic with the rolled sleeves there. It’s actually because of Tania in a way that Saturday’s launch is, well, as 80s as it’s turned out to be. As many of you know, fellow launch performer Jo Bell has a boat. Last year, she was taking it somewhere, a somewhere which involved the 30 locks of the Tardebigge flight. I volunteered to help and, after turning the wrong way at the canal and walking for quarter of an hour or so in the wrong direction, caught up with Tinker and the rest of that day’s crew one lock up.   I’d already read some of Tania’s stories and was a bit of a fan, so meeting her in person was...

Launch Partners: Graeme Shimmin

Launch Partners: Graeme Shimmin

It’s launch week for The Summer of Secrets, and on Saturday evening we’ll be celebrating with an 80s-themed and disco-soundtracked party at Chapter One Books in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. So this seems like a good moment to introduce one of the fabulous writers who will reading at the sparkly literary bit of the evening.   Graeme Shimmin is a Manchester-based author who now has a lot less hair than he had in this picture. His novel A Kill in the Morning, described by Stephen Baxter as “scarily plausible…a terrific debut”, is a rollercoaster tour de force, imagining a world where WW2 ended in 1942, leaving Britain engaged in a Cold War against a Germany still ruled by Hitler.     More importantly, he’s...

Sharing memories: The Summer I Was Sixteen

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The Summer I Was Sixteen: Too Much of Everything

The Summer I Was Sixteen: Too Much of Everything

With me it was Malibu. Most of a bottle on a campsite near Lechlade with the gang from Swindon Young Musicians. I slept in the back of someone’s estate car and, in the night, opened the door to be sick on the grass. Bounty Bars have never been my confectionery of choice.     Want to contribute to The Summer I Was Sixteen? Email me your memories, or join the conversation on Twitter using #TheSummerOfSecrets. THE SUMMER OF SECRETS is published by Black Swan, and will be available to buy from the 13th August 2015. You can find out more by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by! Come back later t0 read more secrets… Share:EmailMoreShare on...

The Summer I Was Sixteen: Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

The Summer I Was Sixteen: Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

Remember Walkmans? We used to sit in the back of the school bus twirling the cassettes around on a pencil to rewind them to save on the batteries. And The Smiths were the ultimate soundtrack for angst.       Want to contribute to The Summer I Was Sixteen? Email me your memories, or join the conversation on Twitter using #TheSummerOfSecrets. THE SUMMER OF SECRETS is published by Black Swan, and will be available to buy from the 13th August 2015. You can find out more by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by! Come back later t0 read more secrets… Share:EmailMoreShare on...