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‘Still’ | Shortlisted for Saboteur Indy Lit Award

Still is shortlisted in the Saboteur Indy Lit Awards for Best Mixed Anthology. Congratulations to all the talented Still writers and many thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of the book.

Readers are invited to vote for the book, details at Saboteur Shortlist

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David Hebblethwaite’s story-by-story review of ‘Still’

DAVID HEBBLETHEWAITE is a renowned book blogger from Yorkshire, who reviews both novels and short fiction on his blog Follow the Thread. He also writes reviews for The Huffington PostStrange HorizonsWe Love This Book and Fiction Uncovered. He’s a big supporter of the short story format and since the end of September, he has reviewed every story that appears in Still – in chronological order. We’ve listed a brief excerpt from each individual review below, or you can read the full reviews here.

Foyles, Charing Cross Road, Still in Anthologies

‘Still’ on sale at Foyles

And the ending is a real shock to the system. ‘Midnight Hollow’ – Mark Piggott

But, for those four pages, the author convinces you it’s all true. ‘My Wife, The Hyena’ – Nina Killham

I also love the way Blackman transforms the imagery of dirt trailing down a wall; the ending of ‘Sanctuary’ becomes as much a tableau as one of Bakker’s photographs. ‘Sanctuary’ – Andrew Blackman

Wyld  keeps the atmosphere suitably unsettling, and any hope she offers comes with its own nagging doubt. ‘Corridor’ – Evie Wyld

There’s a neat reversal in this story, and I like Frey’s use of the staircase as an image and venue. ‘The Staircase Treatment’ – Myriam Frey

The choppy rhythms of van Mersbergen’s prose underline the sense of unease, up to a rather chilling end. ‘Pa-Dang’ – Jan van Mersbergen

The titular rose acts a symbol of the family’s hope – something to keep growing in the garden, and not to remove, for fear of angering the landlord. ‘A Rose For Raha’ – Ava Homa

Royle tops it off with a dark twist at the end. ‘The Blind Man’ – Nicholas Royle

It’’s amusing to read, but also leaves one with the nagging thought of just how easily that sort of thing could happen… ‘From the Archive’ – James Miller

Details of ‘real’ life are heightened through their transformation into Hershman’s science-fiction idiom, and the ending is especially poignant. ‘Switchgirls’ – Tania Hershman

Rechner makes good use of sensory detail to convey the stuffy and intense atmosphere of the theatre. ‘The Playwright Sits Next to Her Sister’ – Mary Rechner

Hussein reveals the full possibilities only gradually, and even then keeps the truth ambiguous. ‘The Tree at the Limit’ – Aamer Hussein

Just as Beard’s piece blurs the line between fact and fiction, so it effectively portrays lifts as simultaneously useful and threatening spaces. ‘Life Under Inspection, Do Not Touch’ – Richard Beard

This is a nicely paced story, with an effective sting in its ending. ‘Odd Job’ – Preeta Samarasan

What follows is a snappy, rhythmic jaunt through the cacophony of modern life. ‘Noise’ – James Higgerson

 ‘A Job Worth Doing’ is more a celebration of what has passed. ‘A Job Worth Doing’ – SJ Butler

Rose captures a certain stiff formality in the voice of his protagonist; and the range of details focused on creates an effective sense of diffuseness. ‘Sere’ – David Rose

This piece is both a portrait of the emotional value that books can have to someone; but it’s also a poignant tale of loss… ‘Morayo’ – Sarah Ladipo Manyika

A well-constructed mosaic of events from Justin Hill’s life, with recurring themes of memory and going through doors. ‘Waiting’ – Justin Hill

What gives this story its edge is a clear sense that this is a false hope, and that the protagonist can’t move on in life because she won’t let go of the idea. ‘Ten A Day’ – Jan Woolf

‘Opportunity’ provides an elegant and broad examination of its issues. ‘Opportunity’ – Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende

Its supernatural twist gives this tale a very effective chill. ‘In the Dressing Room Mirror’ – Claire Massey

I like the ambiguity in the ending of this piece, and especially how it illuminates the narrator’s character. ‘The Owl at the Gate’ – Nicholas Hogg

Definitely a story that carries greater force than its length might suggest. ‘Still’ – SL Grey

This absorbing read takes a shocking turn. ‘How to Make a Zombie’ – Deborah Klaassen

A fine note on which to end the anthology. ‘Winter Moon’ – Xu Xi

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Photographs from ‘Still’ launch event, 26 September 2012 at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

THANK YOU! Negative Press London says a BIG thanks to all the writers (reading/non-reading) who were at the Still launch event in the Gallery at Foyles, as well to all the people who came for what was a very lively entertaining literary evening.

The readings went down a storm and the audience really enjoyed the mix of writing and related photography. It was a special treat to hear the stories read out with such passion and panache. Q&As, discussions and mingling followed!

Thanks to the writers who were there: SJ Butler, Myriam Frey, Tania Hersham, James Higgerson, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Aamer Hussein, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen (thanks for setting up Facebook event), Claire Massey, James Miller, Jan Woolf and Evie Wyld.

And thanks to the writers who were there in spirit: Richard Beard, Andrew Blackman, SL Grey, Ava Homa, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Jan van Mersbergen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, Mark Piggott, Mary Rechner, David Rose, Nicholas Royle, Preeta Samarasan and Xu Xi.

A big cheers to Paul Savage for a fantastic bar service and to David Owen at Foyles for five star help and organisation.

All photographs by Roman Skyva, www.romanskyva.com

If anyone has any photographs they want to share, email to info@neg-press.com (max file width 1000px at 72dpi, if possible)

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‘Still’ exhibition at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London – until 30 October

The Green Room

‘Still’: an exhibition of photographs and excerpts from related stories

An exhibition of photographs from Still by Roelof Bakker has opened at Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB.

Twenty large size photographs of vacated spaces at Hornsey Town Hall are exhibited in two separate spaces: the Café on the first floor and the Gallery on the third floor.

In line with the approach of the literary art book, each photograph is accompanied by a brief excerpt from the related story with the writer’s name and story’s title included.

‘STILL’ AT THE CAFÉ ON THE FIRST FLOOR, FROM 18 SEPTEMBER TO 30 OCTOBER
With excerpts from stories by Andrew Blackman, SL Grey, Tania Hershman, Justin Hill, Ava Homa, Claire Massey, Jan van Mersbergen, James Miller and Evie Wyld.

‘STILL’ AT THE GALLERY ON THE THIRD FLOOR, FROM 18 SEPTEMBER TO 30 SEPTEMBER
With excerpts from stories by Richard Beard, SJ Butler, James Higgerson, Nicholas Hogg, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, Mark Piggott, Preeta Samarasan and Jan Woolf.

Justin Hill, Waiting, from Still Negative Press London 2012

Excerpt from ‘Waiting’ by Justin Hill to accompany the print ‘The Green Room’

The book itself was launched at Foyles on 26 September in the Gallery with a literary event including readings by Tania Hershman, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Aamer Hussein, James Miller (with Jan Woolf) and Evie Wyld as well as a screening of the video film from the project with other visuals.

FOYLES EXHIBITION DETAILS

Negative Press London and Foyles have also launched a short story competition.

NEGATIVE PRESS LONDON AND FOYLES: SHORT STORY COMPETITION

EXHIBITIONS SPECIFICATIONS
20 C-type prints from negative film with film information borders, size 50cm x 50cm, framed. 20 plagues with story excerpts mounted on foam board.

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Q&A | Mark Piggott

Mark PiggotMARK PIGGOTT IS FROM ARCHWAY, NORTH LONDON. His first two novels, Fire Horses and Out of Office, were published by Legend Press. His short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies including 3:AM and Pulp Books. For Still, he has written a new story ‘Midnight Hollow’, in which a caretaker returns to the place he used to work with some unexpected consequences.

How long have you been in London?
I’ve lived in London since 1985 and still get a buzz from walking down the street, soaking up the energy. London’s fairly anarchic but it’s stimulating, rewarding and a lot of fun. I didn’t think I’d want to stay when I became a parent but actually it’s great for kids – there’s so much to do and my children are growing up with friends from every ethnic and economic background. When the Olympics was on there was this surprise – wow, London’s energetic! Multi-cultural! Edgy! Yeah mate – we already knew. Now you’ve gone and told the world – thanks for that.

Where do you write?
I have a tiny office in our house, about two metres square and three metres high, the walls lined with books and CDs. The office overlooks the garden and I see foxes most mornings – they live by the back fence and I feed them on raw eggs. As soon as I’m in my office with the door closed it’s like a portal to other worlds… (Pseud’s corner again…)

Short stories or books?
I love both. In a short story you can just take one idea, one theme, and go for it – there are no real guidelines or rules, especially with regard to length. However I do love being inside a novel – I get to know the characters much more, so much so that near the end I’m dreaming about them – that’s always a good sign. Your text has taken on a life of its own. (Feel free to submit this quote to Private Eye’s Pseud’s corner by the way…)

How did you become a writer?
As soon as it became clear I wasn’t going to make it as a footballer (aged ten) I started writing a book about an alcoholic ex-footballer (‘days of wine and roses’). Wrote about ten pages and loved it. Had encouragement from an English teacher (Mr Cann) but mostly I was encouraged by reading – I read endlessly as a child. I’d sit and read Watership Down in one sitting, armed with coke and crisps… Writing is depressing, frustrating and unrewarding and I would seriously advise anyone thinking of becoming one not to bother. If you have to make the choice – then you aren’t a writer. I’m saying this for your benefit, by the way – not to eliminate any more competition. Oh, no.

The Gentlemen's Members Room (Keyhole)

The Gentlemen’s Members Room (Keyhole)
© 2012 Roelof Bakker

Why did you choose this image?
I think it’s the ‘through the keyhole’ aspect – there’s something weirdly illicit about the pic – straight away I just had this image of this saucy janitor type peeking through, hoping to see something naughty… I used to be a caretaker, and spent many hours polishing floors in empty buildings – it’s a great way to dream. Not that I ever peeked through keyholes, of course…

I loved Roelof’s idea straight away, and really enjoyed the challenge of writing something purely inspired by a photo. Usually I get more of my ideas from overheard conversations, my own experiences, strange events etc. Having said that, the subject matter of this story does have similarities to some of my other work – a lone figure who may be a little mad, bit of a loser… can’t think why I keep returning to these themes.

Do you often use visual materials, eg photographs,video, newspaper cuttings, things you see on the street, etc, to generate ideas?
Yes, to all the above. I might see something odd – a man covered in hot bitumen, for instance, an old woman with an interesting face, young men waving baseball bats at each other outside a court house – and obviously then I want to know more, or rather, want to create a story that fits. I wrote a short story called ‘crystallize’ after my wife told me about this couple who made a suicide pact to die by hyperthermia and rather than researching their story I wrote my own. Ideas come all the time, from everywhere, but I do like to experience new things – I travel a lot, and becoming a parent has given me so many new ways to look at the world.

Out of Office, Mark PiggotHave you collaborated with artists before?
I’ve worked on one other project with an artist. In the 1990s I worked with a Danish photographer called Martin Toft on a book (Enter if you can, or Pixelation) about London’s homeless. He did the photos, I wrote about 20,000 words of text. I really enjoyed it, and Martin is a brilliant artist and unique individual. The book was supposed to be published but Martin fell out with his publisher. However, you can read the text and see Martin’s amazing photographs on his website. PIXELATION

What are working on at the moment?
To date (summer 2012), I’ve had two novels published by Legend Press (Fire Horses and Out of Office) and I have just finished two more novels, emptiness and Kidology, which are with my agent. I have plans for several more novels and write short stories for various magazines, websites and anthologies. I write features for the nationals, so I’m working on some new ideas for articles, plus a documentary. I’m also working on my memoirs and a radio play, so I’ll be trapped in my little office for a while yet…

MARK PIGGOTT WEBSITE
BUY ‘OUT OF OFFICE’

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