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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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Listen to an audio excerpt of ‘Morayo’ by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Sarah Ladipo Manyika reads an excerpt from her story ‘Morayo’, inspired by the photograph Town Clerks’ Office (Shelves) by Roelof Bakker.

‘Morayo’ read by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Town Clerks' Office (Shelves) Roelof Bakker

Town Clerks’ Office (Shelves)
©2012 Roelof Bakker

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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,

If anyone has any photographs they want to share, email to (max file width 1000px at 72dpi, if possible)

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Sarah Ladipo Manyika reading ‘Still’

Writer Sarah Manyika reading Still Negative Press London 2012

Sarah Ladipo Manyika reading Still at home in San Francisco

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Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende poses with ‘Still’

Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende

Read a Q&A with contributing writer Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende from Ann-Arbor, Michigan, USA.

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Q&A | Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Sarah Ladipo ManyikaSARAH LADIPO MANYIKA LIVES IN SAN FRANCISCO. She was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France and England before moving to San Francisco, where she teaches at San Francisco State University. Her debut novel, In Dependence, was published by Legend Press (2008). Her story ‘Morayo’ explores the impact of an accident on an elderly female writer.

Tell me about San Francisco…
San Francisco is a great city for writers in that it has many excellent bookshops; a fantastic library system and many venues where authors can hear other writers (famous and not so famous) discuss their work. It is a beautiful city that takes great pride in its cuisine, landscape and tolerant attitudes. Now if only that were all it took to be a good writer!

What lead you to become a writer?
I began writing out of a hunger for stories that explored certain locations, peoples, and ideas that nobody else seemed to be writing about. This continues to be one of the primary reasons why I write today.

Town Clerks' Office (Shelves) Roelof Bakker Stillker

Town Clerks’ Office (Shelves)
© 2012 Roelof Bakker

Why did you select this picture?
When I first saw this image of empty bookshelves I tried to imagine what was there before. Many things might have occupied these shelves but as I writer I was drawn specifically to books. I then began to wonder about the sort of person that might have owned or used the books. What if these shelves once belonged to an older lady who was a writer, and what if these books were the woman’s most valuable possession? What if, one day, she was separated from her books with no hope of retrieving them?

Short story or novel?
I enjoy the short story form and often find it easier to manage than longer narrative forms such as the novel. This is especially the case when I am trying to juggle writing with other work and family commitments.

Are visuals a useful writing aid?
I am frequently inspired by people that I have observed or by snippets of conversation that I have overheard. However, having now written this story to accompany a photograph, I find myself increasingly drawn to other photographs as an additional source of inspiration.

What are working on at the moment?
I am working on several projects at the moment including a longer version of my story ‘Morayo’ — turning it from a short story into a novella.

In Dependence Sarah Ladipo Manyika

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