About Me

Wales, United Kingdom
Cinnamon Press is a small, independent publisher based in Wales & publishing the best new poetry and fiction with occassional non fiction and cross-genre titles. Books come from Wales, the UK and the world. We run writing competitions twice a year to find new voices in poetry and fiction with three categories (novel/novella; poetry; short stories) - each category has a cash prize plus publication. You can find our excellent list of titles at www.cinnamonpress.com

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Mad world

Yesterday was one of the more interesting days running a small press. We travelled down to Cardiff to launch two fantastic books. The first was Black Waves in Cardiff Bay, a wonderful anthology of new writing. All went well and off we went to Waterstones for the launch of darkness is where the stars are by patrick jones.

We spent half an hour finding a car park anad twenty minutes dragging a laden trolley of wine, glasses and books to deliver to the author through Cardiff centre to be greeted by 'oh, that event is cancelled'.

It transpired that a bigoted group of intolerant religious extremists had taken offence at patrick's book. Now patrick is pretty outspoken when it comes to religion - he gets het up about silly little things like stoning women in the name of God, religious involvement in military conflict, the use of religion to label some people as 'outsiders' etc. This is hard hitting and passionate stuff and whilst not everyone would agree it's none the less brilliantly written and opens up very important debates with which people of all faiths and none should engage.

But Christian Voice don't want to engage in debate - they prefer to carry placards with 'down with that kind of thing' (they don't like gays and lots of other people as well as poets) and to bully and intimidate people into silence. So they whipped up a storn of emails to Waterstones and the MD, Gerry Johnson (email gerry.johnson@waterstones.com) caved in very quickly with remarks about how he couldn't risk disruption - we're talking boyotting, maybe a bit of leafletting or the odd shout - and, let's face it, if these people were threatening violence the obvious solution is to go to the police, not to do as they say!

The event was pulled last minute, we didn't know till we turned up and we were told that our author had been contacted and was not going to attend - this was false - he did come, along with a crowd, but we'd left by then on Waterstones' misinformation.

We drove back through the night and have spent the day in pyjamas (well Mike had to get dressed to go to the post and get breakfast food at two in the afternoon) answering the phone, sending out press releases, starting a FaceBook event and putting up a website for the book. The site is at www.darknessiswherethestarsare.co.uk and there is also a YouTube vlog and open letter to Waterstones at


Please buy this book - you can get it direct at www.cinnamonpress.com

We need to show bigots that we won't be bullied.

3 comments:

Rob Crompton said...

I find it really deplorable that extremist factions are able to impose their intolerance upon the rest of us. I strongly believe that all religious (as well as political etc) viewpoints should be subject to rigorous scrutiny and even ridicule. It's a pretty good rule of thumb that anything that will not withstand such examination is probably not worth having.

To Christian Voice I say: you don't speak on my behalf.
And to Jan and Mike at Cinnamon Press: hope you keep going from strength to strength. And come back to Cardiff soon.

Rev Rob Crompton
Cardiff
http://www.snigsfoot.com

Marc said...

Following the story posted on Richard Dawkins site I can't quite believe this kind of censorship is still going on. Presumably the fundamentalists (there's a 'mental' in there) weren't being stopped form voicing protest, but they could do that outside. The only body who would need to cancel such an event would be the police, not the bookshop. One can only assume the fanatics found an ally in the management? I'll see if I can get the book in Waterstones at Cambridge. Keep up the good work!

Cinnamon Press said...

Many thanks for your comments and support Rob and Marc. It's wonderful that support is coming from all sections - most people of faith don't want to be associated with the kind of bogotry espoused by CV any more than humanists and secularists.
patrick will be reading in Cardiff on December 11th at the invitation of Welsh Assembly ministers - it's fantastic to see elected representatives taking a real stance for free speech and particular thanks to Peter Black A.M. and Lorraine Barret A.M. for organising the event.