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

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

September sun shining on cinnamon

Just back from an amazing weekend on a canal boat staying with wonderful friends who live on the water. It's wonderful to have those moments to sit and read and reflect and even more wonderful to have the sun - just when I was beginning to forget what it looks like.

Of course the problem with going away for a few days is that the work lays in wait for you so I've had a busy morning catching up on emails and bits of admin, but while I've been working our latest book arrived from the printers - it is so beautiful I just want to sit and stroke it, but reading it's fantastic too - TAG by Stephen May is a book that we are really proud of.

Mistyann is fifteen, unpredictable, unreliable and violent. She’s also gifted. And now she’s on her way to Wales for a special residential course for talented youth. An American psychologist wants to unlock her potential, help her become the person that she’s always dreamt of being. God help Wales. God help us all.

Jonathan Diamond is forty-one. Looks a bit like Tom Cruise and he’s going to Wales too. A failed musician and a recovering alcoholic he’s now an Advanced Skills Teacher and he’ll be in loco parentis for the week. Together the two of them develop an unlikely and dangerous alliance as they are forced to confront difficult truths about themselves.

Part bleakly comic confession, part twisted romance, at heart an elegy for dreams that refuse to die, TAG is the fast-moving, at times shocking, story of two lives turned upside down by reckless moments and impulses that won’t be denied. Full of wit, drama and an eye for the absurdities of the way we live now, TAG is a memorable debut novel.

Stephen May is a hard-headed day-dreamer, always cynical but ever hopeful. He’s been a barman, warehouseman, museum attendant, low-level council flunkey and teacher. He became a Dad while still at college and spent several years in a series of low paid menial jobs, struggling to support his family. A lot of the jobs involved stacking, filing, photo-copying and answering the telephone and Steve thinks it’s this period that informs any good writing he’s done. He used to drink a lot and spend a lot of time chasing women around, but found, like Flaubert, that it is best to ‘be a bourgeois in your life, so that you can be an anarchist in your art.’ You get more done and it’s more interesting in the long run.Steve lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and two youngest children and is working on another novel (The Good Soldiers), another play and some television projects.

Ray French said about the book: "Tag is a cracking story which has also has important things to say about youth; about middle age; about what it means to be considered gifted; about Wales and England, as well as some withering, satirical comment about contemporary life. It is also, in parts, very funny indeed. And in the character of Mistyann, Stephen May has created a thoroughly modern small-town Miss. A motormouth underclass Holden Caulfield, if you will. A vividly alive fusion of wit, beauty and instinctive defiance of authority. A character who will linger in the mind long after you have finished the book."

It's one of those books you just can't put down once you begin - be warned.

All are welcome to the launches - Saturday 11th October 2008, 2.00 – 5.00 pm,
at the Ted Hughes Centre, Lumb Bank, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge. Please arrive between 6.30 & 7:00pm for a complimentary drink & the chance to buy this superb book & Friday 24th October 2008, 5.00 – 7.30p.m. At The Hootenanny, Effra Road, Brixton, London.
Free event with bar.

You can also hear readings of TAG at Ilkley festival on October 4th ; Manchester Literary Festival on October 19th Bedford Waterstones on October 25th and Off the Shelf literary festival November 1st

Sunday, 14 September 2008

new contracts

Just made out a new batch of contracts and it's always exciting thinking about the books to come out in the future. Printing out contracts reminds me that we're in ths for the long haul, especially now that the list is bursting at the seems and we're timetabling our 2010 books.

September has always been my favourite month - things seem to get going again after the summer (such as it was) and after weeks of rain we've even had a glimpse of sun in North Wales. The autumn is full of great titles - publishers are bound to say that their books are great, of course, but I really mean it. One of the things I love about Cinnamon Press is that it's like being a child in a bookstore - we only publish books that we love, that spark some real passion and interest in us and the autumn is full of such gems.

At the moment one of those gems is Welsh book of the month at Waterstones, which is fantastic news for a small press like Cinnamon - you can actually walk into Waterstones across the country and see Yeah Dai Dando front of store. Brilliant - and it deserves to be there. If you can't get to a Waterstones in Wales check it out on the website - it's Meic Stephens first novel, but you wouldn't know it from the writing, which is funny and sharp and - sometimes only a Welsh word will do - bendigedig - absolutely bendigedig!