Our Latest Reading and Picks of the Week

This Wednesday we had one of the liveliest ABCtales get-togethers I’ve ever been to. From prison-narratives to eerie accordion-accompanied poetry to a stunning set from a handful of My Baby Shot Me Down authors it was ABCtales at its best, and I’d like to thank everyone who came out and took part.

One of the things that I was most impressed by was the sheer variety of the work read. From an utterly impressive stream-of-conscious narrative by Johnshade to Bee’s poignant poetry about the World War, and from Lavadis’s larger-than-life, precocious grade-school art-master to Grover's horror story inspired by Google Street View, each reader seemed to tackle an entirely new subject, with a style and tone all their own.

There’s nothing quite like hearing writing read aloud – the written medium and the oral one may be closely related but they remain subtly different, nonetheless. I always find that hearing things read provides a sense of immediacy that you can't get any other way – both in terms of the tone, which becomes tangible and intuitive, and the images, which appear before the mind's eye slightly more rapidly, with a heightened sense of reality. There really is nothing else like it. We’ll be getting together again in late September – I'd encourage any of you who missed this evening to book a night off well in advance. It's worth it. More information to follow soon, but don’t hesitate to get in touch early if you’d like to read.

Both of our picks this week are items I'd love to hear read aloud, and I'll confess I had a go reading these to myself while catching up in the evenings. Our poem of the week is Parson Thru’s ‘Trips Around the Sun’. The simple, spiraling sense of mortality that comes from the passing of another year, and another funeral, comes across as absolutely sincere and true. This feels somewhere between a conversation with an old friend and a carefully structured poem, with a crafted naturalness that just jumps off the page.

Our stories of the week are the latest episodes in Scratch’s Daniel series. I know I’ve given him too many awards for this developing novel already, but the work is consistently excellent. These pieces are an entirely new strand in the narrative – taking us out of the orphanage and into the mind of a social case-worker with an attitude and an alcohol problem. He stumbles on some inconsistencies in Daniel’s file - will he be able to help? There's detail and drama in abundance – and as always these pieces leaves you eager for more.


Really enjoyed myself and glad I actually managed to read. A great bunch of people and good to put some faces to names at last.