We had a wonderful evening giving Stories for Homes 2 its official launch at the Bookseller Crow on the Hill in Crystal Palace. We were delighted to welcome Laura Wilcox and Talia Pobischan from Shelter, who expressed how much our support means to the charity and its work. The anthologies’ editors Debi Alper and Sally Swingewood hosted an evening of readings, music and celebration of the Stories for Homes community.
Shelter reps Laura Wilcox and Talia Pobischan
Debi Alper, Angelita Bradney and Sally Swingewood
Amanda Berriman kicked off the evening with a reading from A Home Without Moles, her story that opened the original Stories for Homes anthology. That story has became the novel Home, due to be published in February 2018.
We had further readings from Sophie Wellstood, Silvana Maimone, Caroline Hardman, Angelita Bradney, Andy Leach and Rachael Dunlop. Ted Bonham closed the evening with his touching and tender opener for Stories for Homes 2, The Life This Is.
Andy Leach reading his poem ‘It Was Only a Patch on the Wall’
Angelita Bradney reads from her story ‘Golden Eyes’
Stories for Homes 2 authors Angelita Bradney, Isabel Costello and Rachael Dunlop
Several authors – and supporters not included in the anthology – made long journeys to be with us on the evening. We appreciate every ounce of support, and must also mention the generosity of Jon, Justine and Karen of the Bookseller Crow on the Hill in hosting the event and allowing a bunch of rowdy writers to drink wine in their beautiful bookshop!
A highlight of the evening was a musical performance led by Dan Maitland and featuring Amanda Berriman, John Taylor, Cherry Park and Debi Alper on vocals. Their rendition of Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart struck a real emotional chord (pun not intended!). You can see an excerpt below.
Our next event will be on 8th January at the Alexandra Pub in Wimbledon – check our Events page for updated details. And we have something really special planned for the New Year – keep following us here and on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news. We love updates from all our readers and supporters.
Readers have been blown away by the quality of the writing in Stories for Homes 2 and we are pleased to see the immense talent of our contributors recognised. Each and every one donated their work to the project, a most generous gift.
Isabel Costello wrote a wonderful review of the book on her blog The Literary Sofa. She reflects not just on the impact of the stories in the book, but on the way fiction allows writers to access deeper truths in the lives of the ‘other’. She says:
‘it’s noticeable that many of the most powerful and insightful pieces are by authors crossing all kinds of boundaries of identity and experience, with conviction and sensitivity.’
and calls the anthology as a whole:
‘one of the finest short story anthologies I’ve come across, in its consistent quality and exceptional variety of theme, setting and tone.’
You can read her full review here and her pick of the best books of 2017 here (including Stories for Homes 2, we’re delighted to say).
Elsewhere, our co-editor Debi Alper was interviewed by Retreat West’s Amanda Saint – you can read it here and Debi’s own blog about Stories for Homes here. Stories for Homes 2 author Jaqueline Ward wrote movingly about her personal reasons for getting involved in the project here.
And last but most decidedly not least, we were delighted to see the estimable Lit Pig include Stories for Homes 2 on his list of perfect presents for readers this Christmas. His associate Tracy Fells made sure to take a picture of him enjoying his copy. You can find all Lit Pig’s recommendations for idea stocking fillers over on Twitter.
Despite the freezing weather, we had warm words and music in Andover last night. There were readings from Jacky Gilks, Nicola Judd and John Taylor. Cathy Mason conducted the Andover Museum Loft Singers and Suzanne Coates and Gwilym Stacey provided exquisite music on cello and piano.
Most generously, our hosts St Michael and All Angels West Andover donated the refreshments money originally destined for the church, and we raised at least £370 for Shelter, with more donations still to come.
John Taylor, who organised the event, said: ‘A highlight for me was the chance to read aloud Lorraine Wilson’s haunting Echoes in Stone. In a last minute change to the programme, we left a short silence, and then Suzanne and Gwilym played The Swan, by Saint-Saens. A moment I won’t forget’.
Our next event is the official launch party for Stories for Homes 2 on Friday 15th December at the Bookseller Crow on the Hill in Crystal Palace. We will be welcoming a representative from Shelter at this event, as well as many of our authors and supporters. Do please come if you can! Full details on our events page here.
Huge thanks to Rae Stoltenkamp who shared the stage with Stories for Homes at the launch of her YA SciFi sequel When Rainbows Cry. We had wonderful readings by Stories for Homes 2 authors Sue Lanzon, Joan Taylor Rowan and Dan Maitland. Thanks also to everyone who bought the book on the evening. Direct sales at events really help boost the total we can pass on to Shelter.
Rae Stoltenkamp chatting to Ross Montgomery
Up next: an evening of music and readings in West Andover on 9th December – full details on our Events page.
We had a wonderful first live event for Stories for Homes 2 at Folkestone Book Festival. Editor Debi Alper gave a moving account of how her experience of homelessness and housing crisis, and that of fellow-editor Sally Swingewood, gave birth to the Stories for Homes project in 2013. One of the aims of the project is to promote new writers and Debi was delighted to announce that Amanda Berriman, whose brilliant story A Home Without Moles opened the original anthology, will have her first novel Home published in February 2018. Fans of the original story will be thrilled to know that Home takes that story as its starting point to create a wonderful and engrossing novel that’s sure to be a huge success.
We then had readings from SfH2 contributors Isabel Costello, Michele Sheldon, Mike Blakemore, Rachael McGill and Rose McGinty. Our readers held the crowd enthralled with their wonderful readings and we raised almost £300 for Shelter through sales of both Stories for Homes 2 and the original Stories for Homes, and some generous cash donations.
Isabel Costello reading from her story ‘A Place to Paint Yellow’
Rachael McGill read her story ‘Full Powers’
Mike Blakemore reading ‘The Globe”
Michele Sheldon reads from her story ‘Monsters’
Thanks to everyone who came, and to Folkestone Book Festival for generously hosting this event alongside their main festival.
Our next event is an exciting Open Mic evening in New Cross, London, this coming weekend (2nd December). Check our events page for full details.
It’s here! The paperback edition of Stories for Homes 2 officially launches today. With beautiful original cover art by one of our editors, Sally Swingewood, and packed with the most stunning writing, it would make the perfect gift for anyone who loves to read. Both the paperback and Kindle editions can be found on our Amazon page.
Remember – all profits go directly to Shelter. The entire book has been produced by volunteers donating their time and talent, including our featured writers. The roster of authors in the book includes published novelists, award-winning short story writers and new authors you’re sure to hear more of in the future. We are grateful to each and every one of them.
We are organising a series of events to celebrate and promote Stories for Homes 2 and raise as much money as possible for Shelter. The events kick off in conjunction with the publication of our paperback edition, and the book will be available to buy at all our events. Most events are free, with the very kind sponsorship of the venues involved. Some events will be ticketed, with all profits going to Shelter. Please check our new Events page for all details.