Bookshop is a new online store for independent bookshops in the UK that allows readers to order directly through them and for booksellers to keep a healthy percentage of the sale. Please support your local bookshop by searching for them on the website, then selecting your lockdown/xmas books through the search engine. You can read more about it here.
Anita Sethi has interviewed six shortlisted writers (including myself) for this year’s Portico Prize for the Observer New Review… with portrait photographs by Richard Saker (this one was taken in Mytholmroyd on a cold, blustery December afternoon)
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile has made it onto this year’s £10,000 Portico Prize for Literature shortlist, an award for writing that “best evokes the spirit of the North”. Other shortlisted titles include Saltwater by Jessica Andrews (Sceptre), Ironopolis by Glen James Brown (Parthian), The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson (Lightning Books), The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney (Picador), and Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place by Benjamin Myers (Elliott & Thompson).
Here’s what the Bookseller had to say about it:
The shortlist of six was revealed on Monday (9th December) and was praised by the judges for celebrating “the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North”. It comprises four fiction titles, three of which are debuts, and two non-fiction titles, while the ratio of books from mainstream publishers against independents is 50:50.
The six books were whittled down from a longlist selected by the Portico Prize’s newly formed Society of Readers and Writers. They were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by journalist and broadcaster Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads.
Savidge said: “This list defies the rumour that it’s grim up North. Yes, it can be gritty up North; yes, it can be gothic up North; but more than anything it’s glorious and great up North. These books celebrate the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North…”
The good ship Rough Trade Books have published an exclusive new edition, Sweating Tears with Fat White Family. It’s a pamphlet that I have worked on alongside Lisa Cradduck (my long-term collaborator and partner-in-crime) and together we have created this beautifully sordid publication. This exclusive edition features demonic engravings by printmaker Lisa Cradduck, inspired by Berber folklore and the grotesque 16th century drolleries of Richard Breton.
“A revealing examination of the dysfunctional songwriting partnership at the heart of one of Britain’s most unpredictable and controversial contemporary rock ’n’ roll bands, Sweating Tears with Fat White Family features candid interviews by author Adelle Stripe with Fat White Family singer Lias Saoudi and guitarist Saul Adamczewski. From childhood traumas to adult squalor and critical success, it is a tale of bitterness, humour, excess, cruelty, and the vile affections that bind this exceptional pairing on their continued Orphean descent into the underworld.”
Eight Days Left is a new short story by Adelle Stripe that was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Art Gallery in response to the Martin Parr Return to Manchester exhibition. It was performed in the Gallery on Wednesday 5th December as part of the 2018 Manchester Literature Festival. The story, which is inspired by one day in the life of a Salford funeral director, is now available to read at Manchester Review. An audio version can be heard on Soundcloud…
Philippa Morris, of Petergate’s Little Apple Bookshop, has made Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile ‘Book of the Week’ in this weekend’s York Press…
“The novel is gripping and written with real insight. The Buttershaw estate is described in gruesome detail, as is the violence Dunbar experiences and the poignant unravelling of her young life. It is not all grim though: there are plenty of funny anecdotes. I particularly enjoyed the bits when Andrea goes to London to work on her play. It is so far removed from her own world and the way Stripe describes it brings into clarity how fake it must have seemed to Dunbar.At one point, someone spends £48 on a round of cocktails (more than most people earn in a week) and Dunbar keeps the receipt to show her mum.This is a story about the difficulty of having no aspirations or expectations and about having no one to help or guide you through an alien environment. A gritty northern novel everyone should read.”
Visit Caught by the River for my latest review of the inaugural editions of Rough Trade Books: “Flawlessly designed by Craig Oldham, this new collection by Rough Trade Books is every bit as valuable as the coveted Rough Trade singles, harnessing the spirit of DIY in each moreish edition….”
There’s a fantastic review of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Andy Miller in this week’s Spectator:
“Stripe’s novel mixes fiction and biography in a manner that brings to mind the work of the late Gordon Burn. It fizzes like two Disprin in a pint of cider. The author’s voice and Dunbar’s mingle to create not just a portrait of an artist — funny, mischievous, reckless and truthful — but also divisions of class, geography and opportunity which continue to shape this country. You can read it in an afternoon and should; there are too few British novels as effervescent or as relevant as this.”
In the spirit of the Gordon Burn Prize, the shortlist is far-reaching, eclectic and provocative. It includes two debuts, four works of fiction and two of non-fiction, with a third of the list published by two small presses as the resurgence of the independent publisher in the UK continues.
“The Gordon Burn Prize shortlist continues to showcase some of the most interesting contemporary writing in its wide-ranging selection of titles. Six titles were selected by judges Petina Gappah, Allan Jenkins, Ian Sansom and Cosey Fanni Tutti to go forward:
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe (Wrecking Ball Press)
Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova (Granta Books)
First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta Books)
The Long Drop by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan (Faber & Faber)
This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson (CB Editions)
Ian Sansom, one of the judges, commented:
‘Gordon Burn was unique and the Gordon Burn Prize is unique. It recognises what so many prizes fail to recognise: that literature, like all art, is in a constant process of reinvention and renewal and that the novel is a truly bastard form. The Gordon Burn Prize is a celebration of the art of possibility. This year’s shortlist includes hybrid works in many forms – autofiction, memoir, biography, travel writing and crime — and draws attention to brilliant and truly inventive work that might otherwise be overlooked. All ye that are weary and heavy burdened, gaze upon these works and wonder!’
The winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2017 will be announced at Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12 October 2017. Tickets are on sale from the Durham Book Festival website from 10 August.