On Wednesday we had the physical launch at the Garden House in Norwich, a fabulous evening at the centre of a four-day holiday for John and me (well, two of them were mainly spent driving!) - we had never been to Norwich before, or the Norfolk coast, and we took this opportunity to do so. (We almost went there once before, but didn't quite manage it. We had gone to interview the novelist and short-story writer Scott Bradfield for metropolitan magazine, but he turned out to live not quite in Norwich, but this side of it, and we only arrived in the late afternoon and then spent the evening with him, and had to rush back early next day). I must say that I loved Norwich - in spite of all the history, I had never quite imagined it to be as obviously steeped in it as it is, and our time there could be blog in itself if only time allowed. (And it's such a writers' place: every pub or cafe we went into seemed to host writers' events.)
It was great to be introduced to the phenomenon that is Project U, Unthank's series of events, to Ashley Stokes, our indefatigable editor, and to the other two contributors who read, Maggie Ling and Sharon Zink - it was also the launch for Sharon's amazing-sounding novel Welcome to Sharonville. (I read from my story in Red Room, too.) The room was filled with a really thoughtful and friendly audience, many of them writers themselves, and apparently a good few books were sold - I know I signed a fair few - and there were delicious cakes, made by Unthank's Lily Bradic!
Here are some photos John managed to take with my (by now pretty ropey) camera:
Chatting afterwards with Tommy Collin, designer of Unthology 5's striking cover:
Already Unthology 5 is getting rave reviews. To add to the first, which described it as 'flawless', there are now two more: a customer review on Amazon by Lander Hawes and a review by The Workshy Fop who says 'Unthology is quietly becoming a reliable guide to the state of the modern short story, a companion to Nicholas Royle’s annual Best of British Short Stories anthology'. I'm chuffed that he calls my story, 'Clarrie and You', 'a well-told subtle piece', although he considers it to be about ageing, which I don't - actually, it's about something quite different, to my mind - but then, as Dan Powell said at the London Short Story Festival, you can't legislate about how people take your stories; once they're out there they're other people's to take as they want.