BookBlast Waterstones 10×10 Tour Full Tour Listings News Archive

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A Nationwide Festival of Independent Publishing! Book Info & Authors

A carnival of authors, poets, translators and publishers, under the banner of trailblazing agency BOOKBLAST® created by Georgia de Chamberet, will be travelling to major cities across England, showcasing some of the finest independent-spirited literature and poetry being published today. With these events, BookBlast® aims to unite people in the spirit of friendship and exchange.

on the road bookblast 10x10 tourTHE BOOKBLAST® 10×10 TOUR, in association with Waterstones, will visit nine regions of England, celebrating risk-taking publishers who fill a unique niche in discovering talent. The tour connects London and the regions.

Read the full Media Release here . . .

THE BOOKBLAST® 10×10 TOUR launches in Waterstones Gower Street, located in the heart of Bloomsbury, London, followed by a series of themed talks, each one chaired by a small independent publisher, held in flagship regional branches of Waterstones over 9 weeks. It promises to be a hugely exhilarating celebration of the most electrifying prose and poetry being created today.

bookblast 10x10 tour assoc waterstones publishersThe 10×10 Tour listings

10×10 Tour LAUNCH: Tues 11 SEPT – Waterstones 82 Gower Street, London W1. 6.30pm for 1 hour. Discussion Theme: Independence: A Permanent Revolution

Eric Lane, Chairman, Dedalus Books (contemporary English & translated European fiction), chair. Dedalus was founded in 1983 with the aim of being an alternative to mainstream publishing, and publish books which are well produced and of the highest literary quality, but which do not rely on a mass market.

Glasgow-born novelist Andrew Crumey lives in Newcastle and has had eight novels published by Dedalus. He has a PhD in theoretical physics and was literary editor of Scotland on Sunday for six years. He won the Saltire First Book Award for Music, in a Foreign Language. Sputnik Caledonia won the Northern Rock Foundation Writers Award and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award. Mr Mee was longlisted for the IMPAC and Booker prizes. His latest is a short-story cycle, The Great Chain of Unbeing.

the great chain of unbeing andrew crumey bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: The Great Chain of Unbeing published in March 2018, is Crumey’s first short story collection, after seven novels. “It is a delightful introduction to his singularly riddling work – and in Crumeyesque style it is an intermezzo that doubles as an overture. It is in some ways a novel masquerading as a short story collection. For a reader who is new to his work, the thing which stands out – more than the quantum physics and philosophical paradoxes – is how funny a writer Crumey is. Although there is both wit and insight in this collection, there is an undertow of melancholy. It circles around human failings even in alien circumstances. The longest piece, The Assumption has the queasy ennui of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. There is a sense of desperate repetition: the same tribulations, the same deceits, the same prevarications. If, as in Crumey’s horrific thought experiments, everything happens again and again and again, then it is at least a consolation that I shall read this again and again and again.” — Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

BUY The Great Chain of Unbeing

Margaret Jull Costa OBE is a British translator of Portuguese-and-Spanish-language fiction crime of father amaro coverand poetry, including the works of Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, Javier Marías, Bernardo Atxaga, José Régio and Nobel Prize winner José Saramago.

Book focus: The Crime of Father Amaro by Eça de Queiroz, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, published in April 2018, is a terrific novel. “The novel’s plot is as sensational now as then: A priest, prey to erotic reverie and utterly without a true clerical vocation, half seduces, half falls in love with, the daughter of his landlady. The first two-thirds of The Crime of Father Amaro depicts the tactics of growing desire between Amaro and Amelia. The last third charts the consequences of their illicit passion.” — Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

cousin bazilio bookblast eca de queiroz 10x10 tourCousin Bazilio by Eça de Queiroz, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, (2016), is a European classic by Portugal’s most celebrated 19th century writer. “Adultery, blackmail, sentimentality and lust all come under Eça’s scrutiny. Sins are scattered amid a gallery of vivid characters, central of which are the adulterous heroine, her first love, the cuckolded husband, and most importantly, the maid. This cunning portrayal of life below stairs casts a cold eye across the hypocrisy of ‘respectability,’ recreating the sultry summer heat of Lisbon and the tensions and passions underlying both the refinements of the wealthy and the loyalty of the servants. Sheer brilliance.” – The Good Book Guide


BUY Cousin Bazilio

Weds 12 SEPT – Waterstones Newcastle: BLUEMOOSE BOOKS 6.30pm for 1 hour.
Discussion theme: The Northern Influence on Books & Culture

 Kevin Duffy, publisher, Bluemoose Books (new fiction, new voices), chair.
Bluemoose Books is an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Kevin and Hetha Duffy started Bluemoose in 2006. Their prizewinning writers include Benjamin Myers, Michael Stewart and Adrian Barnes. The Secret to not Drowning by Colette Snowden was one of six titles to be chosen for “Brave New Reads 2016”.

collette snowden bookblast 10x10 tourManchester-born, Colette Snowden, lives in Manchester with her three children. She is a journalist and went to St Andrews University. Her novel, The Secret to not Drowning, was Mumsnet Book of the month and chosen as a Brave New Reads 2016.

Book focus: The Secret to not Drowning, (2015), is a thought-provoking psychological domestic drama. How did the girl who once dreamed of being a Charlie’s Angel become such a cowed and submissive woman? Marion’s life appears perfectly fine but she is controlled and bullied by her husband who is always referred to as He or Him and the capital H is relevant because this emphasises the way in which he seems to regard himself (somewhat god-like) and expects Marion to be humble, obedient and perhaps a little less than human. Her only respite is a once-a-week trip to the local swimming pool: floating in the water is her escape from being controlled and belittled. A chance meeting with an old school-friend develops into a secret relationship. She could leave her abusive and unfaithful husband. But is it too late?

BUY The Secret to not Drowning

dan micklethwaite bookblast 10x10 tour Dan Micklethwaite is an award-winning short story author and novelist who does most of his writing in a shed in West Yorkshire. His debut novel, The Less than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote, was shortlisted for The Guardian’s “Not the Booker Prize” in 2016.

Book focus: The Less Than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote (2016) is a modern, inner-city fairy tale. Donna Crick-Oakley lives at the top of a tower block in Huddersfield, in a flat that’s literally carpeted with books. She’s become so immersed in the fairy tales and fantasies they contain that even when she does go outside, she relies on them for inspiration and to mediate the experience. To the extent that she makes some armour out of oven trays and dresses herself up as a medieval knight errant.


BUY The Less Than Perfect Legend of Donna

Thurs 20 SEPT – Waterstones Leeds: COMMA PRESS 6.30pm for 1 hour
Discussion theme: Birmingham & Leeds: A Tale of Two Cities

Sarah Cleave, publishing manager, Comma Press is a non-profit independent publisher based in Manchester, whose mission is to put the short story at the heart of contemporary narrative culture. Comma’s award-winning publications include collections by new and established authors, interdisciplinary collaborations between authors and scientists, and translation commissions devised to identify cutting-edge (often marginalized) voices from across the world. Comma delivers masterclasses and creative writing courses throughout the year, and hosts the National Creative Writing Graduate Fair.

book of birmingham comma press bookblast 10x10 tourC.D. Rose has written stories set in Paris, Naples, St. Petersburg, Lisbon, Manchester and Birmingham. Some of these have been published in Best British Stories 2018GorseThe Lonely Crowd and Lighthouse magazines, and Comma’s Parenthesis and Book of Birmingham anthologies.

Book focus:The Book of Birmingham: A City in Short Fiction, edited by Kavita Bhanot, is part of Comma’s popular ‘Reading the City’ series, and is published in September 2018. Birmingham is a writer’s city with a long tradition of distinctive literary subcultures. Long-established novelists such as David Lodge and Jim Crace have spent most of their writing lives there, and the city continues to support and inspire a new generation of voices. Bringing together fiction from some of the city’s most talented writers, The Book of Birmingham showcases and celebrates original and unusual writing, in all its forms.

BUY The Book of Birmingham

The Book of Leeds comma press bookblast 10x10 tourIan Duhig was the eighth of eleven children born to Irish parents with a liking for poetry. He won the National Poetry Competition twice, and also the Forward Prize for Best Poem; his collection, The Lammas Hireling, was the Poetry Book Society’s Choice for Summer 2003. His short stories have featured in various Comma Press anthologies, and he has held various Royal Literary Fund fellowships at universities including Lancaster, Durham, Newcastle and his own alma mater, Leeds.

Book focus: The Book of Leeds: A City in Short Fiction, edited by Tom Palmer & Maria Crossan, (2006), is a collection of stories that take place at oblique angles to the larger events in the city’s history, or against wider currents that have shaped the social and cultural landscape of today’s Leeds: a modern city with both problems and promise.

Millgarth Police Station reverberates with the early adrenalin-rush of a case they won’t close for years. A teenage boy trails the city centre bars of the eighties in thrall to his hero – a Leeds United football hooligan . . . A single woman finds her frustrations with men confirmed speed-dating in a city re-invented as a party capital . . . Bringing together fiction from some of the city’s most celebrated writers, The Book of Leeds traces the unique contours that fifty years of social and economic change can impress on a city.


Thurs 27 SEPT – Waterstones Nottingham: ISTROS BOOKS 6.30pm for 1 hour.
Discussion theme: The End of the World? How the Balkans writes the Holocaust

Susan Curtis, publisher, Istros Books (books from the Balkans), chair. Susan is a translator the Founding Director of Istros Books, an independent publisher of contemporary literature from South East Europe, based in Bloomsbury, London. Istros Books was established in 2011 to showcase the very best fiction and non-fiction from the Balkan region to a new audience of English speakers, through quality translation. Its authors include European prize winners, polemic journalists turned crime writers and social philosophers turned poets.

Doppelganger istors books bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić, translated from Croatian by SD Curtis, published in October 2018, consists of two stories that skillfully revisit the question of “doubles” (famously explored by Stevenson, Dostoyevsky and others), and how an individual is perpetually caught between their own beliefs and those imposed on them by society. Arthur and Isabella is a story of the relationship between two elderly people who meet on New Year’s Eve — a romantic encounter which turns into a grotesque portrayal of the loneliness of old age. The second story Pupi — a strange mirror of the first — centres on the life of a man who ends up on the streets and associates only with street-sellers the rhinoceroses in the zoo.

Christina Pribićević-Zorić, translator from Bosnian/ Serbian/ Croatian and French
Christina Pribićević-Zorić was educated at Boston University and the Sorbonne. She worked for twenty years as a broadcaster at the English Language Service, Radio Belgrade and later joined the BBC in London from 1995-1998. During the following decade, she worked in The Hague at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, first as the Head of the English Translation Unit, and later as the Chief of the Conference and Language Services Section. Christina Pribićević-Zorić has translated over 35 translated works of fiction and non-fiction from Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian and French into English.

BUY Doppelgänger

house of remembering and forgetting istros books bookblast 10x10 tour Book focusThe House of Remembering & Forgetting by Filip David is translated from Serbian by Christina Pribićević-Zorić, (2017).  Albert Weiss has been deprived of his original identity since early childhood, by the heroic act of his parents. His father, striving to save him from imminent death in a Nazi concentration camp, manages to make a hole in the floor of a train taking Jewish families to their deaths. He then pushes the young Albert and his brother on the tracks, hoping that someone would find and take pity on the two boys in the white winter night.

“This is a profound book, immense in its wisdom and courage, and it demands to be read several times. At its huge heart remains the image of the little boy — distantly related to none other than the famous escape artist Houdini — thrust out into the snow . . . So many questions, so few answers, and always the haunting sound of a train. Devotedly and painstakingly, Filip David probes our communal bewilderment, as well as the fate of Serbian Jews in particular.” — The Los Angeles Review of Books


Thurs 4 OCT – Brighton: Peirene Press 6.30pm for 1 hour.
Discussion theme: Inside Out: Voices of the Diaspora

 Meike Ziervogel, publisher, Peirene Press (European & World Literature in translation), chair. Meike is a novelist and publisher. She grew up in northern Germany and lives in North London. In 2012 Meike was voted as one of Britain’s 100 most innovative and influential people in the creative and media industries by the Time Out and Hospital Club 100 list. Meike is the author of four novels, all published by Salt. Her alter ego, “The Nymph” regularly writes about The Pain & Passion of a Small Publisher for Peirene online and is a must-read blog.  

Jamie Bulloch, translator, is an historian and translator of German literature. He has a translated 11 novels for MacLehose Press including Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes which was longlisted for the 2016 IMPAC award and 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize; and 5 novels for Peirene Press including The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke which won the 2014 Schlegel-Tieck Prize.

last summer peirene press bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: The Last Summer, (2017), is a psychological thriller by the pioneering German writer Ricarda Huch who won from Thomas Mann the title, “The First Lady of Germany,” and had an asteroid named in her honour. Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. To counter student unrest, the governor of St Petersburg closes the state university. Soon afterwards he arrives at his summer residence with his family and receives a death threat. His worried wife employs a young bodyguard, Lju, to protect her husband. Little does she know that Lju sides with the students – and the students are plotting an assassination. The Last Summer may be a novel of letters from the last century, but it has an astonishingly modern feel. Now for the first time in English. Read the BookBlast review of The Last Summer

Nashwa Gowanlock, translator, lives in Bury St Edmunds and holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was awarded a 2014 mentorship in the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) Emerging Translator mentoring scheme. She has translated numerous works of Arabic fiction and nonfiction.

shatila stories peirene press bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: Shatila Stories, translated from the Arabic by Nashwa Gowanlock, published June 2018, is the result of a creative writing workshop run by Peirene in 2017 in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Conditions in this overcrowded Palestinian camp are tough, and violence defines many of the relationships. Nine Syrian and Palestinian refugees were commissioned to create a piece of collaborative literature. The group consists of six women and three men between the ages of 20 and 43. Some have a university degree, others have never completed formal schooling. Most arrived from Syria over the last five years, while a couple are second and third generation Palestinian refugees born in Shatila. Their names are: Omar Khaled Ahmad, Nibal Alalo, Safa Khaled Algharbawi, Omar Abdellatif Alndaf, Rayan Mohamad Sukkar, Safiya Badran, Fatima Omar Ghazawi, Samih Mahmoud, Hiba Mareb.


BUY Shatila Stories

Thurs 11 OCT – Waterstones Norwich, Castle Street: Galley Beggar Press
6.30pm for one hour.  Discussion theme: All Hail the New Modernists! Experimentalism & Contemporary Literature

 Sam Jordison is co-director of Galley Beggar Press (Modernist Contemporary) in Norwich. He is also an author, teacher and journalist. Galley Beggar have an eye for literary talent. Their early success with experimental debut novel A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, which soared up the Amazon best-seller charts and won four awards, was a game-changer.

 Alex Pheby was born in Essex and moved to Worcester in his early childhood. He currently lives with his wife and children in London, where he teaches at the University of Greenwich. Alex’s second novel, Playthings, published by Galley Beggar Press in 2015, was shortlisted for the 2016 Wellcome Book Prize. His latest book, Lucia, is about James Joyce’s schizophrenic daughter who was Beckett’s lover.

Lucia alex pheby bookblast 10x10 tourBook focusLucia, published in June 2018, is one of the few surviving portraits of the troubled life of James Joyce’s only daughter. “She is about thirty-three, speaks French fluently. Her character is gay, sweet and ironic, but she has bursts of anger over nothing when she is confined to a straitjacket.” So wrote James Joyce in 1940, in a letter. Most other references to her have been lost. We know she was the lover of Samuel Beckett. She was a gifted dancer. From her late twenties she was treated for suspected schizophrenia. She spent the last thirty years of her life in an asylum. After her death, her voice was silenced. In sharp, cutting shards of narrative, Alex Pheby’s new novel imagines what may have happened – but it is not an attempt to speak for Lucia. Rather, it is an act of empathy and contrition – one that constantly interrogates what it means to speak for other people.

BUY Lucia

 Paul Stanbridge grew up in Essex. He has worked as a pensions administrator, bookseller, receptionist, waiter, archival catalogue editor, chef, barman, ministerial drafter, learning mentor and builder.  Forbidden Line, his first novel, was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the first novel category in the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize, 2017.

Stanbridge forbidden line bookblast 10x10 tour Book focus: Forbidden Line, (2016), is a fat, uncompromising and gloriously eccentric monster. It is a retelling of Don Quixote combined with a recreation of the Peasant’s Revolt; a gleeful hybrid of science, pseudo-science, absurd theory and profound, ingenious philosophy. Don and Is career around Essex and London, tilting at windmills, abusing petrol station assistants, fighting with each other and everyone around them. They are on a quest – as far as Don is concerned – to reveal the truth about history (or the lack of truth) and to uncover the secrets of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen… But Is – like most of us – isn’t really sure what Don is talking about. And all he really wants to do is get through to the next day – and back to his family. Both of which turn into extremely tricky propositions, as Don takes him ever deeper into danger, and the very structure of reality (as well as the narrative of Forbidden Line itself) begins to turn against them both . . .

Paul Ewen is a New Zealand writer based in south London. Paul’s first novel, Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author, was published by Galley Beggar Press in 2014. It went on to appear on numerous Books Of The Year lists, won a Society of Authors McKitterick Prize, and was described as “inspired” by the Sunday Times. Francis Plug: Writer In Residence is published in September 2018.

Ewen francis plug bookblast 10x10 tour

Book focus: Francis Plug: Writer In Residence, published in September 2018, follows the further hilarious mishaps of the loveable misfit, Francis Plug who is now adjusting to life as a newly published author. Interviews and publicity are coming his way, not to mention considerable acclaim. But Francis can’t understand why people think he was writing fiction. He also has plenty of other problems – and very little money.

“One thinks of Goethe, one thinks of Shelley: one thinks of Plug. He is a force of nature, he is sage, bard and prophet: he is in addition a random menace, and at all times you need to know exactly where he is. They say there are no statues to critics. But the fourth plinth awaits Francis. Perhaps he can be chained to it.” — Hilary Mantel


BUY Francis Plug

Thurs 18 OCT – Waterstones Bristol: HopeRoad Publishing 6.30pm for 1 hour.
Discussion theme: Trading Places: Bright City, Dark Secrets

Rosemarie Hudson, publisher, HopeRoad Publishing (African & Caribbean writing) chair.
HopeRoad promotes inclusive literature with a focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean; and vigorously supports often neglected voices. Many of HopeRoad’s YA titles focus on issues

 Peter Kalu is the Manchester-based author of three CYA novels: Silent Striker, Being Me and Zombie XI. Silent Striker is a semi-autobiographical novel that has as one of its themes how the world of a teen boy, Marcus, changes when he finds himself becoming deaf. Marcus appears as a side character in Being Me which features as main protagonist the neuro-atypical, Adele Vialli. He has written nine novels in all, including science fiction, crime and comedy; he has also written for the stage and screen. He has won prizes including the BBC / Contact dangerous Comedy Award and The Kodak Short Film Pitch Award. More at web: and twitter @peterkalu

Silent Striker pete kalu bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: The Silent Striker, published in September 2018, “is a book full to the brim with the joy, heartache and passion for the beautiful game. Along the way it deals with racism, disability, bullying, jealousy, young love, family life and friendship – all without a single patronising or forced word from beginning to end. It is written in beautiful clear prose and tells a story that every lover of football and life will instantly understand.” Melvin Burgess

Marcus is the best player in his football team. He’s so good that there’s a very real chance he’ll be signed by Manchester United. But when he discovers he may be losing his hearing, his whole world falls to pieces and he finds himself having to put them back together on his own. But is this feeling of isolation real or just a consequence of his own behaviour? While dealing with parents, friends and first girlfriends, Marcus gradually understands that accepting the help of others is ultimately an acceptance of self.

BUY The SIlent Striker

Qaisra Shahraz is a British-Pakistani critically acclaimed novelist, scriptwriter and Founder/Director of MACFEST, Muslim Art & Culture Festival. Author of The Concubine & The Slave Catcher, Qaisra is recognised as being ‘The Most Influential woman in Manchester’, winner of National Diversity ‘Lifetime achiever Award’& listed in Muslim Power 100.

qaisra shahraz The Concubine the Slave Catcher bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: Ranging widely across historical periods and national boundaries, The Concubine and The Slave-Catcher, (2017), Qaisra Shahraz’s new collection of ten short stories is powerful and an essential read. A well-meaning Abolitionist learns the sordid and violent truth about slavery from her African servants in Boston USA. The sundering of India and Pakistan in the 1947 Partition is revealed when a Muslim boy is adopted by a Hindu family during the chaos of mass migration. A young university student finds her engagement broken off because her fiancé’s family disapproves of her Western attire. The horrors of the Holocaust are writ large in one pregnant woman’s experiences. With each unique story, Shahraz captures and enriches us with her wisdom and storytelling magic.


BUY The Concubine and The Slave-Catcher

 Thurs 25 October – Waterstones Birmingham: Saqi Books
Discussion theme: The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write.

Elisabeth Briggs, editor and marketing manager, Saqi Books (writing from the Middle East) chair. Founded in 1983 in London, Saqi Books is an independent publishing house of quality general interest and academic books on North Africa and the Middle East. Over the years Saqi has expanded its list to include writers from all over the world and has established two imprints, Telegram and The Westbourne Press.

Birmingham-born spoken word artist, playwright and poet, Nafeesa Hamid, regularly performs in the Midlands and London. Her work engages with the issues of mental health, domestic violence, gender, identity and culture. She is currently studying in Derby and is part of Mouthy Poets, a collective of young artist and performers based in Nottingham.

Raised in Reading but living in Birmingham, Aliyah Holder is a spoken word poet and creative producer. She has collaborated with various collectives and organisations, and founded Herstory LIVE in 2015. As part of spoken word duo A2, she is  currently working on a Random Acts Film for Channel 4.

The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write bookblast 10x10 tourBook focus: The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz, (2017), celebrates writing by 22 British Muslim women from Algiers to Brighton, including Kamila Shamsie, Ahdaf Soueif, Leila Aboulela and Imtiaz Dharker. From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this collection blow away the narrow image of the ‘Muslim Woman’. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose childhood dreams of playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo.


BUY The Things I Would Tell You

Thurs 1 NOV – Waterstones Liverpool: Balestier Press. 6.30pm for 1 hour. Discussion theme: #MeToo Moments: Yan Ge in discussion with her translator, Nicky Harman, takes an unvarnished look at men behaving badly in China.

 Roh-Suan Tung, publisher, Balestier Press (contemporary Asian) chair.
Balestier Press publishes award-winning literature in a globalising world, literature in translation, young-adult fiction, and picture books.
twitter @BalestierPress

Yan Ge is based in Norwich. She is the chairperson of the China Young Writers Association. People’s Literature magazine chose her as one of China’s twenty future literary masters, and she was selected as Best New Writer by the prestigious Chinese Literature Media Prize in 2012. A young adult novella White Horse is published by Hope Road. The Chilli Bean Paste Clan, published by Balestier, is the recipient of an English PEN Award.

Nicky Harman is a UK-based prize-winning literary translator, working from Chinese to English. She focuses on fiction, poetry and occasionally literary non-fiction, by authors such chilli bean paste clan bookblast 10x10 touras Chen Xiwo, Han Dong, Hong Ying, Dorothy Tse, Xinran, Yan Geling and Zhang Ling. Longlisted for the FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards 2016, with Xu Xiaobin’s Crystal Wedding. Winner of the Mao Tai Cup People’s Literature Chinese-English translation prize 2015. Longlisted for the 2015 Best Translated Book Award Fiction BTBA Longlist, with Dorothy Tse’s Snow and Shadow. Winner of first prize in the 2013 China International Translation Contest, Chinese-to-English section, with Jia Pingwa’s Backflow River.

Book focus: The Chilli Bean Paste Clan, translated by Nicky Harman, published May 2018, is essentially a rags-to-riches tale about a small-town Chinese family’s fortunes. Their formidable matriarch Gran is set to celebrate her eightieth birthday, so her middle-aged children get together to make preparations. Long-time sibling rivalries flare up with renewed vigour and skeletons tumble out of family cupboards.  Nicky Harman’s dignified, pacey, idiomatic translation featuring colloquialisms and colourful insults radiates erudite energy, drawing the reader into a world of muddle and intrigue, blending farce and nostalgia. Read the BookBlast review of The Chilli Bean Paste Clan


BUY The Chilli Bean Paste Clan

 Thurs 8 NOV – Waterstones Manchester, Deansgate: Carcanet. 6.30pm for 1 hour.   Discussion theme: Claiming the Great Tradition: Women Recalibrate the Classics.

Michael Schmidt, publisher, Carcanet (poetry) chair. Carcanet was conceived at Pin Farm, South Hinksey, Oxford, in 1969 by Peter Jones, Gareth Reeves and Michael Schmidt. Carcanet Press primarily publishes poetry. In 2000 it was named the Sunday Times millennium Small Publisher of the Year.

carcanet bookblast 10x10 tourLondon-born poet, Jane Draycott, lives in Oxfordshire and is a tutor on postgraduate writing programmes at Oxford University and the University of Lancaster. Her first full collection, Prince Rupert’s Drop was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 1999. In 2002 she was the winner of the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry and in 2004, the year of her second collection, The Night Tree, she was nominated as one of the Poetry Book Society’s ‘Next Generation’ list of poets. Her translation of the 14th-century Pearl is a PBS Recommendation and winner of a Stephen Spender Prize for Translation.

BUY Pearl

Book focus: In a dream landscape radiant with jewels, a father sees his lost daughter on the far bank of a river: “my pearl, my girl”. One of the great treasures of the British Library, the fourteenth-century poem Pearl is a work of poetic brilliance. Its account of loss and consolation retains its force across six centuries. Jane Draycott in her new translation, published in September 2018, remakes the imaginative intensity of the original.

bookblast 10x10 tour carcanetPoet, Jenny Lewis, teaches poetry at Oxford University. She has published three collections, including Taking Mesopotamia (Oxford Poets/ Carcanet 2014), based on her search for her father who died when she was a few months old, and written seven plays including After Gilgamesh (Pegasus Theatre, Oxford 2011). In 2013 she embarked on a PhD at Goldsmiths, London University, writing a new, more “woman-friendly” version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The resulting book, Gilgamesh Retold, won the Warden’s Prize at Goldsmiths as part of Jenny’s “Writing Mesopotamia” project and was shortlisted for a Gladstone’s Library Residency.

Book focus: Jenny Lewis has produced a versatile and inventive retelling of Gilgamesh, published in October 2018, which brings alive a story that is resonant today as it was when first composed in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) four millennia ago. She captures the powerful allure of the world’s oldest poem while creating a fast-paced narrative for a new generation of readers, students and scholars. Lewis is the first practising woman poet to produce a full poetic translation. Her version possesses a fresh dynamic and tells a rounded, compelling human story.


BUY Gilgamesh Retold

The BookBlast Waterstones 10X10 Tour Sponsors

Waterstones booksellersWaterstones is the UK and Ireland’s leading high street bookseller with 283 shops, and it employs over 3,000 booksellers.  Waterstones is the only national specialist book retailer of scale in the UK, with the average sized shop carrying a range of around 30,000 individual books and with over 200,000 titles in the largest shop.

MMF logo JPEGThe 10×10 Tour’s core sponsor, The Miles Morland Foundation, offers African Writing Scholarships (in 2017 they received 550 entries for 5 Scholarships). Calling all African writers! For info about how to enter please visit

Supporting Partners

  • The Writers’ Centre, in Norwich aims to put literature at the heart of contemporary culture through pioneering and collaborative projects. twitter @WritersCentre
  • New Writing North supports writers in the north of England by way of talent and reader development programmes; prizes to writers; book groups etc. twitter @NewWritingNorth
  • The Society of Authors, founded 1884, is the UK trade union for over 10,000 writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. twitter @Soc_of_Authors
  • The Publishers’ Association, has a mission to strengthen the trading environment for UK publishers by providing a strong voice for the industry in government, in society and with other stakeholders in the UK, Europe and internationally. twitter @PublishersAssoc
  • The Birmingham Literature Festival promotes open discussion, ideas and the fundamental importance of literature. twitter @BhamLitFest
  • Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature is dedicated to building a better world with words and establishing Nottingham as a leading destination for lovers of literature.
    twitter @NottmCityOfLit
  • The Children’s Bookshow is a charity that aims to inspire school children with a love of reading through an annual programme of theatrical performances and in school workshops. twitter  @ChildrensBkSHow

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About Georgia de Chamberet 379 Articles
Bilingual editor, rewriter, anthologist, French-to-English translator. Has written for 3am magazine, words without borders, The Independent, The Lady, Banipal, Prospect Magazine, Times Literary Supplement. Currently writes for The BookBlast Diary. Founder (1997) of London-based writing agency BookBlast.