Friday, 2 March 2018

This week at Valley Press, #91: 'The Elements'

Dear bookish types,

It’s been another couple of exciting weeks here at Valley Press HQ, with visits from poetry royalty, a graphic novel launch, new books in the Valley Press shop and plans afoot for a Mother’s Day offer. But first, let me tell you about the gorgeous and unseasonable sunshine we’ve had here in Scarborough – it’s been so beautiful that we’ve all been out in the Woodend gardens, sunbathing and drinking home-made lemonade.

OK, that is a total lie. We’re on the east coast and managed to get the full force of the ‘Beast from the East’, causing hugely exciting drifts of alien-like foam over the seafront and much panic-buying of bread and milk in our local supermarket. It did not stop the tenacious and dedicated Valley Press staff from sledging, skiing and snow booting in to the office though; you can see the blizzard from our office window here and another great viewpoint here.

Before the worst set in, we were treated to a right royal visit – poetry royalty, that is – in the shape of the Bard of Barnsley, Ian McMillan. Ian had been running a writing workshop over at the Scarborough Art Gallery, and had accepted an invitation to see our offices (since they're just a few metres away). He was particularly taken with our world literature, and took a copy of Ye Guangqin's Mountain Stories away with him (along with a few other treats). If you don’t follow Ian on Twitter (@IMcMillan), you really should think about it for his early morning stroll tweets if nothing else. They’re little pockets of poetry all on their own, in fact his whole thread is filled with interesting poetry stuff, funny things and really lovely photos. He’s a noticer of things, is Ian, and a sharer. We like that.

The last couple of weeks also saw the successful launch of How to Disappear Completely, in Leeds. It was a great event, held by Tall Boys Beer Market in association with OK Comics, with a really good mix of people... one of them, aspiring film-maker Tom Box, even produced this music video documenting the night. The graphic novel is a bit of a departure from what we usually print, but we like to think that we have impressively eclectic tastes! Give it a go, you will like it.

Next up, news of a new book. This is the best bit of my job, telling all you lovely people about the brilliant authors we are able to support. Trace Elements is Nigel Forde’s first collection with Valley Press, after a long career in the poetry spotlight, and it is something very special. I try to read each book that comes out of the Valley Press publishing house, because it means I can really get behind them and know what I’m talking about; so I can tell you that the poems in this collection are delicate, fine-boned, and do not bludgeon the reader into submission. Instead, they speak softly about what it is to be human, the Ying and Yang of it all. It’s a smashing collection and you should certainly consider it as your next poetry purchase.

Speaking of which, we now get to our Mother’s Day offer. We are giving you 15% off until 3pm on Thursday with voucher code MOTHER on any purchase through our website. And there’s more, oh yes! Because we want to make it dead easy for you to treat your mum, we are throwing in a handmade Mother’s Day card, worth £3.00, printed by my own fair hands while it has been snowing and I have had cabin fever. They look like this:

So, just to clarify, all you have to do is buy your lucky mum one (or more) titles from the Valley Press shop, add the code 'MOTHER' at the checkout, and your book(s) and card will be sent out to you in the post. (You won’t have to venture out and risk polar bears or walruses in the tundra conditions out there.) If you want an alternatively-worded card for Gran, Auntie, or anyone else, just let us know and we will do the best we can to make your Mother’s Day a good one. People who care for us should be celebrated, and we might well be biased, but we think the best way of doing that is by offering cracking, first-rate literature. Chocolates often go down well too, but if we had those in the office we wouldn’t be able to control ourselves and all the books would be covered in sticky fingerprints.

That’s about it from me for this week, have a wonderfully bookish weekend. May I suggest a warm radiator or a roaring fire, a Valley Press book and a glass of something lovely and tummy-warming?

Best wishes,
Wendy Pratt (Reader Engagement Officer)

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