Guest Post: Left Lion Literature Editor

LeftLion Kickstarter Campaign

For the past ten years I’ve given my blood and guts to LeftLion magazine for free because it is such an important publication in helping to change perceptions about Nottingham. The magazine was created for two reasons: Partly to offer an alternative to the journalism of traditional publications such as the Evening Post and secondly to counteract the negative branding of Nottingham as ‘Shottingham’ after a spate of random shootings in the early noughties. My proudest moment was when we had the balls to run with the front cover ‘Another Shooting in Nottingham’ – referring, instead, to our thriving film industry.   

As the Literature Editor I have hosted spoken word events such as Scribal Gathering at the Nottingham Contemporary, literature podcasts and created and developed the WriteLion brand which at present gives two pages to poetry and literature. With a readership of around 40,000 we easily offer more exposure to poetry than the most established magazines on the market.

I have strived over the years to offer a space for self-published authors, ensuring a minimum of one review every issue. Online we have run interviews as well as extracts from books. Knowing that certain bookshops refuse to even stock self-published novels and most magazines won’t even entertain reviews, we have become a vital platform for a new generation of writer prepared to go it alone.

Now we need your support. To celebrate our tenth anniversary we are running a Kickstarter campaign to help raise £10,000 so that we can go monthly. This will mean even more reviews for self-published writers and space for new presses daring to offer an alternative to mainstream fiction. Not one penny of this campaign will go into my pocket. It is all for the additional cost of printing and distribution, as we aim to broaden our circulation by delivering to towns on the wider outskirts of the city.

This now all boils down to a very simple equation. If you support us we can support you.

James Walker is the Literature Editor of LeftLion magazine, Chair of the Nottingham Writers’ Studio, co-Director of the Festival of Words and a Board member of Nottingham: City of Literature. He is currently editing together the graphic novel Dawn of the Unread


Readers' Resource via The Booktrap

The Booktrap is a blog worth checking out. Included is a resource for readers who want to read about books and writers and writing. It includes brief introductions to different websites and the blogs worth wisiting, together with links so that you can fly straight there through the miracle of the Internet. Here's the link Readers' Resource


Gedling Book Festival June 20-22


Details    Programme


Friday June 20, 10am-5pm

Richard Bonington Theatre, Arnold, Notts NG5 7EE

Gedling Book Festival’s Day One - Crime & History Day

A talk by Helen Hollick on ‘Getting  good reviews by getting your novel right’. Helen is an author & the Managing Editor for Historical Novel Society’s Indie Reviews.

Elizabeth Chadwick talks about ‘Research and Preconceptions’. Elizabeth is a best-selling historical fiction author.

Stephen is a best-selling crime writer. His talk and Q&A will focus on the new book in his Cooper & Fry series, ‘The Corpse Bridge’

Penny Luithlen is a Literary Agent so this is a great opportunity for writers to ask questions.

Steve Mosby is an award winning Crime Writer. His talk is entitled ‘Nightmare Places: Ideas’

Free (no booking required, just turn up to any of the talks)


Saturday June 21, 10am-5pm

Gedling Borough Council Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU

For adults and children!

PETE JOHNSON 10.15am and 11.45am, Creative writing

JEREMY LEWIS 11am, Writing the news (for all ages)

RAJ PATHAK 12.30pm, Scriptwriting and film direction (for all ages)

JOHN STIRLAND 2.30PM, The BBC Gardener talks about ‘Growing for Victory’


Plus storytelling with Cherie Zamazing, sticker fun, face painting, pebble painting, science for children, magic, creative writing competition, puppets, book stalls, refreshments.

Free admission (no booking required, just turn up to any of the talks).


Sunday June 22, 10am-5pm

Gedling Borough Council Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU

ALEX DAVIS 10.30am
A creative writing workshop with Alex Davis, events’ organiser, author and Edge-Lit Coordinator.

DAVID HOWE 12.45pm
David is a writer and researcher for Dr Who and the Director of Telos Publishing. David’s contribution to the range of factual books published about Doctor Who is staggering. He is undisputedly the most prolific author of Doctor Who non-fiction ever.

A creative writing workshop and advice on ‘How to Approach Publishers’ from the acclaimed dark fantasy author.

Plus STEVE DEAN (Nottingham Fantasy Writer)

SAM STONE (Commissioning Editor, gothic, horror and fantasy fiction)

Shadow Games Gaming Store, Book Stalls Refreshments

PANEL Q&A 3.45pm

Cost? Free (no booking required, just turn up to any of the talks or activities).


Gedling Book Festival 2014, programme

Gedling Book Festival II - June 20-22, 2014

The Gedling Book Festival II June 2014, Friday 20th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Arnot Hill Park & Richard Bonington Theatre

Day One

Friday 20th June

Theme:  History and Crime Day
Venue: Richard Bonington Theatre, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 7EE

10.00am Opening by Cllr. Jenny Hollingsworth, Mayor of Gedling

10.30am Helen Hollick:  Historical Novel Review Society and Discovering the Diamond

11.30am Elizabeth Chadwick, Best-selling Historical Author: Research and Preconceptions

1.30pm Stephen Booth, Best-selling Crime Writer: The new Cooper & Fry novel ‘The Corpse Bridge’

2.30pm Penny Luithlen Literary Agent

3.00pm Steve Mosby, Award winning Crime Writer: Nightmare Places: Ideas

Day Two of the Gedling Book Festival

Saturday 21st June

Theme:  Children's Day
Venue: Gedling Borough Council Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU

10.00am Open

10.00-11.00am Sticker fun (for young children)

10.15-11.00am Creative Writing with Pete Johnson

10.30am-12.00noon Face Painting

11.00am Jeremy Lewis: Writing the News (for all ages)

11.00am Storytelling with Cherie Zamazing plus Pebble Painting (for young children)

11.45am-12.30pm Creative Writing with Pete Johnson

12.00 Noon Science for Children

12.30-1.15 Raj Pathak - Scriptwriting and film direction (for all ages)

1.00-4.00pm Face Painting

1.00-1.45 Magic (for young children)

2.00pm  Launch of the Sixth Annual Creative Writing Competition for Children and Young People of Nottinghamshire

2.15-3.00pm Puppets (for young children)

2.30-3.30pm John Stirland BBC Gardener ‘Growing for Victory’

3.30-4.15pm Katy Perry Tribute Act

5.00pm Close

Day Three of the Gedling Book Festival

Sunday 22nd June

Theme:  Sci-Fi/Fantasy Day
Venue: Gedling Borough Council Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU

10.00am Open

10.30-11.30am Alex Davis, creative writing tutor, events organiser, author and Edge-Lit Coordinator - Creative Writing Workshop

12.45-1.45pm David Howe, Writer and researcher for Dr Who and Director of Telos Publishing. David’s contribution to the range of factual books published about Doctor Who is staggering. He is undisputedly the most prolific author of Doctor Who non-fiction ever.

2.00-3.30pm Adam Dalton, Acclaimed dark fantasy author - Workshop Creative Writing and How to Approach Publishers. His latest novel is Tithe of the Saviours

Time to be confirmed: 

Participating: Steve Dean (Nottingham’s Fantasy Writer)

Sam Stone: British author of gothic, horror and fantasy fiction and commissioning editor of Telos Publishing imprint Telos Moonrise.

Shadow Games Gaming Store

3.45-4.30pm Panel

More details to be announced

Please note: This programme may be subject to change at short notice.


Find your local bookshops

If you have a book out, it's well worth contacting your local independent bookshops, to make sure they are stocking it. Local stores usually like to support local authors, especially if the book is set in the area.

Here is a great link - courtesy of Marilyn Rice - where you can find a list of the local book stores in your area, just click on the link below and type in your postcode.  

Local Bookshops

Beeston Book Read - update

The winner will now be announced on January 25th at 11.00am at Beeston Library.
John Holmes (BBC Radio Nottingham) will present the award.
Closing date for votes: Dec 21st


Creative Writing, in Peterborough

Olive Green Workshop, Peterborough

With Writer Fiona Linday Saturday, 9th November 2013
11am - 4.30pm
Cost £40

Is there a book in you dying to get out. Join East Midland’s author, Fiona Linday to share her writing journey with workshop participants. She will give a taste of her award winning writing from life and unveil some of the mystery surrounding short story writing. The creative writing tutor is usually found at Embrace Arts, Leicester University. This exciting workshop is where you'll hear her reading extracts of her fiction and she will provide exercises to practise exploring the writing process. Later, she’ll share her experience of becoming published. Details of a useful local ebook publisher will also be available.



A Teddy Bear Short Of A Picnic

This article first appeared in the October/November 2013 edition of the Left Lion magazine.


Festival IX in pictures

At Gedling Civic Centre
Mark Gwynne Jones entertains with his poetry
Chris Day offers his unique selling tips

Frankie Owens, author of The Little Book of Prison
Top crime writer Steven Dunne talks about his road to publishing
Mayor of Gedling Bob Collis helps present the prizes
in our creative writing competition for children
Nottinghamshire's got talent
Pictures courtesy of the wonderful author Marilyn L Rice



David Page - page turner

NWUK member David Page - pen name Harry Riley - featured in a nice article in the Nottingham Post. They got his age wrong - David is a mere 73 - but highlighted the fact that his book Sins of the Father has been entered into this autumn's The People's Book Prize.  
Voting is now taking place, in time for the Nov 30th closing date, via this link

Self-Publishing - the nuts and bolts

Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing with award winning self-published author Georgia Twynham

Writing East Midlands and Leicester Writers Club presents:

Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing with award winning self-published author Georgia Twynham

When: 19th September 2013 7pm- 9pm
Where: The Satta Hashem Hall, Leicester Adult Education College, Wellington Street, Leicester, LE1 6HL
Cost: £4 for non-members of Leicester Writer Club, free for members of Leicester Writers Club
Are you tired of being rejected by mainstream publishers? Read some amazing self-published books recently and thought – I could do that? Do you have an idea you would love to see on the pages of your very own book and in the hands of readers all over the world without the delay of the publishing industry?
Come and meet Georgia Twynham – acclaimed self-published author of The Thirteenth Series find out what it’s really like to be self-published and successful. Georgia will discuss how you can stay in control of the publishing process and find new ways of reaching your readership. Let her guide you through all the pitfalls and give you all her hints and tips from day one, right through to the finished copy. Hear all about her success with marketing and how to get readers and keep them.
A great source of inspiration and information for any budding author.
There will be a Q & A session and the chance to network with likeminded writers and industry processionals.
For more information on this event please email or call
01159 59 79 29
This workshop is brought to you as part of the Writing East Midlands, Routes to Writing series. Routes to Writing is the Writer Development programme at the heart of what we do, providing opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established writers to develop their craft. For more information please see
For more information on Leicester Writers Club please see

About Georgia Twynham

When Georgia had the idea to write a six-book series, she never stopped to question if it was possible to make it a success. She just wanted to write her stories and wait to see if her readers enjoyed them.
Her first book in The Thirteenth series, entitled The Thirteenth, has not only sold in the thousands but has won the Lincolnshire Young People’s Book Award 2010, alongside David Walliams’ Mr Stinky. After high demand from children and adults alike, she released the second and third books in the series, The Turncoats and Nyteria Rising to even greater reviews – which took second place in the Lincolnshire Young Peoples Book Award 2013.
In recognition of her success and her ever growing fan base of avid readers and over 10,500 Facebook fans, Georgia was approached by AudioGo, home of the BBC audiobook, who have purchased the audio rights to the first three books in her series. These are now available in the UK and USA.
Waterstones, having seen the potential in her debut novel, now hold all three books in the series in circa one hundred stores across the UK. She has taken part in many signing events at some of their largest stores, including multiple events at their Nottingham and Manchester flagship stores, and was there to help re-launch the children’s section in the Manchester Deansgate store in the run-up to Christmas.
Having numerous BBC radio interviews under her belt, she was delighted to be invited to take part in the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show. This exposure, coupled with more than fifty-five newspaper and magazine articles; not to mention her tireless promotional work with schools, libraries and book sellers, has inspired Georgia to keep working on completing The Thirteenth series for her fans.


The Westbrook Affair - special offer

The Westbrook Affair
the new novel by A R Dance
(author of Narrow Marsh & Leen Times)

Set in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire in the mid-nineteenth century, The Westbrook Affair chronicles the lives of families from opposite ends of the social divide. It is a gripping story of poverty and wealth, betrayal and greed and ultimately the search for justice and the truth.

Young Joseph Lambert has enjoyed all the childhood privileges befitting the son of a wealthy Yorkshire squire. But when his widowed father is mysteriously killed in a riding accident, his comfortable world is suddenly torn apart. Joseph’s elder brother, the dissolute and self-indulgent Miles, inherits the estate and promptly abandons his young brother, leaving him to fend for himself.

Determined to seek his fortune, the thirteen-year-old orphan makes his way to Sheffield where he secures an apprenticeship in a cutlery factory. Seven years later, now an accomplished and skilled craftsman, he marries Hannah and soon a daughter, Eliza, is born. But barely is Eliza old enough to know her father, when tragedy strikes. Hannah is struggling to support herself and her daughter, when one day an old lady arrives with an astonishing tale to tell.

And slowly, a forgotten family secret begins to unfold.

The Westbrook Affair is published by Arundel Books and will be available to purchase from the beginning of October. Paperback, 288 pages £7.99. Available to order from all good bookshops, or via Amazon. ISBN 978-0-9558133-5-1



Until 31st December 2013 you can purchase copies for just £6.99 each, post free direct from the publisher. Please send cheques to:

Arundel Books, 2 Audon  Avenue, Chilwell, Nottingham NG9 4AW


Take part in the Big Beeston Book Read


Are you a member of a Notts library? If so, get down to Beeston and take part in the Big Beeston Book Read. 

Simply borrow one of 8 new books and, when you return it, give it a score out of ten.  




Review of Teddy Goes to Buckingham Palace

The following review appeared in the Aug/Sept edition of the Left Lion magazine.
Well done to NWUK members Susan Beecroft (author) and Howard Barton (illustrator).