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Tuesday, 23 February 2016 19:14

February 2016 - named 'Literary Hero' in The Skinny

Stirred Poetry's literary heroes

I've been named a Literary Hero by Stirred Poetry in the February edition of The Skinny!

"Rosie Garland commands the stage fully whether she is performing poetry, playing with her punk band March Violets or hosting cabaret. I learned stage craft watching her perform. Her novels, Palace of Curiosities (2013) and Vixen (2015), have been highly praised. She is particularly inspiring when she talks about the long, hard slog of writing, getting published, and managing to shut up her inner critic. We have been honoured to have her perform for us." [Anna Percy]

Read the whole article here -

The Skinny - Feb 2016

Published in News
Monday, 11 May 2015 16:01

6.3.2015 - Interview in Network Buzz #3

Really delighted to be interviewed in Issue 3 of Network Buzz!
Here's the link:
Click to read Network Buzz online

or you can read the full interview here...

Thomas Anderson Inclusive Networks interview

2015 has got off to a great start thank you. I'm now working for myself which is wonderful. Hope you're well and excited about the paperback release of Vixen.

1 - Your second novel Vixen is about to be released on paperback. What's the book about?

The year is 1349. In an isolated village deep in a forest in the south west of England, the arrival of a mysterious young woman – the Vixen - turns the lives of the villagers upside down.
I am fascinated by times when the world was on the cusp of massive change. 1349 was the year the Black Death struck England. Its shadow could be seen advancing across Europe. I wanted to capture that sense of a deadly, inescapable force heading your way.

2 - Are isolation and loneliness things that you personally fear?

Not any more.
But I've had my share. I spent my teenage years in Devon, which was not a good place to be in any way 'different'. It wasn't just about sexuality – anything that wasn't marriage and 2.4 children (preferably with one on its way by the age of 16) was regarded as deeply suspect. I yearned for escape and counted the days till I was 18 and could escape.

3 - Your debut novel 'The Palace of Curiosities' was very well received and is adored by many people. What were you feeling ahead of the release of Vixen last year?

Fear!
As my follow-up novel, it felt like the 'difficult second album' on occasion. Vixen is a different book to 'The Palace of Curiosities' and not just in the 500-year time shift.
I have a nasty inner critic – Mavis - who never ever says anything nice. She kept whispering that the reaction would be a sneering 'Ok, so people liked 'The Palace of Curiosities'. They aren't going to like Vixen.'
Luckily, that hasn't been the case.
I've blogged about Mavis here: http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/177-being-a-writer-dealing-with-the-internal-censor.html

4 - How did you feel when the book began receiving lots of great feedback and was dubbed 'Best for Historical Fiction fans' in Grazia's Summer reading list?

I've been astounded by the great response! Here's a snippet from the amazing review in Diva: 'Poetic, surprising and ultimately deeply moving, Vixen will have you hooked faster than it takes to drink a jug of ale and – unlike ale – it will stay with you long after you've reached the final page.'

5 - How important are magazine and online reviews to you?

Very and not at all, if that makes any sense.
Positive reviews are wonderful; I'd be lying if I said they weren't. I'm extremely lucky to have had nothing but - so far. I won't let them go to my head. I'd hate to become one of those people who are so puffed up about themselves they believe their own publicity and are a complete nightmare to be around. After all, a review is a personal opinion and nothing more.

6 - Do you think your books would adapt well to the small, or big, screen and how would you react if this idea was brought to you?

I would be delighted! Seriously, I'd do my massively uncool happy dance.

7 - You're a big advocate of local book stores. Why do you think it's so important to shop local and support the independent book stores?

I don't know about anyone else, but I think it matters when yet another indie or queer-friendly café / club / shop closes down and is replaced with a faceless retail chain. Who wants to live in a neighbourhood where the only option is Starbucks?
Oh yes - and indie stores pay their taxes and treat their staff like human beings. Next!

8 - We're seeing many local libraries close due to cuts. How important do you think public libraries are and did they play a part in your own dreams to be a writer?
It frightens me when folk say we don't need libraries 'because everything's online and free'. Er – no it isn't. Libraries are far more than a repository of books. A positive childhood memory is the Saturday trip to the local library. I explored new worlds, learned new things, thought new thoughts. It was the beginning of a love affair that's still going strong. It was National Libraries Day recently. Here's my love letter:
http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/649-20112014-a-passion-for-libraries.html

9 - You take part in lots of literary events and book tours. Are these something you enjoy (and why) and are these important to authors?
I love doing readings. Maybe it's connected to happy memories of being read to as a kid. Before I could read, I was hooked by the magic of words.
Sure, I understand not every writer enjoys live readings, but I get a buzz when I can communicate and share my stories. If that encourages and enables others to tell theirs – that's even better. We need to get our work out there, even when the mainstream world tells us it is uninteresting, weird, or just plain wrong. Especially when the mainstream world tells us that.

10 - Did you have any literary role models growing up? Were you encouraged to follow your dreams at school and at home?

I had great teachers who encouraged me to write. I produced my first novel aged nine: a science fiction extravaganza featuring rockets and sharks. With pictures. All of that was fine till I started exploring the more macabre / queerer side of life in my teens. The encouragement evaporated and was replaced by disapproval.
Luckily, I was a stubborn brat and kept going.

11 - It's International Womens Day on 8th March. Is there a female in your life who has inspired you the most in your career and/or personal life?

That is such a difficult question. Impossible to answer!
I guess the first of many inspirational women was my grandmother. She always had time to read stories and listen to mine. We shared a love of splashing in puddles and climbing trees. She accepted who I was and didn't force me into being something I wasn't.

12 - You're also the lead vocalist of The March Violets. We'd love to know more about the group and what you have planned music wise for 2015?

Singing is one of life's particular pleasures. The March Violets is unusual in having a male / female duo fronting the band – Si Denbigh and myself. We reformed in 2007, thinking we'd do a one-off reunion gig. But hundreds of fans turned up and made it very clear they weren't going to let us go away again.
This year we're playing Europe and the USA. In 2014 we toured the West Coast from Seattle to LA. It was incredible - we had such a wonderful welcome. The plan is to head to the East Coast in 2015 with the new album, 'Made Glorious'. Keep an eye on the website!
http://www.marchviolets.com/

13 - Novel number 3. When can we expect this? Will you be exploring any new genres or themes?

I'm working on it – slowly! I'm at that early stage where it's a tangled heap of words. I go through phases of thinking it's complete rubbish. Luckily I have an encouraging editor at HarperCollins.
It's set just before WW1 and revolves around family secrets. Once again, I've been drawn to a period of upheaval; specifically that moment shortly before enormous changes take place. I view those times rather like an indrawn breath, held and not released.

14 - What's next for you?

I'm busy on a number of projects, which suits me fine. I'd get bored if I was only doing one thing. The trick is to get that number right...
The book tour for the paperback release of 'Vixen' is ongoing through March and April. There's the new novel to get on with, plus The March Violets tour mentioned above. If that wasn't enough, I'm treading the boards as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. Plus I'm writing new poetry, in particular, a sequence of narrative poems inspired by the 2 years I worked as a teacher in Darfur, Sudan. Truly a stranger in a strange land.
So - 2015 is already busy. I love the fascinating projects that come into my life! One that's very exciting is being invited to co-curate the John Rylands Library Literary Gothic exhibition in summer 2015. And I am headlining Polari Literary Salon in June – wow!

Published in News

As if it wasn't exciting enough to be invited to speak at The British Library on its Gothic panel on 9th November...

 

I was invited to talk on the Steve Lamacq show on BBC Radio 6, live from the Library! Click the link to hear me ramble on about the fantastic Gothic- themed exhibition, writing gothic and singing in The March Violets.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04pgz3g

 

 

Published in News
Sunday, 23 November 2014 13:19

20.11.2014 - A passion for libraries

I was delighted to be invited to read at The Feminist Library - and they invited me to write a blog about my passion for libraries!

 

"I wish I could wax lyrical about all the reasons why I'm a fan of libraries – but there's neither space nor time. However, take it as read: I'm passionate about libraries. I'm passionate about feminism. There, I said it. Out and proud.

My feminism can be summed up as "the radical notion that women are people" (Marie Shear, 1986. For the history of this misattribution see http://www.beverlymcphail.com/feminismradicalnotion.html ). I have an equally radical belief that books – and by extension, education – should be freely available to all, and not just the wealthy. There's nowt so radical as a reader. Malala Yousafzai was right when she said "Extremists have shown what frightens them the most: a girl with a book".

Libraries are exciting, magical, transformative and dangerous.
A happy childhood memory is the Saturday trip to the local library. I chose four new books, which were mine for a whole week! And wonder of wonders: the Saturday after there were four more, then four more. I could never read them all... I explored new worlds, I learned new things. And here's the dangerous part: I thought new thoughts. It was the beginning of a love affair that's still going strong.

Which brings me to my recent visit to The Feminist Library, tucked into a University building on Westminster Bridge Road. I was honoured to read from my own work in such a great setting. It's a treasure trove of books, pamphlets, magazines and much more: many out of print, rare, if not unique. As I scanned the spines I recognised things I'd once owned but were lost, stolen or strayed over years of house moves in and out of the UK.

This is part of the power and importance of The Feminist Library and archives like it. We assume that 'somebody, somewhere' has these books and that we will never lose sight of them. It's a dangerous assumption. All too often it is simply the determination and dedication of rare individuals that stops such vital material from disappearing.

Anyone who tries to tell you that we don't need libraries any more because 'everything is online' is either woefully misinformed or lying. Besides – real, solid, here and now books can't be deleted at the click of a button or lost in a glitch in a 'hacker-proof' cloud. Libraries are time machines to the past and stargates to the future.

The Feminist Library celebrates its 40th birthday in 2015. At times it's been a bumpy ride. We need it more than ever in the face of the undermining of education for all, the wholesale eradication of public libraries and the ongoing struggle against misogyny.

I'll leave the last word to Neil Gaiman, another fervent advocate. "Libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication".

 

http://feministlibrary.co.uk/2014/11/guest-post-rosie-garland-a-passion-for-libraries/

 

Published in News
Authors Writing on Books
The Palace of Curiosities – reviewed by Max Scratchmann

Much as I want to like all of these books, there are, I'm afraid, a lot of fairly dull bodice-rippers and penny-dreadfuls lurking beneath the stunning cover art on the slew of mock-Victorian novels currently on the market, so it was with great joy that I discovered Rosie Garland's noir tale of life in a nineteenth-century freak show – The Palace of Curiosities.

Enticed by the gothic delicacy of cover art and then seduced by the Angela Carter comparison from Jenny Murray on the flyleaf, I delved into this novel with a mixture of anticipation and cautious scepticism – treating the alluring enticements to enter as nothing more than the world-weary siren call of an over zealous marketing man. But, miraculously, I was not disappointed this time, and though the wonderful Ms Garland, in fact, bears little resemblance to Angela Carter – she's far too original a voice to be a copy of anybody – The Palace of Curiosities is a dark and evocative exploration of the underbelly of Victorian society and a magic-realist journey through the fair grounds and freak shows that so fascinate this reviewer as a visual artist.

The novel follows the converging path of two outsiders, Eve the Lion Girl and Abel the Flayed Man – also known as Mr Lazarus – and takes us on an atmospheric journey that veers in and out of the (believable) supernatural and even manages a happy ending without ever once delving into sentimentality or sugary cliché. The writing is rich and verging on the poetic, and the characters are well-rounded and believable – Eve's story being particularly strong with a heady erotic undercurrent running throughout.

I very seldom resort to overblown kill-to-obtain-this-book soundbites, but this novel is a definite must-read. Highly recommended.

Max Scratchmann

Book: THE PALACE OF CURIOSITIES

Author: Rosie Garland

Publisher: HarperCollins

Click to go to Steve Savage's review site

Published in News

Suzi Feay has given 'The Palace of Curiosities' an amazing review on the Emerald Steet blog!

WOMEN YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

Two events make this weekend a goodie: International Women's Day and the launch of the inaugural Folio Prize Fiction Festival. There are events celebrating both occasions all weekend but tomorrow, the two overlap at On Reading Women, a discussion on literary heroines with authors Tessa Hadley and Frances Wilson, and literary critic Suzi Feay. There are still tickets left. Can't make it? Don't worry; Suzi has shared her favourite up-and-coming female fiction writers with us...

THE PALACE OF CURIOSITIES

BY ROSIE GARLAND (HARPERCOLLINS, £14.99)

"In this fabulously strange historical debut, a hair-covered young girl with the face of a lioness runs off to join a Victorian freak show and falls in love with a man who cuts himself. Throw in a super-creepy villain and you have a romp filled with sheer, demented fun."

Click here to go to Emerald Street site

Published in News
Sunday, 26 January 2014 13:40

26.1.2014 - GAYDIO interview available online

GAYDIO – The Sunday Forum with Andrew Edwards
What's it like to grow up different?

Writer Rosie Garland is perhaps better known as Rosie Lugosi the Lesbian Vampire Queen. Rosie started out in the gothic rock band The March Violets in the 1980s and has developed a hugely successful career as an award winning poet and and cabaret performer. Her most famous alter ego is Rosie Lugosi the Lesbian Vampire Queen and Rosie reveals to Andrew what it feels like to perform the character.

Rosie is enjoying new success as a novelist and her first book The Palace of Curiosities was published last year and won wide acclaim. Novelist Sarah Waters dubbed it "a jewel box of a novel".

Rosie has eclectic tastes in music and you can hear her choices and her reasons in the interview. Rosie also talks about her coming out as a lesbian and more recently as bisexual. The Mix Tape is on Gaydio on Sunday morning from 7am and then on demand from 10am nwplayer.gaydio.co.uk and 88.4FM.

Click here to listen to the full interview

Click here to visit the GAYDIO site

Published in News

'The Palace of Curiosities' is declared winner of the Cooperative Respect 'Loved by You' Awards Book of the Year 2013!

Drum roll please...

The Cooperative were amazed by the positive response to the 'Respect 'Loved by You' Awards'.

The awards generated lots of interest: 8,753 nominations were received and the awards reached over 2.5 million people on Twitter with lots of support from community groups, celebrities and charities. The winners of the awards were those that received the most nominations.

The awards were an opportunity for people from all over the UK (anyone in the world could vote too) to vote for their favourites in 27 diverse categories. Categories ranged from 'LGBT Charity of the Year' to 'Inclusive Event of the Year'. We worked hard to ensure all areas of life and interests were covered in the categories, and to ensure they had a real community feel.

"We believe the awards offer a rare opportunity for the smallest community groups and events to be celebrated alongside the biggest. We don't think there are enough opportunities to celebrate the inspiring work and positive impact of more isolated and community based groups, events and initiatives."

Click to go to the Cooperative website

Published in News

I'm struck by the number of people who see biblical overtones in The Palace of Curiosities (especially how I named the characters), and who suppose that was my intention.

First up, there were no biblical intentions on my part. Secondly, if that's how you read the novel, that's absolutely fine by me.

The two main protagonists in the novel are called Eve and Abel. Some readers have seen a conscious tip 'o' the pen to the Genesis story: Eve being the first woman (except for Lilith of course – but moving swiftly on...) and Abel (her son, the 'nice' brother of Cain). All very compelling. Except that when I was writing the novel, none of the above crossed my mind.

Eve is named after my grandmother. Born in 1895 she was (just) a Victorian, and a wonderfully strong-minded woman to boot. She nurtured my love of reading and what greater gift could I have asked for. I named Eve in her honour.

As for Abel – his name is inspired by linguistic theory. There's a link below with references to more detailed studies, but here it is in brief. Human babies worldwide make very similar noises when they start to 'babble', regardless of the language they are born into. These first sounds are invariably ma-ma-ma and then da-da and ba-ba (hence words for mother / father in many languages being based on these clusters).

At the start of the novel, Abel is being 're/born' – with profound memory loss. I wondered what on earth he would say when asked his name. Maybe it went something like this, I reasoned.

- What's your name, mate?

- Ma-ma-ma.

- What did you say? Speak up, mate. Can't hear you.

- Ab-ba-ba.

- Abel, is that what you're trying to say? Eh?

- Yes. I am Abel (he breathes a sigh of relief, as he was getting panicky at not even remembering his own name).

So, no Bible. He's just babbling.

However, don't feel you have to believe me. I only wrote the darn thing.

That's the magic of novels. When they are out there - on the shelves, on your Kindle - they don't 'belong' to the author any more. They no longer exist in the vacuum of the author's mind.

What you bring to The Palace of Curiosities (and thank you for reading) is your own eye, your own ear, your own history, your own imagination. A whole life I have no idea about because it is yours. As soon is the book is read – it changes. Each reader makes it anew.

That is the alchemy of reading – and how very wonderful it is.

Further reading:

Click this link to go to Wiki page about language acquisition

Published in News

As of 17th September 2013, ALL tickets for this event have been sold.

Many apologies, and check out 'The Palace of Curiosities' event at Birmingham Literature Festival on October 5th.

Published in News
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