Displaying items by tag: rosie garland

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
Monday, 24 March 2014 16:46

24.3.1014 - #mywritingprocess Blog Tour

#mywritingprocess – Blog Tour

I was asked to participate in this blog tour by wonderful wordsmith Steph Pike

Its purpose is to share current activities, link writers to their wider community and to spend a little time considering our latest projects - which could be either to tantalize readers or to give me the opportunity to chew over what exactly I'm doing. Either way, we get four questions to structure the post around:

1) What am I working on?

I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me, not helped by being surrounded by folk who encouraged that belief. There were many reasons, but here's the relevant one: I've always worked on more than one creative project at a time. Singing, poetry, fiction, painting my hall with a frieze of Egyptian goddesses... Do I bore easily? Am I a creativity junkie? Answers on a postcard.

After worrying myself stupid that it's 'wrong' to be like this, I've accepted it's how I am (and naysayers can bugger off). Poetry nourishes fiction, fiction nurtures song writing, and all of it feeds the soul. Plus, if I was only working on one thing, it'd be easy to, well, do nothing...

Right now I'm writing poetry using prompts from Jo Bell's inspirational 52 blog

  I'm gearing up for The March Violets tour dates in UK / Europe / USA.

I'm also doing the final edits for my second novel, Vixen, which is out June 17th. I'm lurching from fear (that it's absolute rubbish) to excitement (It's finished! I've really done it!).

Click to visit HarperCollins 'Vixen' page

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't know if it does differ, or if it needs to. What is different, anyway?

Philosophical meanderings aside, one of the 'rules' I picked up in novel-writing workshops was never to use first person when writing weird or unusual characters, because the reader won't be able to identify with them.

But I'm fed up with marginalized voices being further marginalized via the semantic distancing of third-person. So, in my debut novel 'The Palace of Curiosities', I created Eve, a woman completely covered in hair. I was determined she should speak for herself rather than have her story filtered through 'normal' eyes. One of the most striking features of the wonderful feedback I've received is how much readers have identified with Eve. Rules are there to be bent into the shape we desire.

3) Why do I write what I do?

My mother used to ask, 'why can't you write nice stories?'

I don't explore dark themes as some kind of pose, or to be difficult, or challenging for the sake of it. I write what I write because that's what comes knocking. I write what interests me about the world.

Sure, I can produce something that doesn't fire me up (I've tried), but my heart's not in it. There's the rub: I write where my passions reside. I've chased myself in circles trying to second-guess what a publisher 'might' want and it was a disaster. There's no point twisting yourself into shapes trying to please. That way lies madness, and not the interesting, creative sort. Maybe it's one of the reasons it took me so long for my novels to get published. But that's a different blog

4) How does your writing process work?

I am inspired and moved by the wealth of creative strategies we use to get ourselves writing. I reckon there are as many processes as there are writers. I don't think it matters one iota whether you're a morning / afternoon / nocturnal writer, whether you prefer a pencil, an iPad or grind your own ink from freshly-roasted acorns. It's more important to find the process that works for you. Then use it.

Let's face it, every day I'm plagued with a million reasons to avoid writing - shopping, housework, TV, social networking, let alone my inner critic screaming how useless I am. Click to read my 'dealing with the inner critic' blog

If I have a routine it's easier to get the hell over myself and write. My writing process gives me an anchor, a lifebelt to hang onto and weather those storms.

Next week the blog tour adventure features three wonderful writers – Susan Elliott Wright, Cathy Bryant and Anne Caldwell.

Susan Elliot Wright is a London-born novelist who now lives in Sheffield, where she teaches creative writing and tries hard to take her own advice. Click for Susan's website / Click for Susan's blog

Cathy Bryant's poems and short stories have been published on five continents (just Antarctica holding out), and she is a former blogger for the Huffington Post. She has won nine literary awards including the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Prize, and co-edited the anthologies Best of Manchester Poets vols. 1, 2 and 3. Her second poetry collection, Look at All the Women, will be launched later in 2014. See more at Cathy's website

Anne Caldwell is a poet and literature consultant. She works for NAWE, The University of Bolton, The Open University and runs workshops in schools and community settings. Contact Tel. 07818 052108 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Her latest collection is Talking with the Dead, Cinnamon Press 2011.

Click to visit Anne's website

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, 23 February 2014 11:03

21.2.2014 - Cover of 'Vixen' unveiled!

My second novel, 'Vixen', is not out till 19th June 2014...

but the cover has just been released!

Beautiful design by Alex Allden at HarperCollins, from an amazing image created by artist Lindsey Carr.

Click to go to Lindsey Carr's website

Colour me excited.

Published in News
Friday, 14 February 2014 10:52

14.2.2014 - Published in The Rialto, Issue 79

Issue 79 of The Rialto has just come out - and my poem 'Asking for Directions' is in it. The best Valentine's Day gift I could ask for.

I am very proud to have a second poem in this amazing magazine (described by Carol Ann Duffy as 'simply the best'). And yes – you can buy a copy via their website.

Click to go the The Rialto webpage

Published in News
Someone out there loves your work. Maybe they just haven't seen it yet.

Here's my blog on Women Writers, Women Books. Get submitting. Then the person who loves your work might actually get to see it.

Click for Books By Women website

This month, three judges decide the winner of the 2nd Mslexia Unpublished Novel Competition. Someone is about to receive a life-changing phone call. Two years ago, I was that woman.

I never imagined I would be. Fairytales are for other folk. I'd lost faith in my writing 'getting anywhere': indeed, I'd lost faith in my ability to write. But my winning novel, The Palace of Curiosities, was published in March 2013 by HarperCollins UK, one of the world's largest publishing companies. It's still a shock.

Like many writers, I've been writing for as long as I remember (I have a cough-sweet tin filled with miniature books I wrote for my dolls). By the end of the 90s I'd had poetry and short stories published, and I'd built up a following on the performance poetry circuit. I got an idea for a novel and was buoyed up by a run of early success: commendations in two fiction competitions and interest from a small publisher.

The crowning event of 2000 was a letter from a major London literary agency. They'd seen my competition entry, were impressed, and wanted to represent me. I danced around the room! I showed them my first novel, expecting wild enthusiasm. The agent advised waiting for a mainstream deal, so I turned down the small press. Naively, I waited for lucrative deals to come flying in. They didn't.

Over the next twelve years, I wrote four-and-a-half novels. Not one was 'good enough', however hard I tried – and I tried very hard. Then I was passed to a different agent who regaled me with stories of the terrible state of the publishing industry. No-one showed interest in what I was writing.

I stopped telling friends about my novels, humiliated by rejection after rejection. I regretted turning down the small publisher. It was a tough job to keep going during those long, slow, arid years. Then I got throat cancer and everything stopped while I put my life-energy into recovery. But there's nothing like a peek at your sell-by date to give you a boot up the backside. So, after I got the all-clear I emailed my agent and said, Let's Do This Thing. He didn't even reply.

His final rejection was my lowest point. I needed to move on. I could not continue putting my life into something that was giving me no nourishment. I didn't regret those twelve years, because no writing is ever wasted. But it was time to stop banging my head against a brick wall.

In 2011 Mslexia announced their Inaugural Novel Competition. As a last-ditch-last-fling, I dusted off novels #3 and #4 and sent them in, figuring I had nothing to lose except the entry fee. Both made the shortlist of ten. I was astounded: perhaps I could write fiction, after all. And one of the judges was Sarah Waters. A writing heroine. Liked. My. Work.

Novel #4, 'The Palace of Curiosities' won outright. Within a week I had an enthusiastic new agent. Within a fortnight she sent it to fifteen UK publishers and I was at the heart of a bidding war. The result was a 2-book deal with HarperCollins UK. It was bizarre – the same words in the same order, yet a year before I couldn't get it through the door of one publisher, let alone fifteen. I spent a long time pinching myself.

To say winning the Mslexia Novel Competition boosted my confidence is a vast understatement. I've proved to myself that I can write fiction: it was just a case of finding the right people to read it. The competition was judged anonymously and that makes me particularly proud. I am not This Year's Bright Young Thing, have not attended a fashionable Creative Writing Masters program, nor do I have industry connections. I won because of the quality of the writing.

It was the best £25 I spent in my entire life. I strongly encourage writers to enter as many competitions as possible. Someone out there loves your work – but they need to see it. So get it out there. Do it now.

Yes, I still have crises of self-doubt. But I've discovered a sense of validation, a punching-the-air 'I did it!' The win - and the resulting two-book deal – have given financial choices I never thought to have. I've given up my day job to focus full-time on writing. I've received writing commissions, invitations to lecture on University courses, been nominated for and won awards, toured book festivals...

I still subscribe to Mslexia. I still get up every morning and write. I take nothing for granted. I'm not a rest-on-my-laurels gal. I've built resilience, learned humility and discovered the extent of my determination to keep going in the face of rejection and failure. And I have regained a belief in my writing.

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
My poem 'The Sum of all Meat' has just been announced winner of the Ariadne's Thread first Poetry Competition.

I'll admit to being surprised... it's a poem about an abattoir worker and I thought it would put the judges off. Another example of the importance of writers having the courage of their convictions. A fabulous start to 2014!

To check out Ariadne's Thread magazine – click the link.

Ariadne's Thread website

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

News and Events

  • Feb 2021 - short story featured in 'Queer'
    Feb 2021 - short story featured in 'Queer'

    I can safely say I never expected to share an anthology with Sappho & Oscar Wilde!
    So I’m thrilled my story ‘You’ll Do’ is featured in ‘Queer: LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday’ edited by Frank Wynne.
    https://headofzeus.com/books/9781789542332

    Queer is an unabashed and unapologetic anthology, drawing together writing from Catullus to Sappho, from Rimbaud to Anaïs Nin, and from Armistead Maupin to Alison Bechdel, translator Frank Wynne has collected a hundred of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors.
    Queer straddles the spectrum of queer experience, from Verlaine's sonnet in praise of his lover's anus and Emily Dickinson's exhortation of a woman's beauty, to Alison Bechdel's graphic novel of her coming out, Juno Dawson's reflections on gender and Oscar Wilde's 'De Profundis'.

    Written on Thursday, 01 April 2021 12:49
  • 16.11.2020: Guardian Poem of the Week - Rosie Garland
    16.11.2020: Guardian Poem of the Week - Rosie Garland

    Thrilled that 'Now that you are not-you' is Guardian Poem of the Week!

    "A very modern, secular kind of elegy reflects on death with a surprising lightness" - Carol Rumens

    "This week’s poem is from What Girls Do in the Dark, the latest collection by the multi-talented Rosie Garland. It stands alone, while extending the narrative of the short poem that immediately precedes it, Stargazer. The setting of Stargazer is a hospital bedside, where the dying patient’s visitor must navigate “the vertigo tilt / of old words like spread, outlook, time.” That poem ends with the metaphors that will be reconfigured in Now that you are not-you. “Doctors / murmur the names of new constellations / - astrocyte, hippocampus, glioblastoma – and calculate / the growth of nebulae; this rising tide of cells that climbs / the Milky Way of the spine to flood your head with light.”

    Read the whole article here...

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2020/nov/16/poem-of-the-week-now-that-you-are-not-you-by-rosie-garland

    Written on Monday, 16 November 2020 15:28
  • 12.11.2020 - ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ launch event – ONLINE
    12.11.2020 - ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ launch event – ONLINE

    7.30pm GMT

    Join us to celebrate the launch of What Girls Do in the Dark by Rosie Garland, with guests Tania Hershman & Ian Humphreys
    About this Event
    Join Rosie Garland, plus guest writers Tania Hershman & Ian Humphreys to celebrate the publication of Rosie's new poetry collection What Girls Do in the Dark.
    Thursday 12th November 7.30pm (GMT)
    This event will be streamed live & can be viewed now, through the Nine Arches Press YouTube channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Z7yq1Ey_U&feature=youtu.be

     

    Written on Thursday, 05 November 2020 15:48
  • Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)
    Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)

    I thought it wasn't possible to feel any more thrilled about joining Nine Arches Press
    - then I see the stunning cover of my new poetry collection, 'What Girls Do In The Dark'.
    Out October 2020
    https://www.ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/what-girls-do-in-the-dark.html

    Written on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 13:31
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    Manchester Confidential chooses The Night Brother as a must-read Manchester novel!

    Dystopian classics to modern crime - Nine must-read Manchester novels

    “Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, comedy…we’ve got a genre for everyone
    There’s a very good reason Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature, as we highlighted before its bid to join the prestigious network in 2017. Innovative publishers, diverse bookshops and a lively events scene make it an unrivalled literary melting pot.

    Rosie Garland’s The Night Brother is our historical highlight
    Ever the entertainer, Rosie Garland sung in post-punk band The March Violets and now performs ‘twisted cabaret’ as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. But she’s also a literary maverick with an array of essays, short stories and poetry to her name (much of which she also reads at spoken words events citywide) and three acclaimed novels. Her latest, The Night Brother, navigates themes of gender and identity through two siblings in Victorian Manchester. Rich and Gothic, it’s a must for fans of Angela Carter.”

    https://confidentials.com/manchester/dystopian-classics-to-modern-crime-nine-must-read-manchester-novels

    Written on Thursday, 16 April 2020 18:18