Sunday, October 02, 2011

Seren's 30th Birthday Party

Yesterday was my publisher's, thirtieth birthday,

and the sun that had been out for almost a week, stayed out.

Tony Bianchi: author of Daniel's Beetles

It was a weird heat for the first day of October,

but a lucky one because Seren had planned to celebrate with a street party.

It didn't take long for Freeschool Court to be packed with people

book browsing

book buying (this discerning lady showed exquisite taste by selecting that marvellous-looking book in the carousel above)

listening to readings

in the open mic session

introduced by novelist, short storyist and poet Robert Minhinnick (in the courtyard on the opposite side of the street ).

Meanwhile, editors Penny Thomas (on the right above) and Amy Wack (who I didn't mange to photograph) spoke to potential authors in their office upstairs

above the stock room

and Vicky Humphreys (right) looked after the VIPs from politics

and the Welsh Books Council (with Mick Felton (left) and writer Tony Curtis (right)).

Sadly, Dannie Abse was unable to attend through illness, but the poet Tony Curtis ably filled in with wonderful words (both his own and Dannie's), and it was a pleasure to meet Mavis Nicholson. Seren has recently published her book What did you do in the war, Mummy? - a collection of interviews on women's experiences in the second world war (which I am determined to read very soon).

Altogether, a great success. (I tried to get all of the six Seren staff here, but a couple of editors had escaped down the pub).

During the last thirty years Seren has been hugely successful. Primarily it is a poetry press and has had shortlistings for the TS Elliot Prize, the Whitbread and the Costa; (and for prose) for the Ondaatje, as well as quite a few wins. It can now include a longlisting for the Man Booker too. Originally it produced a 'modest four page A5 catalogue', but now it has a website full of books with much to celebrate.

Congratulations Seren!


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