[BOOK TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] Address Book by Neil Bartlett @InkandescentUK @neilvbartlett #AddressBook

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Today is my stop on the Address Book by Neil Bartlett book tour and I’m sharing a book extract with you.

Before the extract I’ll leave this quote from the publisher:

In November 2021, Inkandescent will publish Address Book by Neil Bartlett, the new mosaic novel by the Costa- shortlisted author of Skin Lane. This cycle of stories takes us to seven very different times and situations: from a new millennium civil partnership celebration to erotic obsession in a Victorian tenement, from a council-flat bedroom at the height of the AIDS crisis to a doctor’s living-room in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, they lead us through decades of change to discover hope in the strangest of places.

Editor Nathan Evans says, ‘I’ve loved Neil’s writing since finding his first book in the university library, so to publish his latest is something of a dream for me. Inkandescent are proud to be working with such an important queer writer with so much to say about where we are and how we got here.’ Neil says, ‘Every place that I’ve ever slept in, I’ve always wondered about what went on at that address before I moved in. To write this book, I went back to some significant places in my own life and let the walls talk to me. The result of that listening is this new cycle of stories.’

Now I leave you with the wonderful extract:

BOOK EXTRACT

It’s August, and hot, and although the trees outside this particular bedroom are tall and shadowy, someone has still felt the need to screen what is about to happen in here from view; in order to achieve that, they’ve stretched a thin cotton Indian-print bedspread right across the window. You can still see where the hammer and tacks that were used to accomplish this task have been left scattered across the carpet. The room seems very still, after that particular noise, and the sunshine filtering in through the warm rust-and-black colours of the bedspread is turning its air into one ruddy, red-gold solid.

 In the middle of this warm cube of colour, two men are standing facing each other across a bare and rather dirty-looking mat-tress. This mattress lies directly on the floor, with its head against a wall, and the men are measuring the distance it creates between them with their eyes. As it happens, they are both half-undressed already. They seem to have reached some kind of an impasse in their choreography for just a moment, but then—quite unexpectedly—the younger and slightly shorter of the two makes a very definite move; he stoops, unlaces his shoes, and removes his socks; he then shucks off his trousers and underpants in one smooth and beautiful gesture. The older man attempts to follow suit, but when the moment comes for him to slip down his own underwear he feels obliged to turn around and present his back. Then he seems to pause for a moment, taking some apparently much-needed time to gather himself together before he turns back round to face his partner. When he does turn, his body is visibly thinner than the younger man’s, and more worn; you can see every one of his sixty-two years, even though the light in this room seems determined to be kind. Both of the men are sweating already, because of the day’s heat.

The staring between them continues for some time, but then—eventually—something moves again. It is a hand, this time—and now the shorter of the two men, the bloodily-haired one, steps forward onto the mattress and places this reaching hand of his first on the other man’s arm, and then onto his left shoulder. When he feels this hand, the older man smiles, but still only with half of his mouth. He closes his eyes. The redhead, sensing that he must proceed very gently, moves his lips and face forwards in order to plant the softest of kisses on the other man’s mouth. This kiss seems to be a question; eventually—and quietly—it receives a reply.

Once down on the mattress, their limbs seem to fit together quite well. Things move slowly, in this heat—but now, the questions being asked are no longer quite so tentative or gentle. Neither are their answers; the two men’s eyes meet quite often now, closing only when they must, and when a head tips back or turns away it is not now with avoidance or refusal. When the time comes for more noise, the air of the room seems to absorb it all quite easily. For one of the two men the sounds that he is making turn unstoppably into tears, but fortunately his partner holds him tight when this happens, and lets the crisis pass without comment.

By the time they have both come, it is quite late in the after-noon, and the parti-coloured light that is still seeping through the bedspread has shifted several feet around their impromptu bedroom’s walls. Both of their bodies are properly slicked with sweat now, and smeared with stripes of dust, and as they lie there side by side and stare up together at the ceiling—both of them feeling quite hollowed-out and silent now, as if they were lying together on some abandoned beach, listening perhaps to the waves of some distant and still-retreating tide—their bodies are contoured in several shades of a vivid and surprising colour. The light which is sculpting the face of the red-head discovers a line of pure carmine on the crest of both his cheekbones; his companion’s skin takes the colour more gently. Again, a hand reaches out, and again it finds another. The red-head, who is on the right-hand side of the bed, turns, and it is he who begins the necessary conversation. ‘Shall we do names, then?’ he asks.

The older man keeps his eyes on the ceiling, and there is a considerable pause. When he finally does speak, you can still hear in his voice a record of all the weeping that he has just done, together with traces of all the other noises. ‘Roger,’ he says, hoarsely. ‘I’m called Roger.’

‘Hello Roger. My name’s David.’ ‘Hello.’

There is a further silence here, quite a long one, and then the red-haired man tries again. ‘I really needed that,’ he says, quite cheerfully. ‘How about you?’  And then there is yet another silence—but the questioner persists. ‘Are you alright, my friend?’ he says.

What are your thoughts on the extract? Let me know in the comments!

Make sure to check out the trailer for the book by clicking H E R E.

Twitter Card for ADDRESS BOOK EDMUND WHITE copy

*Purchase ‘Address Book’ here:

*Purchase ‘Address Book‘ with free international delivery here: 

*You can also find the book here: Foyles, Gay’s The Word and the Inkandescent website.

***I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Neil Bartlett press photo

Neil Bartlett has been an acclaimed and pioneering voice in British queer culture since the 1980s. His first novel, Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall (written in a council flat on the Isle of Dogs), was Capital Gay’s Book of the Year 1990. It went on to be translated into five European languages, and was recently republished by Profile as a Serpent’s Tail Classic. His second novel, Mr. Clive and Mr. Page, was nominated for the Whitbread Prize in 1996, his third, Skin Lane, was shortlisted for the Costa Award in 2007, his fourth, The Disappearance Boy, earnt him a nomination for Stonewall Author of the Year 2014. Neil is also a maker of rule-breaking performance and theatre. After a controversial early career, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith in 1994 and, in recognition of his work there, was awarded the O.B.E. in 2000. Since leaving the Lyric in 2005, he has created work for major cultural producers including the National Theatre, the RSC, the Manchester Royal Exchange, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Wellcome Foundation, Artangel, Tate Britain—and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Find him on: Website and Twitter.

[BOOK REVIEW] MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges edited by Nathan Evans and Justin David @InkandescentUK

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I’m not officially back to reviewing yet because of life being hectic but I had to share my thoughts on this brilliant anthology published by Inkandescent. I will provide you with the blurb below:

“Mainstream brings thirty authors in from the margins to occupy centre-page. Queer storytellers. Working class wordsmiths. Chroniclers of colour. Writers whose life experiences give unique perspectives on universal challenges, whose voices must be heard. And read:

Aisha Phoenix, Alex Hopkins, Bidisha, Chris Simpson, DJ Connell, Elizabeth Baines, Gaylene Gould, Giselle Leeb, Golnoosh Nour, Hedy Hume, Iqbal Hussain, Jonathan Kemp, Julia Bell, Juliet Jacques, Justin David, Kathy Hoyle, Keith Jarrett, Kerry Hudson, Kit de Waal, Lisa Goldman, Lui Sit, Nathan Evans, Neil Bartlett, Neil Lawrence, Neil McKenna, Ollie Charles, Padrika Tarrant, Paul McVeigh, Philip Ridley, Polis Loizou.

The anthology is edited by Justin David and Nathan Evans. Justin says, ‘In publishing, it’s often only the voices of a privileged minority that get heard and those of ‘minority’ groups—specifically the working classes, ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community—don’t get the amplification they deserve. We wanted to bring all those underrepresented groups together in one volume in order to pump up the volume’ ”

As you can read from the description above,  the anthology features many authors and a variety of themes. I don’t usually read anthologies but having known Inkandescent as a publisher of under-represented voices and queer voices (plus many more) I got completely hooked on wanting to read this anthology. I wanted to experience this anthology and all of its contents and luckily I did.

I won’t be reviewing each story because it features a large number of writers so I will share my thoughts in this way: first of all, I love how the anthology features new voices as well as some authors that the public knows such as Kit de Waal, second of all: yes, not every story can be up to par with the others but I like how they each expressed a different style, a different world-view so that’s a big plus in my book! Getting to know these authors by reading their short stories is such an interesting experience because it provides a glimpse into their writing and makes you search for more from them. I have to say that this young independent publishing house did a great job with publishing this one and I look forward to more from them. It’s so refreshing to read something I don’t usually read because it provides a new outlook, a new experience that’s rewarding.

If you’re someone who enjoys reading anthologies, short-stories, supporting indie publishers this anthology will satisfy your needs.

I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book. I would also like to note that this review isn’t influenced by me receiving this book from the publisher. All opinions written and expressed in this review are my own.

My rating: ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar

*Purchase ‘MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges‘ here:

*Purchase ‘MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges‘ with free international delivery here: 

*You can also find the book here: Waterstones, Blackwells, and the Inkandescent website.

***I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

INKANDESCENT is a publishing venture by Justin David and Nathan Evans with a commitment to ideas, subjects and voices underrepresented by mainstream publishing, we hope to discover and celebrate original, diverse and transgressive literature and art, to challenge the status quo

Find them on: Website and Twitter.

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges edited by Nathan Evans and Justin David @InkandescentUK @neillawrence18

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Today is my stop on the MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges blog tour and I’m sharing a book extract with you. Inkandescent UK are a fabulous indie publisher and I’ve been following them for a while. The duo, Justin and Nathan, are brilliant people who work very hard for their publishing house and you can see passion in every post they make and every title they publish.

Before I start with the extract I’ll leave this quote from Neil Lawrence:

“I am so honoured to be part of an anthology that celebrates the breadth and diversity of the outsider community. At a time when tribalism is rampant in the UK I am delighted to be part of a project that is bringing us together. ‘Bleach’ is a story I wrote some time ago and have always wanted to find a good home for. With Inkandescent I feel blessed. Namaste.”

Now I leave you with the wonderful extract.

BOOK EXTRACT

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What are your thoughts on the extract? Let me know in the comments!

Make sure to check out the trailer for the book by clicking H E R E.

MAINSTREAM Blog Tour Graphic 2021

*Purchase ‘MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges‘ here:

*Purchase ‘MAINSTREAM: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges‘ with free international delivery here: 

*You can also find the book here: Waterstones, Blackwells, and the Inkandescent website.

***I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

INKANDESCENT is a publishing venture by Justin David and Nathan Evans with a commitment to ideas, subjects and voices underrepresented by mainstream publishing, we hope to discover and celebrate original, diverse and transgressive literature and art, to challenge the status quo

Find them on: Website and Twitter.

[COVER REVEAL + BLURB] CNUT by Nathan Evans @InkandescentUK @nathanevansarts

I’m very excited to share with you all the brilliant cover for Nathan Evans’ new poetry book ‘CNUT’ publishing in November by Inkandescent, a publisher that focuses on ‘queer and outsider voices‘.

First of all – here’s the blurb for CNUT:

As King Cnut proved, tide and time wait for no man: An AnthropoScene, the first part of this collection, dives into the rising tides of geo-political change, the second, Our Future Is Now Downloading, explores sea-changes of more personal natures.

Nathan’s poetry debut, Threads, was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize www.inkandescent.co.uk/threads. His follow-up bears all the watermarks of someone who’s swum life’s emotional spectrum. Some poems barely contain their righteous anger within their visceral verse – The old are eating the young in great Goya gobfuls. Others like What the Cat Dragged Back examine subtler sentiments – in response to your partner picking up a lover for you to share, for instance.

Short and (bitter)sweet, this is poetry for a mobile generation, poetry for sharing – often humorous, always honest about contemporary human experience, saying more in a few lines than politicians say in volumes, it offers an antidote to modern living.

‘Poignant, humane, and uncompromising’ Stephen Morrison-Burke, former Birmingham Poet Laureate 
and without further ado here’s the cover:
Do you like it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Nathan Evans is a writer, director and performer whose work has been funded by Arts Council England, toured by the British Council, archived by the British Film Institute and broadcast on Channel 4. His poetry has been published by Dead Ink, Inky Needles, Poetry Space, Manchester Metropolitan Univerity, and performed at Southbank Centre, Hoxton Hall, Hammer & Tongue, Bang Said the Gun and Coffee-House Poetry.
Find him on: Website and Twitter.