Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Getting published and more

Dialogue Books Panel
Festival Hub

ONLY a handful of people turned out to the discussion with Dialogue Books and it was a shame. It was a tough spot on the last evening of the festival, with the marquee already being dismantled in the background. But perhaps that was perfect for this event, when much of the conversation centred on the difficulties of publishing.

Amer Anwar, the writer of Brothers in Blood, an Asian Crime novel, the first of its kind; Lucy Ayrton, author of One More Chance, about the struggle of mothers in prison, and Angela Chadwick, whose debut novel, XX, imagines a world where two women can have a baby without the need for a man, are the first authors of Dialogue Books, a new imprint focusing on inclusivity in publication.

As Dialogue Books founder Sharmaine Lovegrove said, she is interested in the stories that bring us together, rather than diversity.

And so we were invited to think about the difficulties experienced by writers, apart from a late reading on a cold Sunday evening, when trying to publish their book.

Sharmaine said that as a publisher she tries to think about the beginning of each book and the process of writing it. The industry is too corporate and it is too easy to forget you are dealing with people — and their dreams.

For the three writers on stage, their dreams have been realised. They did not read from their books, and as much as I wish they had, they did not need to. It was a privilege to hear them focus on their different journeys to publication.

Sharmaine says she writes hundreds of rejection letters and that is the reality of publishing. She has unsolicited manuscripts languishing unread in her inbox and she has agents banging down her door.

However, when that book comes through, you must have faith from the start, as she did with the three authors beside her on stage. And thankfully so did the small audience, who braved a dark Sunday evening to hear their stories.

Laura Healy

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