Moonrise a year on... Ella Chappell

Moonrise one year on

Moonrise was written between 2014 and early 2016, and it catalogued my life in London during that time, north of the river in Hackney and South of the river in Stockwell. The centrefold poem, Donald Trump vs my childhood joy was written before Trump was even elected as a nominee for the Republican Party, let alone before the nightmare reality of him being President of the United States of America. Around a month after publication, the citizens of Britain voted to leave the European Union. Essentially, then, this collection was written in a youthful bubble of a vivid present that I partly believed at the time would continue forever, a present that found me excited, enamoured with life in all the ways it's possible to be, prolifically creative, and in love. I find myself a year later, moving to Crystal Palace, seeking relative calm and breathable air, from the "G-grade, 2V ball of loud light and fear" that is central London.

I've never been very good at stemming my own misplaced nostalgia, but the moments reported in Moonrise included some of the grandest moments of my life so far: becoming financially independent for the first time, twice daily crossing the Millennium bridge between St Paul's and Shakespeare's globe to my dream job, standing in a midnight pool of meadow scent and supermoon light, dancing in the moat of an ancient Serbian fort with my best friend, ending my longest and most serious relationship. All these moments are real, but their retellings in poems makes them unreal, too. That's something I've learnt. The moments become enormous, branching and flowering and becoming strangled by ivy and bindweed of other ideas and memories and new associations.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: thank you so much for your support and for your time if you have read Moonrise. It means a heck of a lot to me. Sometimes I worry that I am being misunderstood, or that I have written the wrong types of things. But, if anything, reflecting on Moonrise has made me realise that poetry can be an antidote to nostalgia. It is honest, always. It rarely resists pulling the punches. Among the numbness, the sexual assault on dance floors, the latent knowledge of fascism and rage rippling below the apparent civilisation we live in, there were childhood memories, the friendships so strong they make your eyes water, the flowers, and the calm moon in the sky who rises despite everything.

 

The Future of Book Publishing.

I couple of weeks ago I was asked to give a 10 minute presentation on the future of book publishing. As Yet Untitled, what we make, the people we work with and our audience were the inspiration behind my every word and so i wanted to share it with you all.

THE FUTURE OF BOOK PUBLISHING

IMAGINE. QUESTION. TRY. FAIL. EXPERIMENT. MAKE SOMETHING. IMAGINE AGAIN

The future of book publishing is limited only by our imaginations. As a creative industry its place in the world depends upon our ideas, questions, visions and experiments.

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Throughout the history of the industry technological advancements, from movable type through mass paperback publishing to the e-book have triggered conversations and fears about the future of book publishing. Just one example of this was the conviction from mainstream publishing that Allen Lane (Quote) “messing about, would bring the whole structure of British publishing tumbling into ruins”, as Desmond Flower remembered in 1960. These conversations became particularly prevalent once again among academics, journalists, readers and industry professionals alike with the most recent of these advancements, the affordable e-reader. Articles were written and conferences held as experts put forward their opinions on the future of our industry. Many of these opinions expressed the belief that e-books were a death knell for paper book publishing and perhaps even the industry at large.

I read the articles and I attended the conferences and I quickly became bored. As I looked around I came to a realization. This conversation wasn’t new, the fear wasn’t new and neither were the sole property of the publishing industry.

When photography was first invented people said it would be the death of painting. Instead painting from freed from the literal, and we got impressionism, cubism and abstract expressionism.

When digital photography was invented people said it would be the end of film. Yet film photography is still here, holding strong and interest is even increasing once more as students and professionals turn back to it for that unique something it offers.

The music industry has undergone sweeping changes over the last decade. Yet last year vinyl sales reached a 25-year high and in November even outstripped digital downloads.

What came before is not always swept away by what’s new. Instead they can free each other, co-exist, intermingle and provide creators with more tools than ever before.

I come to publishing as an artist, with an arts education and an artists’ eye.

As a sculptor I work with bronze and wax. As a photographer I have stuck steadfastly to film. As a publisher I hand-bind every book I make.

Yet this year I proposed using 3D laser cutting to create a sculpture that was recently long listed for the National Sculpture Prize. I scan and digitally finish all my photographs and every book I publish is designed on InDesign. Because why wouldn’t I? Why not use every tool at my disposal to realize what I am imagining.

As a book artist every aspect of the books design is integral to the creation and expression of meaning. If you make a book that fits into the palm of your hand, with thin delicate pages, it immediately seems precious and jewel like. If you make a book that’s 6 foot tall it is immediately overwhelming and awkward. If the book is unbound, with loose-leaf pages, it spirals out, able to shift unendingly. Before your audience has even gotten to the content they have started imagining what the book is about.

As an artist and publisher it is important to me that my own books look and feel right, that the paper choice and the typeface convey meaning to the eye and to the hand. When we read we read more than the words on a page, we read the object. We read with our hands, with our expectations, and with our imagination. I believe it is our job as publishers to enliven as many senses as we can in our mission to engage with our audience. Whether this is achieved through swiping or turning a page, through augmented reality or traditional cloth cover binding and end paper doesn’t matter. All of these things have a home in the future of publishing.

We face an audience today that is inundated by choice, by self-published books, new imprints, new magazines and endless online publications. But we also have an audience that is, as far as I can see, more aware and more engaged with books than ever before. The same people that are buying vinyl and using film are buying book art, supporting independent publishers and frequenting bookshops. They have an appreciation and thirst for the object, its beauty, its variety and its potential.

The responsibility of engaging this growing appreciation is in the hands of the publishing industry. It is up to us to give ALL books the attention they deserve. It could be producing beautiful editions like Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus (published by Harvill Secker) of Katie Holten’s About Trees (from Broken Damanche Press). And it could be by experimenting with how the books design can affect narrative as with all of Visual Editions catalogue. However we go about it engaging with this growing and discerning audience can only lead somewhere exciting as they demand more from the industry and we ask for more from them.

I look around at small publishers fairs and I see poetry collections, photo-books, humorous pieces about installation proposals that will never make it to the turbine hall at Tate and illustrated pop up books beyond the wildest imaginings of my childhood.

I go to conferences and I hear talks on books about water pollution where the paper is made using water from the very same river the book is about, I hear talks on screen printing, on archives, on live publishing and books that change, coming alive with a simple app.

I frequent crowd funding websites like Kickstarter and Patreon, supporting my contemporaries and embracing the idea of the public as arts patron, commissioning editor, test audience and gatekeepers all rolled into one.

I go to artists’ book fairs and I have conversations with librarians, private collectors and the public about their responses to the sculptural or limited edition, handmade, etched, risograph or digitally printed books before them.

I go to bookshops and search through novels, comics, and non-fiction in the hopes of finding words that will transport me somewhere new.

I do all this and I find myself thrilled, excited, even jubilant about the future of the book publishing. Whatever the book, whoever published and however they made it the ideal result is the same. We want books to express ideas, ask questions, offer answers and tell stories.

One of my favorite theorists Roland Barthes states in an essay that, “The narratives of the world are numberless…” For the publishing industry to remain not only relevant but cutting edge we must find, invent and embrace as many forms of Bookness as there are narratives.

Leading the charge in this are the students, the artists, the designers and the indie publishers. The readers who don’t take the book for granted. The mainstream publisher whose cover design stops you in your tracks. Those willing and able to take risks and make glorious mistakes. Those who work tirelessly to make something new, to revive something old, to reach out and engage their own and others imaginations.

It is here that the future is found. The future is those people that are driven to explore. Those for whom books mean something special, who will let their imaginations run wild and exist without limit. And it is in limitless imagination that the future of book publishing finds fertile ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ellentree review by Eleanor Stewart

Earlier this autumn, before the dark mornings and early sunsets, a review of The Ellentree was published in the Book Arts Newsletter.

The review can be found here (on pg.61) for you can read it below...

Review of The Ellentree by Rosie Sherwood written by Eleanor Stewart

Observant visitors to the Turn the Page Artists’ Book Fair in the Forum in Norwich may have spied a curious tree occupying the airy expanse beneath the atrium roof; copper-tendrilled, with a host of bright and fluttering leaves which, on closer inspection, would be revealed as delicate origami cranes. This was the ‘Ellentree’, a mysterious presence at the heart of book artist Rosie Sherwood’s book of the same name. The Ellentree is a short fantasy story told through text and image which follows the enigmatic character Evelyn on his quest to find the tree. The quietly compelling poetry is interwoven with stunning photographs of the ‘Ellentree’ and its vivid leaves in a series of natural landscapes, which seem at once familiar and otherworldly. This duality of vision – of words and image – is explored throughout the book, which raises questions about perception, reality, memory and forms of knowing. There is a shifting, even unsettling, quality to the story; ultimately, no answers are provided to the subjects it raises, indeed, the work does well to resist any easy conclusions by finishing with a question.

As a physical object, the book is beautiful to look at but also to handle. Minute attention has been given to detail; from the subtle variations in the font and the precise weight of the paper to the thoughtful use of blank space and the bright darts of multi-coloured thread which weave through the spine and pages. ‘If “Seeing is Believing” ’ (to quote a line from the book) then The Ellentree certainly warrants more than a glancing look. 

We would like to offer huge thanks to Eleanor for her thoughtful words and for taking the time to review our book. 

Testing Our New Toy

Thanks to the wonderful people who backed our Kickstarter we are the proud owners of a new camera. This means decent photographs of our books, it means no more blurred event photos, it even means the occasional video. It is a truly incredible thing to have been able to buy and we couldn't have afforded it without you all.

Any new camera needs testing and with the sunshine finally out it was the perfect moment to take a hike through Epping Forest and field test the camera.

What a celebration...

We want to say a huge and heart felt thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the release of Moonrise on Saturday night. It was a wonderful evening and we had so, so, so much fun with you all.

A few (slightly) blurred photographs for your viewing pleasure.

If you would like a copy of the book you can find it in our shop. We are incredibly proud of it and would love to send many, many copies of to new, loving homes.

Thank you all again, truly and deeply

Rosie, Zelda and Ella

Moonrise, release date and launch party.

‘These pods swollen by a marvellous logic

which this margin is too narrow to contain’

Moonrise by Ella Chappell

As Yet Untitled is delighted to announce the release of our first new title: Moonrise by Ella Chappell. This is our first collaborative artists’ book and the first title to be made with the support of our Kickstarter backers. It marks a whole new chapter for the press and we could not be more excited.

Moonrise is a poetry collection preoccupied with themes including scientific theory, love, cosmology and feminism. Tracking the moon through the skies, the poems propose theories and thought experiments, accompanied by night photography that traces through the trajectory of the collection.

Moonrise is available to pre-order now and will be released on May 21st. If you would like to come and join the celebrations the book launch is open to all, Saturday May 21st at The Harrison in Kings Cross. Doors open at 7.30 and the night will include readings from Harry Man, Nicholas Herrmann and Ella Chappell along with live music from Michel Garrett and Chums and Tom Hyatt.

Pre-order your signed copy here:

Moonrise by Ella Chappell
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Pastry, Paper and Other Vital Elements

There are a few vital elements (or ingredients if you will) that go into a successful day book designing.

A few of them are listed below:

Cheese

Bread

Salad

Fruit

Baked Goods

More Baked Goods

Paper

Ink

A Computer

A Printer

More Paper

More Baked Goods

Friendship 

Today we had the perfect selection of these things and Moonrise is now closer than ever to being a real, physical, BOOK.

 

 

Moonrise- A Collaborative Artists’ Book Part One: Rosie Sherwood

There is a blank unpainted wall in my kitchen that I use to pin up images, ideas, research-anything I am currently working on. The wall has a door in the middle, dividing the space. Left and right often get used for different stages or aspects of a project. It’s the perfect place to put the work as it means I see it over and over again, I live with it, and I have the chance to make notes, to edit, to add to as I go along. At this moment in time the right hand side of the wall has images, notes and ideas for Moonrise by Ella Chappell pinned all over it. This is the first time the wall has been dedicated to someone else’s book, someone else’s work. But then, this is the first time I have worked collaboratively on publishing an artists’ book.

Moonrise marks the start of a new chapter for As Yet Untitled. A chapter supported and enabled by our Kickstarter backers and made not only possible but huge amounts of fun by Ella herself. Ella is a poet and publisher (she co-founded the wonderful Observatory Press). When I first proposed the idea of our making an artists’ book with her poetry I had to start by explaining what exactly an artists’ book is. This might seem like a frustrating start but it was exactly what I wanted. My aim with As Yet Untitled is to make book art with people who might otherwise never conceive of their work in this way. Ella came to the project with knowledge of publishing, of books and of poetry but without pre-conceptions in regards to the artists’ book. From that first conversation onwards the entire collaborative process has been not only a pleasure but an honour.

Having someone trust me their half formed ideas and half finished work; discussing a sense of shape and design; creating something from nothing, something that wouldn’t have every come into existence without all of the people involved is exciting and intoxicating. Collaborating with Ella to create Moonrise hasn’t been about some grand ideal of creativity. Rather, to me, the success and joy of this process has come from the seemingly smaller, easily overlooked moments and details- a line in an early draft of a poem that has survived to our final book, an image that has grown into a theme, the visit to a shop.

Take one of my favourite moments throughout this entire process, one single, pivotal afternoon. It started at one of the most beautiful shops in London, Shepherds in Victoria. It was here, among the high top counters and floor to ceiling shelves that Moonrise started to take physical shape. Paper, thread- the things that make a book where compared, discussed, considered and eventually chosen. Paper samples in hand we made our way to the café at Tate Britain. What followed was hours of conversation (over cake) spent writing notes, doodling, and dreaming up not only possible book designs but also ideas for its release. This single afternoon was the moment the book became real to me. It probably didn’t look like much from to the outside world but from within the bubble of our conversation this was the day I knew, really truly knew, that the experiment of collaboration was going to pay off and the Moonrise was going to really, truly happen.

In the coming weeks we have the mad, thrilling scramble of printing, binding and releasing our book. We have a million more conversations to have, emails to send, plans to make, ideas to consider and hours upon hours to find in already busy days. I have complete faith that we will manage it all and I cannot wait to find out exactly how.

Screen Printing

As some of you know I work as a technician in a secondary school in North London. It’s a wonderful place to work, with fantastic teachers and brilliant students. I was organizing some of the art supply cupboards the other day, going through stock, working out what equipment we have and I found all the tools and materials required to screen print. It’s an amazing resource to have in a school and one I didn’t know how to use.

Didn’t being the key word.

I got permission to go on an introduction to screen-printing course at the London Print Studio to learn how to do it. It was suggested we bring a design or some images with us to print from and while casting around for an idea Ella Chappells book popped into my mind.

We have been discussing visuals, graphics and design recently and I thought I would use this amazing opportunity to experiment with some of our ideas. Wonderfully these ideas lent themselves to learning both key screen-printing techniques: paper stencils and light sensitive emulsion. 

After two days of hard work and a huge amount of fun I have ink under my nails, all the important information I need to introduce screen-printing at my school and an initial idea for the cover of Ella’s book.

I also have an overwhelming desire to return to the London Print Centre again and again. A desire I am going to fulfill.

Winter planning is complete... It is finally time for some announcements.

Winter: cold, wet, and dark with glimpses of sunshine. This time of year is traditionally when As Yet Untitled retreats from the world, not to hibernate (much as we might want to) but to do some catching up, take a breath and make a year long plan. Throughout the year there are emails that aren’t unsent, admin that isn’t done, print runs with errors that we don’t have time to fix. From December to March we hide away and pick up all these pieces so that we can start again with a clean slate. This winter taking that catch up time was particularly important. 2015 was a roller coaster ride of joy and wonder that left us with even more threads to tie up and even more plans to make.

The huge success of our Kickstarter means that 2016 is a year of potential and change for us. We have dedicated the last few months to taking the first steps in laying the foundations we will need for the coming year. None of what we’ve done is particularly exciting nor does it make for interesting storytelling but it was all completely vital to the success of the press. However, just last week things started to feel exciting again and so we thought we would open to doors and windows to the press once more and continue to share our story, our plans and our progress…

Firstly a Kickstarter update: The first set of rewards went out before Xmas, with back issues finding new homes. It was such a pleasure putting them in the post! We have been researching the other rewards and they will be coming (very) soon. The digital proof just came back for the tote bags today and we cannot wait to get our hands on the real thing. And it isn’t only the rewards we have been working on. Ella Chappell’s book, the first to be released this year, is well underway. It is a truly exciting project and we will share more about it in the next few weeks. Perhaps most excitingly we are ready to start shopping and filling our studio with the amazing tools and equipment you have supported us to get. We will let you know when our parcels start arriving!

Elbow Room: The first Elbow Room of 2016 is due out on March 18th. We will be releasing it at Elbow Room Live at The Harrison in Kings Cross. Much to our joy Late Arrivals Club will be returning to the Elbow Room stage for the first time in over a year, helping to ensure we kick the year off with a bang. It worth coming for just them but as always our line-up will be packed with poetry, fiction and short films. We will confirm the full line-up shortly so keep an eye on the Facebook page for details, tickets and further announcements as we confirm who is reading with us.

And that’s not all where Elbow Room is concerned. We opened submissions during Jan and Feb and found ourselves positively swamped by more incredible work that we could possibly fit between the covers of the journal. So we have decided to stretch beyond the pamphlet and publish a new, twice yearly Elbow Room Broadsheet. Free to subscribers and sold at selected book fairs the broadsheet will be released to accompany our June and December volumes. It is going to be full of glorious poetry and prose that we cannot wait to share it with the world. Our recommendation- subscribe now and don’t miss a single line. We will even send you a free back issue if you subscribe on or before the 18th of March.

And last but in no way least As Yet Untitled will be at Pages in Leeds on the first weekend in March. Hopefully we will see some of you there.

Here to a brilliant year full of new books. We will keep you updated so watch this space.

Rosie and Zelda

 

 

What a Year

What a year 2015 has been. We have released four new volumes of Elbow Room, hosted Elbow Room Live in London, attended book fairs across the country, taken part in exhibitions, had work selected for international collections, released the third and final UEA Special Edition, run the first Elbow Room Prize and successfully crowd funded over £2000 on Kickstarter. Every year since Elbow Room Volume One was released has been one of adventure and growth but this year has been particularly special.

The success of our crowd funding campaign, the support and faith our community has shown in us is incredible. It has truly blown us away and we couldn’t be more thankful. We also couldn’t be more excited. For the first time ever we have a chance to invest in As Yet Untitled, to buy the materials and equipment we need to build a strong foundation from which we can grow and move forward. 2016 is going to be a year of change, of creativity, of new books, new ideas and new stories all made possible by your support. We can’t wait to get started.

We are planning more Elbow Room, more live events, another Elbow Room Prize, new artists’ books, more book fairs, more exhibitions, more paper, more ink, more thread... basically just more; more of the old and more of the new. It’s going to be a challenge but it is also going to be so much fun.

We promise to keep you updated as the journey continues next year, but until then Happy Holidays (and perhaps consider sharing your work with us at Elbow Room- submissions are open until Jan 31st)

Rosie and Zelda

 

Favourite Stories? Favourite Books? (Favourite Faries?)

As Yet Untitled is about more than one person. It is about every single artist and writers we collaborate with. In the final part in our series on the books and stories that inspire us poet Ella Chappell discusses her favourites:

Being tasked with naming my favourite anything is always a challenge, but to name my favourite story is in a league of its own. A plethora of novels spring to mind at first, books that came to inform my personal philosophies, my priorities, and my desires in life, often somewhat cliched options - Catcher in the RyeThe Bell JarMadame BovaryThe Golden Notebook... 

But a favourite story is different to a favourite novel. In studying Literature, I quickly came to discover that the idea of 'stories' as complete items - furnished with a beginning, a middle, and an end - never sat easy with me. Stories are easy to digest, they have a sure moral and a delivered emotion, they don't happen hour by hour, day by day, and that's why all my favourite novels eschew the idea of straight narrative. I remember the first time I read Catcher in the Ryeon my brother's recommendation. Nothing happens! I thought, This isn't a story! This is something else

This, I guess, is also why poetry appealed to me from an early age. My favourite books? That's an easier question to answer. The Flower Fairies series by Cicely Mary Barker informed and dominated my imagination for at least a decade. These absolutely lovely poetry books are a classic example of book art at work. They are collections of stunning, intricate illustrations paired with short, whimsical poems, each one regarding a different Flower Fairy - The Almond Blossom Fairy, The Elder Fairy, the Sycamore Fairy - any flower or tree you can think of, Barker assigned it a cheeky imp or elf to act as its mascot and esteemed guardian. (My personal favourite? The Willow Fairy, delicately dipping her toes into water dappled by the shade of long, elegant willow leaves. You can almost hear the water lapping gently at the bank, feel the whiskery hairs of the willow leaves on your fingers...) 

These books cradle a deep, warm nostalgia at their heart. They are artefacts from an England of meadows and hedgerows and banks of bluebells, a past in which my granny as a child would go out to the fields next to her house to collect dog daisies and pick blackberries. The carefully chosen lyrics, the lovingly depicted fairies with their skirts of petals and caps of discarded bud-velvet. These books taught me how to be alone in nature. They taught me to watch the inner glimmer of transparent yew berries; that if I wanted to make friends with the butterflies, the buddleja was my first port of call; how the scent of a honeysuckle is different in the evening - more potent - than in the day; that a secret kind of magic hangs under fronds of wisteria; and to be quick to nab the alpine strawberries as soon as they were ripe, before the birds - or the fairies - could get to them first. 

I don't think any other books exist, as objects, that evoke for me such innocence, and gratitude for the smallest, simplest things in life. Occasionally as an adult I can access these simple, mysterious emotions again - cracking open a fresh pea pod from the garden - and I feel a shock deep in an unknown realm of myself, as I recall a whole mythology I learnt by heart and promptly forgot. 

Once word had spread through my family about my interest in poetry, my sister bought me my first proper poetry collection - Ariel by Sylvia Plath. A baptism of fire for entering the world of grown-up poetry, but no better place to start for an adolescent girl with a tendency for a certain dramatic melancholy. That remains one of my favourite books too. I always loved the basic Faber & Faber poetry collections with their textured covers and carefully chosen colour palettes - a testament for simplicity in publishing and letting the words within speak for themselves. I have a growing collection of these Faber poetry books now, but Ariel will always be the one I treasure most. It reminds me not to be afraid of rawness in poetry, and that mythologies you whisper to yourself as a child never really die.

 

Childhood Stories

As Yet Untitled is about more than one person. It is about every single artist and writers we collaborate with. In the second part of our series on the books and stories that inspire us poet Zelda Chappel discusses her favourites:

Some of my earliest childhood memories involve books. From bedtime stories as a very small child – my sister and I both loved the Mr Men series in particular – to going to school for the first time and having access to lots of books to take home and read and swap.

As an slightly older child, I was a avid reader. I would devour books. Enid Blyton was a firm favourite. Stories like the Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair really captivated me – I liked the way they constructed different worlds, with different rules and different creatures, but also that these adventures were temporary, fleeting. Never once (to my recollection) did they climb to the top of the Faraway tree and find the same world twice. And I liked that.

Later on, I had a few books that let you play around with the narrative and, again, that was really exciting for me. As a small child I had several books that were stories that you could choose what happened at the end of every page – the 'If you want to go to the castle, turn to page 10. If you want to go to the woods, turn to page 6' sort of format. And later, I had a couple of editions of Famous Five stories – which I was obsessed by – that played out like a game with dice and a backpack that you had to choose how to equip at the beginning of the story. Realising that a story isn't necessarily the same every time, and that it doesn't always follow the same linear progression was really exciting. And being in control of the story was a brilliant place to be as a reader.

Other big books in my life were titles by Roald Dahl; particularly The BFG (which was first read to me by my Dad at bedtime), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and George's Marvellous Medicine. I got fascinated by the chemistry in these books, the descriptions of creating these weird and wonderful concoctions. All three of those titles are really about creators of things, and I knew that I wanted to be a creator of things too. I should also mention The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster here too, because I read it around the same time, and it was a life changing book for me. It's not well-known in the UK, but I would urge you to seek it out. It's a clever, funny and thoughtful book about how words and numbers live side by side in the world. And if you can find the 70s video of it, with it's slightly trippy soundtrack, it's worth checking out!

I fell out of love with books (but not storytelling) a bit once I got to secondary school, mainly because we had to read set texts so fast so I never enjoyed them, often missed the nuances of them, and hated having to analyse the life out of them. But I did have some incredible book moments despite that. I fell in love with A Midsummer Night's Dream at the age of 11 and never fell out of love with it. The storytelling and the wit and the multiple layers of narrative are just brilliant. And I love the idea that really we are all stumbling around, in and out of each other's stories, sometimes clumsily but beautifully nonetheless.

Other big books for me were To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Catcher in the Rye (J D Sallinger) and Cannery Row (John Steinbeck). I ended up reading a lot of American literature, particularly Steinbeck, because I just found them so much more exciting and so much more real than other stories.

I should say that for me, poetry came later in my life. But what excited me about poetry when I discovered it, was the ability to capture a narrative, albeit a somewhat abstract one at times, in such a short space. Poetry is life distilled. And the format of poetry means that you can tell your story, your truth, in exciting non-linear sorts of ways that traditional storytelling doesn't really allow for. Poets can be abstract and play around with time and tense, we can play around with line breaks and where we put words on a page to add extra dimensions and layers to our storytelling. Novels can't do that in the same way, at least not in their traditional formats.

So that's stories. And stories come in books (sometimes). And books are exciting. I'm a regular in charity shops and secondhand book shops looking for interesting looking books, with no regard for genre. I love paper. And good print. And book plates. And brilliant illustrations. And I love ways that books, as objects, can contribute to the storytelling process; whether that's just in how you feel about engaging with the story in the first place, or whether it's about how the book itself interplays with the narrative. In this next stage of As Yet Untitled we'll get to bring you great narratives in all sorts of interesting ways, in all sorts of different and new formats. We'll get to look at books as a holistic process, creating the right book for the right story. And we're so looking forward to it! Thank you for helping us to make it happen.