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Good things come in threes

We don’t – by a long chalk – go to all the events run by our clients; but somehow it has fallen out that in the past two weeks we have been at the three launch events run by Smokestack to celebrate their two latest books.

We started at the Lit & Phil for the launch of Tom Kelly’s The Wrong Jarrow, poems about the people who built the ships and mined the coal and were left behind when the industry went, echoing around the sedate shelves of the private library.

Next came the Teesside launch, in the Teesside branch of Borders bookshop, a busy store with a constant flow of customers peering curiously down from the staircase to listen to a little poetry without having to commit themselves. Tom Kelly found himself explaining that his poem, The Wrong Jarrow, had as its starting point Andy Willoughby’s The Wrong California in the presence of Andy Willoughby himself, and Ellen Phethean read from her novel-in-poems, Wall, impersonating in turn a teenage girl, a family of refugees, dad in his pigeon cree and a gaggle of lads getting high in the park.

Charlie Hardwick and Ellen Phethean at Seven Stories
Charlie Hardwick (left) and Ellen Phethean at Seven Stories

Finally came Ellen’s own launch, in the attic of Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books, a magical space (especially for people of below average height) webbed with the beams of the old warehouse in which the Centre is built. Wall grew in part from Ellen’s residency at the Centre, and she had assembled a team of the people she had worked with there to read teenage Kylie and her family.

Three entirely different events, two good books, and it all counts as work!

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