A couple of months ago I was invited by Air Space Gallery here in Stoke-on-Trent to be a part of what has turned out to be a most fascinating project. As part of Leigh Clarke‘s exhibition Fools Rush In they chose six writers, one from each of the six towns of the Potteries (the generic name for Stoke-on-Trent) to choose and ghost write an autobiography of someone in or from that town, not a famous person, but as we all found out, someone far more interesting than the usual celebrities in the glossy autobiographies which fill the shelves of the supermarkets and very soon afterwards the charity shops.
I chose Dawn Marsh who owns and runs a traditional oatcake shop in Tunstall and the book was called Always Busy…, it was quite a challenge as it was outside the usual style and method of writing I do, and it showed how good it is to try something new. For those of you outside this area oatcakes are a local food, a soft thin plate sized piece of heaven, which can wrap around bacon, sausage or have cheese melted on it or really almost any combination. I featured them in a blog a few years ago and will put a set of photographs of the making in the near future.
So, last Friday evening the writers and most of the subjects and many others went to Air Space Gallery for the launch and book signing. We all read from the books (I never let a reading/performing opportunity go), then we sat at a long table and signed the books. It was a lovely evening and I have to thank the artist Leigh Clarke, the Air Space Director Glen Stoker, Anna Francis and especially Dawn Marsh for giving so much. And a very special thanks to Phil Rawle for his wonderful book design and production. If you wish to buy the set of six books they are available from Air Space Gallery.
Me reading from Always Busy…
Kat Boon reading from Cobridge Troubadours
Fred Hughes reading from A Certain Lady
Misha Herwin reading from From Leiden to Longton
Wilhelmina Slight signing From Leiden to Longton
Wilhelmina and her ‘ghost’ Misha
Rianne Shelley signing A Relic of Fenton
Fred signing with Michaleen Hilton – A Certain Lady
Steve Shaw holding the collection with most of the rest of us
And, thanks again to Air Space and Leigh Clarke for a most memorable experience!