Below are some great pictures of the Storytelling Army (pictures by Adam Weatherley) out and about in Brighton telling their Everyday Epic stories (you can find more pictures on our facebook page LuludotcomUK). We can’t wait to read some of the stories in the Everyday Epic short story anthology we are publishing for them!
A Tiny Gesture with a huge meaning! meet the young woman whose story has inspired Brighton’s new graffiti!
Reproduced from B Journal 30th May, interview and photos by Laura Bohrer
It is her face that you can see in the centre of the new graffiti on the back wall of Coffee @ 33 in Trafalgar Street because her story is so inspiring. Having moved here from Bournemouth almost a year ago, Charr regularly goes to Cascade Creative Recovery meetings and that’s how she ended up joining Brighton Festival’s very own Storytelling Army. We met Charr after her final storytelling performance on Sunday and she told us what her story is about and what it was like to be part of this exciting project.
So, you are a member of the Storytelling Army. Can you tell me a bit more of what you have been doing there?
We had workshops every Saturday for the last ten weeks, so we have been working with different artists, poets, spoken word artists… I have basically never done writing before, only a tiny little bit. So we have been learning how to write, how to sort of bring things out and how to create a story and how to do a performance with that.
Ok, so you have worked with many different artists. What was it that you liked most about it?
Just the whole experience really. We learned so many different things. We learned about free writing, that’s when you write and you don’t stop to think about what you are writing. I usually overthink and over analyze everything but that sort of turned my brain off. I was struggling to put my story down and then I used the free writing technique and just wrote and that’s how I ended up with my story.
So, all of you wrote stories. Can you explain to me what the stories you wrote were about?
All the stories that we wrote are what we called our everyday epic, so things that people don’t normally stop to think about. Sometimes, people don’t realise that the easiest things can be the hardest. Everyone is always rushing to get somewhere and they don’t stop to think about what’s going on and what things mean to people. We are hoping that by using the everyday epic, we make people realise that.
And what is it that your everyday epic is about?
My everyday epic is about getting a coffee or tea. I am not used to people’s kindness. So, when someone offers me something, I don’t know how to cope with it and it brings up a lot of emotion. So yeah, that’s what my everyday epic is about, getting a cup of tea or coffee and what it means to me.
Has that happened very often to you, that people offered you a cup of tea or coffee?
Yeah, when I was younger my grandmother used to offer me a cuppa and that meant that, when I was there, I was safe and that I was welcome and that I didn’t have to worry about anything. And until recently that hadn’t really happened with anyone that wasn’t family, but in the last few months especially, people have been offering me tea or coffee and yeah, it means a lot. I have got no self-esteem and I don’t feel worthy of people’s kindness. So, it is nice to know that people care.
When these people offered you a coffee, did you get involved in a conversation with them?
Yeah, I even made life-long friends through that one simple gesture. I have met my best friend through this situation, a couple of them actually.
That is amazing! And during the workshops for the Storytelling Army, did you also get closer with the other participants?
Oh yeah definitely. We all got to know each other a lot better through this way. It was really a brilliant experience and I am really glad to be a part of it.
So, do you think you will pursue the writing?
Yes! I have been bought a notebook, a big notebook, so I will definitely continue writing because of this experience. I haven’t got any ideas yet for what I will write about but I will definitely pick up paper and pen more often.
What kind of writing do you like most then?
Poetry. I have only ever written a couple of poems but I really like poetry. There are so many different forms. So, even if you are not good at writing normally when it comes to stories, poetry seems to draw something out of people from their lived experiences. For me, poetry seems to be the easiest form of writing.
So, was your performance for the Storytelling Army also a poem?
No, it wasn’t. I was thinking too much about it, so I just wrote my story out as it is and performed that by just reading it out to the audience.
Was it difficult to perform your story in front of an audience?
The first time, it was really hard because I only finished it that day when I first performed it, so I was still very emotional about it and I was struggling to perform it without crying because there is so much meaning attached to it. Telling people what it means to feel like that isn’t something you do every day. But with every performance I have done, it’s getting easier to perform.
You say you were really emotional. Was that also the kind of reaction people in the audience had when they heard your story?
The first time I performed it, someone came up to me and offered me a cup of tea. That was lovely. And a lot of people have said ‘That’s my line if you would you like a cup of tea!’ It’s lovely that it makes people feel like that. So I really got good feedback on it and I got a free cup of tea out of it which was nice.
So what do you prefer, tea or coffee?
It depends on my mood, but generally a coffee. Black coffee, no sugar, no milk.
And what are your plans for the future?
I am not sure, to be honest. There is a creative writing class at Cascade on Wednesdays, so I think I’m gonna start attending that and get more involved with writing. I am also involved with drama at Cascade. We have done a few plays there, like one for the Brighton Fringe Festival, and we will probably do another performance in the near future but I am not sure yet what that will be. So yeah, it opened up a lot of opportunities for me that weren’t there a year ago.
The Balled of Edward Lasalle
Heart pounding, he fell into a hunched run, low over the rocky beach. Dropping to all fours LaSalle moved like a panther, squat and predatory, slipping clandestine across the greasy pebbles until he was straddling the granite protrusion. Ignoring the searing pain in his hip, LaSalle closed the gap on the bird as it dared to fawn over its illicit catch. Catching sight of the hunched octogenarian, the bastard gull started, black and beady flecks darting as it sensed near moral danger. For once in his life, the old man was the quicker, and buoyed by decades of welling frustration he leapt; bony fingers summoned the remainder of their strength as they closed upon a pristine white throat. Shrieking with rage and surprise the bird took flight, launching backwards off the stone.
LaSalle rallied, each dilapidated sinew straining against its muscular predetermination as he held tight to the gull’s retreat. Amidst frenzied squawking he rose unsteadily, eyes blazing, sandwich all but forgotten. It was the last straw, destined to snap the proverbial camel in half. The creature’s malevolent irises met his, and with a start the old man realised just what he was doing, several feet out amidst the crashing waves with his hands wringing tight around a seabird’s neck. As the fingers relaxed, the gull let out a howl of defiance and came at him, razor beak thrusting ever closer to those grey and cataract-inlaid irises. LaSalle’s trailing leg slipped free from its footing, and he fell.
For one unabridged and inescapable moment the world ceased to turn. Both man and beast shared one final glare that crossed that last Darwinian divide. If truth be told, LaSalle had hoped to exit this mortal coil in a far more heroic manner. And yet, his heavy metallic watch flashing bright in the opportune lustre of a lightning bolt’s momentary flare, he saw no mean feat or life-defining moment. There were no witness present, no poem penned. Just one old man’s hand around a seagull’s brazen throat amidst the all-consuming fury of the English Channel – and a thousand Argus headlines, dreamt up long into the night.
Tonight it seems like pure torture! I’m trying so hard not to stare, but I can’t stop, it’s like they’re calling to me. Perhaps I shouldn’t bottle this up; perhaps for once I should let it all out? I’m confused; it’s too much to cope with tonight. The tears start to well, my heart is racing and every irrational hormone is surging throughout my body. Bail, bail, bail! I’ve got to go!
I tried so hard to maintain a smile whilst I struggle to my feet and then it happen, something I’ve wanted for years, waited so patiently for. “Peggy” I flinched as I heard Ms Bateman’s niece call my name. “Yes my dear” I managed to force out. “Would you like a chocolate?” The tears instantly breached and flooded down my face, I smiled from the bottom of my heart “Thank you, I would so love one, it’s been so long since I tasted the delights from a chocolate box”. Mrs Bateman’s niece couldn’t miss my tears so she turned, hugged me and handed me the whole box. “Please Peggy, these are yours. I will bring more for my aunt tomorrow”.
That single expression of kindness and compassion stayed with me until my dying day, as news of my misfortune whispered from resident to visitor and I often received a box of delights to savour and finally silence the taunting.
Gav is drunk.
You can see it in his ordinarily militant body; His usual brash march is more of a meaningful flounder as he meanders across the pebbles.
Gav opts for an unnecessarily loud and exit from the blaring serenity of Brighton beach, striding past the bank-holiday families with their middle-class picnics. The hipsters with their disposable barbeques bought with their disposable incomes.
They are all being circled and Gav ruffles the seagulls’ feathers as he strides noisily past them.
Tourists and locals huddle round tables drinking premium beer from flimsy cups as the sun starts to set.
Gav turns back to look at the glitter-bomb ocean. The sky is as beautiful as a Bierstadt.
Gav breathes in the wafts of charred meat, cigarette smoke, aftershave and salt. He listens to the voices shouting over the deafening base lines and the sirens overhead.
He pulls his last can of lager out of his pocket. It’s still perfectly cold.
He holds the can for a moment, feeling it penetrate his hands and enjoying the sensation. He cracks it open and takes a swig.
The beer simmers in his mouth and the taste is wondrous. And at that exact moment, Gav knows it’s a good time to die.
Katie quickens her pace along the seafront. Edie’s hungry and she’s all out of snacks, and the need-food-now-meltdown of a toddler is the last thing Katie needs.
She’s about ten minutes from home, except she doesn’t call it home because it’s a dump. Katie weaves Edie’s pushchair in and out of the obstacle course of tourists and mobs of language students who are literally everywhere. She’s an absolute pro at this and is practically sprinting now. Most of the human obstacles back away or stand completely still as they see her coming towards them, which pleases Katie enormously.
Katie stops momentarily to catch her breath, then distracted by the sunset. The backdrop to the litter-covered beach. An absolute mess. Just like her life. The main difference being that there won’t be people in high vis jackets coming to pick up the pieces of her life in the morning.
She starts to run again, committed to getting Edie fed and put to bed so that she can finish her short story which needs to be submitted by tomorrow evening. It’s for a competition.
She probably won’t win though, she thinks.
Behind the Door
The inmates inside were a complete mixed bag of creeds and races. Some guys were pretty big and terrifyingly intimidating. Some were overweight and kept their heads down. A few were old and grey, again, my heart went out to these old men, they looked lost and out of place. Some were like me, average height, skinny and wondering what the hell went wrong with their lives to put them in such a place.
Thankfully, I was amazed to see queuing going on. Queuing I thought, the first sign of mutual respectfulness and courtesy. This was a good sign. It reminded me of a wildlife documentary I watched once where all the animals on the African plain were suffering with a two-year long drought and as they all gathered around the last watering hole no animal was harmed or killed. I prayed this was the case in this watering hole.
Each time a shower became free, the man next in line would quickly undress and jump in, and he’d hurriedly lather up his head with shower gel and then with a flannel use the froth to clean the rest of his body. This whole process took approximately sixty seconds. He was soon, in his track suit, sopping wet and leaving through the door back onto the wing.
Razor looked at me and wordlessly nodded me over to the farthest end of the room. I gathered that being nearer to the end of the shower-room his back would be covered by the wall and he could see anyone and everything that was going down. Men stepped out of the way and let us both pass without so much as a comment or a sneer. The king of the jungle has come to the watering hole and even though there was an unspoken truce, the other animals didn’t push their luck.
(Jai Byrd, East Sussex)
The Silver Bracelet
I left the bracelet in the bird’s nest and began my descent which was much more difficult than the climb because you can’t see where you’re going. After a final undignified slither I was safe on the ground, brushing off the green mould. Veronica held out her hand. ‘My bracelet please.’ I shook my head and shrugged. ‘I told you. If you want it back you can go up and get it.’ She thought I was joking. ‘Now don’t be stupid Jim. Give it back to me.’ I threw my arms apart. ‘I haven’t got it. Search me if you like.’ She still thought I was joking and patted my pockets. ‘Where is it then?’
‘In an old bird’s nest at the top of the tree.’
‘Well you can jolly well climb up again and get it.” Her eyes were blazing, and her hands were clenched. I waited for her anger to turn to laughter but it didn’t. So I went back to the tree. ‘All right then. Keep your hair on. I only did it for a joke, like.’ I began climbing when she called out: ‘ no – don’t bother.’ She was smiling now. ‘I didn’t like the rotten thing anyway.’
‘If you want me to I’ll go up and get it’
She shook her head.
The church clock was striking and it gave me an idea. ‘Today is the twenty seventh of October. Suppose we come back in twenty years’ time and day at exactly four o’ clock and I’ll climb up and get your bracelet.’”
If you are visiting Brighton this week you are in for a real verbal story telling treat as the #storytellingarmy will be out in force popping up all over Brighton to tell their everyday epic stories to anyone who will listen. This is an amazing celebration of verbal storytelling and Lulu are delighted to be able to transform some of these stories into the written word as part of the Everyday Epic short story writing competition. You can find a storyteller by looking out for the distinctive board shown above!
To celebrate the event we are running a chance to win some great Lulu branded goodies. All you need to do to stand a chance of grabbing one of these great give-aways is look out for one of the storytellers. Once you spot one please tweet a picture, the location you spotted them at, and your feedback on their story on our twitter page @luludotcomUK or visit our facebook page luludotcomUK and message us.
Need a coffee when you are ‘on the spot’ for a member of the storytelling army? Don’t forget to visit the fantastic wall mural on the side of Coffee@33, Trafalgar street and admire the creative handy work of some of the children from local schools.
How I became a closet nutter
I can’t say for sure when the journey to Friern began, but two dates that spring to mind are July 5th 1957 and Friday April 13th 1972.
My memory of that day in July starts with (not being allowed to go swimming with dad and George) two policeman coming into our flat and talking to mum. Shortly afterwards she became distressed and began to cry. I ran over to comfort her and wrapped my arms around her legs, being only five at the time. Later on I learned that the policeman had told mum that dad had drowned having one last dive at Highgate pond. He must have hit his head on the bottom.
My brother George, twelve at the time, had been with dad. When dad failed to surface George ran all the way home, about four miles. I shudder to think of the impact this must have had on him. As for me, being only five I couldn’t understand what was happening. All I can say is that to this day I have no memories of my father’s physical presence, perhaps because I chose to forget what was painful and inexplicable to a young mind.
During childhood, I suppose I could have taken a variety of different routes that would have taken me far away from Friern Barnet. But after starting work on building sites at 15, I thought ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers, I can’t handle this for another fifty years’ and began the ever quickening march to Friern, the beat of the powerless thought ‘something’s gotta happen’ keeping me company. On the Friday the 13th of April the march became a mad dash.
Every Monday Elsa would take the tram to the square and walk down the Koenigstrasse. She would stop at the flower stall at the corner next to Café Ludovic, and buy a small bouquet which she then tied on the railings near the spot opposite St. Agnes Lane. Facing it was a bench where she would sit. That had been her routine for nearly five years, but this day was different. The moment she left the stall she could see them. There. By her spot on the railings. Bright yellow flowers. Gaudy. Most unlike the subtler reds and blues of her bouquet. She hurried along and peered at them. No note. No explanation. Just a large bunch of bright yellow flowers, wrapped in expensive shiny gold paper, tied above the withered remains of her last offering.
She started to tie her own fresh bunch to the railings below those of the intruder. But a surge of indignation stopped her. This was her place. So she fixed them above the yellow ones. For a moment, she even considered removing the others.
A coincidence, she thought. Another death. An accident perhaps. But not the tragedy she had faced. Her son murdered. His character maligned. Elsa wiped her eyes. Unusual nowadays. Her tears had long run dry. Her pain was now held tight inside. She found herself wondering about this other victim. A young man perhaps. Like her son. Pavel had lived life to the full. Girls, football, politics and motorbikes. She wondered whether this young man had also had a motorbike. An accident. That had always been her worry. She had feared that one day she would get a call to say that Pavel had come off his bike.
Ridiculous, unsettling coincidences
Across the cliff top she walked for a while, picking her way along the path by the light of a low moon that hung over the sea. She paused occasionally to shoot her voice over the water that surged against the rocks far below. Seagulls flew around with angry moans. By now it was three in the morning. Liz couldn’t bear the thought of another night coming on. The void calling beneath her was something she would fall into, never to rise again.
Silence. Nothing. No one. That was it then. For three or four minutes, Liz stood, suspended on the edge of the abyss. She could not turn herself back to the solid cliff behind and prepared to take a step into the ultimate experience of nothingness.
A co-incidence. A ridiculous, unsettling conjunction; two separate points of the universe colliding that should never have come together.
As Liz took a step into the chasm of sea and darkness beneath, just then, the phone rang. What on earth? Here? Of course it was the mobile phone still in her coat pocket. As if wandering disconsolately along the cliff at Beachy Head was unreal enough, this was surreal. “Go on, answer it,” she said out loud. Instinct took hold as the curiosity of the self she had been about to extinguish rose from the abyss.
“Hello?” she said. She couldn’t believe it. Rev Bill?! Here. On the phone? Now? This time of night! It had to be the oddest thing that had ever happened.
“Liz, I had the strangest and strongest impulse to phone you. I know how late it is. And you will tell me to back off and go to bed. But something has made me call. Tell me you’re all right?”
Liz took a deep breath and couldn’t resist smiling at the situation. Maybe all her experience did not have to be a long extended conversation with oneself. Perhaps there was someone out there able to break in upon us. What should she say?
“Yes I’m all right”. Even as she said these words, she felt herself struggle back over the cliff to find a foothold once more. “Look, thanks for phoning. I’ll go back now” (though she didn’t say where she was), “come and talk to me soon” she added, almost as an afterthought. Liz thought she saw a crack in the sky. There were choices to take and moves to make. And she sat there for an hour until pale flecks of morning began to line the eastern sky. A new day.
(Christopher, Brighton area)
In the slave room
Later that evening there were no punters for an hour, and I was able to sit and talk with Sylvie. “I have a right to be here and I live only in fear,” I told her quietly, but she said nothing, just looking at me sadly for a few moments. She seemed about to speak when Angela came in, and stood watching the rest of the news report while sucking on an e-cigarette, and cursing the lack of business.
She paused to draw on the e-cigarette again, its tip glowing with cold heat, then gave a strange smile to us. “You two should be glad the punters couldn’t care less where any of you come from. You’re just a collection of holes to them!” She paused, then waves her e-cigarette at Sylvie. “Though you’re a bit special, of course, Sylv. Brown sugar special request…. A taste of the exotic with our wild African temptress.” She laughed.
“I wish I was back in Africa,” said Sylvie quietly. “It’s not exotic to me – it’s home.” This defiance made Angela go mad. She slapped Sylvie, and called her a “f****** ungrateful bitch”, then threatened to get Danny upstairs to brand her. “Put the f****** mark on you like a prized cow,” she spat out. “The closest you’re ever going to get to Africa is if you get moved to the flat in Brixton.”
The buzzer had rung during Angela’s outburst, and now rang again, which made Angela stop suddenly, swear, then compose her greeting face. She snapped at us: “Get back in the lounge, and look f****** ready – ready for f******.” Then she left to go and greet the punter and take their money.
Sylvie had a strange blank look on her face as she walked past me towards the lounge. I gulped down the last of the tea, then took a few moments to swoosh out a sludge of Hobnob in the bottom of the cup, then began working on my punter face.
When I walked into the lounge I just stared, trying to take things in. Sylvie had taken a tasselled cushion from the sofa where we sat for punters with our skirts high up our legs, and she had set it on fire using the bars of the heater. Now she was walking quickly, precisely around the room holding the flames to anything that might burn. She turned to me sharply, and with a fierce voice told me not to make a sound. “Help me push the sofa against the door so that bitch can’t get in,” she spat. “We have to keep her out until someone out there sees the fire and calls for help.”
We pushed harder than we had ever pushed before, slowly pushing the sofa until it was against the door. All around us cheap fabric began to burn – a chair, a worn rug – then flames began to destroy the dark curtains that blocked the outside looking in. We retreated to a far corner of the room and began praying that someone would see.
It was just one of those things
She tipped the contents of the barrow into the English Channel, and smiled: Nobody could find him now! The police could investigate, and the media speculate as much as they liked; in a couple of weeks no-one would give a damn about the disappearance of a guitarist in a boy band. She’d got away with it!
The barrow was easier to push now that it was empty, but a small plastic sandwich bag remained in the bottom. Helen stared at the bag; damn I’ve forgotten his bits and pieces after all! Oh well, they can go in the fridge. I’ll go to the pier and feed them to the seagulls tomorrow
The voice from behind her came as a surprise, ‘Allo. Allo. Allo. What’s nice a girl like you doing in a place like this in the middle of the night?’
Helen turned slowly, ‘Oh hello officer! I’ve been taking some rubbish to the dump.’
The police officer looked into the wheelbarrow, where at the bottom, Justin’s sad looking bits and pieces along with his fingers and toes were clearly visible in the transparent sandwich bag, ‘What the f***…’ he said and stared at Helen in disbelief.
Oh well you can’t win them all.
‘It really was the most marvellous garden,’ she said. ’Not that I had anything to compare it with.’
He tried to recall it. ‘It smelled so beautiful. No chemicals of course then, and it rained only when you needed it. I remember a tree,’ he said. ‘Because I used to sit in the shade and make up names for things. Then you came along, and you thought of miraculous names. Like Flutterby.’
‘You improved on that one.’ She smiled. Although her skin was so wrinkled these days, she retained a smile to charm the birds out of the trees. They seldom spoke of those days because they seemed not only to belong to a different age but to two different people entirely.
‘Would you like to go back?’
‘Well, we couldn’t, could we? For one thing, we’ld never find it.’
‘There’s a few clues. The Land of Nod.’
‘But what’s that mean? It’s just a metaphor. It means you might see it in your dreams. You might. I haven’t had a dream for months.’
They were sitting either side of a plain oak table on which lay the remains of a frugal lunch; soup and some unappetizing fruit. Their conversation was interrupted by power drills and the cheerful blasphemies of workmen for whom every day was predictable. The village was being reinvented.
‘I did dream about the snake once. He was an old charmer, despite everything.’
‘It must have been part of a plan,’ Adam remarked. He wanted to continue talking and to leave the dishes till later. ‘And when you consider all the aspects of it, it was a weird kind of plan, because I don’t believe we had any choice. It would have been helpful if we had some record of it all; photos maybe.’
The Beginner’s Guide To Being Arrested
I worried about being ‘on the system’. I wasn’t online – I didn’t have broadband, Facebook or Twitter – they just it weren’t for me. I’d given up on the landline as it was too expensive and just use a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. When it rings it’s always a random cold caller and I can barely text. It takes me ages to send just a couple of words. I’d kind of lost contact with the world and now I was suddenly thrown into the 21st century by biometric data.
After the samples and prints had been taken it was back to the cell. I fell asleep to be woken up and asked if I would like dinner? I said “no” thinking it was still morning and this was some trick to confuse me. I developed a mindset that everyone was against me. I had gone out that morning, been attacked then gone home but my place-of-safety had been intruded upon by police arresting me.
The hatch in the cell door slammed open waking me. I’d fallen asleep sitting up again.
“Your Solicitor will be here in forty minutes”, someone shouted through the hatch then slammed it shut. It was no good knowing that. I didn’t have a watch on. I waited in the cell in which the temperature was now unbearably hot. I decided to go to the toilet ignoring the overhead camera. Immediately after I had finished, the cell door opened. “Your duty solicitor is here”, the custody assistant said.
(Matt, Shoreham By Sea)
On the Threshold
On the threshold, Emily told herself: you can become the version of you that’s needed, send another letter, take one more step forward. She took it, and closed her front door quietly behind her, for the sake of neighbours who’d never noticed her. Once again, the street smelled of last night but the sky was pink with possibility.
Passing across the square, she recognised, from identical mornings, another early riser. He didn’t see her smile, was too busy examining the inside of his frown. There is always tomorrow, she thought.
She was right on time for the park, and ready for the dog walker’s half-hearted salute, which might really be no more than a shaking of the leash. She threw her first ever greeting, but it fell short. The walker didn’t turn to pick it up, didn’t wait to see what might happen next. But a word had been spoken, and that was better than yesterday.
Master of the Rolls
The groan that oozed from Amir’s throat pitched as horror, sadness and pity took turns to confront him. The barbeque was tomorrow. And now £95 worth of meat – the beef-burgers, the lamb-chops, the vegetarian sausages – was all gone; destroyed. And £20 of breads used as tennis balls? This could not be happening. Everyone in The Building had been invited: ten families; thirty two stomachs. He couldn’t cancel. He must think of a solution – one that didn’t involve shelling out money. Because all he had in his wallet was a maxed-out credit card and a £10 note. Nothing in the bank until the cheque he’d paid in for the Matheson’s loft job was cleared. It would be Wednesday, at the earliest, before that £200 was in his account. Amir heard his wife sniffling her sobs under control.
One of those days in Brighton where the heat is thick. Everybody lying on the grass watching everybody else. Ice lolly sticks all over the playground. Dogs with their tongues out, dry. Max sleeping next to a crate of Foster’s. No clouds. A teenage boy in a grey t-shirt tapping me on the shoulder. Sweat patches, smiley. Tells me he’s looking for alcoholics. Making a short film for college. Just thought he’d ask around the park. Hot day, you know? Writes his mobile number on a rizla. Don’t have to decide now, just something to keep in mind. He’d appreciate it.
Put the rizla in my back pocket. Remember being seventeen, on a bus. Woman with a sandwich turned around in her seat to tell me to go easy on the drink. She’d seen me on this route before. Couldn’t even walk straight at eleven in the morning. Better kick it before it’s too late. Got a whole life ahead of me. Not a thing to waste, a life. I thanked her for the advice and got off at the next stop to buy four K Ciders. Guess I’ve got it written all over my face.
Lulu are proud sponsors of Brighton Festival’s world premier the Storytelling Army and in celebration of this exciting event, Lulu and Brighton Festival are thrilled to be able to launch this competition with the prize offered for your story to be published into a short story anthology with four additional stories from members of the Storytelling Army and produced as a paperback book.
Everyday Epic looks at us as human beings, at what we do on a daily basis and celebrates those little achievements – whether it is that today I am sober, or I have managed to take my kids to school and I suffer from depression, or whether it’s my first day of paid work – whatever that Everyday Epic is, it’s the chance to celebrate that and tell that story.
Four winning entries will be combined into a short story anthology with four additional stories from members of the Storytelling Army and produced as a paperback book and published.
The 4 winners will be announced on Wednesday the 24th of May 2017. If the submission rate is high the judges reserve the right to announce the winners after the close of festival.
Submission Opening and Closing Date
The competition opens on Friday 31st March 2017 and all entries must be received electronically by midnight GMT 24th MAY 2017.
Terms and Conditions
- Entry is free.
- The competition is open to writers who are Sussex residents.
- There is no obligation to purchase any Lulu.com product to enter this competition.
- The theme of entries should be ‘Everyday Epic’.
- Your entry must be no more than 4,000 words, no minimum word count.
- The title does not count as part of the word count.
- Only one entry per person is permitted.
- Your entry must be previously unpublished.
- You must be 18 years or over to participate.
- By entering the competition you agree to be published if you are selected as a winner.
- All entries must be typed and supplied electronically. No hand-written entries will be accepted.
- Your entry must be submitted electronically as a word or pdf document and the document must contain: your name, your address, your age, your e mail contact details, the title of your submission, the word count, your twitter handle (if relevant).
- It is preferred that all entries are written in English, however we will accept a non-English entry providing an English translation is also submitted with it.
- Once an entry has been submitted it cannot be withdrawn.
- This prize is not transferable.
- Entries cannot be returned so please keep a copy.
- Late entries will not be considered.
- It is not possible to confirm receipt of entry by phone or email.
- We will only contact the entrants who have won.
- Winners and extracts of their stories will be communicated via our website and social media pages.
- If you do not hear from us your submission has been unsuccessful.
- If you are successful, in entering the competition you agree to our publishing terms and conditions which can be viewed at http://www.lulu.com/about/legal
- Copies of the anthology will be published and made available for sale. Lulu pays 80% net royalties (net is the amount left after retailer discount) which is the highest in the industry. As this is an anthology royalties are to be shared 50% to the Storytelling Army and 30% shared between the 4 non-Storytelling Army winners.
- Final cover design is to be decided by Brighton Festival and nabokov.
Address for entries:
- All entries should be electronic and emailed to email@example.com
- Entries will only be accepted if submitted as an electronic version to the entry address provided.
- If you are unable to email your entry then you can copy it onto a CD and post to the address below on condition that they are received by the closing date and only CD’s are sent. No CD’s can be returned and we take no responsibility for any lost in the post.
- Address for CD submission: Lulu.com, Workshops 1 &2, Park Farm, Paulerspury, Towcester, Northants, NN12 7NG
The judges decision is final, judges are unable to comment on individual entries, judging is fair and unbiased and experienced readers assist in helping the judges select the winners. Profiles of the judges will be posted on this blog.
- Copyright of each entry remains with the author but in entering the competition the author agrees that Lulu.com, Brighton Festival and nabokov will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning pieces (including any shortlisted entries) in relevant promotional material in print or online.
- Submission of an entry implies the winners give agreement to be photographed and will take part in any marketing and publicity opportunities (print, social, or as otherwise required in the promotion of the event and the anthology) connected with this competition carried about by Lulu.com, Brighton Festival or nabokov.
- Lulu.com will hold your contact address in our systems to contact you with regard to any future writing competitions we feel may be of interest to you unless you contact us to opt out. If you do not wish us to contact you for future events and competitions please make this clear on your competition submission.
Submission of your entry implies acceptance of these competition terms and conditions.
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We are delighted to announce that we have launched a new UK based book and marketing service to support UK an Ireland based authors in helping to bring your works to a larger audience. We are delighted to have joined forces with Authoright who are a UK based marketing and publicity agency with strong industry links to help you build the buzz about your book.
We choose Authoright because we know that marketing and publicity ‘combined packages’ don’t work for every book and every author; sometimes only a flexible and bespoke campaign will work. Authoright offers a ‘pick and mix’ selection of services to help to get the pitch just right without breaking the bank. So if you are great at your own social media, for example, why pay for it again as part of a marketing package when you don’t have to.
By partnering with a UK based company you can be assured that they have their finger on the pulse of the UK publishing and promotion scene. And, since Authoright is UK based this means you can contact their publicists within UK working hours.
The new UK services can be viewed by visiting http://www.lulu.com and selecting the United Kingdom or Ireland shopping carts as your preferred cart.
We will be regularly featuring success stories from authors using this service on this blog – be it a radio interview, book signing tour or an author that has just launched a great new website with cutting edge design we will be sharing these success stories.
How does it work?
When you submit the marketing enquiry form it will be reviewed by Authoright staff who will contact you directly with more information on the services you are interested in together with their Terms and Conditions. You will naturally have a lot of questions. We try and capture as much information as we can so that the Authoright team can give you the best advice.
The Authoright team is very experienced with a good feel for which types of publications fail or succeed in the book market; they will assess your publication and give you their honest view of your possibilities for media success and if they feel that they can take your publication on and market it for you. They want the books they represent to be a success too.
It’s going to take a creative ‘heart to heart’ community effort with lots of glittering art and technicolour drawings to make it a DAZZLING Guinness World Record achievement!
So, make sure you visit the Compost Kids Creative Tent at the bottom of the Quarry and help us to create Bugglepuff and Shropshire Kids Festival history by being a record breaker!
You can enjoy entering the fun world of the Bugglepuff family and their extraordinary adventures and meet CL Bennett the author for a Bugglepuff book signing afterwards.
More details on the festival and how to get there can be found by clicking here
How long have you been publishing and what made you decide to enter this business?
Logic Press started in 2002. With colleagues I initiated mathematical enrichment activities (linked to the Mathematical Olympiads) for secondary school children in the mid-nineties, and we structured our activities around a book by the New Zealand mathematician Derek Holton, published by the University of Waterloo (Canada). We bought this book in bulk each year (about 90 per annum) and distributed it to our students.The stock ran out in 2002, and neither Waterloo nor the author could supply an alternative. By that stage, we had some other ideas about a better book, more suitable for Irish students, so I got the team together to write our own manual, and set up Logic Press to publish it. This was the Maynooth Mathematical Olympiad Manual. In part, it drew on a textbook book in the Irish language that I had written earlier.
My books are not mass-market items, and I publish them as a service to a small public.
What genres do you publish? Who are your customers?
The press publishes mathematics-related books. The Olympiad Manual was revised, with input from colleagues in other universities, and became the Irish Mathematical Olympiad Manual. This is used at five enrichment centres in Ireland and across the world. Later texts were mainly for university students. Our ‘Less Serious Division’ caters for the fact that there is more to mathematical life than mathematics.
Why did you decide to use the Lulu platform for your publishing needs?
Initially, our books were heat bound A4 size, relatively poor print quality, and prone to come apart with heavy use. I paid the university to print them, using facilities in place. The big advantages were that I could supply them at low prices, and that I could print only on demand, holding no stock, needing no capital or support staff. I was impressed by the quality of some student-produced journals from Cork and Cambridge, and discovered print-on-demand online services. I realised that Lulu’s setup allowed me to maintain low prices, print only on demand and make a big improvement to the print quality. I am proud of what goes between the covers of the books, and glad that the appearance of the books now matches that quality.
Lulu has been described as a platform and community which provides the tools to allow publishing and distribution – are you using all of the Lulu services for a complete end to end solution or only some of them?
I use Lulu to print my own ISBN’s and use Lulu ISBN’s for titles needing print and distribution; using Lulu ISBN’s relieves me of the burden of distribution. I sell more books internationally since I started using Lulu ISBN’s.
I generally use the Lulu cover-design tool rather than making my own.
Do you use both print and ebook services from Lulu?
At present, I just use print. I will implement ebook delivery in the future.
As a small publisher have you found that using one publishing platform helps reduce your overheads, provides better time management with handling less suppliers, allows you to concentrate on the process of author acquisition v logistics and production focus?
As long as things continue as they are, Lulu suits me. I invest my own time, pay for internet connectivity and web hosting, and otherwise I have no other costs.
Which one of your publications are you most excited about right now?
Teresa is the author of Pocket Handbook for Assistant Buyers A-Z of Textile Terms and has been involved in the world of fashion and clothing all her working life. After gaining a degree in sociology at Goldsmith’s College, she decided to pursue her career and enrolled on a course at Westminster College, London which introduced her to the world of pattern cutting, design and garment production. From there her first role involved working as a wholesale merchandiser for a large Hong Kong based company who were manufacturing and supplying men’s clothing into the high street. Using the product knowledge she gained in this role, she went on to work for Pepe jeans as a product manager alongside the head of men’s wear design. She then entered the world of buying where she worked for two iconic British brands, namely Laura Ashley and BHS.
After leaving buying, she helped to set up the UK office for a well-known French trend forecasting agency, Groupe Carlin. Subsequently, she was involved in working with some leading clothing manufacturers including Floreal Knitwear (part of the Ciel Group), a significant supplier of core product to Marks and Spencer. More recently she has been helping to promote Danish clothing brands into the UK.
Teresa also works part time as a lecturer/tutor at the London College of Fashion teaching both an introductory and further advanced course in Fashion Buying and Merchandising. She has been involved with the University for over 10 years.
What made you decide to indie-publish your work the Pocket Handbook for Assistant Buyers A-Z of Textile Terms
I have never published before and to be honest I didn’t think that an established publisher would be interested in taking my book and I was advised for a first publication it would be easier to self publish.I wrote my book in response to what I perceived to be a gap in the market. After having taught for over ten years I felt there was a need to provide an easy-to-use handbook which could be used by my target audience once they started on their journey in Fashion Buying. My book was based on the knowledge I myself gained during the many years I worked in the industry, both as a product developer and as a fashion buyer.
How is your publication used by your fashion students?
My students can use my publication to enhance their knowledge and if necessary prepare and assist them in entering into the world of buying.
Would you recommend independent publishing to your academic colleagues/friends and why?
If you are passionate about a subject matter and have experienced rejection or lack of interest from traditional publishers, then self publishing is certainly an option although you will have to work very much on your own initiative in order to tackle the processes needed in getting to the final goal.
How did you promote and market your book?
As my book is primarily an academic book with a very specific subject matter, I concentrated my efforts on promoting my book to established universities and colleges in the UK and USA as well as through multi media routes such as Linkedin and Twitter.
What are you plans for a next book?
It is year since I published my first book so at the moment I would like to build on the sales for this book before embarking on another.
Teresa’s book Pocket Handbook for Assistant Buyers A-Z of Textile Terms is available in both print and ebook versions from the Lulu bookshop at http://www.lulu.com/shop.
Why did you choose self-publishing instead of a traditional publisher?
It took me six months to write the first book and when I got to the end of my scribbled pages, I sat there with an enormous pile of papers and wondered what do I do next? If I want it to be presented in the best possible way, then maybe I should create a finished book. I still had a long way to go developing the characters, bringing them to life through illustrations and putting the series together from hundreds of muddled up pages so I decided to work with an indie-publishing company to bring the ‘Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key’ to life.
What made you decide to indie-publish? Did you enjoy the process?
Publishing a book is very hard work and I now hold great respect for traditional publishing houses and the process a book goes through from a manuscript to the finished book on a shop shelf. I naively thought it was easy – not! To create twenty-four illustrations for the book I had to go into exquisite details to help animate the Bugglepuff characters. My husband and I managed to miss this fun but my children very kindly dressed up as the Bugglepuff children with their own pets from the book and acted out silly Bugglepuff poses until I got the right photos for the first illustrations!
This was a lot of chaos, chasing chickens around the garden and getting our pig to carry a basket without eating it, was tremendously entertaining. Then I had to sketch out the basic illustrations, with other pictures and wait and wait and wait some more. When I got the first email saying the first few illustrations were ready to view I was so deliriously excited I nearly cried, in fact I think I did. The illustrator at Lulu captured my family and their personalities. I chose black and white sketches for the interior because I love the simplicity of them and they’re so deliciously crisp and timeless.
The editing process was a long, complicated and sometimes frustrating time but I was well supported throughout by Lulu Publishing. It took eight months from August 2013 to April 2014 to complete but I know it was all worth it when I finally got to hold my first ‘Bugglepuff and the Magic Key’ on the 10th April 2014 – my animated family was in print – yippee!
As an author is your job done after you finish the book?
Goodness me no. There is a slight breather when you feel complete holding the first copy of your first book. A sparkle of pride and something inside shouts, “YES!” but then the hard work really starts. Some writers write for the sheer personal pleasure but if you want to reach a wider audience you must look at the readers your targeting. Their age, interests and social media is a massive portal to share your book all over the world. Make sure your up to speed or have an indie-publisher like Lulu on hand to give you marketing guidance. Share the book in the local community and shops. The stigma that used to go with a self-published book in the retail world is getting less biased. If your books are good enough and they catch a retailer’s eye you may be able to launch your book in a bookshop. Online booksellers, including Lulu’s own online shop, are very fast to deliver your books whether you live in China, Europe or the US.
To be a successful and happy writer you need to be able to have a passion for writing, marketing and understand that it takes time and patience to get people to turn the pages of your books. But if you believe in your books worth then so may many other readers – good luck!
Do you suffer with ‘writer’s block’ and how do you overcome it?
Writer’s block for me only came with lack of time in the day to write between juggling everything else. If I felt I needed inspiration I would go for a walk by the sea. I always carry a camera with me to take photos of scenery, a crooked doorway, a curious animal or the ever-changing colours in the sky. Never miss an opportunity to write if an idea pops into your head so always carry a pen and paper to capture that spark. Ideas when they are fresh are the most original and alive in a writer’s imagination.
Did you know?
The great children’s writer Roald Dahl used to keep exercise books called ‘ideas books’ to write down even the smallest of ideas which could potentially become stories. The BFG started with one such sentence scribbled in one of his ideas books. Today, children visiting the Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire are still presented with an ideas book to help them capture ideas for their stories. Brilliant!