Production of the ‘Literacy Pirates’ Anthology

Front cover of the anthology

Back in 2011, a teacher in North London came to the realisation that some of her students needed more help and support beyond what their respective schools could provide. Hence, after proposing a pilot project with the local charity ‘Bootstrap Company’, Catriona Maclay founded ‘The Hackney Pirates’, which today is proudly known as the non-profit organization, The Literacy Pirates. 

The Literacy Pirates is a teachers’ community who believes every child should be successful in learning which they achieve by providing them extra support to improve their learning abilities. They work with children aged from 9-12 years and provide them guidance on reading and creative writing activities. The children’s written work is then published in books, films as well as audio projects.

After a decade of perseverance, Literacy Pirates, in collaboration with the University of Roehampton’s very own Fincham Press, decided to do an anthology which highlights the hard work of the organisation and its children.

From the MA Publishing programme, Pauline Rolland, Sarah Newman, Teodora Hociung, Zuzanna Majkowska and Isha Gadgil have put their heart and soul into this project and put together the anthology with the kindest help from Izzy Taylor, Communications Manager at the Literacy Pirates and Dr. Susan Greenberg, convener of MA Publishing at the University of Roehampton. 

The anthology is called ‘A Ten-Year Voyage’. It is divided into three sections. ‘A Trip Around the World’ is based on the celebration of diversity among these children who love to celebrate various festivals in various countries around the world. ‘A Journey Through Imagination’ is the section that features stories when these young children flexed their creative and imaginary boundaries with fictional stories to tell the world. The last section is named ‘A Virtual Ship’ which focuses on how the Pirates worked when the world was hit by the pandemic storm and the United Kingdom was on lockdown. 

The cover design of the anthology is designed by Sarah Newman. The sections were divided among Isha, Pauline and Zuzanna, and the developmental editing has been worked on by Teodora. All the five members of the team have worked hard on this project, and they have put together the anthology to cherish the brilliant work put up by the Literacy Pirates and their children. 

The Age Between in Translation

Aidan Chambers’ personal reflections on youth fiction are now available to Dutch and Italian readers

Tussentijd: over het schrijven voor jongeren 
(In the Meantime: on writing for young people) is translated by Joke Linders and published by Schaep14
L’età sospesa. Dalla letteratura young adult alla youth fiction: riflessioni sulla letteratura giovanile 
(The Suspended Age: from young adult literature to youth fiction: reflections on youth literature) is translated by Gabriela Zucchini and published by Equilibri 

Video: Aidan Chambers discusses ‘The Age Between’

An interview with Aidan Chambers about his 2020 Fincham Press book The Age Between can now be watched in full online

On 4 November 2020, Aidan Chambers’ most recent critical work The Age Between: Personal Reflections on Youth Fiction (Fincham Press, 2020) was launched online at the inaugural YA Studies Association (YASA) conference. At the event – which was co-organised by Fincham Press, YASA, and the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL) at the University of Roehampton – Chambers was in conversation with his editor, Dr Alison Waller (Reader, NCRCL). This discussion, which covered everything from the theory of ‘youth fiction’ that Chambers elaborates in The Age Between to his long, illustrious career as a widely acclaimed novelist and theorist, can now be watched in full below, or on Vimeo.

In the thoughtful set of essays that comprise The Age Between, acclaimed author and critic Aidan Chambers presents his manifesto for youth fiction, weaving together insights from literary history, stylistics, narrative theory, and other fields. Chambers brings a freshness to the analysis of classic texts such as J D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Anne Frank’s Diary, and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War, and thinks aloud about the shape, purpose, and future of youth fiction in a lively interview with Deborah Cogan Thacker.

Copies of The Age Between are available for purchase directly from Fincham Press or on Amazon UK

Hidden Treasures: Double Book Launch

After a pause last year, Fincham Press is releasing its two latest student writing anthologies together this May. Readers can hear from the authors in a series of online public readings from May 10, leading up to a live online panel event on Tuesday May 25.

The two collections, All That Glitters and The Box, were held up by the pandemic shut-downs of the last year, but they are now going ahead, with the joint theme of Hidden Treasures. The final event on May 25 will take place via Zoom from 18.30h to 20h, when our special guests Clare Bogan and Giselle Leeb will explore the delights of the anthology as a format.

Clare Bogen is the founding editor of 3 of Cups press, which started in 2017 in the hopes of creating a more equal literary landscape. 3 of Cups have released four anthologies of short stories and creative non-fiction, and are currently working on a poetry anthology to be released later this year. Clare is also the publicity director at Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Giselle Leeb grew up in South Africa and lives in Nottingham. Her short stories have appeared in over forty publications, including Best British Short Stories 2017 (Salt), Ambit, Mslexia, The Lonely Crowd, Litro, and Black Static. She has been placed or shortlisted in competitions including the Ambit, Bridport and Mslexia prizes. She is an assistant editor at Reckoning Journal and a Word Factory Apprentice Award winner 2019, and was recently chosen to attend the David Higham Associates New Writers’ open week. Her story, ‘Scaffolding’, is forthcoming in MAINSTREAM, an anthology of stories from the edges, from Inkandescent.

It is a special delight to bring these two books into the world and reward the patience of their student contributors.

‘I’m thrilled to hear that All That Glitters is finally being published, and my poem, ‘The Last Time’ will be included,’ says Annabel Black, who is studying creative writing and drama, theatre & performance studies.

You can order the two books here. Meanwhile we invite you to follow Fincham Press on social media (see links below) for the latest updates about the Hidden Treasure book launch.

Book your free ticket to the Hidden Treasures book launch here.

Leone Ross: teacher, editor, author – and cover girl

It is with both pride and sadness that we say farewell to Leone Ross, who has been editor of the Fincham Press student writing anthologies since they first appeared seven years ago.

Leone, formerly Senior Lecturer on the Creative Writing Programme, left the University of Roehampton ahead of the April 19 launch of her novel, This One Sky Day. It follows two previous novels, All The Blood Is Red and Orange Laughter, as well as a collection of short stories, Come Let us Sing Anyway.

In an interview with photographer, writer, and podcaster Naomi Woddis, Leone talks about what compels her to write. ‘There’s always private stories going on underneath the surface of people … I write about that, that’s what I’m most intrigued about.’

Her latest work emphasises these layers. The story takes place during one day on the island of Popisho, where everyone is born with magical gift – but one that may not be as helpful as it seems. Xavier, a chef, and Anise, a healer, bring the reader into this world and promise that you won’t leave it the same as when you arrived.

‘As long-time colleagues, Leone and I had the kind of mutual trust that makes collaborations a joy, and brings out the best in the students’ work,’ says Susan Greenberg, publisher of Fincham Press, Senior Lecturer on the Creative Writing Programme and Convener of the MA Publishing. ‘We aim to continue with the same high standards.’

Leone’s last two Fincham Press anthologies – All That Glitters and The Box – are being launched this May and news of the double-book launch will be posted here soon. Meanwhile, you can go ahead and order copies from the the university e-store,: either singly (see Glitters and The Box) or as a launch package.

Book Launch: The Age Between

We invite you to join us for the launch of Aidan Chambers’ new book, The Age Between: Personal Reflections on Youth Fiction.

This free-ticket event will take place online
Wednesday 4 November
18.30-19.30 GMT.

It will feature:

  • An introduction by Lisa Sainsbury, Director of the NCRCL
  • Aidan Chambers in conversation with his editor, Alison Waller 
  • Q&A 

The launch is being hosted as part of YA Studies Around the World, an online conference considering young adult literature, media, and culture and in conjunction with the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL).

To book your free place, Register Here

Coming Soon: The Age Between by Aidan Chambers

We’re delighted to be publishing Aidan Chambers’ new book, The Age Between: Personal Reflections on Youth Fiction.

The Age Between Cover

This series of essays explores the history and form of classic texts such as J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Anne Frank’s Diary, and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War. Chambers also examines his own fascinating experiences of reading and writing youth fiction, weaving these together with fresh insights from narrative theory, anthropology and neurology. The book includes a lively discussion between the author and Dr Deborah Cogan Thacker. Chambers is well known for his young adult fiction and critical writings on the craft of fiction, publishing, and young people reading.

We are holding an official online launch for The Age Between on Wednesday 4 November, 18.30-19.30 GMT. Check back for more details and follow Fincham Press on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram .

March 25 cancelled – but Virtual Soirée is on its way

To everyone planning to come to our March 25 book launch and writing soirée – sadly that event is now cancelled. Like others, we are following best advice on social distancing to avoid any contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However we do have plans for an alternative virtual event, which we will announce shortly, along with full results from the Writing Competition. Please keep an eye open for updates.

Meanwhile, we hope you are all taking care of yourselves, and we look forward to seeing you in person at a future date.

March 25: book launch and soirée

Fincham Press and the Creative Writing programme at Roehampton are combining forces for a joint book launch and writing competition soirée on the evening of Wednesday, March 25.

The soiree will be held in the Digby Stuart Chapel on the main campus on March 25, with doors opening at 6:30pm. The evening features readings, a keynote speaker, and a spread of food and drink.

The first half of the evening will focus on our sixth creative writing anthology, The Box, which includes work from last year’s competition – you can buy a copy on the night (for cash) or at any time from the university e-store.

The second half gives a stage to writers from this year’s competition, which has just opened. Authors who have been shortlisted have the chance to read their work to an audience of peers, agents, editors and published writers.

The deadline for submissions to the competition is 11pm on Monday, February 24. Submissions must come with a completed entry form which can be found at the top of the Moodle page for the BA Creative Writing or downloaded here. The guidelines are here. Enquiries can be sent to