Two days to go: get involved with The Unseen

There are only two days left until the official launch of The Unseen, but there is still time for you to get involved!

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The Unseen launch wayfinder

The conversation is happening on Twitter – get talking about your favourite pieces, authors, and your thoughts about the launch using #unseenlaunch. What are you expecting? Will our authors reveal the unseen? Or will it all remain hidden?

If you have already uncovered the secrets within The Unseen, please feel free to share your feelings by giving us a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Share it with us, and the world!

Finally, do not forget that there is still time for you to register your interest in the launch. You can do this by visiting the event page, or sending an email to charlotte.byrne@roehampton.ac.uk.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Six days to go: interview with Arun Jeetoo

With six days left until the official launch of The Unseen, we are keen to keep you updated with news of our writers.

book cover (detail)
The Unseen book cover (detail)

Selcouth Station have once again tracked one of our authors down to quiz: this time, Arun Jeetoo discusses prose poetry, horror, and creative practice. His piece ‘Birdman’ appears in the anthology.

You will be able to meet our writers as they reveal The Unseen at the launch. In the meantime, why not join the conversation on Twitter using the official hashtag #unseenlaunch, or visit us on Facebook?

The Unseen writers in the news: Bronia Waldron and Haleh Agar

With only a week until the official launch of The Unseen, we are excited to share news about two of the authors featured in the collection.

book cover (detail)
The Unseen book cover (detail)

Bronia Waldron was recently interviewed by Selcouth Station, and discusses her experience of being published for the first time by us, as well as the inspiration for her prose poem ‘My Village’. Read the full interview!

We are also delighted to announce that Haleh Agar, author of several pieces published in The Unseen, has won the Brighton Prize for her flash fiction. Congratulations, Haleh! Check out the complete list of 2017 winners.

There is still time to get involved with The Unseen and to meet our talented authors! Join the conversation on Twitter, and tweet us @finchampress using the official launch hashtag #unseenlaunch.

The Unseen Launch

Join us for the launch of The Unseen, the latest in our series of student work! The event starts at 6:30pm on December 6, and will be held in the Portrait Room in Grove House at the University of Roehampton.

The Unseen Launch book cover remix
The evening will showcase some of the writers featured in the anthology as they read their work and reveal The Unseen. The Dress code for the event is smart-casual, and everyone is welcome. Bring your friends, family and colleagues to this celebration of new writing. We will offer free drinks, and the chance to buy The Unseen and the previous Fincham Press anthologies at a reduced price.

The event is free, but please RSVP to give us a sense of guest numbers, or show your interest via our Facebook post.

The Unseen is now available

We are delighted to announce that Fincham Press’ latest anthology The Unseen is now available to buy from the University of Roehampton e-store and Amazon.

The book features the very best new writing by students of the University of Roehampton. There is truly something for all tastes; whether you prefer humorous flash fiction or disturbing longer fiction, or even if you appreciate fine poetry or screenplays, there’s something for you between the covers of this eclectic collection.

Once you have devoured your copy, why not leave us a review at Amazon or Goodreads? We would love to know which pieces you especially enjoyed!

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Reflections on an imprint: Or, what does a publishing intern actually do?

Recently, Fincham Press interviewed four candidates vying for a paid internship, and I got to play co-interviewer alongside my colleague. This was the hardest thing I’d ever had to tackle during my time at Fincham: because I knew how these people were feeling. I didn’t – and still don’t – feel authoritative enough to help decide who should join us, and who shouldn’t. I’ve been working here for over two years, and it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was in the same position as these four. With this in mind, and the fact that this piece should have been written at least a year ago – though perhaps that’s appropriate, when I think about the delays and pushbacks you’ll always find in publishing – I decided to write about my experience as an intern, and subsequent progression to managing editor.

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Purple Lights launch, December 2016: Reading by Nanou Blair-Gould

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sent my CV off two years ago. I wasn’t expecting to get picked, at any rate. I had visions of the interviewers, if I got that far, humouring me to fill their equal opportunities quota. I hadn’t had much experience, besides one publication to my name and fiddling with a hospital radio magazine. I don’t do posh talk, which I’d always thought was a prerequisite for working in books. I’m a council estate girl, and my way with words is still a bit more profane than might be acceptable in a regular office. Even now, I try to rein it in when talking to colleagues.

I did have enthusiasm, though. And I was hoping for some interview experience in “books”. The interview experience would be something to work on when stepping out into the big wide world, doing proper adult things, and going through a number of other interviews. The ideal scenario would be nailing one, resulting in that ‘real’ job that so many people had been pressuring me to get, real networks, and a real mortgage. Well, maybe not that last one. I’m a would-be academic and writer working two part-time jobs – get real.

My internal reaction, then, when they told me that I’d been successful went something like this (cleaned up for blogging purposes):

“Bloody hell, really? No. No. Brilliant! Nobody look at me, I could be the next Max Perkins! Oh. But I’ve still got so much to learn. Ah.”

I’d forgotten the whole point of doing an internship before I’d even started – you learn on the job. I did, however, feel that I needed to prove myself to my lecturers, who were now going to be my colleagues, so that they felt that they hadn’t ballsed it up. I admired them, and continue to do so – perhaps more so now after working with them and realizing just how much goes into working in their field. I needed to prove my worth in that environment, to which I wanted to dedicate a considerable portion of my lifetime.

A few things initially drew me to Fincham. It was a small, independent press using the university as a base. It was run by a couple of my lecturers, with a designer who was brought in from outside to make everything look pretty – though I’d soon learn he does so much more than this, as we all do. They had already put out two anthologies of student work, and at the risk of sounding like a bit of a mercenary, I thought I might have a better chance of getting published if I was “in there”. What drew me most, though, was its goal – this wasn’t a money spinner. It was just a small bunch of academics who genuinely wanted to put the work of their students out there – to get it read. This unorthodox business model came with a far more informal approach to the submissions process – no cover letters required, just send in something you’ve written that you’re proud of. Some of the works were also competition winners, and others put forward by lecturers so that more modest students could have a chance to see their work in print. I’m sure you’ll agree the result is eclectic.

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Publicity stunt, April 2017: Purple Lights and London lights

There was a lot of admin at the start. There still is. I don’t think I’ll ever stop having to gently (and not-so-gently) remind colleagues, both in-house and out, to do things so that production/promotion/target of choice can progress. This can be irritating, but such is the nature of the work: everybody has their own little jobs, like components of an engine. And if you’re waiting on oil, then the pistons can’t function correctly, and that engine will eventually seize. Everything gets held up. In this way, plans fall through and some deadlines will get pushed back. Nobody in the team is able to work for Fincham on a full-time basis, and there have been a few times where complications in our everyday and professional lives resulted in delays of some description. These things are, sadly, inevitable. This realisation is possibly the most practical thing I’ve learned during my time here.

However, the blow can be softened. The only way to tackle a number of little things, which will inevitably build up into HUGE things, is to be as efficient as you can be. In reality, I’m bloody lazy – but in work, writing or otherwise, I’ve always written everything down. Longhand. This might just be how I function – I take things in better when I have an actual thing to read or write with, and not a screen to ogle at. Regardless, if there’s one tip I would give to anyone who asked me, it would be to write everything essential to you down. You’ll absorb the information better, and have a record of it – remember that a piece of paper can’t get wiped along with your hard drive (as long as you don’t lose it, duh!)

Production continues to be the most fascinating process for me. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to see it from two perspectives: as writer, and as editor. This has proved exceptionally useful to both sides. Proofreading has become second nature, and I pay far more attention to formatting my work than I ever did before working for Fincham. Potential editors will be grateful for a nicely formatted piece, free of spelling and grammatical errors. It’s disguised as common sense, but, having worked on three anthologies of student work, there are always a few that manage to sneak past the writer’s guard and onto the page, only caught by the careful combing-through of editor and production assistant. Sometimes not even then – we did a promotional stunt to coincide with April Fool’s Day. You might argue that the joke was on us. We’d left one hundred misprinted copies of our third anthology, Purple Lights, all over London, and invited the public to spot the error and tweet it. The public were far more discerning than we could ever have imagined, and threw up a whole bunch of other little niggles that all of us had failed to spot during production. (FYI: the error we were looking for was a piece that had somehow vanished entirely, yet the author was listed in the list contributors – no, we still don’t know how that happened, either.)

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Pre-tweets, April 2017: Managing Editor Charlotte Byrne, Anthology Editor Leone Ross, and writer Steph Elliot Vickers preparing to distribute books

While fascinating, and often finicky, every new publication that comes along forces my brain to work that little bit harder. Last year, the Fincham production schedule was increased twofold as we launched two new open access academic journals. I felt lucky to be part of them – the International Journal of James Bond Studies is the first in its field, and RoundTable was cutting-edge in its make-up, edited by research students at the university. In theory, it should have been easier to compile a journal issue than an entire anthology. The reality, though, was that putting a journal together was way more complicated than compiling a book. There was a whole new legal side we had to familiarize ourselves with. Which was the correct Creative Commons licence for our open access journals? What’s with the alien hosting platform? How do we get our journals indexed so they will actually reach people likely to use them? Not to mention there were a number of additional technical hitches and a lot more of that chasing up business – and we are indebted to Ubiquity staff who held our collective hand through it all.

It makes sense, then, to conclude by rounding up what I’ve learned in all of this. The short answer: everything. I used to suffer with telephonophobia. This went undiagnosed since childhood, but I’d always experienced chest pains and frequently tripped over my words when forced to answer a call, even to family. Necessary, lengthy phone calls with our printers and other outside entities ensured that this was cured for good. I can organise volunteers for events. I can organise actual events, for that matter. My fondest memory comes from the very first launch I was involved with. It was for the second Fincham publication, Screams and Silences. We were all sitting on the floor like hippies in a commune, having listened to the final reading of the night. My lecturer-colleague got up and gave an end-of-event speech, thanking everybody in attendance for their support and warmth. She then proceeded to invite me up to stand with her, claiming that the event wouldn’t have been possible without my input. I was humbled; yet the applause told me that maybe I could do anything I set my hand to. Or at least have a pretty good crack at it.

I also have also learned what goes into making not just a book, but also an academic journal, and a website. My eye for design and perception of “how things look” has been altered forever after working with our fabulous designer. I’ve also learned a great deal about people – working with our two senior editors, both with their own distinct personality types and work methods, has given me even more practice in human interaction. You can get on with anybody – you need only find the right communication.

I’m now entering my third year with Fincham Press; my second as managing editor. We’ve just welcomed a new Publishing Assistant to the family, and I’m looking forward to working with her. I know that I can empathise with and support her as she, too, has her own, unique learning experience. Perhaps it will be a bit like the one I’ve just described, or perhaps not. Two things, however, are certain:

We will continue to share the voices of Roehampton with the world – and in that endeavour, we’ll never stop learning.

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She’s got the look

When we founded RoundTable, we wanted to make sure that the journal had a unique voice and look. One of the ways that we achieved this was through a cover image designed by our very own Anne Malewski. Anne is a talented illustrator and she has done work with a range of musicians and organisations.

In order to begin the process of creating the cover, Anne met with her co-editors to discuss the concept. She then produced a number of design options which she presented to the team (see some drafts below). There was a lot of discussion and debate as we all liked different images but we agreed that the chosen image best represented our theme and provided a strong visual image for the first issue of RoundTable.

Every time I log on to the RoundTable site, I am delighted to be greeted by Anne’s image. I think it helps makes our journal unique and entices readers to explore the first issue.

Sinéad Moriarty is an editor of RoundTable.

CfP: RoundTable Postgraduate Journal, issue theme: Memory

The editors of RoundTable invite academic articles and creative submissions on any aspect of literary engagement with the experience or concept of memory, from the medieval to the contemporary, the individual to the collective, the material to the digital. How, and why, does memory matter?

RoundTable is an online, peer-reviewed, open access literary journal for and by postgraduate and early career researchers and creative practitioners, published by Fincham Press at the University of Roehampton. Submissions are encouraged across the fields of English literature, children’s literature, and creative writing; we welcome interdisciplinary contributions and those that engage with memory in their methodological approach (for example, oral history).

RoundTable Volume 2, Issue 1, Spring 2018

Potential approaches to the theme of memory may include, but are not limited to:

  • Memory, narrative and media
  • Memory, space and place
  • Memory in the digital age
  • Autobiography, life-writing and memoir
  • Memory, childhood, adolescence and (young) adulthood
  • Memorialising, remembrance and commemoration
  • Fragmented, or distorted memory
  • Memory and translation, metamorphosis, re-use or recycling
  • Memory and the material text
  • Forgetting and (mis)remembering
  • Collecting and recollecting: memory and the archive
  • Memory and trauma
  • Embodied memory
  • Migration, diaspora and memory
  • Memory and ageing
  • Memory, illness and end-of-life narratives
  • The intersections of memory with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, disability
  • Memory and futurity

Critical

Academic articles should be approximately 4,000-6,000 words. In the first instance, please submit a 250 word abstract and a 150 word biography to roeroundtable@gmail.com.

Creative

We welcome poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction and multimedia/audio submissions, up to 3,000 words. Please note that extracts from longer written pieces (for example, novels), and exclusively visual artwork (for example, photography)will not be considered. Creative work should be accompanied by a critical commentary of between 500 and 1,500 words. Critical commentaries will be requested in full after creative works have been selected. In the first instance, please submit your creative work in full, alongside a 200 word abstract for an accompanying critical commentary, and a 150 word biography to roeroundtable@gmail.com.

Deadline: 15 October 2017

Please contact roeroundtable@gmail.com with any enquiries!

Launch of two new journals

The University of Roehampton’s Fincham Press is today launching two open access, peer-reviewed online journals.

RoundTable, run directly by research students in the Department of English and Creative Writing, features a mix of creative and critical work, academic articles and book reviews. The International Journal of James Bond Studies (JBS) is dedicated to publishing innovative and original interdisciplinary research and reviews on all aspects of Ian Fleming’s James Bond franchise.

The first issue of RoundTable is dedicated to the theme of ‘Journey’ and features contributions by authors from the UK, the US, and Canada. it also offers an interview with David Rudd, who recently retired as Professor of Children’s Literature and Director of the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at the University of Roehampton. In his first interview since then, Rudd offers an intriguing insight into his own ‘academic journey,’ as well as reflections on Higher Education and the wider field of Children’s Literature. The issue has been edited by University of Roehampton PhD researchers Denise Saul, Sinéad Moriarty, and Anne Malewski.

The JBS journal is edited by Dr Ian Kinane, Lecturer in English Literature at the department. It is dedicated to publishing innovative and original interdisciplinary research and reviews on all aspects of Ian Fleming’s James Bond franchise, and aims to develop contemporary critical readings of James Bond across literary, filmic, and cultural history, for both Bond scholars and casual fans alike.

‘Given the critical respectability that Sam Mendes and the Bond producers garnered for both Skyfall and Spectre, the time is right for a more sustained critical engagement with the James Bond franchise as a whole,’ says Kinane. ‘More than any other fictional series, the Bond franchise has marked the social, cultural, and political changes in modern British history from the middle of the twentieth century onwards.’

Kinane hopes that the launch will consolidate academic scholarship in the field and attract postgraduate research students. The editorial board is made up of renowned Bond scholars such as Jeremy Black, Tony Bennett, and James Chapman; Bond documentarian and historian John Cork, and a number of contemporary Bond scholars such as Lisa Funnell, Claire Hines, and Monica Germana.