On Saturday I ventured over to West London for a fabulous event organised by Stripes Publishing. The first part of the day was a showcase of upcoming young adult titles from authors such as Sophia Bennett, Sharon Gosling, Katy Cannon, and with surprises from their upcoming BAME YA anthology, A Change Is Gonna Come. After that we headed off for a tour of beautiful Leighton House, the home that inspired Sophia’s Bennett's Pre-Raphaelite parties in Following Ophelia.
I do love a showcase of upcoming book titles and I've been very impressed by what Stripes Publishing (part of Little Tiger Press) has been doing since I had the opportunity to read their I'll Be Home for Christmas anthology last year, from which parts of the proceeds went to charity to help the homeless. Not only that but they also held a short story competition and the winner's entry was included in the book (and has now even signed a publishing deal with them)! Similarly, this year they're promoting diversity in publishing with their upcoming anthology about change.
There is always a lot of excitement at a publishing showcase as not only do you get to hear from the authors and publishing bods involved in the process, but you also get some exciting cover reveals and hear all about the upcoming titles to be published. There are lots of great ones coming up for Stripes and want to stand take a moment to talk about my favourites from the bunch.
Following Ophelia by Sophia Bennett (9 March) is a lush historical fiction steeped in research about the pre-Raphaelites in Victorian London. I for one know far too little about this at the moment and so I'm very excited to not only be swept away by gorgeous descriptions and a kick-ass story, but also to learn a thing or two along the way.
And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon (6 April) is a road trip adventure about a girl who believes that the only way she can be free and follow her dreams is to get married (because then she'll inherit a flat in London). Katy also did an awesome exercise with us all to help us write a story in 10 minutes and it involved Bruce Springsteen's secret twin brother wanting to become a lion tamer (the latter being my suggestion), yes really. It was awesome!
The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan (4 May) is about identical twins who were inseparable as children but grew apart. But then one of them goes missing... A psychological thriller for the YA market with a killer cover (it was the big cover reveal of the event).
A Change is Gonna Come (August) is Stripes' next anthology, which I previously mentioned, and this time all the stories are around the theme change. Not only that but the book itself also aims to make a positive change in the publishing industry by creating more diversity, as the stories in the book are all written by BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) authors – published and unpublished. They even have someone from a BAME background shadowing the entire editorial process as work experience to provide invaluable insight in the publishing process. Amazing.
After hearing about all of the brilliant books it was time for some fuel of the delicious kind as, you guys, the food was incredible! Definitely the fanciest nibbles I've had at a book event, including cheese and crackers, olives, patatas bravas, different breads and meats, and posh chicken fingers. Yum.
When the plates were pretty much all polished off and goodie bags were picked up, it was time to go to nearby Leighton House for our tour to tie into Following Ophelia (author Sophia Bennett visited the house many times for inspiration of the settings of the book). Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside of Leighton House so you're going to have to take my word for it that it was a stunner (check out their website for a visual impression on the interior).
I also really enjoyed that our tour was a guided one, so we got a lot of fascinating insights into Leighton and the house along the way. I didn't spot many info cards as we journeyed through the house, so this is the best way to make the most of a visit.
All in all an ace day and some great releases to look forward to in 2017. Thanks so much to Charlie and the rest of the team at Stripes Publishing for the invite and fab event! ♥