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Mixed events start Hastings Week

We’re now into Hastings Week – a series of local events, commemorating the skirmish that occurred nearby on October 14, 1066, and culminating in Bonfire Night this Saturday. Last Saturday we had “Books Born in Hastings”, a mini-bookfair in the neo-Gothic splendour of the Town Hall’s Council Chamber, where local authors and publishers peddled their wares, writes Antony Mair.

Michael and Elaine Short.

Michael and Elaine Short were there, dressed appropriately in a Mad Hatter’s hat and what looked like a velvet fez, to publicise their slim volume Utter Nonsense in Hastings about the Hastings connections of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. This is published by the enterprising Circaidy Gregory Press, a sister company of the Earlyworks Press, run by Kay Green. Also present was Victoria Seymour, who has created an industry of local social history and writes a weekly column in the Hastings Observer.

Philip Terry.

If you’re at all interested in poetry you come across small publishing companies all the time. They are usually run by idealistic and highly-motivated individuals, more for love than money.  Volumes are slim and print runs are short. It’s all the more pleasing when one of their products hits the jackpot. This has happened to my neighbour Ken Edwards and his company Reality Street, with Philip Terry’s bookTapestry, which also featured strongly in last Saturday’s event.  Ken describes his company as specialising in “left-field poetry”. This means it is not always immediately accessible to the general reader. Philip Terry has produced a book written in prose rather than poetry, which is written in what he describes as faux-mediaeval English. It is about the making of the Bayeux Tapestry by a small convent of nuns, who each have their own story to tell. The faux-mediaeval spelling conventions took a bit of getting used to, but once into the book I enjoyed its originality enormously. I was delighted to hear that it had been shortlisted for the newly-established Goldsmiths Prize.

Vintage cars...

While we were sampling literary delights, classic cars had massed on the Stade for an audience of motor buffs. Nostalgia hung heavy in the air. Fortunately the sun also shone from an almost cloudless sky, so that the assembled vehicles glittered.

on...the Stade.

Everyone likes a bit of reminiscing, and there were lots of people for whom the gathering brought back memories of parents and grandparents: leather seats and walnut fascias, running-boards and chrome radiator grilles, picnic hampers in the boot and a rose in a silver holder on the dashboard. Lovely stuff.

Republished with kind permission from Postcards from Hastings.

Posted 10:01 Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013 In: Literature

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