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March events

It has been a busy March for author events.

Sharon Blackie gave a workshop on The Enchanted Life at Alternatives in London.

And both Christopher Nicholson (Among the Summer Snows) and Conor Woodman (The Scam Hunter) appeared at Words by the Water, the Lake District’s literary festival in Keswick.

Christopher Nicholson at Words by the Water.

You can catch Sharon at again at TEDxStormontSalon on 7 April. And do check our Events page for more events as they are announced.

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The Enchanted Life on publication day

‘Engaging and inspiring, Sharon Blackie’s beautiful book will empower people to find wonder in everyday life’ – Chloe Stroud, author of The Wild Other

Congratulations to Sharon Blackie on the publication of The Enchanted Life: Unlocking the Magic of the Everyday!

To celebrate, you’ll find postcards in selected bookshops featuring Sharon’s beautifully formed words with artwork from cover designer Leo Nickolls. There are eight to collect!

Reviews are already appearing from bloggers. Including this from Christine Cleere’s Dancing in the Mist.

‘As someone who believes that myth and stories, the land and all of nature has so much to teach us; and as someone who believes that small steps and small changes can (and must) bring about changes to how we live and how society operates, this is a wonderful and important book . . . this is thought provoking, beautifully written, and well researched book (I love the fact there are references throughout the whole book – so many authors don’t bother or can’t back up hoer work in this way) and one I would highly recommend.’

And Monique Mulligan says on her blog:

‘It’s inspiring, yes, but so much more than that – it’s empowering. Readers are encouraged to take action to live a life that is enchanted – filled with creativity and play and meaning and belonging. For me, it’s exactly the kind of book that my soul is searching for – one that digs deep, prods and turns over the self-limiting beliefs that hold me back. Complex, intelligent and thought-provoking, this is for seekers of authenticity and purpose.’

Sharon is holding a full day Enchanted Life workshop in London on 10 March. This is an exciting opportunity to work with Sharon outside of Ireland and is highly recommended.

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Re-enchanting ourselves – an extract from The Enchanted Life

With just one week until The Enchanted Life: Unlocking the Magic of the Everyday by Sharon Blackie is published, here is an early extract from the book:

Re-enchanting ourselves

Once, we had contracts with the plants and animals who share this world with us. We would treat them with respect; like them, we would take only what we needed from this earth and no more, and they would share their wisdom and medicine with us. They’d be companions on our journey through a life that can sometimes be hard, but whose loads are always lightened by communion.

We’ve come so far from that old wisdom. We want to know the stars, to solve all the great mysteries of the universe – but we don’t even know ourselves, or how to be in relationship with the land, animals and plants around us. Now, we occupy a world in which there are no longer penalties for cutting down a sacred tree; instead, the greatest of rewards can be found in extinguishing entire forests. We have created a world for ourselves in which the president of one of its largest countries can gleefully sign a law which facilitates the shooting of hibernating bears and wolf cubs, and large sections of its population actually applaud. This is not a sane world. And as a consequence of our multiple insanities, this world we grew up in, which we have taken for granted, is not only changing – much of it is dying.

To alter that state of affairs, we need not only to act differently, but to be different. It’s not enough to march against this and that, or to sit at our desks signing online petitions protesting against the destruction of more green places to indulge our avarice, or more heartless culls of wild animals to avoid inconvenience. All of these are good and important things to do, but to create real, permanent change we’ll need to fundamentally shift the way we see the world and our place in it. If we can re-enchant ourselves – fall in love with this complex and mysterious, animate world all over again – then we might stand a chance.

Begin, if you will, with a tree. Congratulate a young, fragile willow on its summer growth. Watch the first turn of the leaves of an old ash, all scars and stories, as she begins to grow autumn sleepy, just as you are. Feel the dreadful heave at the roots of the tall birch after the winter storm, and wonder what sense it is that tells you how the deep roots had nearly lost their hold, down there past the iron lick of the lower soil and onto the fractured rock. Do you hear the bruising of the deep roots, find yourself wanting to reach out and touch the bark of the tree that withstood the wind – knowing that you too have withstood a storm or two in your time? The graceful birch, that lady of the woods whose silver-white bark is like no other’s, and you.

The Enchanted Life by Sharon Blackie is published on 27 February 2018.

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I’m hoping this book will become the anthem of our generation …

Writer Kate Forsyth about Sharon Blackie’s If Women Rose Rooted, on the Australian bookstore site Booktopia.com.au:

If Women Rose Rooted is a beautiful, intelligent and unusual book. It combines a breathtakingly honest memoir about one woman’s journey towards wisdom, with tales drawn from Celtic mythology and folklore, and interviews with fascinating and inspiring women who are all working to live in harmony with the earth. Unashamedly political as well as spiritual, this is a book which celebrates the strength and power of women, and connects modern-day feminism with ancient gynocentric mythologies. It is also beautifully written … I’m hoping this book will become the anthem of our generation, encouraging all women to surrender to the earth’s intelligence and rise up, rooted, like trees.’

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A New Year Letter

2 January 2017

Dear September Authors and Supporters

Happy New Year! It seemed a good moment, in the quiet first days of the year, to update you and look ahead. 2016 was our second year of actual publishing (as opposed to commissioning and plotting) and it was wonderful to see books by Sharon Blackie, Angela Kiss, PJ Kavanagh, Emily Stott, Simon Phipps, Jim Richards, Howard Spencer and the English Heritage Blue Plaque team reach the public. We’ve seen authors on BBC Breakfast, featured in the Telegraph, the Guardian, Time Out, the Sun, the Evening Standard and we’ve listened to them on Midweek, Robert Elms and Start the Week amongst many others. Some big sales surges have come from these traditional press platforms, but just as many have come from online influencers, whether it’s blogs and communities like Spitalfields Life and Londonist, or authors and tweeters like Melissa Harrison, or organisations like the Twentieth Century Society.

We’ve worked with some wonderful new designers, including APFEL (Brutal London), Sandra Zellmer (The Secret Life of Ceramics) and Jamie Keenan (Gold Rush & Sharks), and collaborated with new editors and publicists, such as Justine Taylor, Ed Griffiths and Fiona Brownlee.

2017 will see a bigger list, with new illustrated and narrative titles. It’s an important year – our first titles will be distributed in the USA via Global Book Services. We will publish our first fiction – an anthology of ghost stories with English Heritage – and we have new books with comedian and activist Mark Thomas and investigative reporter Conor Woodman. We will also publish Christopher Nicholson’s (author of Elephant Keeper and Winter) first non-fiction title; an exquisitely written account of a summer spent in search of snow in the Scottish Highlands which we feel confident will become a classic of the nature writing genre. There is an extraordinary memoir of London’s Columbia Road, a story of mid-century Midlands’ lives and artist Alice Stevenson’s second book Ways to See Great Britain.

Last year was made more difficult by print price increases post-Brexit. It was made more daunting by the rise of reactionary, protective, xenophobic politics, and by a new US president interested only in commerce and the protection of wealth. But publishers – the interesting ones – fight against insularity by looking ahead, then finding articulate, enlightening writers and creatives who will chime with our concerns, interests and desires AND broaden them.

This year we will start a new project with an artist and writer based in Paris, born in Serbia, inspired by the wisdom of her friends. We’re inspired by Edna Adnan who founded a hospital and university in Somaliland on her retirement, cashing in her WHO pension and building
from scratch on unwanted, tainted land. And last but not least I’ve been energised by two young aspiring writers who were refugees in Lisbon and the UK, from Portuguese West Africa. There’s a lot to look forward to.

It’s such a rich, rich world, with such varied lives and ways of telling – and it’s a privilege to work within an intelligent industry with so many terrific people. So many thanks from Charlotte and I, and the larger September community, for your work and faith.

Hannah

 

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If Women Rose Rooted in paperback

If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie is now published in paperback. The new edition comes with a wonderful review in SageWoman:

‘Destined to become a classic . . . Blackie does an admirable job of describing a beautiful, rich, intoxicating, messy, terrifying and ultimately illuminating pathway into the heart of the land and of our own souls. Recommended.’

Sithearan NicLeoid (Sharon Paice Macleod)

Blackie_IfWomenRoseRooted_packshot

Read an excerpt: If Women Rose Rooted – sample chapter.

 

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Myth and story as an act of place-making

‘Connection comes by showing up. By putting yourself in the same place over and over again. By allowing it to know you as you come to know it. Connection is about falling in love with the world, and at the same time, letting it fall in love with you. Connection isn’t just one-way.’

Here you can listen to the talk Sharon Blackie gave at Nature Matters 2016.

 

 

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Two upcoming events

This coming weekend, Sharon Blackie is appearing at the Manx Litfest. On Friday 30th she has a writing workshop and talk, and on the evening of Saturday 1 October she is appearing at a celebration of storytelling with Kevin McNeil.

manx-litfest

In October, to celebrate the launch of The English Heritage Guide to London’s Blue Plaques, two expert-guided walking tours are being held by Stanfords. Join them on Tuesday 25 October for a blue plaque tour of Covent Garden, and on Thursday 27 October for a tour of Bloomsbury, where you’ll also be able to meet the book’s editor, Howard Spencer.