Well, unbelievably, we have nearly reached the end of 2016 and I must admit I will be relieved when it’s over. It has been rather a roller-coaster year for me personally and for the world at large.

The idea for Refugees and Peacekeepers – A Patrician Press Anthology was the consequence of a writing competition which was conceived exactly one year ago. I was so saddened and frustrated by the plight of refugees, especially those from Syria, and the continual warmongering that I felt I had to do something and my only outlet was the pen.

Sadly, one year on, the situation is even worse and there is no end in sight. Wars and the plight of refugees continue. Schools and hospitals are being bombed, children are being killed indiscriminately and many refugees have gone missing, especially after the closure of the Calais Jungle. Yet we are too busy bickering about our EU messy divorce and electing inexperienced business tycoons to run the US to come up with any peaceful or practical solutions. The international progress clock has been turned back indefinitely.

In spite of this, we must push forward and I am delighted to announce that advance copies of our Refugees and Peacekeepers anthology are being sent out this week. The book can be ordered via this website at http://patricianpress.com/book/patrician-press-anthology-of-poems-and-short-stories/ and is available for advance ordering from Amazon, Foyles and Waterstones. The digital edition will be available in the new year. The book will be published at the end of January with the official launch being held on Wednesday 15th March 2017 at Wivenhoe Bookshop as part of the Essex Book Festival. I am also hoping that there will be further events around the country.

One contributor, Susannah Tassell, had this to say:

“I’m so pleased with the content, layout and cover design. I will treasure my copy… Thank you for facilitating the production of this fantastic anthology.”

At our Christmas event at Firstsite art gallery in Colchester, held on Saturday 10th December, I was pleased to sell a few advance copies and there were readings from the anthology by Mark Brayley, Naomi Hamill, Emma Kittle-Pey, Susan Pope and Nesreen Salem. Each book sold came with a free raffle ticket and the first prize of a life drawing by Charlie Johnson was won by Linda Brown. The second prize, a linocut by Tim Roberts who also provided the cover image for the anthology, was won by Liz Fisher-Frank and third prize, a  metal print by Malcolm Green, went to Nesreen.

A contribution from the proceeds of the book sales will be made to Help Refugees and other charities.

Here are a few pics of the event with thanks to Danielle Wrayton, author of The Wallowbang Tree:

The anthology and three other new titles will be on show in this week’s edition of London Review of Books:

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Happy holidays to all from Patrician Press