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Tindal Street Fiction Group

31st May 2013: This will be my last entry on this page as TSFG now has its own dedicated website ( I will be a co-editor), so for TSFG news from this date on see:


Here is news of publications, launches etc for TSFG members. On my links page  I list links to their books and webpages etc. Obviously this will need to be updated regularly as success keeps rolling in. Any TSFGers out there who I've missed let me know.


31/1/13 Advance notice of a Book launch! Brian Goodwin (James) launches his first novel on March 3rd, details below:

The debut novel by James B Goodwin


Sunday 3rd March 7.00pm till 9.00pm

Fletchers Bar, York Road, Kings Heath, B14 7SA

Brian will be discussing his Andalucian-set thriller, with Tony Davies (Emeritus Professor of English, Birmingham University). Brian will be signing copies of his book, also on sale.

Come and help celebrate the launch

This event is invitation only. 

Cover to the right.

You can purchase here.

30/10/12 - some terrible news for Birmingham, Tindal Street Press has been 'absorbed' by Profile Books, who also have Serpents Tail as part of their portfolio. Whilst it is not such bad news for the TSP authors as the back list and forthcoming list has been taken on by the new publishers (e.g. Mick Scully's new novel - see entry below - will still come out under the TSP imprint), it does mean that there will be no fiction publishers of the scope and impact (3 Booker listees, Costa winners etc etc) of TSP in the UK's second biggest city. The writers' group will carry on of course, as the publisher, although it grew out of the group is (was!) a separate organisation.

22/10/12 - some excellent news on publications for TSFG members. 

(This was the headline before the entry above, and it is still true, despite the bad news about TSP closing).

On December 7th 2012 Ryan Davis launches his novel '27' at The Island Bar, Birmingham. Right is a a picture of the cover. Update March 2013. Have been sent a picture from the launch:

  sorry can't make it any bigger, but if you look closely you'll see Ryan reading from the book!





I also heard that Luke Brown has had his first novel accepted by Canongate, provisionally called ' My Biggest Lie'. It will be launched in 2014, so quite a wait, but I'm sure it will be worth it. Left is Luke making the front page of the 'Frankfurt Show Daily' with the news.




 Also forthcoming, but a bit sooner, is Mick Scully's second book, a novel 'The Norway  Room', following his book of stories 'Little Moscow'.  Tindal Street Press will launch the novel in early 2014. Right is a picture of Mick reading from 'Little Moscow'.




 Even sooner is Amanda Smyth's second novel 'A Kind of Eden', due to be published in summer 2013.  More details when I know them.  Have managed to find two images of the cover, I wonder which one will prevail.            








Joel Lane has two new books out, a collection of stories called 'Where Furnaces Burn',  which are linked episodes from the casebook of a police officer in the West Midlands, published by Prospect Books  (cover left), the other a collection of poems 'Instinct' out from Flarestack (cover right).







Charlie Wilkinson has had a story accepted for the third Unthology collection (cover below left). He also has a poem in 'Under The Radar 10' and this latter also features a story by Mez Packer (cover below right).   



3/9/12 - it's going to be a busy autumn for TSFG members, many appearing at the Birmingham Book Festival (BBF in brackets next to the event), the Warwick Words Festival (WWF in brackets) and ‘Literature on Your Doorstep’ (LoYD in brackets) as well as many other events. Here’s a day by day calendar:

8th Sep: Mez Packer previews the ‘Reliable Witness’ project, an ‘interactive transmedia installation that allows you to influence the outcome of the story.’ (Part of the BBF and the ArtsFest.)

8th Sep: Polly Wright will be demonstrating Hearth's 'Reading for Well Being' method at Artsfest @ 12:15 and 2:30pm at the Council House rooms 3 & 4. 

10th Sep, 7pm – Gaynor Arnold reads from and discusses her latest novel ‘After Such Kindness’ at Whitchurch Library, Shropshire (LoYD event).

15th Sep, 2pm – Fiona Joseph discusses her non fiction biography ‘Beatrice’ at Hereford Library. (LoYD event)

20th Sep, 7pm  - Gaynor talks to the Readers Group at Shenstone Library (near Lichfield).

23rd Sep, all day from midday - Joel Lane will be reading from his new book (details to come!) at the Pow-Wow Litfest at the Prince of Wales pub, Moseley.

23rd Sep, 9:35am approx. – Gaynor reviews the Sunday papers with Paddy O’Connor on Radio 4.

25th Sep, 7pm - Fiona Joseph discusses ‘Beatrice’ at Kingswinford Library. (LoYD event).

27th Sep, 3pm – Gaynor reads from ’Girl in a Blue Dress’ at the Birmingham and Midland Institute as part of their day long celebrations for Dickens 2012.

1st Oct, 7:30pm – Gaynor talks about Victorian Literature at Waterstones, Leamington. (WWF event)

2nd Oct, 2pm – Alan Beard is running a workshop how to Write Short Stories at the Sozzled Sausage, Leamington (WWF event) 

2nd Oct, 7:30pm - Alan with Mez and Luke Brown are at Waterstones, Leamington to discuss getting published and being edited.  (WWF event)

3rd Oct, 10am - Mez is also running a workshop on How to Write Contemporary Fiction at the Sozzled Sausage, Leamington. (WWF event)

3rd Oct, 7:30pm – Alan will be reading from 'You Don't Have to Say' at Wellington Library as part of the Wellington Literary Festival.

4th Oct, 10am – Mez appears at the Pavilions Shopping Centre to launch the ‘Reliable Witness’ project, which runs with several events until Sat 13th Oct (full details here). (BBF event)

6th Oct, 1-4pm – Gaynor is appearing at the Readers' Afternoon at the Barber Institute (with Andy Killeen, Patrick Gale and Tiffany Murray) - tea, cake and art gallery tour included! (BBF event)

6th Oct, 12:30-4:30pm - Annie Murray is running a workshop on beginning narrative fiction at Ward End Library. (BBF fringe event)

8th Oct, 1pm - Gaynor reads from and discusses her latest novel ‘After Such Kindness’ at Kidgrove Library (near Stoke) (LoYD event).

8th Oct, 7-8:30pm - Mez is taking part in a discussion on alternative genres at the Custard Factory Theatre, Digbeth (BBF event)


13th Oct, 10am - 12:30pm - Fiona is running a workshop on writing non-fiction  at South Birmingham College, Digbeth (BBF event)

13th Oct, 1pm – Gaynor is joining a panel discussing Dickens at the Mechanics Institute, Manchester, and later will be discussing ‘After Such Kindness’ at the Portico Library.

17th Oct, 7:30pm  -  Mez is at The Drop Forge, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham - Meet the author

18th Oct, 2pm – Gaynor reads from ‘After Such Kindness’ at the Bewdley Book Festival.


19th Oct, 2:30pm – Fiona discusses ‘Beatrice’ at Bewdley Library, part of Bewdley Book Festival.

22nd Oct, 7:30pm – Mez visits Nuneaton Library (Author talk), part of Fantastic Fun with Words Festival

25th Oct, 7:30pm – Fiona is visiting the Balsall Heath Local History Society to discuss ‘Beatrice’. Visitors and non-members welcome.


25th Oct, 7:30pm – Mez talks at Rugby Library, part of Fantastic Fun with Words Festival

7th Nov, 9:45am – Fiona is the guest speaker at the Autumn Brunch Lecture, Baddesley Clinton (Warwickshire).

12th Nov, lunchtime – Gaynor lectures at the Birmingham and Midland Institute on ‘An Alternative Alice’.

20th Nov, 7:00pm - Polly & Fiona will be reading short stories which have been commissioned by Writing West Midlands and the West Midlands Reader Development Project in which the writer responds to the plot ideas of a reading group. Polly's is written in response to a mental health service user group. At The Copthorne Hotel, Birmingham.


I'm sure there will be more to come!


9/7/12Gaynor's launch of her second novel 'After Such Kindness' was a great success with the Ikon gallery packed to the metaphorical rafters. People had to be turned away. Gaynor had just come from the BBC studios at the Mail Box, Birmingham where she was interviewed by Mariella Frostrup for 'Open Book' (Radio 4). Alan Mahar conducted the proceedings with an interview, a lively Q & A (eg. Gaynor asked about the similarities of her book with 'Lolita') and well chosen readings. Great to see success celebrated after the sad news about Mike (see 28/6 entry). There are already some reviews: We Love This Book; Neverendings; The Oxford Times. (update 16/7/12: a lovely one in the Independent; and another in the Daily Mail; another update, review also out in the Guardian). You can also read Gaynor's thoughts on her writing in general and this book in particular  at Bookoxygen.

Here are some photos from the event. Left: pre event - Alan Mahar (founder of TSFG and now editor of Tindal Street Press) wheels boxes of 'After Such Kindness' into the venue, accompanied by Gaynor and associate member Annie MurrayRight: with husband Nick.  Below left: Gaynor ready for the fray.Below right: venue filling up.                             


28/6/12 - some really sad news: Mike Ramsden, one of the earliest members of the group has died after a long illness at the age of 70. Our condolences to his family. He was a regular attender in the 80s and early 90s before moving to work in Yemen and later to Oman, although  he still kept in touch, and sent comments to writers in the group. His stories appear in three of the TSFG anthologies: The View from Tindal Street (1986); Mouth (1996) and Going the Distance (2003).

25/6/12 - Gaynor Arnold's second novel 'After Such Kindness' will be launched at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham on Thursday 5th July @7pm. Free, all welcome! 

24/4/12 - Lovely night yesterday at the World Book Night (see 13/3/12 entry below for links). Over 60 people attended (it was packed) and I introduced five writers from TSFg plus Andy Killeen, who runs another writer's group just down the road from where we meet (they meet at the Prince of Wales, Moseley). They discussed their favourite books which included the Bible, David Copperfield, Crime and Punishment, Oranges are not the Only Fruit, Watership Down, Where I'm Calling From. A very mixed bag. 

29/3/12 - Congratulations to Gaynor for making the long list of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize with her collection Lying Together.


23/3/12 - Gaynor Arnold passed round a proof copy of her new novel 'After Such Kindness', which will be launched in July - looks great. Cover right. More details forthcoming. I also learnt that Joel Lane has a story in 'Best British Short Stories 2012', coming out in April. (Joel didn't tell me - found out by accident!). Cover left.

13/3/12 - 5 TSFG authors will be appearing at the World Book Night event at Solihull Library on 23rd April, 6-8pm. They are Gaynor Arnold, Fiona Joseph, Mez Packer, Sibyl Ruth and Amanda Smyth, who will all be discussing their favourite books, or the ones that inspired them to write. I will be introducing them and talking a little about TSFG too. Audience participation is encouraged - please bring along your own favourite books - details of the event, including map here.




13/3/12 - stepped off the train at Five Ways (Birmingham) this morning (on my way to work) and saw a giant poster for Annie Murray's new novel 'My Daughter, My Mother', along with all the other usual bestsellers. I'm not sure but I think that's her sixteenth novel. The cover is to the right.


13/3/12 - a review in Under the Radar (Nine Arches Press magazine) features both my 'You Don't Have to Say'and Gaynor Arnold's 'Lying Together' under the heading 'Taking a Short Cut Down Tindal Street'. The review is not online but I have put it up in my reviews section (scroll to the bottom).


23/2/12 - Fiona Joseph's non fiction book 'Beatrice: The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune' has just come out in paperback (also available on kindle. Cover left.



15/2/12 - left some photos from Mez's launch - see below-  featuring TSFG members. (from left Natalie White and Fiona Joseph; Luke Brown and Charles Wilkinson; Mez signing her book.)  More can be found on Mez's site.

15/2/12 - Look at this (to the right)! A review in the Daily Mirror for Mez's 'The Game is Altered'. Short but very sweet. Update March: another review in SciFi Now and in The Guardian.


9/2/12 - Mez said during the wonderful launch in Leamington Spa that she'd know she'd made it when she saw people reading her book on the train. Well, here's some happy readers, all about halfway through! Great turnout, many TSFGers there, including all the Leamington contingent (saw Mandy briefly, but she couldn't stop) - great to see Amanda, mother of five week old Amelie, and looking radiant, and of course so was the other Leamingtonite, Anthony. There were a couple of readings from the book and some interesting Q &A. The book's about online gaming addiction and created identities amongst other things. I look forward to reading more. Of course, post launch we went down the pub.


23/1/12 Mez Packer's second novel 'The Game is Altered' is launched on February 8th (a Wednesday) @ Bath Place Community Venture, The Old Library, York Road, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire (Main entrance on Avenue Road) - 6:30pm, 8th February 2012. Details and map here.




 20/10/11 - Charles Wilkinson has a story in the anthology 'Unthology2' (see left). Just come out. It says it's an annual collection of unpredictable, unconventional short fiction. Just like Charlie (unconventional/unpredictable I mean, not short or fictional).


10/10/11 - Attended the launch of 'Too Asian, Not Asian Enough', edited by Kavita Bhanot who was a full member of TSFG until she went off to live in India for a few years; she remains an associate member. This book also contains a story by her. As she explained at the launch she wanted to produce a book of stories that didn't rely on the cliches of British Asian fiction (arranged marriage; oppressive parents etc). If the two electrifying readings at the launch are anything to go by, she's succeeded. 



16/9/11 - The group met last night for the first time since the riotous summer and a couple of photographs were taken at the end of the session. We're all on the way to the pub which is why most of us look happy:

Left to right: Brian Goodwin, Mick Scully, Natalie White, Charles Wilkinson, Anthony Ferner, Ryan Davies, Alan Beard, Luke Brown (partly obscured), Sibyl Ruth, Fiona Joseph, Joel Lane, Gaynor Arnold, Christina Morris (partly obscured).

Below is the same line up with Amanda Smyth (who took the photo above) and without Fiona (who was taking this one).

Two members of the current bunch weren't there - Mez Packer and Mandy de Waal. I might add photos of them later, along with one of honorary member and group frounder Alan Mahar. 


15/9/11 - Natalie White has won second prize in the Writer's Forum competition, and the story - 'Polar Opposites' - is due to be published in December 2011, issue 121. 


17/6/11 - The launch of Joel's chapbook 'Do Not Pass Go' last night went very well with readings that - as Joel put it - might have rattled the teacups in the Quaker meeting house where it was held: hardhitting crime stories. (I read from 'Background Noise' which features a murder, and Joel's extracts featured an execution, gay porn and quite a bit of blood). It was great to meet the people behind Nine Arches Press who mainly publish poetry but are branching out into short stories: Joel's chapbook was the first of their 'Hotwire' imprint. Long may they flourish.


16/5/11 - Joel Lane is launching his chapbook of stories 'Do Not Pass Go' (the first 'Hotwire short story pamphlet from Nine Arches Press')at the Priory Rooms, Quaker Meeting House, Bull Street Birmingham. Special guest is Alan Beard (me). More information soon. 




28/4/11 - The reading (see left) at Solihull went well, around 20 people turned up to hear stories from my book and Gaynor's 'Lying Together', and there was a lively Q & A after and several copies of both books were sold.



24/3/11 - Gaynor and I are doing a reading to promote the recent publication of our story collections and to celebrate my story coming out in 'Best British Short Stories 2011', due to come out on April 18th. Poster left.

We will also be signing books at Waterstones on April 9th, along with TSFG member and author Mez Packer ('Among Thieves') , and TSP author Raphael Selbourne (Beauty). I'll be there between 12 and 1:30, with Mez and Raphael. Gaynor will be along later - around 2-ish as she is first appearing as part of a panel, along with Saul David and Guy  Saville, discussing 'Turning History into Story' on April 9th (a Saturday). This is part of the 'Spring Thing', a weekend of events organised by the Birmingham Book Festival.

Also part of the Spring Thing is  Sibyl Ruth's Bodies in the Library - a poetic and evocative audio journey exploring the past and present of Birmingham’s Central Library. Reflect on the pain and pleasure of its architectural idiosyncracies with some of its inhabitants, both real and imagined.

This is an audio event and launches on April 9th but is available thereafter to play on your own MP3 device, or you can borrow one from the library. Just ask at the desk.


14/2/11 - I missed Gaynor's launch! I was extremely ill with man-flu, and didn't want to spread germs and interrupt Gaynor's reading with my constant sneezes and nose blowing. It was horrible missing it though, the first TSFG member's launch I have ever missed.. The collection (pictured right) has been garnering a few reviews, eg The Guardian, The Independent, and the Daily Mail! Mez Packer also announced that she had had her new novel accepted by TSP, coming out next year (2012). Title as yet unknown.


14/1/11Charles Wilkinson was welcomed into the group last night, and Gaynor passed around a copy of her forthcoming story collection 'Lying Together'. The book will be launched at Waterstones, Birmingham (the one by New Street ramp not the other one) on February 2nd.


19/11/10 Joel passed round his latest publication (I can't keep up there's so many) 'The Autumn Myth', a book of poems. The cover is rather beautiful, I think.


22/9/10 - Amanda Smyth's novel 'Black Rock' has recently been issued in France and has picked up a nomination (long listed) for the Prix Femina - a prestigious French literary award. Fabulous stuff. Addendum: at the next meeting was told that her novel had won the First Novel award in France, sorry the 'Prix du Premier Roman Etranger'. A Guiness for you next time Amanda.


21/9/10Annie Murray's 14th novel 'Soldier Girl' is out in the shops. Yes, that's correct her 14th! Well done Annie


29/7/10 - Joel told us at the group last week that his book 'The Witnesses are Gone' won a Shirley Jackson Novella award (runner up) - he passed round a stone engraved with this information (readers of Jackson's The Lottery will know why a stone..).

Also 'Warwick Review' was passed around which includes stories from Gaynor and me.


13/7/10 - a load of new members have joined the group this year, and some have left. New members are (I think this was the order they joined): Mandy de Waal; Natalie White; Mez Packer; Ryan Davis; Anthony Ferner. Nov 2010: Fiona Joseph has also joined us. Now full. 


23/12/09Jackie Gay is getting married and emigrating to Canada. We will all miss her, she's been such a great member of the group over many years, and she will remain an associate member and come and see us all on her visits back to the UK. She works(ed) as a creative writing tutor at Birmingham City University (where I work as a librarian on a different site) and I attended her leaving do last week. Very enjoyable, meeting several interesting writing students and tutors, including my namesake Richard Beard who is director of the National Academy of Writing based here at BCU. He's a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction. We reckoned we might be related as his family come from the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire) and so do mine (on my father's side). Anyway, great do, and we all wished Jackie bon voyage. 


2/10/09 - Good night last night - launch of Tindal Street Press's   'Roads Ahead' anthology which is a follow up collection to 'Hard Shoulder' which was the first ever TSP title in 1999: so also a ten year anniversary celebration too, attended by David Lodge and other Brum literary luminaries like editor Catherine O'Flynn and the Black Country duo Anthony Cartwright  and Paul McDonald. Two TSFG members (Luke Brown and Kavita Bhanot) are in the book. I meant to buy a copy but the booze was expensive and all my cash went on that, (no cards accepted), so I'll have to get a copy from amazon. It got a good review in the Guardian on Staurday. (Doesn't appear to be online though). I enjoyed the readings I heard, particularly Luke's, but then I'm biased as he's a mate. Yes I have got a hangover this morning.


17/7/09Gaynor brought along the American and Canadian editions of her book to last night's group meeting and although they both used the same picture on the cover (a girl in a blue dress of course) it was interesting to see the differences - the American one was brighter, and used many more quotes on the back, and each had used a different writer photo. Gaynor also brought along two good reviews one from the New York Times and another from The Washington Post - you can also see the American cover via this link.


8/7/09Jackie Gay has had a story accepted by Malahat Review (Canada), which will appear in their autumn issue.


23/6/09 - Bleeding heck, Joel brought along another book to last week's meeting. His second within two months. This is another beautifully produced book 'The Terrible Changes' a limited edition (only 300 copies I think), at a cost of £30 each! Worth every penny though - it brings together his previously uncollected stories. 

The cover:


11/6/09 - Just heard that Amanda's book 'Black Rock' called 'Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange' in the States has been picked for Oprah Winfrey's 25 books you can't put down this summer: Congrats Amanda.


30/4/09 - at the AGM last week Joel brought along his latest book,

 'The Witnesses Have Gone' - I make that his seventh! Well done Joel.


19/3/09 - a great week for TSFG. After last week's wonderful launch of Amanda Smyth's book 'Black Rock' at the Trinidad and Tobago embassy in Belgravia, and the announcement of her marriage on the following Saturday, came news that Gaynor Arnold's Booker longlisted novel 'Girl in a Blue Dress' had made it on to the Orange longlist too. Amazing.





10/2/09 - haven't had chance to report on the launch of Stuart's & Godfrey's books at the Old Moseley Arms on Friday 30th Jan (see entry below). It was a lovely evening with readings from Godfrey's daughters, poems read by David Hart and Joel Lane, and a beautifully read passage from Stuart's unfinished novel by his friend Stephen. There were also tributes and stories of how the books came about from Alan Mahar, Myra Connell and Gaynor Arnold (on behalf of TSFG). Much drinking and reminiscing was done, and I staggered home missing the two gentlemen all over again.



19/1/09 - advance notice of a book launch: TSFG members Stuart Crees and Godfrey Featherstone who both died in 2005 have posthumous books coming out soon. I worked on Stuart's along with Joel Lane & Alan Mahar and others and his book features stories and a novel extract. Myra Connell edited Godfrey's one, which has extracts from his work along with writing about Godfrey, including a poem by David Hart which will be read at the launch. The launch of both books is on January 30th at The Old Moseley Arms in Balsall Heath. This is the right place for it - the pub is in Tindal Street and was where we all went for a drink after meetings until our venue changed to Moseley. Everyone welcome to come along to what should be a celebration of both members, with readings of their work and remembrance of their lives from those who knew them best.  


10/12/08 - Roz Goddard has had her story 'The Mirror' posted on the Sunk Island Review website.

12/9/08 - wonderful launch of 'Girl in a Blue Dress' last night, appropriately in the Dickens room of the Midlands Institute in Birmingham, packed to the brim, including many TSFGers. A 63 year old social worker from Wales was radiant with her recent success (see entry below).


30/7/08 - FANTASTIC NEWS! Gaynor Arnold's novel Girl in a Blue Dress has made it to the Booker longlist. The novel is - as the Times put it - 'a fictionalised account of Charles Dickens' troubled marriage'. Gaynor has been bringing chapters of the novel-in-progress to the group for many years and finally all the hard work has paid off. I'm so pleased for her. She has been attending the group almost as long as I have (she is the treasurer), and this news comes in a great year for TSFG. Well done Gaynor! More news later I'm sure.

12/3/08Annie Murray's novel (her twelfth) The Bells of Bournville Green is out in May 2008. Have a look at her webpage for more information.


10/3/08Amanda Smyth's novel 'Black Rock' has been accepted for publication by Serpent's Tail. Again, more details when I know of them. This is turning out to be a bumper year for TSFG members! 


29/2/08 - another member - Gaynor Arnold - has a novel coming out with Tindal St Press in September called 'Girl in a Blue Dress'. Launch is on the 11th (as yet unconfirmed). More details later...


29/2/08Sidura Ludwig's launch (see below) was excellent. Sidura was confident, happy and in good voice (as was her baby daughter), and bigged up Birmingham and TSFG. It was good to see many TSFGers there too.  


6/2/08 - just heard that Sidura Ludwig's Holding My Breath published by Tindal Street Press will be launched at Borders Bookshop, Birmingham (UK) on February 27th 2008. Not sure what time! I do now - 6:30pm. See you there.


17/09/07 - ex member Yann Lovelock has contacted me with an up to date biography and links to works on the web. See the TSFG Members all time page. Any other TSFGers are welcome to send in details, links, biog, etc...


01/09/07Mick Scully's Little Moscow (link below) gets a great review in the Guardian. Well deserved too


22/5/07Mick Scully's linked collection of stories Little Moscow published by Tindal Street Press is to be launched on June 12th at The Bond, Birmingham.


15/3/07 - One of TSFG's newest members - Amanda Smyth - has a story available to read on the Caribbean Writing Today website - read it via this link.


4/1/07 - just heard that Sidura Ludwig's novel Holding My Breath will be coming out in March 07 - you can read details about the book on her website: 


Julia Bell's novel Dirty Work is out from 5/1/07 - the launch is next week. Unfortunately I can't go! More info from Julia's site: More news (6.2.07) - good review in the Guardian


Links to stories and novels by TSFG members has moved -see Links page