Jen Calleja book launch at Grapefruit Sale

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Jen Calleja
Writer Jen Calleja. Photo by Robin Silas Christian.

Vehicle Launch: Jen Calleja with H Gareth Gavin at Grapefruit, Sale 14 April 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

Hop on the tour bus as Jen Calleja rolls into Sale to launch her debut novel Vehicle, published by Prototype, reading from the work and in conversation with fellow writer H Gareth Gavin.

Described as a ‘brilliant and incisive writer’ and praised by the likes of Isabel Waidner, Jen Calleja’s ‘writing combines wit, guile and style’, according to Eley Williams. A poet, short story writer and essayist (as well as a drummer and a vocalist in the DIY punk bands Sauna Youth, Feature, Monotony, Gold Foil and Mind Jai), Jen Calleja is widely published, including in literary journals such as The White Review and The London Magazine, and in Salt Publishing’s annual anthology Best British Short Stories, edited by Nicholas Royle. She was awarded an Authors’ Foundation Grant from the Society of Authors to work on Vehicle, and was shortlisted for the Short Fiction/University of Essex Prize for an excerpt from the novel. She was also longlisted for the Ivan Juritz Prize for Experimentation in Text. A literary translator from German into English, she has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize, and was the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library.

Jen Calleja’s verse novel Vehicle is described by Joanna Walsh as an ‘intoxicating, thrilling and endlessly inventive work’ and ‘a feminist Pale Fire for the Brexit generation’.

I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For is Jen Calleja’s short story collection, which came out in 2020, also with Prototype, who publishes fiction and poetry through a flexible, interdisciplinary approach. Recent titles include the debut novel by Turner Prize-winning artist Helen Marten and Lila Matsumoto’s Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, while Derek Jarman’s Through The Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping came out with Prototype imprint House Sparrow Press.

Jen Calleja’s verse novel Vehicle is described as ‘a metafictional work of literary speculative fiction, and a timely and daring exploration of xenophobia, exploitation, the writing of histories and legacies, and the politics of translation’, while Joanna Walsh calls it an ‘intoxicating, thrilling and endlessly inventive work’ and ‘a feminist Pale Fire for the Brexit generation’.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb: In a time when looking into the past has become a socially unacceptable and illegal act in the Nation, a group of scholars are offered an attractive residency to allow them to pursue their projects. When the residency transpires to be a devastating trick, these Researchers go on the run, and soon discover that their projects all relate to one major event: the Isletese Disaster – the decline and subsequent devastation 50 years earlier of a long-forgotten roaming archipelago called The Islets. One figure emerges as central to all of their work: Hester Heller, a reformed cult musiker turned student recruited from the Institute for Transmission as an agent of the state and tasked with gathering reconnaissance on the Disaster by using her old band Vehicle as a cover. Heller is the key to the Researchers’ collective story, which they try to piece together while evading their pursuers.

A lecturer at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing, H Gareth Gavin’s new book, the queer bildungsroman Never Was, is published this April by Cipher Press, and there’s a launch event at Blackwell’s on 17 April. He will be chatting to Jen on 14 April at Grapefruit, a special venue which you will find on the bridge next to the Metrolink station and opposite Waterside Arts in Sale, just listed, no less, in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2023.
Vehicle by Jen Calleja
Vehicle by Jen Calleja

Vehicle Launch: Jen Calleja with H Gareth Gavin at Grapefruit, Sale 14 April 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Jen Calleja book launch at Grapefruit Sale

Wythenshawe Park

With a 17th Century hall set in 109 acres of open parkland, Wythenshawe Park makes a super day out for all ages. Explore the historic woodlands, lush grasslands and meadows; take a stroll around the many themed gardens and check out the sports and leisure facilities on offer.

Riverside Park
Riverside Park

Nestled just off Palatine Road in Northenden on the banks of the River Mersey, the Green Flag awarded Riverside Park offers cycling paths, scenic views, a children’s play area, sculptures and trails.

Albert's Restaurant & Bar
Albert’s Restaurant & Bar

Albert’s Restaurant & Bar is the right kind of small chain where you know you’ll always enjoy a high-level experience. The Didsbury branch is no exception.

Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden

Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury Village incorporates the Alpine House and Parsonage Gardens, and eventually leads down to the River Mersey via boardwalks through Stenner Woods.

Meze & More

An intimate supper club in Sale, South Manchester, with a specialist focus on Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.

The Art of Tea

Nestled in the leafy side streets of Didsbury high street, The Art of Tea is the perfect place to grab a heart warming brew and read a book.

Café or Coffee Shop
Home Community Café

Independent, volunteer-run, and super family-friendly cafe in Didsbury serving cakes and proper coffee.

Next Door Gallery

Primarily showcasing local talent, as well as regularly hosting events and workshops, this gallery is a joy to visit and a prize possession of its community.

What's on: Literature

Luke Kennard
Luke Kennard at Manchester Poetry Library

We’re looking forward to hearing from Birmingham-based poet, critic and fiction writer Luke Kennard, the third guest to appear in Manchester Poetry Library’s events programme.

free entry

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