Story Cities launch at Blackwell’s

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Sarah-Clare Conlon. Photo by Gwen Riley Jones
Writer Sarah-Clare Conlon. Photo by Gwen Riley Jones.

Story Cities: A City Guide for the Imagination. Manchester Book Launch at Blackwell’s Manchester, Manchester, 27 June 2019, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm, free entry - Visit now

Story Cities is a collaborative research project that explores ways in which stories might respond to, reference, reflect and re-imagine the city – any city and every city. The brainchild of two lecturers at the University of Greenwich in London, Rosamund Davies, Senior Lecturer in Media and Creative Writing, and Kam Rehal, Senior Lecturer in Graphic and Digital Design, the Story Cities project has morphed into a real-life, physical book, the result of an open call-out for submissions of flash fiction pieces.

Each piece no more than 500 words in length, the small but perfectly formed anthology Story Cities: A City Guide For The Imagination gathers together the work of 42 writers from around the globe and acts as a kind of alternative guidebook. Take the tome into town and see how it helps you to experience the city around you differently – as the introduction suggests, “Your city is also the city.” No names or landmarks are divulged, but many if not all cities are explored, through nine different sections: Termini, Hotels, Transport, Cafés, Main Streets, Market, Crossroads, Side Streets and Square & Parks. Covering all genres, the collection is the latest from the indie Arachne Press, headed up by co-editor Cherry Potts, and is published in June.

No names or landmarks are divulged, but many if not all cities are explored, through nine different sections: Termini, Hotels, Transport, Cafés, Main Streets, Market, Crossroads, Side Streets and Square & Parks

Described by “grandmaster of flash” David Gaffney as “precision-crafted meditations on public spaces … helping us rethink our feelings about shared environments, crowds, transport and architecture – the throwaway beauty of urban life”, Flash Fiction Festival founder Jude Higgins agrees that it “exactly captures the restless mood of cities.” Jude, who also runs the Bath Flash Fiction Award, says: “The stories describe familiar things in interesting ways or lead you, like a guide book, to something new. Like a city dweller or visitor, you will want to return again and again and each time there will be more to relish.”

The lovely-looking anthology, designed by Kam Rehal, is being treated to two launch events – one at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich on Thursday 20 June and this one, on Thursday 27 June in Manchester’s shiny new Blackwell’s Bookshop. It’s free, but be sure to bagsy yourself a ticket on Eventbrite so there’s enough cake (hopefully!) and wine (fingers crossed!). There will be readings by some of the contributors and the chance to buy signed copies. Confirmed are Arachne Press head honcho Cherry Potts, Cath Holland, spotted recently at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool during The Other‘s North West tour, and Dave Murray, a regular on the open mic at Verbose, reading his heartstring-tugger ‘Truing The Square’. Award-winning short story writer, poet and the author of novels Something Black In The Lentil Soup and A Mouthful Of Silence Reshma Ruia has headlined Verbose more than once, and will be reading ‘The Promise’ from Story Cities: A City Guide For The Imagination, and former Verbose host and current Victoria Baths Writer-in-Residence Sarah-Clare Conlon rounds off the line-up with her tiny station story, ‘Feet In A Yard’.

Tickets are free but should be booked in advance via Eventbrite. The event starts at 7pm.

Story Cities: A City Guide for the Imagination. Manchester Book Launch at Blackwell’s Manchester, Manchester

27 June 2019, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm
Free entry

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Cinema 15–18 September 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Sunset Boulevard at HOME

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Red Dust Road at HOME
Literature 11–21 September 2019, from £10.00

Red Dust Road at HOME

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Cinema 13–22 September 2019, from £9

The Shock of the Future at HOME

MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival
Cinema 6 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: David Lynch at HOME

Unearthing passion and protest at Quarry Bank
Activity 13 July–29 September 2019, general admission charges apply

Glorious Phantoms at Quarry Bank

GRUB Mayfield
Families 3 May–29 September 2019, FREE

Grub Food Fair at Mayfield