About Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts is a published fiction writer, publisher, event organiser, photographer, cardmaker, NLP master practitioner, life coach and trainer. She is an enthusiastic singer. Through Arachne Press she publishes fiction and non fiction and runs spoken word events and cross-arts workshops for writers at interesting venues. Always interested in new opportunites to perform, write or explore writing.

Learn from me!


I don’t generally promote my teaching, because the course is usually oversubscribed (I take no credit for that, it was oversubscribed before I took it on!)

However, I have proposed an experiment to City, University of London, and they have agreed to try it out.

We are going to run An Approach to Creative Writing as a summer school, so instead of ten weeks of 2 hours in an evening, it will be one week of 2 x 2 hour sessions, during the day. This is aimed at people who like to concentrate their learning!

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So from Monday 23rd July for 5 days you can immerse yourself in everything to do with writing fiction at An Approach to Creative Writing Summer School .  Booking open now.

We will work mainly on short stories (including flash), exploring inspirations, characters, plots, themes, narrative voice, point of view, dialogue and so on, but with some exploration of how to approach longer work, including planning and structure and looking after yourself. Depending on the interests of the group we will cover writing for performance, specific genres and possibly life writing – You will get the course tailored to the people who attend, as far as humanly possible!

There is room for 20 people, and if the weather is good, the university, which is on Northampton Square, between Clerkenwell and Islington, has little gardens dotted about that we can sit out in for lunch.

I did some research with former students before putting this idea to the university, but it is still a bit of an unknown as to whether people will want to learn like this, but if evenings are not for you, this is a possible alternative.

We kick of at 10.15, take a lunch hour at 12:15 and finish at 15.15 to avoid the rush hour as far as possible, so that you arrive relaxed and go home energised to write something for your homework (entirely optional).

If you have been thinking about doing a creative writing course, and you like your learning in focussed bursts, this might be right up your alley.

 

 

Stories out loud


I’ve been so busy over at Arachne Press that I’ve been neglecting my own blog.

SO a few things have happened, and will be happening.

TONIGHT (Friday 8/12/17)

I am reading part of The Midwinter Wife (from Shortest Day Longest Night at London Writers’ Eclective at Tottenham Court Road Waterstones. It’s in the cafe basement, 6.30-8.30

Hope to see some familiar faces!

Solstice Shorts is coming up, 21st December, 52 authors on 12 sites across the UK at DUSK That’s why I’ve been so busy! That, and launching Spellbinder, the second book in my mum’s trilogy of YA fantasy, The Naming of Brook Storyteller.

Recently I was interviewed on podcasting site Time for Cakes and Ale – have a listen.

Back in October, we were in Shoreham for their Word Fest, with Liberty Tales and Songs of Protest, which meant I was hosting, reading and singing alongside a sliver of Vocal Chords Choir.

And also in October, at Archway  With Words, I read Mirror. (from Lovers’ Lies) It’s the first time I’ve read it myself, usually I get an actor to read it for me.

 

Rising Dawn at Story Fridays


Although I couldn’t be there, Kirsty Cox did a grand job reading my story Rising Dawn at Story Fridays in Bath last week for their Speed of Light evening.

You can listen to her reading it, and other stories read by the authors and Kirsty here.

The Speed of Light – Story Fridays


If I could travel at the speed of light, I would be reading my flash story Rising Dawn, at Story Fridays ‘Speed of Light’ event in Bath this Friday, 22nd September, but I’m booked on a film course Saturday morning and it’s one thing too many.

Fortunately actor Kirsty Cox is there to read it for me! So if you are in Bath, go along to Burdall’s Yard and listen in for me! Lots of other great stories.

Stories start at 8.00pm, doors open at 7.15.

Admission £5.00. Tickets on the door.

Venue: Burdall’s Yard, 7A Anglo Terrace, Bath BA1 5NH

Vocal Chords at Crystal Palace Overground Festival this Sunday


Sunday 18th June 1pm for only half an  hour, so make sure you get there on time! At The Secret Garden, Coxwell Road, 70 Westow Street SE19 3AF.

More songs of protest and change.

Here’s a snippet from the Brockley Max gig to get you in the mood

 

Old Women in Books: on publishing your mother


Today is my mum’s birthday. Ghillian Potts is 84. Like me, she has written all her literate life, and still has a notebook full of poems written between the ages of about 7 and 12, (of variable quality!)
To celebrate, my publishing company, Arachne Press, is publishing two of her books today. I crowd funded to the family, and my sisters and Dad all contributed.

I grew up with my mum’s stories, bedtime and bathtime we would congregate to hear the next installment in some long running saga (one of which featured a family of five girls whose names all started with R discovering that their headmistress is a witch, which went on for weeks), or demand yet again an old favourite; Jackanory had nothing on Mum, and the Singing Ringing Tree (remember that?) was a very poor second.

It turned out that the publishing world agreed, and three of Ghil’s stories for primary school aged children were published in the 1990’s, including Sink or Swim which made it onto Jackanory and we were very pleased that they had finally caught up with us! However relatively speaking, these were contemporary, girl/boy in the street, stories (even the one with a witch), which didn’t showcase Ghil’s magnificent flights of fantasy… Her agent ‘knew’ what would sell and just wasn’t interested in her magnificently funny and silly fairy tales for younger children, nor in her fantasy novels for the Young Adult market.

My all time most-often-demanded tale aged 5 or 6 was The Very Cross King, although when I asked Ghil to write it out for me recently, it wasn’t at all how I remembered. Unlike the glorious The Old Woman from Friuli, which was exactly as I remember it, possibly because it was written much later, when Ghil was learning Italian and heard this outrageous claim:

The people of Friuli are the most stubborn in the whole of Italy, and the women are even more stubborn than the men, but the old women… well!

As a  4 star review from The Book Bag says: … a clarion call to our daughters… Three cheers, I say!

Mum denies any intention to instil feminism in the young, saying that she was just having fun letting the Old Woman be as rude as possible, but it’s there nonetheless.

I commissioned Ed Boxall to do the illustrations, having worked with him before, and there would have been more if we could have afforded them.

 

The other book Arachne Press is publishing is Brat: Book One of The Naming of Brook Storyteller.

I don’t have many shared interests with Ghil, we suffer from being very alike in personality but very different in outlook. Writing is our meeting place and touchstone.

Years ago I wrote an extended critique of the three books that make up The Naming of Brook Storyteller for Ghil, probably just before she offered them to the agent, I can’t recall now. And Mum did likewise for me on my novel The Dowry Blade. If there is one person it is difficult to take literary criticism from, it is your mum! Don’t try this at home! I’m sure she found my comments equally difficult, but we were both right. However, it meant that I know these books pretty well, and love them, although they have inevitable evolved over the interim, in fact I realised that some of the cultural peculiarities I had included in a early attempt at a fantasy novel (never to be published!) were swiped from Mum.

Gorgeous cover by Gordy Wright

The decision to publish now was almost spur of the moment, but once made it felt absolutely right. Ghil’s writing inspired me to write, and these are fantastic stories that deserve a wider audience that they have had so far. Neither of us is getting any younger, and I want Mum to see these books published while she can still enjoy the process.

The trilogy tells the story of Brook Storyteller, orphaned and alone, befriended by outlaws and rulers;  trained to remember, exactly, what happens, and sworn to always tell the truth, in a way that the listener will understand, and with the power to raise or destroy people by the names she gives them. Her own name is precious, and changes over the course of the three novels through the success and failure of her own actions.

This is absolutely a series based on the importance of acting and speaking truthfully and the consequences for those who don’t.

So when I sat Mum down and suggested I might publish some of her work, the choice was pretty much already made as to which books to start with, although I did look at one of her other Young Adult books that I remember her writing when I was about the age to be her target market, but these are the stories I grew up loving.

The second in the trilogy, Spellbinder,  will be published in December, and the final one, Wolftalker, in June next year.

Happy Birthday, Mum!

 

 

 

 

TODAY: Songs of Protest at Brockley Max


Copyright Ben Mueller-Brown

 

Vocal Chords are reprising our Songs of Protest repertoire for Brockley MAX Festival today, Sunday 4th June at 3.30.

St Hilda’s Church, Courtrai Road
SE23 1PL

We are joined by Carrie Cohen & Silas Hawkins who will read poems from Arachne Press’ Liberty Tales anthology.

£7 on the door (proceeds to Wheels for Wellbeing)

Books Sales & refreshments available

Carrie Cohen