September 2012

Brixton Book Jam

I’m  going to be reading an extract from Argleton for the Brixton Book Jam on Monday 1 October, if you want to come along and see my first ever book reading! Zelda Rhiando, who helps organise it, describes it as “a free quarterly literary event, where famous and not so famous authors do a five minute reading each to a highly appreciative and attentive audience.”

Some of the other authors, and their books, that I’ll be sharing the stage with are:

  • Jim Bob (Carter USM) – Driving Jarvis Ham
  • Courttia Newland – The Gospel According to Cane
  • Adam Mars-Jones – Pilcrow
  • Martin Millar – Lonely Were Wolf Girl
  • James Dawson – YA thriller Hollow Pike
  • Keith Kahn-Harris – The Best Waterskier in Luxembourg
  • Doug e. Graves – Homerton Sweet Homerton

There will also be a popup bookshop featuring Herne Hill Books, local presses and indie authors.

Date: Monday, 1st October 2012
Time: 7.00pm
Location: Hootananny Brixton, 95 Effra Road, SW2 1DF

Download the flyer.

Women in Publishing

I’m also going to be participating in Women in Publishing‘s upcoming panel discussion on the recent sockpuppet furore, which I’ve covered extensively on my Forbes blog. We’ll be looking at the scandal itself; how it has been handled by the media, the publishing industry and readers; and what we think could or should be done about the issue of sock puppets now.

Details are still forthcoming, but the panel will be on the evening of 10 October, from 7pm. I’ll update this post when I have more information.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

New cover for Argleton

by Suw on September 23, 2012

I’m delighted to finally reveal the new cover for Argleton, designed by Thomas James. I asked Tom to put together something for me that was stylistically simple, informed by the effortlessness of classic Penguin designs, and which could form the basis of the covers for my next few novellas. The design also had to work digitally too.

We started off thinking about the hardcover design, which will be quarter bound with a gold foiled title. Tom has also designed fantastic endpapers, which I’m not going to show you now because then it won’t be a surprise when I do a second print run! Cruel, I know, but suffice it to say that when this beauty is finally turned into a real book, it’s going to look just gorgeous.

Argleton hardback new cover

We then moved on to the digital cover. The challenge with the digital version is that if we kept the exact same sizing as the hardback, the title would impossible to read when the size of an Amazon thumbnail, so we had to be a little bolder. I love the shade of green that Tom chose, it fits nicely with the original design and the hardbacks’ forest green endpapers. I also adore the hare, it’s so beautifully drawn. Now I just need to find someone who can create a sterling silver necklace from it!

Argleton digital cover

And this is the mock-up of how the digital cover will look, roughly speaking on an iPad:

iPad mock-up

All the ebook versions on this site have now been updated not only with the new cover but also to remove a few typos that slipped through our proofreading fingers first time round. Do feel free to download a replacement copy for the first edition, and to email whichever files you like to any friends you think might like it. I’ll also be getting the new version up on Amazon as soon as I can!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

An open letter to the British media

by Suw on September 12, 2012

Dear The British Media, especially Freeview broadcasters,

You may have noticed that something extraordinary happened this summer, something wonderful. The Great British Public were treated to the most amazing sporting spectacular – Sportsmas, as one friend of mine puts it. We saw, in the Olympics but especially in the Paralympics, years and years of hard work, training and sacrifice coming to fruition for some of our most talented athletes. And it was beautiful. 

We saw Helen Glover and Heather Stanning taking the first British gold of the Olympics in the women’s pairs at Eton Dorney. We saw Andy Murray winning gold at Wimbledon, a victory all the sweeter for his loss only a few weeks earlier on that very same court. We saw Mo Farrah completing the 5,000m and 10,000m double, wining gold and the hearts of everyone who watched. 

Then, a few weeks later, came the Paralympics and many of us found ourselves unsure of what to expect, but what we got was even better than the Olympics. The disabled athletes may have been categorised by their disability, but they weren’t defined by it. They were defined by their performances, by their successes. And what successes we saw! 

David Weir thrashing the field to take home four golds and, with pitch perfect timing, showing his mastery not just of speed but of endurance. Ellie Simmonds taking two golds and breaking two world records in two days, triumphing with grace and humility. Jonnie Peacock powering past Oscar Pistorius to take the 100m in one of the most anticipated races of the games. Sarah Storey taking four cycling golds, a feat all the more spectacular because of her astonishing medal history as a swimmer. 

So much sporting excellence, so much passion and love and talent and tenacity, I’d be here all day if I tried to write a complete list. Even those of us not really ‘into sports’ shared in the joy of our athletes’ success and the pain of their failure. We sat, glued to the TV screen, willing our athletes on to greater and greater achievements. 

For those of us lucky enough to go to the games themselves, the experience was one we’ll never, ever forget. The television simply doesn’t do justice to the roar of an 80,000-strong crowd, on its feet, screaming for David Weir to go faster, faster, faster and then exploding with delight as he crossed the line first. It. Was. Amazing. Awe-inspiring. Astonishing. Beautiful. 

And what about those sports that we barely knew existed? Murderball, known also by the name (or should that be euphemism?) wheelchair rugby, turned out to be one of the most exhilarating sports of the Paralympics. Wheelchair basketball, much more exciting and much less squeaky than its able bodied version. Blind football, in which sight-impaired players locate the ball solely through the sound of the bell inside and show a level of control of the ball that seems often to escape their sighted counterparts. 

Whilst we’re talking about sports less often broadcast, what about the women’s football in the Olympics? What an amazing display of skill and talent! The men’s football was staid and boring by comparison, lacking in any real flare or excitement. Given the choice between seeing a men’s international, full of shilly-shallying, diving and egotism, and watching a women’s international, I know which I’d choose for maximum entertainment value. 

And here we are at the nub of it. Sportsmas comes but once every four years, and I don’t want to wait until Rio before I get to see some women’s football on my TV again. I don’t want to wait four years before I see David Weir or Jonnie Peacock storming past their rivals. I don’t want to wait to see Hannah Cockcroft or Natasha Baker or Jonathan Fox or any of our other brilliant Paralympians compete. Because let’s face it, it’s not like our athletes sit around on their arses in the four years in between the Games, as Jody Cundy so eloquently explained. 

There are more sports in heaven and earth, dear broadcasters, than are dreamt of in your scheduling philosophy. And, not to put too fine a point on it, we want to see them on TVs. Get the murderball on our screens, the women’s football, the fencing, the single/double amputee sprinting, the wheelchair basketball, the vision-impaired footie, the boccia, the synchronised swimming… 

We have tasted the glory of disabled sport and we fucking love it. We have seen the lesser-known Olympic sports, and we fucking love them too. Sports coverage in the UK has become focused on just a few big-ticket events, and that’s boring, unimaginative and exclusionary. We’ve seen you do better now, oh BBC and Channel 4, and we want to you to keep that momentum going. And for you other Freeview broadcasters, you have seen now how popular these sports can be, so you can join in, safe in the knowledge that we care enough to watch, so long as you don’t shove stuff on at stupid times of the day.

Furthermore, that cynicism you lot so cherish, that you think shows how sophisticated you are? The pointing and sneering and laughing at people on ‘reality TV’? Yeah, that can stop now too, please. We’ve seen what reality looks like, and it looks like the Weirwolf giving every last little drop of blood to cross that marathon finishing line in first place. That’s the reality we admire, that we love, and that we want to see more of. 

Grasp the nettle. Broaden your sporting horizons. And give us the chance to follow our Paralympians and Olympians all the way through to the next Games in Rio. Do them the honour of supporting them all the time, not just at Sportsmas. 

Best regards, 


{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Ada Lovelace Day, the international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering & maths that I launched in 2009, has gone from strength to strength in the last three years. I’ve been amazed at how much support it’s garnered and how much enthusiasm there is for it.

This year, it has become really clear to me that there’s a lot more that I could do with Ada Lovelace Day, if only we had a bit of cash to pay for it. Since its inception, Ada Lovelace Day has been run entirely by volunteers and by partnering with organisations like the Women’s Engineering Society, Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, London Games Festival and BCS Women. We have managed a huge amount through the kindness and generosity of our volunteers and partners, but there is more we could do.

I now want to create a formal charitable organisation to support women in STEM, not just on one day of the year, but all year round. Some of our goals include creating educational materials about iconic women, providing media training, and building a directory of expert speakers. The fundraiser uses the ‘keep what you earn’ model so all money donated will go towards helping women in STEM.

So if you have a moment, please take a look at our fundraiser and donate what you can.

We also have a couple of events that you might be interested in:

Ada Lovelace Day Live! Featuring the WES Karen Burt Award
Last year’s Ada Lovelace Day Live! event, held with BCSWomen, was such an amazing success that we decided to do it again on 16 October at the IET in London! We are collaborating with the Women’s Engineering Society who will be presenting the prestigious Karen Burt Memorial Award to a newly chartered woman engineer at the event. Performers include:

All hosted by inimitable songstress and one third of the Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Helen Arney!

It will be an fantastic evening of science, technology, comedy and song, featuring all manner of wonders, from marine biology and particle physics to the secrets of fridges and performance robots. We would love to see you there if you can make it!

Tickets are £10 and available from WES.

XX Game Jam
ALD is delighted to have partnered with the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment and the London Games Festival to put on the XX Game Jam, an all-female games hackday where teams will compete to produce the best computer game in just 24 hours. Held on the 26th and 27th October, it’s the first all-women* event of its type.

We’re looking for programmers, producers, artists, designers, sound designers or composers, who would like to try their hand making a game! Direct experience of game development is not required.

Sign up for free!

* We believe the terms ‘XX’ and ‘woman’ are self-defining, so anyone who self-identifies as female is welcome.

There are more events being organised independently by grassroots Ada Lovelace Day supporters both in the UK and (coming soon) around the world. So come along and get involved!!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }