In July this year I learned that my short story ‘Twinkle Toad Goes Home‘ had been accepted for the forthcoming publication Toad Tales. It is an original collection of short stories and verse aimed at children 5- 10 years, responding to the Larkin With Toads Public Art Exhibition, that appeared on the streets of Hull in 2010 for Larkin 25.
In August a week of Larkin related events took place, including the floating of a giant toad over various locations in the city. The Toad Tales book was due to be part of that commemorative programme, as the city revisited the Toad effect. Still one of the most successful award-winning public art projects in the UK, with a concept that has since been replicated, as far afield as Australia.
Due to a number of unforeseen delays, the book has not yet enjoyed the same attention as some of the other events. However I am assured there will be a stand alone launch for Toad Tales, in the very near future, in order to recognise all the contributors and publicise and celebrate the release.
Toad Tales is unmistakable on the shelf, resplendent in green, with delightful illustration on the front cover and throughout, by Alice Beasley. The stories within are an easy read for a capable child, or alternatively, are perfect for a toadtime story, for parents to share with the younger ones.
I am overjoyed to have been published in Toad Tales and read with interest the other authors, response to the question set in the brief: Where have the Toads been since they disappeared from the streets of Hull?
Released at the beginning of September and published by Wrecking Ball Press, Toad Tales went straight into the local Waterstones best-sellers list at No 6. Having read all the different stories and poems I can see a number of interesting themes emerging that might point to something just that little more profound. Many of the Toads in the stories appear to be lonely – toads are solitary creatures someone pointed out to me: the narrative of transformation, threads through many of the stories. Many of the toads seem to be inherently male: I purposely wrote my toad as gender non-specific.
I was pleased to see that, apart from Nick Quantrill, (a crime-writer) all of the authors were new to me.
It’s quite a thrill to see an actual book with your words in, on display in a bona fide bookshop. Since this happy result, I have been more inclined to submit work for different competitions, commissions awards including the Val Wood Creative Writing Prize (winner to be announced Sept. 26th) It just feels like a small vote of confidence in my direction.
Congratulations to all the authors, I hope you are all as thrilled as I am with the book and thank you to those who encouraged me.
Toad Tales is also available at Hull Central Library and through Wrecking Ball Press. Buy Here
Toad Tales was made possible by lottery funding, Arts Council England and supported by Hull UK City of Culture 2017
LAUNCH PARTY for Toad Tales to be held at KARDOMAH 94, 94 Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 2AN 6pm, Wednesday 7th October 2015 with readings, toads, prints, drinks, nibbles and assorted pondlife. Bring your friends and family along to celebrate followed at 8pm by LARKIN ON FILM with documentary footage, Larkin poems read by himself, Tom Courtenay and Bob Geldof plus Ensemble52’s Toads Redux