Eight years ago, Earlyworks Press was at the Calder Theatre and Bookshop, launching our annual short story comp winners’ collection called, that year, Ways of Falling.
It was fantastic to be back at the Calder in 2019, launching the collection of one of those authors, Janet H Swinney. Janet’s work has featured regularly in our shortlists, as well as in the prize lists of an impressive range of national and international competitions.
A well traveled book
Most memorably for us perhaps, was the first appearance of the title story, The Map of Bihar which was on the shortlist of the Earlyworks Press short story competition in 2012. The supreme strength that particular set of stories had was its geographical range. We had stories set in Glasgow, Barcalona, the Australian outback, in Eastern Europe – and of course, in Bihar, India. So we set ourselves a project – to send a copy of the anthology from Barcalona to Bihar, getting as many as possible of those authors to sign it, and send back photographs, on the way.
The map of a life
Janet’s own collection, The Map of Bihar and other stories reflects a lifetime of experience, both in India and the UK, on her travels and in her work in adult education. The stories explore the kinds of challenges that ordinary life can throw, and the extraordinary responses people are capable of, from the ingenious through the brave to comic and the downright outrageous. A well-crafted, thoroughly enjoyable and enriching collection.
Our night at the Calder included readings, music, and a fascinating discussion, led by Selma Carvalho with Ian Richardson MC-ing and reading.
Janet offers thanks to Selma and Richard, as well as to Eva Melrose and Lizzie Biggin for all kinds of support, to Deric for the heavy lifting and to The Calder Bookshop for hosting this event, providing a wonderful environment for a fascinating evening.
The Map of Bihar and other stories is now on sale from bookshops, and from the publisher’s website here.