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Grand Iota has published four titles since we launched in spring 2019. We have been helped by an impressive commitment from those who subscribed in advance and made it possible.
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FANNY HOWE, acclaimed as a poet and novelist, was born in Buffalo, NY, and brought up in Boston. For some years she was professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego, and later visiting writer/lecturer at various colleges in the USA and Ireland. She was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2001 and 2005, and for the Man Booker International Prize in 2015. She has won the National Poetry Foundation Award (twice) and the American Book Award for Fiction, among others.
BRONTE WILDE is an early novel by Fanny Howe, later revised and now published in this form for the first time. It is the tragic tale of a dispossessed young woman in thrall to a childhood friend, set against the background of the emerging counter-culture of the early 1960s. This is the first of her novels to be published in the UK.
“Howe transfigures our quicksilver hungers and contemporary condition into an art true to ‘the secular rule of life’. If Howe’s voice is that of the escaping nymph managing our shipwreck, we might not be safer than in her tote, finding our hope in the empathy that is imagining.” – HEATHER TRESELER, Boston Review
“I have not the least doubt that her work is parallel to Paul Auster’s…or any other writer thus whose books are not simply products for the market – albeit the work can reach a very large number of potential readers indeed. In Fanny’s case these will range from contemporary fellow writers questioning ways and
means in their art and all who find their enterprise of interest, to those who feel themselves confronted with deeply ingrained questions of religion, person, society, gender, politics, which almost anyone alive at this moment is trying to answer.” – ROBERT CREELEY
978-1-874400-75-2 158pp JANUARY 2020, price £10 + p&p
KEN EDWARDS is a writer and musician. His many books are listed on his personal website/blog. He ran the small press REALITY STREET, which published more than 60 titles comprising mainly poetry but also other sorts of imaginative writing, between 1993-2016. Reality Street continues, but no longer publishes new titles. These days Ken plays bass guitar with the St Leonards-based band Afrit Nebula.
THE GREY AREA
Despite being subtitled "A Mystery", Ken Edwards' third novel is no conventional crime story and the mystery seems incapable of any single solution. An old and vulnerable woman has gone missing, and a private detective, Phidias Peralta, an illegal resident in a business park near the run-down port of Deadmans Beach, has been hired by her nephew to find her. His assistant, Lucy, is more concerned with her seven-year-old son who is failing at school, but she is drawn inexorably into the investigation.
"It surely is a remarkable book, for all its modest‑looking format, and I have been very stirred in thinking about it as I have followed its narrative through the loops and turns across which it runs. Its effect has both roused me to acute states of regard and at the same time has puzzled me a great deal.... Yet I obscurely feel it to be important, deeply and profoundly close to something other than what it is or at least seems." – JH PRYNNE on Ken Edwards' first novel Futures
"This is an eerie world where the style of Paul Auster meets that of Douglas Woolf: the landscape, brutality and barely submerged violence conjures up the world of Auster’s The Country of Last Things while the quiet but determined humour of domestic engagement brings to mind Woolf’s Ya! .... This novel is wonderfully funny in places and it allows the reader to produce his or her own key to characters that play out their roles on a stage of such poignant shifting moments."– IAN BRINTON on Ken Edwards' Country Life
978-1-874400-76-9 328pp JANUARY 2020, price £12 + p&p
1970s London: short-life communal living, the beginnings of the alt-poetry scene, not forgetting sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. This prose extravaganza dives into the inscrutable forking paths of memory, questions what poetry is, and concludes that the author cannot know what he is doing. Among the cast of characters are a Rock Star who has become a national treasure, a bunch of poets and writers, some now legends, and assorted other misfits and malcontents. Some names have been changed.
"As you might expect, there is some sex, a few drugs, some rock ’n roll, but none that seem as satisfying as the final section, which is essentially a series of brief essays about life, poetry and everything. It’s in these final pages that it becomes most explicitly apparent that as much as it’s a book of memories this a book about the nature of memory.... I think it should also have appeal for anyone interested in the history of ‘alternative’ poetries, of social living, of London, of that time in British life when the SS meant the social security office you had to attend every week or two to ‘sign on’ for unemployment benefit; for anyone who wants to know ‘what was it like?’ Ken Edwards should know. After all, he was there." – AIDAN HIGGINS, Litter magazine
"Quite often it's not merely the interpretation of a deepened understanding that gives remembered events their richness. It's the liberation we discover in the joy of putting words together, the preservation of a space in which words refer to one another without forming a closed structure. The room is dark, but a door has been left open, and the light floods in."
– JOHN OLSON, Golden Handcuffs Review
978-1-874400-74-5 244pp APRIL 2019 £10 (UK)
BRIAN MARLEY was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Having begun to write poetry in his early teens, he was soon publishing widely in small press magazines in the UK and elsewhere. He edited the imprint Laundering Room Press between 1974-77. By 1982 he’d switched from poetry to prose and there he remains. His photographic work has been exhibited in Brighton and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
APROPOS JIMMY INKLING
In a Westminster café-cum-courtroom, Jimmy Inkling is on trial, perhaps for his life. Unless, of course, he’s dead already. But will that be enough to prevent him from eliminating those who give evidence against him?
"Marley’s maverick novel ... delights in tying itself in knots which it eventually unravels. It is fiction which is happy to free-wheel, to swerve from this lane to that, get side-tracked, suddenly switch to the fast-lane, reverse and/or discover a circuitous route back to its starting point. In an Alice-like world, a café transforms itself into a court-room and a customer becomes the jury as a bevy of witnesses are assembled and interrogated as to the true nature of Inkling, who only got his name because he was a foundling and his finder hadn’t an inkling about from whence he hailed. The book comes highly recommended by dead authors (Ballard, Spark and Burgess)."
– ANTHONY HOWELL, Fortnightly Review
"Marley’s novel isn’t about establishing a state of guilt or innocence or solving a murder mystery, but examines and showcases (with abundant humor) our will to verify a single, absolute, unequivocal truth ... The language [in this book] is lively, colorful, ebullient and fun. It’s full of wit and imagination, myriad asides and an encyclopedic revelry in arcana, the kind James Joyce reveled in in Ulysses."
– JOHN OLSON, Golden Handcuffs Review
978-1-874400-73-8 318pp APRIL 2019 £10 (UK)