A Taste of Cinnamon

 

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Published by Cinnamon Press. Hazel Manuel and Mary Howell with their novels in Palas Print independent bookshop.

Cinnamon Press,  small, independent and  based in North Wales  is a champion and prolific publisher for new writers.

Being published does not of itself bring status, more  the pleasure of reading aloud to an audience and the quiet knowledge that someone has confidence in your work.

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Hazel Manuel outside the book shop in Bangor after the launch of Kanyakumari.

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Fringe Benefits

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A good book leaves a lingering  sense of  satisfaction with the story, characters, setting and a feeling of having learned something new. All of that happens with Kanukamari, Hazel Manuel’s prize winning first novel published by Cinnamon Press.

Fortunate to attend the launch in Paris the sense of satisfaction did not end with a good read, it was a chance to meet old friends and make new.  Held at Krishana Bhavan vegetarian restaurant there was Puja and the food was excellent.

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A Taste of Cinnamon in Oxford

 

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There is nothing like hearing a story or a poem read out loud. Perhaps, rather than teach recalcitrant three, four and five year old to read, they should have stories read to them end to end till the bug bites and they simply can’t wait for the next instalment but have to do it for themselves.

A treat to be invited to read at the Taste of Cinnamon Evening, at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Jericho, a delightful front room of a bookshop. It reminded me of my childhood home where books, the overflow from bookcases perhaps, lined up on the window ledge in the corridor outside the bedroom. The titles were a poem in themselves but did not entice me further, too restless, too active, too young perhaps to sit and read all that small print without pictures, no matter how intriguing.

We listened to authors we knew, with whom we had shared a writing course and a dream of being published.  Thanks to Jan Fortune of Cinnamon Press that dream came true. Like a fairy godmother she waved her wand and lo!

Of course there was the hard work and the angst in between (for both parties).
For Jan, not least there is the worry of funding, of keeping going, of the phenomenal undertaking of publishing 25 books a year.

Proprietor Dennis Harrison asked Jan fortune how she chose what to publish. The reply was heartening. Out of the thousand or so hopefuls, there are one or two that sing out with a distinct voice, a voice with something to say and a way of saying it that you feel you could ‘listen’ to. (I paraphrase; Jan said it much better off the cuff).

(Picture: Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn and Jan Fortune)

 

 

 

Newly Published Author

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Hazel Manuel stands behind her publisher, Jan Fortune of Cinnamon Press at an event to celebrate  the launch of her first book, Kanyakumari with a tantalising taste of what lies in store between the covers, when the book, with the rustling of pages and distinct smell of newness, is top of the to read pile.

 

One Year On

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It seems hard to believe that it t was only a year ago that Murielle’s Angel was published  by Cinnamon Press.  A year in which everything and nothing has changed.

It was so momentous at the time, a huge milestone, and such a fillip that someone should show their belief in me as a writer by actually publishing my book,  like betting on an outsider to win.  But then Jan of Cinnamon Press, herself a poet and novelist and a wise and brave woman, is willing to take those risks on your behalf.

I still think of the double rainbow seen from the car window on the way home from the launch.

I have had some lovely reviews too from those kind enough to post them.

‘Beautifully written .Gentle yet perceptive prose weaves a spell creating a real sense of place. An interesting and varied cast of fellow travellers on journeys of self discovery walk the Camino. Their paths and stories criss cross . Their relationships are brief and transitory, yet they will not be forgotten as they are remarkable in their own way. Similarly they will make a lasting impression on the reader .
A delightful book, most enjoyable. Interest never flagged and it was a real pleasure to pick up the story at the end of the day and escape into an oasis of calm.’

There has been much to learn and there still is.  There is still much to write.  My current book whose characters are still putting me through my paces  will I hope be delivered in due course, after the long slow editing.

And the next? Already the need for background reading is pressing.

 

 

Wordsmiths

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Last week I spent  time with poets and writers, both published and unpublished, on a writing course run by the ever generous  Jan Fortune of Cinnamon Press.  We stayed in the wilds of Snowdonia at Pete the Poet’s place and did not have internet access, which is my excuse for the absence of blog spots.

I fell in love with two poems especially, and perhaps the poets too.  KateThomas who wrote about her mother and, I guess,  struck a chord, and Pete (the poet) Marshall.

I know Pete as a performance poet, and very funny he is too. He can also be moving. When we ventured into the hills he read some of his poems inspired by the view.  It was almost like listening to music: the more familiar a piece the more affecting.

The Camino del Norte started in Irun

It felt  an enormous journey just to get here: Wales to Manchester to Bilbao to Irun.

In  Bilbao, we caught sight of the Guggenheim in its burnished splendour but did not go in.  Sunny boy and the crowds were far more interested in the dismantling of the football stadium not far off.  The crowd , some in full strip, photographed the slow progress of cranes and diggers dismantling concrete and metal bars edging closer to the iconic arch of their old stadium.  No one knew if the arch would be  taken down that day or the next but they wanted to be there when it happened.  Nostalgia was palpable, the end of an era, of  their childhood football dreams.  The new stadium was well underway.  A man we spoke to thought capacity would be 50,000 or so.  Just before I could say it looked God awful, he told me it was muy bonito. Very pretty? No way.

The first  pilgrim we met in the Albergue in Irun, Alison from Namibia,  had broken her foot. She talked of angels so I told her of my book.  She made a note of the publishers, Cinnamon Press,  as she too wanted to write.

The second pilgrim, Paquita, a diminutive figure, carried a bright orange canary in a metal cage.  Richard.  She put the cage on a counter top and told him not to move.  He didn´t.

We saw her struggling with her burden the next day  and then lost sight of her.  By chance I saw a bright orange feather blowing in the gutter and kept it in the hope that, should we meet again and Richard had suffered some mishap, it may be of some macabre consolation.