Saturday, 31 October 2009

Review of Sunrise and Shorelines by Mark Charlesworth

Sunrises and Shorelines is the debut poetry collection from Prestonian Mark Charlesworth, who you may have seen reading at the recent ‘Word Soup on tour’ bash in Blackpool. Arranged in chronological order, the poems span some seven years, from 2001 to 2008, and touch upon a range of personal crises, global events and dark, imaginary tales.

In his foreword, apart from confessing the collection to be sincere rather than sophisticated (a noble bit of honesty, I thought), Charlesworth also admits that he was probably too young to fully understand the enormity of 9/11, which was his prompt to start writing. Yet, the first poem, America Under Fire, written when Charlesworth was still at high school, whilst being a powerful, raw response to the events of that day is also well considered enough to see the attacks a crucial moment in American history. Amid the “fire, chaos and tears”, the poet asks “Is the enemy within or on the out?” America is “desperate and broke” after living so long in “false realities”.

Many of the poems are based in the natural world – familiar territory for the poet of course, but Charlesworth often leads us through the kinds of lonely, perverse, abandoned places of dark gothic fairy tales – woods, bloody tombs, stormy seas and so on. The Revolt of the Trees, an interesting counterpart to America Under Fire, is a fable about greed and selfishness in which a unscrupulous woodcutter is turned into a tree. The setting of The Magnolia Room wouldn’t look out of place in an H.P. Lovecraft story. And the more light-hearted Tall Tales, blends Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall – “I saw a cat’s tail / curl round the moon...I saw a tall tree / telling a tale / to a broken man / at his own wake.”

Charlesworth seems comfortable speaking with the kind of language you might expect to find in much older poetry and some poems are full of the introspective longing and desperation reminiscent of, say, Christina Rossetti. Possessed and The Wanderer are harrowing sketches of loss, whilst in Alone the narrator yearns for love but finds nothing but emptiness: “I stand in autumn stillness / and strum a sombre tone / I watch the stars, take in their beauty / inertia creeps, division grows.”

There are whispers of an earlier Romanticism also in Dead Leaves and A Weary Night. The Final Days of Summer sounds like Keats edited by Emily Dickinson with its stark, often esoteric observations – “The hallows harvest / the fields are still / the black crows circle / the silent hill”. The Forest Awakened is full of landscapes not dissimilar to Coleridge’s Kubla Khan – “The hills in the distance / ran with rivers of ice”, “Somewhere, here and there / blackness crept in / mere shards of light / as though the darkness could sing”.

Yet, Charlesworth does not confine his poems to this beautiful and terrifying natural world – there are people adrift in urban landscapes too. End of the Earth and Kendal Castle blend the archaic and modern – “Sirens scream down silent streets / and tear the night apart...figures rise, entombed from the past / the devil’s dance, a raucous laugh.”; “Now shadows fall in Kendal town, / a world weary folk tale as the castle looks down, / where red wine’s split instead of blood long ago, / the bustling streets and the cigarette smoke...”

In domestic settings, Charlesworth seems to sense the same kind of futility as Philip Larkin. The objects in Buried Things – like the sheet music in Larkin’s Love Songs in Age – become symbols of lost love and the naivety of youth. Alcoholics’ Corner is rife with gallows humour and Their Home and This House is sad and poignant without being sentimental.

It is a brave poet who is willing to publish early work alongside later, more controlled pieces, but in Charlesworth’s case it shows a writer searching for a form and for voices which will speak accurately and powerfully. I’ll admit that some of the more meandering, surrealist poems – Coming Back to Life, Home by the Sky and The Forest Awakened, for example – I found a bit shapeless and in want of a decent pruning, the rhyming a little clunky in places – but then the collection is as much about the learning process of writing as it is about end product.

For me, the strongest pieces are those in which Charlesworth writes with economy about the specific rather than the abstract, and some of the later poems such as Sail Away, A Weary Night and Their Home and This House are extremely moving and memorable – “Theirs was a home to a family, but the clocks have all stopped / this house a museum, now that her heart is lost.”

This is a collection that is much more complex than it might at first appear and well worth reading as a curious, intriguing anthology on its own and as a prelude to Charlesworth’s second collection In Memory of Real Trees, which he will be launching at The New Continental on 28th November.

You can read Mark Charlesworth’s blog here and purchase copies of Sunrise and Shorelines.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

In Conversation with Norman Hadley...

Norman Hadley is a Garstang based poet. His second full collection, Stinging the Sepia is launching at The Corner Bookshop on Saturday 7th November at 3:00.
Jenn Ashworth: Finding a reader or an audience is important to most writers. You're a published poet and author as well as an experienced performer. Which way of communicating your words to others do you prefer, and why?
Norman Hadley: Performing live is a syringeful of Sunny D - it should definitely be a banned substance. The feeling of human connection when you get an audience on your side is intoxicating and I can easily understand why musicians keep gigging four decades after they were rich enough to retire.
I like experimenting with different voices and gauging reactions, so I can do shouting-at-pigeons crazy for one poem and see the audience do the step-away-from-the-loony routine. Then I can do a whispering-Ted-Lowe delivery for the next piece and it's great when you can see people leaning forward and engaging with the ideas.
That said, I'll never be a full-blown performance poet. If I ever came on like a dumbass white rapper, the audience would likely wet itself with derision. In any case, I'd like to think there's enough fibre in my poems for a second and third chew so that's where the books come in.
JA: What's the thinking behind selecting poems for a collection? Can you give poets who might be reading this, and who have a whole shoe-box or hard drive full of poems, any insight into the process you went through in making the selection, and deciding on the order, and so on?
NH: My poems range from syllabub-light rhymers all the way through pensive haiku and sepulchral free verse. I especially like to conceal stones in tissue paper; to convey a serious message in a playful vehicle.
I've tried to make all three collections as eclectic as possible. I measure everything on the axes of length, seriousness and form and aim for a broad spread of those parameters. Even the Pendle Hill collaboration; although all six pieces are ostensibly 'about' the same subject, they're all very different in form and voice.
Selecting pieces is akin to deciding which toes to cut off. People tell you to murder your darlings but I've got a whole mausoleum of darlings in my hard disc. As regards running order, Stinging the Sepia has been broken down into chapters by theme, such as Landscapes and Portraits. That's as sophisticated as it gets.
JA: How far do personal experiences inform the poetry you write, and how far is it invented, or fictional? (I know this is a horrid question - but people are always interested)
NH: I'm quite fortunate in that a fair chunk of my material is a response to landscape and landscape never feels hurt or betrayed. Or if it does, it never says. When I do stray onto matters of the heart, I go to inordinate lengths to protect those closest to me, even if it misleads the reader. No, I'll rephrase that, especially if it misleads the reader. I actively want to indulge the belief that this Norman Hadley character has dated an F-M transsexual, had an illicit flirtation in Tangiers and eavesdropped on middle-aged women getting frisky through a party wall. Once I've set up a canopy of the fantastical, I can slip in genuine autobiographical details under cover, like the Radio Four panel game "The Unbelivable Truth"
JA: As well as an active writer and performer you also work hard to support other people's work - through making their performances available on you tube, to writing reviews on The Lunecy Review. Do you think this is important? Is there a real writing community in lancashire? What are the benefits of being part of it? Is 'joining in' essential? What about if you're a loner, or very shy?
NH: I'm a recent convert to the joining-in philosophy. By nature, I am the shy loner your question envisages - an introverted, engine-designing robo-geek. Until last year I was pretty garret-centric; just idly monitoring my own glacial progress towards an unmarked grave. Yes, I'd toddle along to Spotlight as a spectator and occasional performer, but it didn't occur to me that the local arts scene was something I could contribute to.
But I've been inspired by people like Ron Baker, Sarah Fiske & Kevin McVeigh; people who are pursuing their own writing whilst finding time to give others a platform. And look what's happening here - you're days away from finishing your second novel, getting the small fry through her first school term and preparing to get hitched yet you've found time to talk to me.
I'd encourage anyone to get involved. Sure, it's knackering, there's very little recognition and there are brickbats a-plenty if someone doesn't "get" your review. But it puts you in touch with hordes of inspiring folk and if enough people chip in, it'll spread the load.
The videos are my pet project, even though I curse the amount of work I've lumbered myself with. I want to build up a library of North West performers, whether they're big names or open miking for the first time. They can send the links to their mums, embed them in their blogs or watch them obsessively to hone their acts, like aspirant dictators. And anyone who couldn't get a babysitter can get a glimpse into what they missed. I like to think it's added a new dimension to Lunecy and Preston Writing Network.
I've done some writing for review sites, too. I'm insanely proud of my interview with the fabulous Moll Baxter and I'm hoping this becomes a series of interviews with Lancaster's literary luminaries.
JA: Tell us about your experience with creative writing groups. Is it something you'd recommend? How should a poet or writer go about choosing a creative writing group?
NH: My experience is perhaps atypical in that I've only been involved with one group and it chose me. Monkeyrack is by invitation; it sounds deperately cliquey, I know, but it wouldn't work if it grew any larger. Now it may not bear comparison with marrying my wife or raising my daughter, but those events aside, joining Monkeyrack was one of the best things I've ever done. It's invaluable to bounce ideas off people who understand the vital distinction between 'complacent' and 'complaisant'.
If anyone's looking out for a group, I'd advise them to find people with writing styles very different from their own; if you specialise in floaty poetry, it's worthwhile to get the reaction of someone ploughing a different furrow. In Monkeyrack, I get interesting angles from crime specialist Jo Powell and resident horror dude, Simon Kurt Unsworth. As regards uber-poets, there's the exceptionally talented Ron Scowcroft.
I think the secret behind these groups is to be as honest as you can. If I've written something crap, I want to know that it stinks and why. I'm a patchy writer at best and often overreach myself. Feeling your ego's been masticated by a water-buffalo is worth it to improve your work.
JA: What does 'being successful' as a poet and a writer mean to you? What's your ambition for your creative work?
NH: Right now, success would mean the cheerful toot of the cavalry coming over the hill. Everything thus far has been an exercise in exhausted auteur-ship. This is against the backdrop of a day job that accounts for fifty-five hours of the week. I would weep salt tears of gratitude if someone, somewhere, would take some of that burden away so I could just write. After that, the laureateship, obviously. Only another nine and a half years to wait.
JA: What's next for you? More performances? Another collection?
NH: All of the above and more. I'm fumbling around for a new voice at the moment, because I want the next collection to be qualitatively different from its predecessors. I'd like to do more collaborative work with people using different media, like the Pendle Hill book.
I'm also building up an armoury of short stories. Whenever I have an idea I can't think of a rhyme for, I knock it out as prose. Some time next year there might be enough to cobble together a collection.

Anyway, I've seen those chat show thingies with Ricky and Judith so now's the bit where I recline expansively on the sofa and hold up a book to camera, right? The launch (did I mention I'm having a launch?) is at the Corner Bookshop, Garstang at 3 pm on Saturday the 7th. All PWN readers, their partners, children, aunts, friends and hamsters are welcome. You can browse in the shop, I'll read a bit, talk a bit and flog some books. Nothing complicated.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Word Soup 6 - Spooky Soup

Word Soup for those STILL not in the know is Preston's very exciting and newly spooky live lit night at the Continental.

It was also last Tuesday. So for those who weren't there and for anyone who wants to relive the magic, here's my (admittedly not very) spooky round up of the best Soup yet.

This month's music came from Annie Tiley who performed her own historical songs, often with a murderous element, and covered Johnny Cash. She said that she doesn't particularly want to be known as a spooky singer but her performances of her slightly sinister songs made her a perfect Halloween choice.

The first reader was poet, Ron Sowcroft, who has won acclaim from the Guardian Books Website for his poetry and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. He entertained with poems about bats, Halloween and nuclear holocaust.

Following him was Peter Crompton, one of the open mic performers from Word Soup 3, now with his own performance slot. The reading started on familiar territory with an impassioned reading of his work: 'I'm a Skeleton,' followed by a very on-theme and very funny poem about witches who use brooms for pleasure (yes, that kind of pleasure) and 'My Really Bad Rocky Horror Themed Party' based on, well, you can guess.

Unfortunately Ramsey Campbell was unable to attend due to the dreaded flu that seems to be doing the rounds but our super red tighted compere spectacular, Jenn Ashworth stepped in to the breach. She managed to more than fill Ramsey's big shoes with the first ever performance of a chapter from her not-even-published-yet-it's-so-new novel, Cold Light.

It featured a spooky flasher in a Halloween mask and the true horror of mid 90s teenagers frosted make up. It seems that Cold Light is going to be just as good as, 'A Kind of Intimacy.'

After the break and just a little gin, it was the turn of the open micers.
This month they were...
Norman Hadley - who read poetry set in a judgemental second hand bookshop
Max Henry -  who read a seafaring tale told from two perspectives
Rachel McGladdery - who read the true and (I feel so wrong for typing this but trust me) funny story of how her Dad broke the news he had AIDS to her.

Next up was Rob Shearman, Doctor WHO scriptwriter and winner of the World Fantasy Award for his first short story collection, Tiny Deaths. He read a story from the collection about a woman who gives birth to antique furniture whenever she gets pregnant. As well as being funny and a bit sinister, it was surprisingly moving. Have a look at the video and let me know what you think.

And finally, Word Soup and Manchester Blog Award finalist, Richard Hirst , presented his multimedia spectacular, The History of Zombies which charted zombies from their origins in 1963 through a period in slavery to acceptance in modern society through the medium of many many hand drawn pictures of zombies.

Next Word Soup is on the 17th November and is on the theme of Old, so get your open mic thinking caps on! If you can't make it to the event, make sure to follow it on Twitter.

This post was written by Melanie Webster who likes pineapples, black tights and people commenting on blogs.

All video is credited to Norman Hadley.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Word Soup-beside the Sea

Better late than never, but here we are (finally) with the write-up, review and film clips of our special Word Soup - commissioned by Blackpool Library Service and delivered by The Preston Writing Network for Word Pool - Blackpool's Literary Festival.

Many thanks go to our star performer - Ann Wilson, who travelled all the way from Barrow and fresh from an appearance on BBC Radio Cumbria - to help us celebrate National Poetry Day. With an engaging, lively performance featuring poems-a-plenty from her collection Synesthetic that stole the show and impressed the library staff as well as the audience, Ann certainly made an excellent impression again.

We're really looking forward to having Ann back in Preston again for a Word Soup Presents... on the 30th October with her colleague Keith Armstrong (more about this soon!). If you can't wait that long (and who could blame you?) you can listen to Ann perform some of her poetry from the comfort of your own front room, by clicking here.

Our other performers were Norman Hadley - poet, writer, They Eat Culture volunteer and the man behind the camera. Knowing that poetry is sometimes risky, Norman opted to impress us all with a reading from his book Perspectives that focused on risky activities...

Norman will be performing at Word Soup #6 on the 20th and launching his next poetry collection Stinging the Sepia in Garstang on the 7th November - for more details on that, please click here.

Ron Scowcroft, former Blackpool Sixth form literature teacher and now poet arrived and read to us, along side Blackburn based poet Paul Sockett (you'll remember him from the open mike slot at Word Soup #5 - he'll be returning to the stage as a booked performer at Word Soup #7 - 17th November).

As always - the real stars of the show were our open mikers - Blackpool natives who came to the library to share their words and work with us to celebrate the day. We were impressed by the variation in style, subject matter and form - and rather than review it, we thought we'd film it... (all film clips courtesy of Norman)

This National Poetry Day the theme was 'Heroes and Heroines' and while we didn't ask our poets to stick to the theme, the nervous poets and experienced performers who got up with us and made some noise in Blackpool Library were the real heroes of the day.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Chorley Writing Competition

Following the success of last year's short story competition, Chorley & District Writers' Circle has launched its first ever poetry competition with cash prizes.

The competition, which is open to anyone living or working in Lancashire, is for an original poem of 16 lines or less on the theme of 'heat'. Closing date Friday 23 October.

Entry to the competition costs just £3 per poem, maximum three poems per entrant. Poems, which must be typed, must not carry the author's name. A separate paper with your name, address, email, telephone and - crucially - the title and first line of your poem(s) should be sent to Aware Competition, 27 Thirlmere Road, Blackrod, Bolton BL6 5EB together with a cheque made out to Chorley & District Writers' Circle.

Alternatively, we would be glad to receive the poem and entry form by email. Please send to, with Aware comp entry as the subject. The cheque must still be posted, together with a copy of the entry form.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Ramsey Campbell: Guest of Honour at 'Spooky Soup'

It isn’t for nothing that Ramsey Campbell has been dubbed ‘Britain’s most respected living horror writer’ by the Oxford Companion to English Literature. His career spans over forty years and he’s won every major award in his field several times over.

Ramsey’s ‘epiphany moment’ came when, already an avid reader, he came across the work of legendary weird fiction author H.P. Lovecraft in his early teens. He went on to sell his first story, ‘The Church on the High Street’, set within the world of Lovecraft’s famous ‘Cthulu Mythos’, in 1962, at the tender age of fifteen. The head of Arkham House, August Derleth, nurtured Ramsey’s talent, encouraging him to change the setting of his tales from the New England milieu of Lovecraft’s work to one he was more familiar with – namely Ramsey’s native Liverpool and Merseyside.

Ramsey’s first collection, The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants, was published by Arkham House in 1964. These tales were still very much couched in Lovecraft’s idiom, but as he gained more confidence in his own voice he began to move away from this, most notably with his 1973 collection Demons By Daylight. However, Ramsey can be said to have really ‘arrived’ with the publication of his first novel, The Doll Who Ate His Mother (1976), which was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and later praised by no less than Stephen King in his classic survey of the genre, Danse Macabre (1981).

After a near miss with The Doll... the awards started coming Ramsey’s way thick and fast; 1978 saw him win both the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award for two different short stories, and 1979 brought another British Fantasy Award for his novel The Nameless. To date, Ramsey has won four World Fantasy Awards, eleven British Fantasy Awards, the coveted Bram Stoker Award twice, a Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award from The Horror Writers Association and a ‘Grand Master’ Award from the World Horror Convention. Quite a list; and this isn’t even an exhaustive one!

The Nameless was filmed in 1999 as Los Sin Nombre – a Spanish language feature from director Jaume Balagueró, which has no small cult following of its own and a follow- up, El Segundo Nombre, based on his 2001 novel Pact of the Fathers, due to hit cinema screens this year. This must be rather edifying for Ramsey, whose career as a film critic is almost as long and successful as his career as an author, from his work in seminal late sixties horror fanzines such as Shadow and Twylight to his present work for BBC Merseyside and cult US movie ‘bible’ Video Watchdog.

Rarely one to resort to out-and-out gore and nastiness, the power of Ramsey’s work lies in his unparalleled ability to create a sense of unease and dread in the mind of the imaginative reader - with just a few words he can conjure up a world where things just aren’t quite right. Proud to describe himself as ‘a horror writer’, he remains the one of the genre’s most erudite and articulate champions and deserves the respect and admiration of anyone who so much as dabbles within the field.

Don't miss the chance to meet Ramsey and hear him read from his work at Word Soup 6 on Tuesday 20th October!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Faye L Booth - Interview

Right back at the begining of the year, when the PrestonWN was but a baby and we'd just started this blog, we interviewed Faye L Booth about her Preston-based historical novel, Cover The Mirrors, and her experience of being published by the then-controversial Macmillan New Writing Imprint.

A few short months later and we've got her back to tell us about her next novel, Trades of the Flesh - second novels, and the writing life.

PrestonWN: First of all, congratulations on the publication of your second novel. Tell me a bit about your new book - what is it about and who will it appeal to?

Faye: Trades of the Flesh, like my first book Cover the Mirrors, is a Victorian-set historical novel, although Trades is set at the end of the century rather than the middle. It's even darker than Mirrors, so I imagine it might appeal to those with an interest in the seedy underbelly of history.

PrestonWN: How did the experience of writing Cover the Mirrors differ from
writing Trades of the Flesh?

Faye: I wrote a guest blog about this on Nik Perring's blog, but to summarise, it's actually been very similar. I don't think I've managed to really comprehend the fact that my first novel is out there in the world, never mind my second. So having my second novel published feels much like having my first one published - humbling, awe-inspiring and more than a little surreal.

PrestonWN: What do you think lies behind your facination with the darker side of

Faye: This is a tricky one, because I was born weird, so I can't trace any particular roots or catalysts. I was a toddler when I saw a cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit, and I zeroed in on the character you'd probably expect to be frightening for a small child - Gollum. I promptly named skeletons "Smeagols", and I was fascinated with them too. (The skeletons in Funnybones were Smeagols to me thereafter.)

I read a lot of children's books with witches in them, and despite being a child myself, I was just as enthralled with Roald Dahl's monstrous, child-hating Grand High Witch as I was with friendly witchy protagonists like Meg (of Meg and Mog) and Heggerty Haggerty. As I grew into adolescence, I made my mark in my English coursework by 'sympathising with the devil'; looking at the story from the point of view of the characters that were presented to us as villains or antagonists.

The dark side is interesting to me, I suppose, because it's so prevalent - everything and everyone casts a shadow, literally and metaphorically - and yet we're supposed to pretend that it isn't there, or that we don't have our own darkness. Or perhaps, as the astrologically inclined among my friends and acquaintances like to suggest, I should blame the fact that I made my entrance into this world in late October...

PrestonWN: Trades of the Flesh, like Cover the Mirrors, is set in Preston. What kind of research do you do?

Faye: First and foremost, I look at the old buildings themselves; get a feel for how, say, Fishergate must have looked 130 years ago, before chrome and glass skyscrapers (shudder), bus lanes or Ann Summers. Then I back that up by looking at old photographs - you can find books and frameable prints (like the Frith Collection's stuff) in most bookshops, that depict the area at various points in history.

For facts relating to the area, I use a combination of internet research and local history books (you can often find them in discount bookshops), and I've discovered some delightful snippets of information through these means - examples of historical fact tying in with my planned stories in the most poetic ways. I usually end up making symbolic references to these little facts in my work in one way or another.

Finally, I have a map of Preston that covers four time periods - 1842-52, 1903, 1924 and the present day - so that's very helpful when visualising the area 'then and now', and how it's changed.

PrestonWN: Are you writing anything now? Will your third novel be set in Preston?

Faye: My third novel is already completed, and yes, it is set in Preston (at least partly), at the dawn of the 20th Century. I'm also working on another 19th C novel, and that one's set in Preston too.

I'm superstitious when it comes to revealing information about forthcoming projects, but when the time comes for me to reveal more I will of course do so in my blog.

PrestonWN: Do you write full time?

Faye: I wouldn't say that I write "full time" in the 9-5 sense, but writing is the only thing I do now.

PrestonWN: What advice do you give to our readers who may be struggling to fit in their writing with a full time job or family responsibilities?

Faye: I'm probably not the best person to advise anyone with kids how to juggle parenting and writing (I tip my cap to anyone who does this; I'd never manage!), but the best general tip I can offer for someone who wants to find the time to write is to consider, say, writing in the half hour an evening (or week) when you would normally watch a certain soap, especially if you just watch it because it's the only thing on.

See if you can tell yourself a more entertaining story than the TV does!

PrestonWN: And finally, what are your plans for Halloween?

Faye: I haven't made any yet! Time will tell...

Cover the Mirrors and Trades of the Flesh by Faye L Booth are both available now in all good bookshops - published by Macmillan.

Portrait of Faye credited to Cartmel Photography

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Coming Soon...

Spooky Soup
A Word Soup Halloween Special
The Continental, Preston
October 20th - 8:00pm

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Preston Bloggers shorlisted for MLF Award

PrestonWN is pleased to announce that this year, two Preston Bloggers have made it onto the shortlists for the Manchester Literary Festival's Annual Blogging Awards.

Two!! What makes it even better is that the Manchester Blog Awards broke their own record for nominations this year - with over 130 blogs nominated across all categories, these two have beat off some pretty stiff competion to get so far.

In the running for Best Personal Blog is Just Testing. The author - Kim McGowan - writes about her travels, family and ruminations on the ups and downs of a Creative Writing Masters Degree.

Shortlisted for the Best Writing on a Blog award is Richard Hirst - PrestonWN volunteer, regular performer at Word Soup and the man himself behind online-satire blog I Thought I Told You To Wait in the Car.

The rules of the Manchester Blogging Awards mean that anyone who works or lives within commuting distance of Manchester is eligible for nomination - that includes all us Prestonians.

With two previous category winners A Free Man In Preston and Every Day I Lie a Little written by Preston-based bloggers, here's hoping that 2009 sees us make it a hat-trick.

The blog awards ceremony is held at the on the 21st October at Band on the Wall. Tickets are £4 and the night starts at 7pm. You'll probably want to book in advance - last year's night was packed. Preston author Jenn Ashworth will be reading at the event, and the winners in each category will be announced and awarded their prizes.

Good Luck to Just Testing and I Thought I Told You To Wait in The Car!