Part of a review by Sarah Hegarty recently published in Writing in Education
Review, Sarah Hegarty, Writing in Education, no. 78 (Autumn, 2109)
A sense of yearning for a simpler time, long gone, permeates some of [Michael W. Thomas’s] tales. The title story, told in the voices of a husband and wife, traces his boyhood passion for push-bikes, which he has put aside. Seeing cyclists on the road, “throwing air over either shoulder”, brings his true love back “like an old song”. At first, despite hating the “dank shops, each with its mumbly little man in a brown coat stuffed with pens”, his wife helps him search for the perfect bike. But no single machine is the answer. The end result, “five bikes’ worth”, he names the Portswick Imp, after a childhood memory. Out in the countryside she watches him ride, until his bike lights are “just a bit of the Welsh moon broken up”. He has ridden away, back into the safety of his childhood imagination.
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When Emma’s elderly uncle dies in a fall from a Devon cliff it soon becomes clear it was no accident. As she tries to uncover the truth behind his death she steps into a world where even a family fishing boat becomes a tool for acts of the darkest criminality. Emma is forced to confront the sinister undercurrents in her personal life and question whether she has misplaced her trust.
Another terrific read from Frances Bennett, who thrilled us with her debut novel Seeds Of Destruction five years ago. Something Wicked is her second novel and Frances would be interested in presenting her book and writing career to organisations looking for speakers.
Amanda Bonnick’s debut pamphlet ‘Pick Your Own’ was launched April 2019 at Drummonds Bar, Worcester. Readings, guest poets and music led to an amazing evening enjoyed by all present.
Pick Your Own is a beautiful collection of poems which prove that time travel is, in fact, possible. The childhood memories are particularly impressive and well captured. The sense of loss, of a father and of a child self, permeates the collection. There are moments that caught my heart – especially in Creature – and many that tugged at my own memories. I look forward to revisiting this collection many times.
Susan Davidson—actor and poet.
These poems paint a vivid portrait of a girl negotiating the awkward passage to adulthood while coming to terms with her father’s death.That they never become maudlin or overly-nostalgic is a testament to Amanda Bonnick’s skill as a poet. From the subtle use of kennings, to the nod to Heaney in ‘Weeding’, these poems are aware of poetic tradition but move beyond it into something new. These are poems that know that even if prayer doesn’t work, sometimes it is important to pray,
and they are prayers to terrestrial gods, including fathers, boys, and nature.
Ben Parker—poet-in-residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester (2015), poet-in-residence at The Swan Theatre, Worcester (2016).
Amanda’s pamphlet is available direct from Black Pear Press.
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Here are two of the latest reviews for Heather Wastie’s Don’t Oil The Hinges:
“I’m enjoying Don’t Oil the Hinges enormously… I love the way Heather weaves introductions into the book, I’ve never seen this done before and it creates a lovely, intimate reading experience.”
Nancy Campbell, Canal Laureate
“You can’t help but warm to Heather Wastie’s enthusiasm, creativity, and zest in putting poetry at the heart of a community.”
Greg Freeman (Write Out Loud)
5* Amazon Review from E.M. Eames
“This is a fine collection of humane tales by a consistently excellent author of both prose and poetry.
The title story was the first to grab me, and I was delighted to find that all the other pieces matched it in quality. Thomas has perfected a blend of quiet humour and telling social commentary. These are timeless tales.”
Read the review here
Michael W. Thomas books
Black Pear Press is delighted to award the first Black Pear Press Prize For Fiction to University of Worcester graduate Michael Wheatley.