Solstice Shorts Festival – Arachne Press – ‘Words from the Brink’

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Solstice Shorts 2021 – Words from the Brink

Last night, Arachne Press held its annual Solstice Shorts Festival online, to celebrate the winter solstice and its latest anthology ‘Words from the Brink’ – a response to the climate crisis.

To quote from the back of the book, these are ‘poems and stories from the brink … a tipping point: are we heading for recovery or extinction?’ A serious subject, but one that would hopefully (!) offer hope.

I was so pleased to have my story ‘Memory of Snow’ chosen for inclusion in the anthology and Festival, especially as the call out for submissions led me to read more widely on the subject of climate change. Previously, I had concentrated on articles about coastal erosion, small or big – a village (as happens here in Wales), an island, a whole country. But, now, I was drawn to a story I came across about the rising temperature in the Arctic, and decided that would be my subject.

What I read appalled me. The rise in temperature is approximately four times the world’s average. And the Arctic Ocean is at risk of being submerged into the Atlantic, with all the changes to life that that would bring.

And what about snow? What if, sometime in the future, it no longer snowed there? Imagine that.

And, so, my story, ‘Memory of Snow’ began to take shape.

The Festival had three professional actors reading all the work featured in the book, each ably introduced by Cherry Potts, editor of Arachne, along with three songs, and an open mic session.

There was also an interview with Komal Madar, who designed the cover, which is so vibrant one can almost feel the movement in it – which is something Komal strives for, together with a wish to recreate the inspiration she gets from nature.

With so many excellent stories and poems, it would be totally unfair to pick a favourite.

But I do very much want to thank Sophie Aldred for her reading of my own story. It is quite complex, with several paragraphs in italics, and changes in subject and tense. But Sophie managed to convey all this perfectly, and I was thrilled with her interpretation. An audiobook is going to be available, and I am looking forward to this, so that I can listen to the reading time and time again.

So, many thanks to all those involved in putting the Festival together, particularly to Cherry, whose enthusiasm and hard work are always appreciated.

Copies of the book are available from Arachne’s site.  It is also on Kindle.