Claret Press Christmas Newsletter 2023
It's been a busy-but-fun year for us at Claret Press. We've been joined by Alex Green as editorial assistant and Ines Palmer, who is working on foreign language rights. They've made an enormous difference to Claret Press and made the days go by with laughter and camaraderie. We've twice opened and closed for submissions and are still working through them. Attended the always crazy London Book Fair. And above all, we published with great joy three books by authors completely new to Claret Press.
We hope you enjoy this annual wrap up and we wish you a very Happy Holidays from the Claret Press team!
(ps. This is a condensed version of the Christmas Newsletter sent to our mailing list. For the full version, which includes a brief reveal of some of our 2024 releases, please subscribe and contact us to resend.)
Our first publication of the year was the historical fiction novel Daisy Chain by Justine Gilbert, published on 1st March.
Set in the Great Depression, Daisy Chain tells the untold true story of FDR's secret wife, his cousin Daisy Suckley, and the band of unconventional women who gave him his presidency - as written by Daisy Suckley's grand-niece.
Praised by award-winning author Louise Dean as 'a passionate and illuminating retelling of a seismic era from the perspective of "the other woman"', we were delighted to see Daisy Chain win the Page Turner Award, the Chill with a Book Award, and longlisted for the Historical Fiction Company Best Book Award.
Along with a fabulous book launch at Whitstable on 4th March, we were also very pleased to see that the The Little Green Bookshop in Herne Bay had put Daisy Chain on their shelves!
It's always lovely to see a local indie bookshop supporting a local indie author, so a huge thank you to Jacqui and staff once again.
Speaking of awards, our 2022 thriller, Opera by Julie Anderson, was longlisted for the prestigious CWA Steel Dagger Award for best thriller novel!
While we sadly didn't win, we were proud to be the only small independent publisher amongst the twelve nominations. The competition all belonged to the big beasts of publishing, so once again Claret Press punched above its weight. We'll come back swinging next year, but in the meantime why not check out Opera and the rest of the Cassandra Fortune series?
Returning to this year's publications, The Door That Shouldn't Have Been There by Corinna Edwards-Colledge was published on 28th September.
In this modern fairy tale about grief, Corinna Edwards-Colledge takes the reader along a heartfelt journey through the eyes of a grieving husband desperate to see his beloved wife again. Time and time again he steps through the Door which appeared on the night of his wife's death, chasing the distant figure of his wife through fantastical vistas.
Praised by multi award-winning writer, producer and poet Henry Normal as 'poetic and layered and draws the reader forward, running to catch their breath', this was also a significant milestone for us as a publisher: The Door was our very first hardback (and a rather gorgeously illustrated one at that, courtesy of Becky Gough)!
The Brighton book launch on 12th October was also a huge success. Over 60 people attended, and £140 was raised and donated by Corinna to the Martlets Hospice from the night's book sales.
Our final release of the year, Mark Blackburn's memoir, Final Approach: My Father and Other Turbulence was published on 2nd November.
Subtle, wry and moving, Final Approach is an exploration of the complicated relationship between a son and his multimillionaire father, shot through a prism of planes and airports. Shaun Levin from A3 Press calls it 'A beautiful and tender work.'
Mark's writing has been praised by Dame Margaret Drabble, and Lara Feigel calls Final Approach 'Excellent - moving and engaging and really original - there is nothing like this.'
Along with hosting a superb book launch on 9th November, a Final Approach-themed exhibition was held from 2nd-26th November at the Studio 1.1 Gallery in London.
Mark Blackburn was also very recently interviewed by BBC Radio Guernsey about his memoir - we'll share a link the moment the interview is aired!
And that's a wrap! It's been a busy year indeed, and we're looking forward to hanging up our pens and paper in favour of stockings and baubles over the next few weeks (the Claret Press cat, Charlie, has already made a start on the festivities, as pictured above).
Happy Holidays - we hope you've all had a wonderful 2023 and wish the very best for 2024.