Hosted by researcher Katy Shaw, literature event launches successful short story collection.
15 Aug 2013
Dr Katy Shaw, researcher in contemporary literature at Brighton and leader of the successful English Literature programme at the Faculty of Arts, chaired a literary event Why Willows Weep, at the 2012 Brighton Festival.
The event helped to promote the recently published book of short stories: Why Willows Weep: Contemporary Tales from the Woods published by IndieBooks, and is part of Brighton's ongoing commitment to the most recent forms of literature. In 2012 Katy has launched the C21 Journal, founded the C21 research group at the University of Brighton and run the HEA conference on teaching Post-Millennial literatures. The Why Willows Weep project brought together a number of well-known contemporary writers to support the Woodland Trust and offer new insights into society's relationship with the country's woodland.
The book, which Dr Shaw describes as "a beautiful collection of fiction" is a collection of short stories about woodlands written by some of the finest writers publishing today from Blake Morrison to Joanne Harris, Philippa Gregory to Ali Smith.
Offering an education in woodland knowledge as well as in the fable as a literary form for the twenty-first century, the tales that comprise this collection present unique and original perspectives on real and imagined pasts.
The collection is illustrated with stunning pictures by the Leanne Shapton each of which exists in dialogue with the story it sits beside.
By way of thanks, all the authors in the collection have had a tree dedicated in their name at Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire, where for the last few years the Booker Prize judges have symbolically planted trees to represent those felled in order to produce the hundreds of books submitted to the panel. Each author contributor has also donated their story, meaning that the Woodland Trust, a charity that seeks to plant more native trees, protect native woods and wildlife and to inspire everyone to enjoy and value woodlands, can plant five native trees for every copy of the book sold.
Featured writers Tracy Chevalier, Kate Mosse and Susan Elderkin whose work features in the collection read from their own story at the festival event before discussing the ideas informing their work.