I grew up in Oxford and have had longer or shorter periods living there and in London, France, and South Wales. Now based in Snowdonia with links to Oxford. 220 miles by car, covid permitting. My current project is a book on the Welsh ghost ship Resolven.
I’m working on the true story of the Welsh Marie Celeste: Newfoundland’s Ghost Ship of Trinity Bay. See link below:
I’m an experienced freelance editor offering a range of services including manuscript evaluation, a reading service, and substantive editing. Link below gives more. contact me to check if I am available for editorial work.
Chris Clunn’s classic study of the Holy Week celebrations in El Cabanyul, Valencia. Available in hardback here.
Semana Santa Marinera is the biggest event of the year in Valencia’s Maritime quarters. Dating back hundreds of years, it is a fiesta grande and a spectacle like no other, based on the Passion, the death and the resurrection of Christ. Renowned British Photographer Chris Clunn spent six years documenting this unique Holy Week with his analogue Rolleiflex and Hasselblad film cameras. The result is this beautiful, evocative study and moving tribute to the people of the Maritime.
From a review of the book:
C.H.A.S.E. is not merely a thrilling novel. It is full of thoughtful insights into the hows and whys of maritime fraud, and the compromises which may have to be made when countering it. The author’s long experience in sniffing out and stymying such frauds gives this gripping and colourful tale an unsurpassed authenticity. Highly recommended!
C.H.A.S.E. was written in the 1980s by Brian Waltham, poet and maritime lawyer. The book was highly regarded by his literary agent, but failed to find a publisher at the time. Now printed and available in hardback for the first time.
A great climactic ending to Damian Knight’s ‘The Pages of Time’ series for young adults. I am very pleased to have worked on this project throughout, and followed the adventures of Sam Rayner in time and space.
Accosted by a scruffy and seemingly delusional stranger who makes terrifying predictions about the end of the world, Sam tries to brush the incident aside. But events unfolding thousands of miles away threaten not just his happiness, but humanity’s very existence.
The year couldn’t have started out much better. Sam is settled in his new home, his family’s money problems are a thing of the past and, best of all, he’s dating Eva, the girl of his dreams. But old enemies as well as old friends from another timeline are looking for him, and the future of humanity may depend on who reaches him first.
Who can he trust, and who is really behind the manmade disease sweeping across the globe? Finding answers may just help him to save his loved ones, stranded on another continent, and defeat the terrorists who are planning a sinister new world order.
The clock is ticking. Will Sam risk everything and learn to turn the pages of time again?
A Personal Note from William Wain, Managing Editor
In 1998, an old friend, the poet, jazz pianist and former BBC Producer Graham Tayar, happened to mention to me that the author William Cooper (pen name of Harry Hoff) was looking for a publisher for his latest novel, the final one in the series of Scenes… that had begun in the 1950s with Scenes From Provincial Life.
After a trip to London from Oxford to meet Harry, who was charm itself, and who in fact funded some of the initial print costs, Lucien Crofts and I set up Smaller Sky Books, initially working from a tiny premises next to the sub-post office in the Oxfordshire village of Stonesfield. (The name of the press, suggested by Will Richards, comes from my father’s almost-cult novel, The Smaller Sky, published in the late 1960s, about a man who literally lives out his life on Paddington Station.)
Scenes From Death and Life sold out its first small print run and was reviewed in the Independent, the Spectator, the Oldie and elsewhere and given a sympathetic mention by D.J. Taylor in Private Eye. But what really launched Smaller Sky was a tiny plug in the Sunday Times by John Dugdale saying that I was publishing authors’ backlists, an almost throwaway comment that had a number of authors contacting me on Monday morning.
Of the ones that did, I went on to publish Keith Colquhoun’s Cold War thriller Killing Stalin, and the first selection of poetry by a young Belfast poet called Colm Quinn, and Frank Egerton’s first novel The Lock. I also had the great good fortune to bring out Brian Glanville’s unpublished novel about Toscanini and Mussolini, Dictators, and later to reprint his fine novel about the world of the old-time stand up comedians, The Comic.
Even though the press technically does not exist any more, I still have two titles in print : John Wain’s Selected Poems and Memoirs and the 50th anniversary edition of his 1953 debut (and still best-known work) Hurry On Down – contact me if you are interested in purchasing these. Full list of Smaller Sky’s titles below.
Scenes From Death and Life, William Cooper
Selected Poems and Memoirs, John Wain*
Dictators, Brian Glanville
Not Too Late For Loving, Graham Tayar
The Lock, Frank Egerton
Killing Stalin, Keith Colquhoun
Stranger In The House, Eric Donner
All Hallows’ Eve (new edition), Charles Williams
The Comic (new edition), Brian Glanville
The Job Lottery, Rob Silverman
Ones From 67, Colm Quinn
Hurry On Down, John Wain (50th Anniversary Edition, 2003)*
* still in print
At Easter 2012 I went out to the Greek Island of Chios to cover the annual Easter rocket battle, where two parish churches fire tens of thousands of homemade fireworks at each other… as crazy as it sounds…
I shot a low resolution film of the festivities which you can see below. It gives you a flavour of the battle – needs sound to get the full atmosphere… article here