News, Events and Reviews

The Gatehouse Year – Andrew McDonnell

2015 will probably be the year where Gatehouse Press, under its current team, started to see our projects realised.

Lighthouse has continued to go from strength to strength, and also grow in size. The journal has 96 pages (we started at 64) at the same cover price of £5. In the spring, readers voted for us in the Saboteur Awards where we won the Best Magazine with some really lovely comments from readers. We also had another short story get long listed for the Sunday Times EFG Prize, with Julianne Pachico’s Lucky making the list. This was the second year in a row after Anna Metcalfe was shortlisted for her story Number Three. Issue 10 came out in December and it’s got some of the best stories we think we’ve published. The strength of work submitted to us is flattering and we strive to push it out as far and as wide as we can. More bookshops are directly stocking Lighthouse and our circulation grows with each issue. Thank you for reading and supporting the journal. Just to give an idea of the scale – there is about 200 hours of voluntary work put into each issue by our editorial and proofing team, Scott Dahlie, Iain Robinson, Philip Langeskov, Anna de Vaul, Meirion Jordan, Jo Surzyn, Zoe Kingsley, Julia Webb, Angus Sinclair, Livvy Hanks and me. To all those before me, thank you so much for your time and commitment.


We launched Lighthouse back in 2013 as a place to support new writing and to solicit work by emerging writers who we could then look to develop. One of these strands has been the Lighthouse Poetry Pamphlet series, edited by Meirion Jordan, starting with Edwin Kelly’s visceral and stunning translations of pieces by Julian of Norwich. And After This I Saw is a beautiful thing that does what good translation should – make it new and show the importance of the translator in the process.

after-this-web (Duplicate)

This is also true of our second pamphlet, Intae the Snaw by Thomas Clark:

Oan Pairtin

Tae feel this wey, whan feelins winna maiter…
Ahent ma cup, ah think, but hae nae smile.
The caunle haws a hert – it canna bear the pairtin,
A tear it sheds at daw insteid o us.

Frae Du Mu

What we liked about Clark’s poems were the way that Scots gave new life to the music and meaning. Clark eschews a glossary, encouraging the reader to dive in: “You’ll get by fine without one. Really, you will.” It’s a book by a poet whose music stays with you and rises for air when you least expect it.

Intae the Snaw

Our third pamphlet we published is Eleanor Rees’ Riverine, a kind of companion piece to her recent collection Blood Child (Liverpool University Press / Pavilion, 2015). Rees’ pamphlet is a lyrical exploration of suburbia and the wild landscapes of Western England and then moving into imagined spaces.


I say nothing to the night
or to the blackening folds of the cloud.
Terraced roofs are a pack of cards,
are my dream-talk of tented villages,
nomadic peoples, suburbs on the move
into the deep black sea over the coast;
long rhythms butt
against the vision inside my eye.

A house sits on a promontory
jutting into the ocean, waves at the door.
I build a wall upon its landscaped lawn
as the light falls, darkening
the dry stone and the planted border.
A black printed ink across the horizon.

Riverine is a lovely little book full of wit and surprising imagery. Look out for launches across the Spring.

Eleanor Rees Cover shot


We also published our New Fictions Prize 2014/15 winners, Preti Taneja and Nicola Daly. Taneja’s novella came first, being published in the summer. Kumkum Malhotra is currently on the Norwich Writers’ Centre Brave New Reads list and we are waiting to hear if it has made the shortlist. Taneja’s prose blew us away, it has a real confidence which makes the story of a woman slowly disappearing from her life linger on your mind. Daly’s novella And The Years Rolled By also took us by surprise. Ambitious, funny and poignant, it explores a relationship over a lifetime and asks what is really important about our shared moments. It’s a lovely little thing that gets under the skin. It’s being launched alongside Kumkum Malhotra at Cafe Writers in Norwich on Monday 11th Jan.



Finally, we published a project that lost us a few days of our lives trying to source a printer who could print on a high enough spec of card and a box manufacturer who could realise what we wanted, but, we’re thrilled to say, we did it and big ups to Tiny Box Company and Kings Lynn based printers, Biddels. Fool’s World, a collaboration between artist Tom de Freston and poet Helen Ivory, explore the major arcana of the Tarot. The images and poems are extraordinary, printed on A5 cards and stored in a foil printed box, Fool’s World is a beautiful and sometimes alarming piece of work that shows the power of ekphrasis, how different mediums can speak to each other and say something new.

Fools World Web

The year ahead is packed full of projects, such as more Lighthouse pamphlets; New Fictions 15/16; Shed by Martin Figura  (a collaboration between the poet and our Gatehouse illustrator Natty Peterkin); a full collection from the fabulous Peter Daniels and more, more, more. Plus Lighthouse kicks off with a eco-poetics issue, guest edited by Anna Reckin with Angus Sinclair.

Thank you for reading, supporting, submitting. We couldn’t do it without you.

Happy New Year,
Andy McDonnell and all at Gatehouse / Lighthouse

Posted 6 years ago

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