Monday, 27 November 2017

Thank you!

L-R Kit Caless, Abondance Matanda, me, Sam Berkson, Holly Pester. Photo by Ricky Adam

Phew! It's been a mad few weeks. I'm so grateful to have been asked to do so many events over the past month or so: I've been to Bolton, to London, to Leeds (twice); it's been a knackering few weeks, but I'm so glad to see the spirit of literature is alive and well, and that activism, print and protest is well and truly alive. Thank you to the wonderful people who have hosted me and put some terrific events on. Just look at the crowd at the Blackwell's Leeds Short Story Salon, from 9th November! 

Blackwells Leeds Short Story Salon (photo from @blackwellleeds)

It was wonderful to see so many people there, and great hearing Martyn Bedford read from his new short story collection, Letters Home.  

(photo from @blackwellleeds)

Similarly, a couple of weeks ago I went to Bolton. This was a fab event in their Central Library - many thanks to Simon Holloway at the Bolton Creative Writing MA for hosting me, and to Liz at Bolton Libraries. There's nothing quite like entering a venue only to be greeted with a massive photo of your own face. 
Super weird. 
The students were attentive & engaged and asked some brilliant questions; I was glad to have been invited (and gone) to Bolton. 

Another thing was the time when I went to Seacroft, to appear on Peter Spafford's show Love the Words on Chapel FM. Peter is a great fellow, and Love the Words is a great show, so I was really chuffed to be invited. Even better was that I appeared alongside poet Ian Harker, and historical crime writer Mark Knowles, each of us talking about our recent books, and our musical inspirations. You can listen again to it on the Chapel FM website here.

Perhaps my favourite thing of all in these most recent weeks has been talking to like-minded, and sometimes not-so like-minded people, having conversations about the role fiction can play in protest and resistance. In this post-truth world, what role can fiction play in representing and questioning the truth? Many of the literature events have reminded me of the huge importance of writing the truth in our fiction, and of building and creating networks that resist existing systems of oppression and dominant narratives. Discussions around this were a particular feature of the Housman's event in London. It was a particular treat at this event to run into some of my fellow Dead Ink authors, Marc Nash & Haroun Khan. 

L-R me, Marc Nash, Haroun Khan

In case you were wondering - I'm currently working on my third novel, 80,000 words into the first draft, and wondering whether I'm going mad, as usual. Will I have some time off?

Probably not, to be honest.

Currently reading 

Death and the Seaside Alison Moore
Finch Jeff Vandermeer (I cannot recommend the e-book version of this, because it's full of errors. Read it in print if you can.) 

Sunday, 13 August 2017


Many thanks to everyone who's supported Guest so far. It was amazing to see so many people at the launch - I honestly wasn't expecting such a good reception, but in the end we had almost 70 people there, a great crowd. Thank you so much for all of your support and you were a great crowd.

If you have read the book, may I please ask you to leave me an Amazon or Goodreads review? Cheers!

I'll also be doing the following events over the next few months:

Tuesday 19th September, Leeds - Fictions of Every Kind: Family, along with Emily Devane, at Wharf Chambers. Anybody can come along to this event, although you do have to sign up to become a member of Wharf Chambers beforehand, which costs £1 and you can do it online at Further details on the Fictions of Every Kind events page.

Saturday 30th September, Wakefield - Wakefield Lit Fest event at the Hepworth Gallery with Claire Fisher and June Taylor, 3.00.

Monday 9th October, Ilkley - Un/Forced Rhubarb Anthology launch at Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe, Ilkley Playhouse - Lounge, 9.15pm (hour-long event.)

Wednesday 25th October, Shipley, Bradford - Rhubarb 15 at the Triangle in Shipley.

Friday 3rd November, Manchester - National Creative Writing Graduate Fair, hosted by Comma Press. I'll be appearing as part of a panel event at this great fair. Reduced price places are available for writers who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend. See the Facebook page for more information.

Monday 6th November, Bolton Library - in conversation with Simon Holloway of Bolton University Creative Writing MA. This is a cheap (or free, I'm not sure) event with wine, starting from 6.00.

Tuesday 14th November, Chapel FM, Leeds - I'll be on Peter Spafforth's radio show talking about Guest.

Thursday 16th November, Housmans Bookshop, London N19DX - Pages of Protest with Abondance Matanda (Know Your Place), Holly Pester (Protest: Comma Press), & Sam Berkson (Influx Press). Entry £3, redeemable against any book purchase. Starts 7pm. 

I'm also taking part in Script Yorkshire's Adaptation Challenge, on September 18th at Basement Bar, City Screen Cinema, York. This is a sight-unseen 'script in hand' reading of a short story I've adapted for stage (i.e. I've done the adapting, but it isn't one of my own short stories!) It promises to be a great night so please do come along.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Guest out soon!

Images by @carriebethx and Carmel McNamara
I want to say thanks to everybody who's tweeted or Facebooked me a picture of their book arriving this week. It's been wonderful (and exciting!) to see the books arriving on people's doormats, via social media.

Over the past couple of weeks I've done some guest blogs about the process of writing and researching the book.

I wrote this on the inspiration behind the story for Disclaimer magazine:

"The character of Samhain, an angry punk squatter who never knew his father, came to me one day as I was making fliers. I was in my friend's basement at the time, rolling the treadle on an antiquated, ancient letterpress printing machine. Printing ink on cards, then alternating the fliers, still wet with ink, with old newspapers..."

You can read "The Story Behind the Story of Guest" here.

 The Big Bookend also has this:

"2001: student days. Days of outrage, of Blair and Bush, of hand-drawn photocopied fliers. It was the pre-social media age. The closest thing we had to Facebook was MySpace, an eye-aching repository of HTML and hormones that allowed you to set a soundtrack to your personal page, and choose “top 8” friends, if you were into that sort of thing...."

You can read the rest of "How I Wrote Guest" on The Big Bookend website here.

You can also add it to your shelf on GoodReads here:

SJ Bradley's books on Goodreads
Guest Guest
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)

Don't forget to join us for the launch at Waterstones Leeds on Thursday. It's at 6.30 and it's free. Phone 0113 244 4588 or email to book.

Currently reading

Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Guest - the launch!

Thursday 27th July, Waterstones Leeds, 6.30pm, FREE entry!

"Join Leeds author SJ Bradley for the launch of her second novel, Guest, published by Dead Ink Books, at Waterstones Leeds, 6.30pm on Thursday 27 July.

Sarah will read from and discuss her book before taking audience questions and signing copies of the novel.

SJ Bradley is an award winning short story writer, novelist of Brick Mother and founder of Leeds based Fictions of Every Kind.

Tickets are free but places must be reserved in advance. To reserve your place please email, ring 0113 244 4588 or tweet @WStonesLeeds. More information:

The Facebook events page for this event is here (many thanks to Leeds Big Bookend for their support in organising and publicising this!)

Currently Reading

Stronger Than Skin Stephen May 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Remembering Oluwale: Best Anthology, Saboteur 17

So, so chuffed to have won Best Anthology for Remembering Oluwale in this year's Saboteur Awards.

When we got the news we'd been shortlisted, I did a fair bit of umming and aahing about whether it was worth going to London for the ceremony. "It's an awful long way to go," I mumbled to one person. "The trains are so expensive." I made various other typical chippy Northern comments like, "What do I want with going to London anyway? I've already been to London once already this year, isn't that enough?" and "Northern writers never win things anyway, so what would be the point?"

A short chat with Jenna Isherwood, one of my co-organisers from Fictions, changed my mind. "It's not often you get invited to an awards ceremony," she, or I, I can't remember, said. "It'd be a shame to miss it." Plus, Max of Remembering Oluwale had already bought his tickets, so that was it - my mind was made up.

(Me and Max arriving at the ceremony: fresh-faced and not booze-faced... yet.)

Our category was called second, which thankfully didn't give us too much time to get nervous.

Here's my speech, as best as I can remember it:

"Ours is not the first book about David Oluwale, nor are these the first writers to write about him. Writers like Linton Kwesi Johnson, Caryl Phillips, Rommi Smith, Ian Duhig, Kester Aspden, and Zodwa Nyoni, among others, all have written about him before.

If you don't know about David Oluwale's story: David Oluwale was a Nigerian man who came to Britain legally in the 60s, at a time when Britain was encouraging people from Commonwealth countries to come here to work. He spent most of his time in Leeds either in a psychiatric hospital, or homeless and sleeping rough on the streets. He was victimised by the police and eventually found dead, floating in the river Aire. When he died, the only records that remained of him were his hospital notes and his arrest records. He might have been forgotten altogether were it not for the work of the Remembering Oluwale charity, and the famous piece of graffiti in Chapeltown in Leeds which reads 'Remember Oluwale'.

At a time of closing borders, of low levels of empathy for asylum seekers, refugees and EU nationals, at a time of rising racism and jingoism, we need David Oluwale's story now more than ever.

Thank you."

We'll be throwing a party in Leeds to celebrate Oluwale winning at the Saboteurs. It will be at Outlaws Yacht Club on Wednesday June 7th at 7.15pm with readings and cocktails. It's an open invite to anybody who wants to come and is free - do please come and join us.

Currently reading

Countdown City Ben H Winters
Stronger Than Skin Stephen May  

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Publishing The Underground Crowdfunding campaign now live!

 "You're not just a reader, you're a maker."

I'm proud to announce that the crowdfunding campaign for Publishing The Underground, including my second novel, Guest, is now open.

There are options to suit all pockets: an ebook option, a hardback option, or a bundle where you pledge to support all three books.

Go to the Dead Ink Books Crowdfunding page now to get involved.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Cover Reveal

Here's the cover for my new book, Guest, which comes out in June this year (woohoo!)

I'm so excited about the book, and the cover itself (which was made by artist Michael Lacey). I can't wait for this to come out now.

It should be available to pre-order soo, so you (and I!) won't have long to wait...