When I first launched Faces of Clevedon, Books on the Hill were top of my list to include on the website.
This fabulous shop opened on August 30th 2014 and is an independent bookshop run by Dr. Alistair Sims and his partner, Chloe Smirk.
In an interview with the North Somerset Times, Alistair once said:
“I’m trying to create a bookshop which is a hub for the community and also where I can progress my work as well.”
Alistair and Chloe have certainly achieved their aim. Check them out here: https://bit.ly/2PO7irc .
More recently I had the pleasure of doing a ‘Humans of Clevedon’ story on Alistair Sims himself, he’s a very interesting character and it’s well worth a read: https://bit.ly/3czFelt Yes! I’m a huge admirer of Alistair and Chloe and never more so than when I heard about their latest venture.
Books on the Hill are passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. There are great books on the market for children with dyslexia, but not for adults.
Alistair has told me on more than one occasion that he has bad days with his own dyslexia, where he struggles with reading and writing. This allows for an insight that few booksellers have. Having said that, he was keen to stress that there also the days where the skills and traits he has learnt in dealing with dyslexia have opened new doors and enriched his personal and professional life.
As a bookseller who is also dyslexic, he wants to give back, and Alistair recognised this large gap in adult literacy and decided to do something about it! This something comes in the shape of his latest very exciting project BOTH publishing! He is collaborating with design work/ book layout with Chrissy Harrison, a local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Alistair has already registered BOTH publishing with Nielson Book data.
Due to Covid they pushed back the Kickstarter and launch to April and June 2021.
BOTH will be dedicated to bringing the very best stories to anyone who has difficulty reading, focusing on dyslexia friendly formatting: cream paper rather than white; a sans-serif font, or a special dyslexic friendly one; extended spaces between paragraphs, sentences or words. It will be most welcome.
If Alistair achieves his dream of having a range of adult, dyslexic friendly books available in every local bookshop and library, it will make a huge difference to many people’s lives.
It is estimated that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia, whilst other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.
Signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts school and begins to focus more on learning how to read and write.
A person with dyslexia may:
• read and write very slowly
• confuse the order of letters in words
• put letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
• have poor or inconsistent spelling
• understand verbal information, but have difficulty when it’s written
• find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
• struggle with planning and organisation
This video clip from the British Dyslexia Association explains it beautifully: https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
Unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn’t affected and people with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as creative thinking and problem solving. Alistair himself has a PhD in Archaeology and is ensconced in academia, with two published papers on Celtic myth and fantasy literature, and with more on the way.
Dyslexia is for life, it does not disappear however experience shows that accessible reading enables dyslexics to participate more fully in our rich history and culture.
I’m not the only one excited by this idea, colleagues in education are delighted and keen to support Alistair as are many of the writers that he is in touch with.
“Because books are one of the great joys in live and reading should be accessible to everyone.”
The Award Nominated Author, Thana Niveau,
“I want the world of literature to be available to everyone. Which is why I support Both Publishing’s aim of making storytelling dyslexic friendly. This is a wonderful initiative and I hope it will be a great success”
The Bestselling Author, Stan Nicholls.
“This is a wonderful initiative and I hope it will be a great success.”
Author and Editor, Jane Johnson
Let me introduce the authors to you:
Stan Nicholls is the author of more than thirty books and was shortlisted for the 2001 British Fantasy Award. Orcs: First Blood trilogy is a worldwide bestseller, with over a million copies sold to date. Both Orcs trilogies made the New York Times bestseller list.
Stan’s books have been published in more than 20 countries. He was the first manager of Forbidden Planet’s original London store, and helped establish and run the New York branch.
He received Le’ Fantastique Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Literature (2007)
Stan’s Anchor Point tells the story of Kye Beven who is lacking confidence, and is ruthlessly bullied. Everyone except Dyan Varike, the best archer in the band, believes he is not good enough for the community’s defence. When Kye’s village is menaced by a despotic sorcerer, he reaches for his bow and steps up to the mark and saves his home.
Steven Savile is a bestselling British fantasy, horror and thriller writer, living just outside Stockholm, Sweden. He emigrated in 1997. His published work includes novels and numerous short stories in magazines and anthologies. He has worked for Games Workshop and for Doctor Who.
Steven was a runner-up for the British Fantasy Award in 2000 and again in 2010.
He has been published in a dozen languages and sold more than half a million copies of his novels and stories worldwide.
Steven’s book Sherlock Homes and the four Kings of Sweden sounds very intriguing. Summoned by the Swedish royalty, the Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle – how can the king be in three places at once? What devilry is it that has thousands of eye witnesses placing the monarch at cities a thousand miles apart? Witchcraft? Sorcery? Why? And how does this tie in to a string of crimes that seem hound the King’s footsteps?
Steven Poore has co-produced the Sheffield theatre premiere of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters. He is a founder member of the Sheffield SF&F Writers’.
His novel: Heir To The North, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards in 2017. He has been a number anthologies with the BFS Award-winning publisher Fox Spirit Books.
The Clockwork Eyeball takes place in an alternate 1958 Marrakesh, the cold war continues with airships, clockwork cars and deadly spy-wasps. Young Saif risks his life to bring a defecting Russian agent out of the country.
John Llewellyn Probert is the author of the award-winning Amicus-style portmanteau short story collection The Faculty of Terror and its follow up The Catacombs of Fear (both available from Gray Friar Press). His latest collection is Wicked Delights from Atomic Fez. For more about his fiction visit John Llewellyn Proberts Website. You can also catch up with his thoughts on horror movies past and present at his House of Mortal Cinema.
John Llewellyn Probert was the winner of the 2013 British Fantasy Award for best novella with The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine and 2015 saw the publication of its sequel, The Hammer of Dr Valentine. His first Amicus-style portmanteau short story collection, The Faculty of Terror, won the 2006 Children of the Night award for best work of Gothic Fiction. He is a prolific writer with over 100 short stories published.
At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul is about a visitor to a psychiatric institution who gets more than she bargained for when it becomes apparent the building she finds herself as a prisoner, doesn’t want her to leave.
Adrain Tchaikovsky is an award winning British fantasy and science fiction author. He is keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and has trained in stage-fighting.
He has written over 20 novels and won the 2016: Arthur C. Clarke Award for “Children of Time” and in 2017 won the British Fantasy Award — Best fantasy novel for “The Tiger and the Wolf”.
The House on the old Cliff tells of a collection of desperate investigators who are unleashed on a mysterious disappearance, by a lawyer working for clients who care little about the quarry’s fate and more for their own interests.
Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, which has included authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Kameron Hurley, as well as TV stars. He is outspoken about his dyslexia, supporting efforts to spread awareness through talks, articles, and books. He runs The Campaign Trail podcast, which has featured critically acclaimed authors, such as Anna Smith Spark alongside its regular players.
The Breath is about a scientist Hala who travels to a lost planet civilisation and find it seemingly empty. The old gods of the world may be stirring in the very air she breathes as she searches for answers.
Thana Niveau is a horror and science fiction writer. Niveau has twice been nominated for the British Fantasy award – for her debut collection “From Hell to Eternity” and her story “Death Walks En Pointe”.
Her book Ultrasound Shadow is the tale of a pregnant woman finds herself at the mercy of her unborn baby. Its strange dark presence directs her thoughts and controls her mind and body.
BOTH publishing is such an exciting initiative and the next job on my list is to get in touch with all my colleagues in education and my writer friends to make them aware of the project
Good luck Alistair and Chrissey, I am sure that BOTH publishing is going to be a huge success.
Book on the Hill website: https://www.booksonthehill.co.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01275 873647 Insta and Twitter: @booksonthehill