When I first launched Faces of Clevedon, Books on the Hill were top of my list to include on the website. Check them out here: https://bit.ly/2PO7irc and then more recently, I had the pleasure of doing a ‘Humans of Clevedon’ story on Alistair Sims, the owner, he’s a very interesting character and it’s well worth a read: https://bit.ly/3czFelt Yes! I’m a huge admirer and never more so than when I heard about Alistair’s latest venture. Let me explain!
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 still has bad days with his own dyslexia, where he struggles with reading and writing. An insight that few booksellers have. Having said that, he was keen to point out that there also 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, Alistair wants to give back, and recognising this large gap in adult literacy, he 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. Twitter @NBristolWriters Alistair has already registered BOTH publishing with Nielson Book data. https://nielsenbook.co.uk/discover/
Plans to launch his new venture in June of last year were delayed because of the pandemic but the good news is that his Kickstarter launches in just three days time.
For those not familiar with the term Kickstarter, and I was one of them, a Kickstarter project is a type of Crowdfunding. It’s the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who contribute varied amounts for philanthropic reasons and for ‘rewards’ that are given by the project to their funders. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/both-opendyslexia/open-dyslexia
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 so 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 information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
• find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
• struggle with planning and organisation
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 is ensconced in academia, he has a PhD in Archaeology and two published papers on Celtic myth and fantasy literature, 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.
If you’d like to know more about Dyslexia then check out https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk the voice of the population who have dyslexia.
I’m not the only one excited by this idea, those colleagues in education who’ve heard about it are delighted and keen to support Alistair as are many of the writers that he is in touch with.
“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.
“Because books are one of the great joys in live and reading should be accessible to everyone.” — The Award Nominated Author, Thana Niveau,
“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 is also a journalist and has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mirror, Time Out, Sight and Sound, Rolling Stone, SFX and Locus among many others.
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 defense. 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 has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Warhammer, Slaine, Fireborn, Pathfinder, Arkham Horror, Rogue Angel, and other popular game and comic worlds.
Steven won the International Media Association of Tie-In Writers award for his novel, Shadow of the Jaguar, and the inaugural Lifeboat to the Stars award for Tau Ceti (co-authored with International Bestselling novelist Kevin J. Anderson)
Writing as Matt Langley his young adult novel Black Flag was a finalist for the People’s Book Prize 2015.
His latest books include Sherlock Holmes and the Murder at Sorrows Crown and Parallel Lines a brand new crime novel from Titan, as well as Glass Town and Coldfall Wood.
Steven 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 Poor writes epic fantasies Malessar’s Curse – Heir To The North & The High King’s Vengeance) and ripping space adventures The Empire Dance
He has been onstage with Jane Horrocks and the RSC, and co-produced the Sheffield theatre premiere of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters
Steven is a founder member of the Sheffield SF&F Writers’ Group, where much of his novel Heir to the North was drafted and workshopped. You can find his short fiction in several of the Fox Pockets anthologies available from Fox Spirit Books.
Heir To The North, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards in 2017.
The Clockwork Eyeball takes place in an alternate 1958 Marrakesh, the cold war continues with airships, clockwork cars and deadly spywasps. Young Saif risks his life to bring a defecting Russian agent out of the country.
John Llewellyn Probert won the 2013 British Fantasy Award for his novella The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine and 2015 saw the publication of its sequel, The Hammer of Dr Valentine. He is the author of over a hundred published short stories, six novellas and a novel, The House That Death Built (Atomic Fez). His first short story collection, The Faculty of Terror, won the 2006 Children of the Night award for best work of Gothic Fiction
A regular panelist at Horror conventions across the country, he can also be found online at The House Of mortal Cinema, which documents his endeavor to review every cult movie in existence..
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.
If you would like to know more about him and his current work, you can check him out here http://www.johnlprobert.com/site/1.asp
Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. Adrian is the author of the critically acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, the Echoes of the Fall series and other novels, novellas and short stories.
The Tiger and the Wolf won the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel – and Children of Time won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Children of Ruin won the Best Science Fiction Association Award.
Adrian lives in Leeds, with his wife and son. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor. He has also trained in stage-fighting.
The House on the Old Cliffs 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. His writing began as a way of preserving the stories he told his siblings about their favourite dinosaurs, penguins and dragons; stories that eventually became a whole world.
He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, and his interview series has included authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Kameron Hurley, and Becky Chambers, as well as TV stars ranging from Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison, to Paul Darrow and Sophie Aldred.
Joel 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 an American horror writer who lives in England with her husband John Llewellyn Probert. Thana has had two short story collections receive nominations for a British Fantasy Award in From Hell to Eternity (2013) and Octoberland (2019). Her haunted house novel House of Frozen Screams was released in 2018 by Horrific Tales Publishing.
All her life Thana has been drawn to the darker aspects of life. She was a fearful child, plagued by nightmares and anxiety. Horror saved her. Scary films gave her an outlet for all that darkness and fear became her friend. Jason and Freddy were her childhood companions.
On the literary side, Poe was her first great horror love, followed swiftly by Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell.
Thana’s 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 Chrissy, I am sure that BOTH publishing is going to be a huge success.