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scop (noun): Old English – bard, minstrel, storyteller

This Way to Egress: More UK Connections

A couple of posts ago, I touched on the UK connections of the Nightmare Cinema segment “This Way to Egress.” That post dealt with my collaboration with David Slade (left) and the late Charly Cantor — both from the Manchester area. In this post, I’d like to consider another UK connection.

Eight years ago, the collection This Way to Egress (Ash-Tree Press, 2010) was released at World Horror in Brighton. Featuring a cover illustration by Jason Zerrillo and a re-edited version of “Traumatic Descent” (retitled “This Way to To Egress”), the book launched along with four other Ash-Tree titles: Pieces Of Midnight by Gary McMahon, Tragic Life Stories by Steve Duffy, Walkers in the Dark by Paul Finch, and Lost Places by Simon Kurt Unsworth. The five-title book launch was organized by Ash-Tree’s Christopher Roden and proved to be one of the most successful book events I’ve taken part in. It drew quite a crowd, helped along by the presence of Barbara Roden, who was also on hand to sign copies of her collection Northwest Passage (Prime Books, 2009). Sales were brisk, and friendships were forged that have continued to this day.

The photo at right was taken in the ballroom of the Royal Albion on the night before the book launch and just a few minutes after the advance copies of Egress arrived. As I recall, there had been some concern about the cover, which had not reproduced well on the proofs. Fortunately, the actual printing looked spectacular, capturing the nuanced play of light and shadow of Jason’s art. That’s Jason to my right in the photo. To my left is Brian Showers of Ireland’s Swan River Press.

Look closely, and you will see a hand cheekily inserting another Ash-Tree Press edition into the picture. The hand and book belong to my good friend Simon Kurt Unsworth.

Fittingly, Simon and I managed a get together last night, stopping in at Wagamama’s to catch up on all that’s happened since our last get together at World Fantasy in Brighton, 2013. At the time, Simon was anticipating the release of his first novel, The Devil’s Detective, and we had the chance to talk about it and how it came about. You can listen to that interview here.

Since then, a second book in the series (The Devil’s Evidence) has been released. It’s a worthy follow-up to the first. Strongly recommended.

As I write this, I have just finished a couple of interviews with the local media here in Manchester, and I’m now looking forward to the UK premiere of Nightmare Cinema, which is set to take place in about an hour. I’m also looking forward to catching Andy Mitton’s film The Witch in the Window, which screens later in the evening. I hope to post about both screenings tomorrow.

Until then … scop on!





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