Sunday 23 August 2009


I've written about Chrissie Gittens before in one of my writing posts but we've just been in contact by e-mail and I've just finished her collection of short stories - Family Connections - which I'm going to review in my Reading Section so she's very much on my mind.

This lady is obviously one heck of a busy person but she still took the time some years ago to write out a list of publications for me that might consider my short stories.

She was 'Poet In Residence' at Ivydale Primary School, London, when Lou was teaching there. Lou told her about my frustration about not being published so that is why she wrote the list.

And two of those publications came up trumps:-

* Quality Women's Fiction where I had a short story published


*Mslexia , which is a superb magazine for writers with a mix of articles, stories and poetry. It was here that I read about Hazel Cushion and her new publishing press Accent Press, which I contacted and had two short stories published in the Sexy Shorts Collections. I also went to the launch party for one of the collections at Antony Worell Thompson's restaurant in London and met writers like Sophie King. I still subscribe to Mslexia - it really is a brilliant magazine.

And it was reading one of the recent Mslexia publications that I saw the name Chrissie Gittens, who had just had a poetry collection published by Salt Press. 'I know that name!' I thought.

So, I found that precious piece of A4 paper in my files and yes, it was the same name.

I then googled Chrissie's website, where I got her e-mail address and sent an e-mail reminding her who I was and how much she had helped me, and Salt Publishing and ordered a short story collection plus her new poetry collection. And within a few days, I had received an e-mail from Chrissie, thanking me for thanking her (and, yes, she remembered Lou) plus the two books.

That I ordered a poetry collection was a first for me. I studied a lot of poetry for my exams a long time ago, Yeats, T.S. Elliot etc, but none since until I started to read and enjoy the poetry in Mslexia. I realised how much I could learn as a writer from poetry and so buying Chrissie's collection was an obvious progression. I shall review it when I've finished reading it.

And having read her short stories, I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy the poetry, because the short stories were the best I've ever read. And it was no surprise to discover that a number of these stories, plus some plays, have been broadcast on Radio 4, which has an extremely high standard.

Also, I learnt on Chrissie's website, that Jo Good, who published Quality Women's Fiction but sold it to an American writer a few years ago and so I stopped subscribing, has just started up a new writing magazine - The Yellow Room - so that's an avenue for my writing again that I didn't know about.

So, thank you Chrissie Gittens. You're an absolute star.

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