Kay’s Ark was launched with a party at Zeffirelli’s in Ambleside on Sunday evening. Kerry was understandably nervous – as was I – the event marked the culmination of years of thought and writing by Kerry and months of input from Handstand Press. We needn’t have worried. Friends and family turned out by the score and three Handstand authors were there to celebrate as well. Two special guests made the evening memorable. Kerry’s friend from childhood in Skelwith Bridge, Sheila Bamforth, came to the microphone to reminisce about the happy days spent at Rosewood surrounded by the warmth and energy of Kerry’s mother. The best surprise of all was kept to the end when world class concert pianist, Nicholas Ashton, performed the piece by Liszt (Un Sospiro) which Kay played for him when he first visited Rosewood. It was a pivotal moment in his life which led to a long and fulfilling career in music.
What a night!
Kerry with proud daughters, Naomi and Rebecca.
Kerry Darbishire and I met yesterday to make final preparations for the launch of Kay’s Ark. It will be on sale from September 19th – not long now! To say that this book has been a labour of love sounds like a cliché, but in this case it truly has. Kerry tells the story of her extraordinary mother, Kay, with great tenderness but never over sentimentalises – it is an absorbing read. Ashley Holden from Chesters at Skelwith Bridge, where Kay is still remembered, describes it as ‘a lovely book ….and so fascinating’.
Book signings have been arranged so do come along to meet Kerry and buy her book. Dates are:-
Thursday 22nd September. Sam Read Book Seller, Grasmere. 2.30-5pm
Saturday 24th September. Sutton’s Bookshop. Ulverston. 11-1pm
Saturday 1st October. Just for Ewe. Coniston. 1-3pm
Saturday 8th October. Ambleside Library. 10.30 – 12noon.
We hope to see you there.
Have a look at the September issue of Cumbria Life Magazine. Mary Ingham, who interviewed Kerry Darbishire just over a month ago, has written a lovely piece which summarises perfectly what it was that made her mother, Kay Callaghan, such a charismatic person and how it was she came to have an impact on all who knew her at Rosewood in the tiny hamlet at Skelwith Bridge. The article includes a biography of Kerry, who tends to hide her light under a bushel sometimes, so it’s great to see her achievements as a poet and song writer given the recognition she deserves.
Cumbria Life is a great supporter of the arts in Cumbria. I don’t buy the magazine as often as I should. When I do I’m always impressed with the quality of the journalism and range of subject matter. New resolution….. get a subscription to Cumbria Life!
I mustn’t finish this post without paying tribute to Russell Holden who designed the cover for Kay’s Ark. We have already received a number of compliments from people who know Kerry and knew her mother. They agree that it perfectly captures the seemingly idyllic 1950’s when Kay first came to Rosewood with her children. Well done Russell!
Sam Read’s Bookshop in Grasmere is the venue for the first book signing for KAY’s ARK. Kerry Darbishire will be there on Thursday 22nd September from 2.30pm. Sam Read’s has a wonderful reputation. It has been trading since 1887 and was the winner of 2006 the Times/Independent Alliance Competition for Best UK Independent Bookshop. Please come along, buy a book, meet Kerry and support this lovely independent bookshop.
If you are unable to come to the signing Kay’s Ark is available to pre-order from the ‘books’ page on this website and will be available in bookshops from 19th September.
KAY’S ARK by Kerry Darbishire will be going to print very soon. It is the story of her mother, an amazing and resourceful woman who came to the Lake District from London in the early 50’s with three small children and little else. The café she opened at Skelwith Bridge became the favourite haunt of walkers, musicians, writers, animal lovers and travellers of every kind. In later years she founded two animal welfare charities, one with Alfred Wainwright.
Kerry’s book is a wonderful combination of a loving memoir and a poetic evocation of a Lake District community in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Kerry’s first anthology of poetry, ‘A Lift of Wings’ was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2014. You’ll also find one of her poems in ‘Watershed’ an anthology of poetry by Cumbrian poets in response to Storm Desmond. All proceeds from sales go to the flood appeal. I highly recommend this collection – there are some wonderful poems which truly bring home the devastation wrought by the floods.
I’m just home from London. There’s so much going on down there of course but my friends there are incredibly impressed with the amount of literary activity we have on offer here in Cumbria. Coming up later this month is the Kendal Yarns Festival of New Plays. This amazing project has invited anyone who would like to have a go to write a 15 minute play with a Kendal theme with the promise that it will be performed. 58 plays were submitted! They will be performed for free in a variety of venues between 25th and 30th July. What an opportunity for aspiring playwrights. Don’t miss this amazing event. You can check performance dates and venues on kendalcommunitytheatre.org.
We are hard at work preparing Handstand Press’s next publication.
KAY’S ARK is the lovingly told story of Kay Callaghan who escaped London for the Lake District in 1950. With three children, no money, a failing marriage and abandoned acting career she began a new life, opening up her home – Rosewood – on the banks of the River Brathay at Skelwith Bridge – as a café and a haven for all. The author, Kay’s daughter and prize wining poet, Kerry Darbishire, writes beautifully without over-sentimentalizing of a past era in a Lake District community and the impact made on it by this charismatic woman.
Author Angela Locke writes…
‘This is a love letter from a daughter to a mother, one we would all like to receive. Told with a fine poet’s eye, it shows a fascinating glimpse into the world of a small community in the South Lakes in the ‘50s…..Beautifully written and full of evocative descriptions.’
Angela Locke author of Dreams of a Blue Poppy.
KAY’S ARK will be published in late summer.
Here’s Russ Holden from Pixel Tweaks, setting up the book for publication.
I spent a great morning with students from Settlebeck School in Sedbergh last week. Their inspirational English teacher, Sally Ingham, invited me to give a talk about publishing – in particular how Irvine Hunt’s novel The Drover’s Boy was published. The highlight of it all was linking with Irvine on SKYPE. It’s the first talk I’ve given like this and I was pretty nervous but in the end it was all very enjoyable – the students were such a lively group, bursting to ask all sorts of interesting questions.
Here’s Irvine Hunt, reading from his latest novel, The Ghost Show. He is now well into his eighties. We talk regularly on the phone and Irvine tells me that he continues to write every day. I am giving a talk to Years 7 and 8 at Settlebeck School in Sedbergh at the end of the month, linking up with Irvine on Skype. The head of English at Settlebeck, Mrs. Ingham, tells me she has a very enthusiastic group of writers in these year groups. I’m looking forward to meeting them and introducing them to Irvine.
This is the amazing cake which Jo Stoney made for the launch of our new book. So clever and absolutely delicious. Thank you Jo!