This time, the latest Flax anthology - number twenty one, key to the door, and all that ... This Road We're On is our first anthology that has a connecting theme - relationships, specifically the pot-holed journey that is our search for companionship, love and acceptance.
It wasn't intentional, just the best stories that rose to the surface of submissions all happened to be concerned with them, so we organised them into an arc and hey presto! The supremely talented Carys Davies wrote the introduction, raising the point that we're continually interested in how relationships work, or don't work and the communications that occur within them.
These stories offer a spectrum of interpretations, although, sadly, none are particularly positive. Is this tragedy/conflit an essential element of fiction? Do we, as some of discussed on Wednesday night, not want to read about people happily living together? Is it true that "all happy families are alike, but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion"?
Read the anthology and let me know ...
Annie Clarkson, one of the contributors had this to say about the launch itself.
The cover photo is by Jonathan Bean and is of the old lancaster Regal cinema wall - the poster and the wall no longer there - to make way for a new Travelodge - make of that what you will. I absolutely love it. As ever, coming up with titles for the anthology was hard work, but once we'd landed on the notion of journey and then roads and then the slow rolling rhythm of This Road We're On, the designer, Anat Kaivanto, had little difficulty selecting this pic of Jonathan's. I love it - for the quality of image, for all its local associations, for its metaphorical resonance.