Spectral Visions: The Collection – A Launch Party Review

On Friday 26th September, the Spectral Visions team celebrated the launch of Spectral Visions: The Collection. We hosted a party at The Canny Space, the nickname of the Holy Trinity Church in Sunderland. The Canny Space is an 18th Century church, one of the oldest buildings in East Sunderland, and it proved to be the perfect place to hold our soiree.

We began the evening with a talk from Professor John Strachan, associate dean at Bath Spa University. Professor Strachan spoke on Gothic Wearside and its cultural importance. For example, the oldest surviving Bible is made from the hide of Sunderland cows. He then read from The Codex. Professor Strachan is not only an esteemed academic, but he is a talented author. His is one of the contributions to the anthology, and he read to us some of his own poetry. Amongst the poems was a joint-endeavour from Professor Strachan and Dr Alison Younger of the University of Sunderland. Entitled ’12 Ways to Offend a So-Called Lady on a Golf Course’, it proved to be an audience favourite.

We also received a talk from Dr Mike Pearce, also of the University of Sunderland. He talked to us on the cultural impact of the word “canny” and how its uses are all-purpose and unique. It was an interesting talk, especially for those of the audience who had traveled in, and we thank Dr Pearce for his participation in the night.

There was music during the intermission from David Newton and Sam Lord, who performed at Glastonbury this year. They were fantastic, and a delight to listen to.

Left to right: Sam Lord and David Newton play for the audience.

Left to right: Sam Lord and David Newton play for the audience.

After the intermission, we had some of our contributors read their pieces. Pieces read included:

  • Returning by John Strachan
  • Momento Mori by Colin Younger
  • Weaving the Wyrd by Alison Younger
  • Last Call by Elizabeth Hazlett
  • Welcome to the Hell Hole by Lindsay Bingham
  • Laura by Michelle McCabe
  • Green by Kirstie Groom
  • Crimson Blade by Mike Adamson
  • The Kiss of the Vampire by Steve Willis
  • The Journeyman by Lee Mitchell

All these pieces and more are available to purchase in Spectral Visions: The Collection. The anthology was on sale at the launch, but we sold out quickly. It is still available to purchase on Amazon. There was a chance for the contributors to sign the anthologies, a chance that many took advantage of.

Left to right: Michelle McCabe and Elizabeth Hazlett, signing their pieces.

Left to right: Michelle McCabe and Elizabeth Hazlett, signing their pieces.

There will be a review of the anthology to follow this post, but the reaction on the night was review enough for us. People loved Spectral Visions: The Collection. There are stories and poems to make me laugh, cry and gasp in horror. Every piece is as strong as the one before it, and it is a consistently enjoyable read.

We would like to take a moment to thank some people. Steve Watts, for hosting the evening; Colin Younger for editing the collection and agreeing to read for us; Dr Alison Younger for helping organise the event and reading for us; Professor John Strachan for talking to us and reading his pieces; Dr Mike Pearce for his talk; David Newton and Sam Lord for their music; the student and Canny Space volunteers who organised the night; and to all the contributors, readers and buyers who supported the launch of the anthology. Thank you all for your continued support.

Pictured: Our editor Colin Younger, reading his piece Momento Mori

Pictured: Our editor Colin Younger, reading his piece Momento Mori

Our next anthology will be titled Spectral Visions: Grim Fairy Tales. Details on how to submit your work for consideration of publishing will be available soon, but we do hope you will submit your fairy tales and poetry.


About spectralvisions

Spectral Visions is an annual Gothic conference hosted by the University of Sunderland. It explores the dark, the decadent and the terrifying aspects of Gothic literature and language. This blog is a student-run initiative, where Visionaries showcase their creative talents and learning in short stories, poems and essays on the Gothic. You can follow us on Twitter at @spectralvisi0ns or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/uosgothic
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