Newsdesk

  • The inspiration for Tullia Buffo – The Return of the Courtesan, Victoria Blake

    To celebrate the release of The Return of the Courtesan, today we are hosting a guest post from Victoria Blake, discussing the real-life her inspiration for the courtesan, Tullia Buffo.

    VERONICA FRANCO

    The Return of the CourtesanImagine a woman with the intellectual heft of Mary Beard, the verbal brilliance of Kate Tempest and the sexual frankness of Girl’s Hannah Horvath. Imagine a woman who single-handedly supports three children, a large extended family and a household of servants. Imagine a woman who is a respected poet and member of one of the leading literary salons of the day. Imagine a woman who is a great supporter of other women, who tries to encourage the authorities to set up a refuge for women fallen on hard times. Then imagine a woman who would have no problem mixing it with the panellists of ‘Have I Got News For You’ and a woman who refused to sink her head beneath the parapet when the trolls raised their hairy heads.

    Such a woman was the Italian Veronica Franco.

    I should also perhaps mention that she lived in Venice in the sixteenth century and was a courtesan or cortigiana onesta an “honoured courtesan”. Thus the source of her income was arranging to have sex for a high fee with the elite of Venice and the many kinds of people who passed through the city which included a king, Henry III of France.

    The fact that she could read or write at all was in itself remarkable. In Venice in the 1580s fewer than 4% of women had any public schooling and only 10 -12 percent were literate. Literacy amongst men was only 30 percent. So this was a remarkable woman by any standard. Her intellectual life began by sharing her brothers’ education by private tutoring and then continued when she was taken up by the patrician and poet and celebrated patron of letters, Domenico Venier, who ran a literary salon at his palace, Ca’ Venier. He protected and encouraged her and published her and by her mid twenties she was well known as a poet.

    Her prominence however brought forth great jealously from the young men who also wanted Domenico Venier’s patronage, including Maffio his nephew. In 1575 he wrote a series of virulent, misogynistic verses mocking and defaming her: ‘Your mouth is as foul as rotten mud…your breasts hang low enough to row a boat on the canal…Your eyes bulge out of your head as if a priest were exorcising you of all your sins…’ And on and on in this vein.

    Franco however refused to be silenced. These outrageous slurs spurred her on. She refused to be shamed and she came out all guns firing, challenging him to a poetic duel. “I now challenge you to single combat: gird yourself with weapons and valour. I’ll show you how far the female sex excels your own. Arm yourself however you please and take good heed for your survival …”

    Go Veronica!

    It wasn’t however only the young men in Venier’s circle she had to watch out for. In 1577 she was put on trial by the Inquisition for witchcraft. It was in the aftermath of the plague of 1575-6 which had torn through Venice and the authorities were having one of their periodic fits of morality. The courtesans were easy targets. She survived – just, but her reputation was damaged. She died at the age of 44 in a poorer part of Venice. But for a decade this remarkable woman had lived an independent, sumptuous life, and in her verse and her letters she comes down to us dignified, combative, witty and flirtatious. In an era where women in the public eye are often vilified for how they look there is a lot we can learn from Franco’s verses. I like to think she would have been out there taking part in the Women’s March earlier this year proudly wearing a pink pussy hat.

    I used Franco as the basis for Tullia Buffo, one of the characters in my book The Return of the Courtesan, but I gave Buffo a happier ending. One of the rewards of fiction is having the ability to re-write history. I wasn’t going to have Tullia die in a poor part of the city. I certainly wasn’t having that! I hope Franco would approve.

    The Return of the Courtesan is out now in Paperback and eBook. Make sure you follow Victoria Blake on Twitter and check out her blog.

  • Street Song Blog Tour, 17-28 April

    The Blog Tour for the wonderful Street Song by Sheena Wilkinson will be taking place from 17-28 April! Make sure to keep checking back every day for all of the latest reviews and features on Street Song! Join in with the Blog Tour @inkroadbooks on Twitter using the hashtag #StreetSong!

    17 APR lovebooksgroup.blog • @LoveBooksGroup

    18 APR livswonderfulescape.wordpress.com • @Livescape

    19 APR powisamy.blogspot.co.uk • @powisamy

    20 APR daydreamersthoughts.co.uk • @daydreamin_star

    21 APR coffeeinonehandbookintheother.wordpress.com • @Katelovescolour

    24 APR teenbookhoots.co.uk • @TeenBookHoots

    25 APR chouett.com • @ChouettBlog

    26 APR wordsfromareader.weebly.com • @BookLoverx

    27 APR racheyragdoll.blogspot.co.uk • @RacheyRagdoll

    28 APR lisareadsbooks.blogspot.com • @LisaReadsBooks

  • Ink Road Raise Awareness of The Bike Project

    Ink Road, Black & White’s YA imprint, is set to launch its first title this month – The Jungle by Pooja Puri. The book follows Mico, an unaccompanied child trying to make sense of his new life in the migrant encampment in Calais commonly known as ‘the Jungle’.

    With the launch of the book, author Pooja and the publisher are also keen to promote a London-based charity called The Bike Project.

    Megan Duff (Assistant Commissioning Editor), Lina Langlee (Press Officer), Pooja Puri (author of The Jungle), Janne Moller (Rights Manager), Daiden O'Regan (Sales Account Manager) Megan Duff (Assistant Commissioning Editor), Lina Langlee (Press Officer), Pooja Puri (author of The Jungle), Janne Moller (Rights Manager), Daiden O'Regan (Sales Account Manager)

    “Mico desperately wants to be part of the bike crew that fix up and sell bikes to fund their escape from the Jungle. The bikes aren’t just a form of transport; they offer a rare opportunity to take control in a life shrouded by uncertainty. The bike is in many ways a symbol of hope” Pooja says. “This is why I am so proud to be supporting The Bike Project. Based in London, this charity takes second-hand bikes, fix them up and donate to refugees and asylum seekers. In doing so, they offer refugees a vital helping hand in getting their lives back on track” she continues.

    “The Bike Project is a small charity that has a big impact on the people they work with” says Campbell Brown, managing director at Black & White. “In publishing the incredibly topical The Jungle, which ties in so perfectly with their important work, we have an opportunity to promote them in whatever way we can. We’re donating a bike or two, as is Pooja and her family, and we’re actively encouraging others to do so too. We’re including The Bike Project’s flyers in our mailouts and promotions, including a Books on the Underground drop. We’re also hoping to raise funds at the launch at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road on March 18th, where The Bike Project will be present”.

    Pooja Puri, author of The Jungle Pooja Puri, author of The Jungle

    The Bike Project – Getting Refugees Cycling

    The Bike Project is a registered charity based in south London. Since launching in March 2013 they have donated over 2,000 bikes.

    At least 20,000 asylum seekers seek sanctuary in London each year whilst over 27,000 bikes are abandoned in the same period. Just one of these bikes can help an asylum seeker access crucial services and appointments and save them £21.20 a week on a bus pass. When you’re living off of £36.95 asylum support, that makes a big difference.

    In 2015 they also began to provide female asylum seekers and refugees cycle training as many of the women that we see are from societies where females were not encouraged to ride a bike, or where doing so was not considered appropriate.

    Some of the bikes they receive are sold through The Bike Shop to generate funds, the proceeds of which ensure longer term financial sustainability. You can also donate money directly to them or become a monthly sponsor.

  • Introducing... Ink Road – The journey starts here...

    2-1 logo with tagline ink-road

    Edinburgh-based independent publisher Black & White Publishing is launching a new Young Adult imprint, Ink Road.

    The imprint will broadly cater for all genres of commercial fiction for teenage and new-adult readers, and welcomes titles from both debut and experienced authors. Publishing books with a contemporary and forward-thinking focus, the imprint is committed to creating books for every reader’s tastes, and is encompassed by the slogan: ‘The journey starts here’.

    Megan Duff

    Ink Road will be led by Megan Duff, Black & White’s assistant commissioning editor, who said: ‘We want our books to take readers on a journey. It’s an important idea, as great stories accompany us from our teenage years right through our adult lives. We want to produce original, exciting and memorable books at the same time as fostering a lifelong love of reading.’

    The first title to be released in March under Ink Road (now changed from the previously announced Neon Books) is The Jungle by debut author Pooja Puri, exploring the experience of life in the Calais refugee camp as told through the eyes of teenager, Mico, one of many "unaccompanied children". Other titles signed to the imprint include award-winning Sheena Wilkinson’s Street Song  a story about a teenager who runs away from his tumultuous showbiz past in order to find true friends, true music, and his true identity – and T is for Tree by debut author Greg Fowler, an unorthodox coming-of-age novel about a boy who has never left his bedroom.

    Also being published under the imprint is internationally bestselling teen-author, Estelle Maskame, whose standalone contemporary love story will be published in July.

    Managing Director, Campbell Brown, says that the new imprint ‘feels like a natural progression. We’re really excited to be embarking on this new venture with so many talented writers, and we’re aiming to really connect with YA audiences both in the UK and around the world.’

    –––––

    For more information and to sign-up to our newsletter, visit ink-road.com.

    Ink Road on Twitter | Ink Road on FacebookInk Road on Instagram

    –––––

    For editorial enquiries contact Megan Duff: megan@blackandwhitepublishing.com

    For press enquiries contact Lina Langlee: lina@blackandwhitepublishing.com

    For rights contact Janne Moller: janne@blackandwhitepublishing.com

    or T: 0131 625 4500

    Black & White Publishing, 29 Ocean Drive, Edinburgh, EH6 6JL

  • Stella's Christmas Wish Blog Tour

    Stella's Christmas Wish Blog Tour

    We're delighted to kick off the blog tour for Kate Blackadder's debut novel, Stella's Christmas Wish

    Six days before Christmas, Stella must rush home to Scotland when her grandmother is taken to hospital. As she reconnects with her past, old flames are rekindled, and as Christmas fast approaches, Stella begins to wonder if her most heartfelt wish can come true?

    Keep checking back every day for all of the latest blog posts, and don't forget to check out the book!

    Stella's Christmas Wish  is out now in all eBook formats, RRP just 99p!

    BLOG TOUR LINKS:

    23 November – Portobello Book Blog – @portybelle on Twitter

    24 November – Jera's Jamboree – @shazjera on Twitter

    25 November – A Bookaholic Swede – @Marablaise on Twitter

    28 November – My Reading Corner – @karendennise on Twitter

    29 November – Helena Fairfax@HelenaFairfax on Twitter

    30 November – Books Of All Kinds – @BooksOfAllKinds on Twitter

    1 December – From First Page To Last – @JanetEmson on Twitter

    2 December – Book Mood Reviews – @BookMoodReviews on Twitter

    5 December – Shaz's Book Blog – @emthebookworm on Twitter

    6 December – A Day Dreamer's Thoughts – @daydreamin_star on Twitter

    7 December – Rosemary Gemmell – @RosemaryGemmell on Twitter

    8 December – Book Lovers' Book List – @SueF_Writer on Twitter

    Stella's Christmas Wish

  • Saltire Society Publisher of the Year 2016 Shortlist

    We are absolutely delighted to be included on the shortlist for 'Publisher of the Year 2016' at the Saltire Society Literary Awards, for the second year in a row! Five publishers have been shortlisted for the prestigious Saltire Publisher of the Year Award:

     

    The judging panel said the following about Black & White:

    "Black and White Publishing have taken a significant step change in their activities and in the process shown a willingness to take risks and innovate. Their strong and positive relationship with their authors also continues to impress."

    As part of the Inspiring Scotland programme, announced to celebrate the Saltire Society's 80th anniversary earlier this year, the winner of the Publisher of the Year Award will receive a fully funded place to the Yale Publishers Course in August 2017. The winners will be formally announced at a special ceremony in Edinburgh on 24 November.

    Black & White Publishing was also shortlisted for the 'Publisher of the Year 2015' award at last years awards, for which we were awarded a Commendation.

  • Summoning the Dead Blog Tour

    Summoning the Dead Blog Tour

    We're delighted to kick off the blog tour for Tony Black's latest novel, Summoning the Dead! Tony Black returns with another DI Bob Valentine case on the Ayrshire coast. When the body of a boy turns up in a barrel is identified as a missing child from the 1980s, it re-opens a cold case that was previously thought unsolvable. When further remains are unearthed, the facts point to a paedophile ring and a political conspiracy that leads all the way to the most hallowed corridors of power.

    Keep checking back every day for all of the latest blog posts, and don't forget to check out the book!

    FRIDAY 21 OCTOBER

    crimeworm.wordpress.com@crimeworm1 on Twitter

    MONDAY 24 OCTOBER

    theresbeenamurder.wordpress.com@beenamurder on Twitter

    TUESDAY 25 OCTOBER

    portobellobookblog.com@portybelle on Twitter

    WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER

    bluebookballoon.blogspot.com@bluebookballoon on Twitter

    THURSDAY 27 OCTOBER

    thewelshlibrarian.blogspot.co.uk@welshlibrarian on Twitter

    Summoning the Dead, Tony Black
  • Black & White acquires teenage refugee title: The Jungle by Pooja Puri

    Megan Duff

    Megan Duff has made her first acquisition as the YA commissioning editor of Black & White Publishing’s new YA imprint, which will be launched in 2017. The first novel to be published on the new list will be The Jungle: a hard-hitting and poignant debut novel focusing on life as a teenage refugee in Calais. Duff says, 'We're so thrilled to be bringing such an engaging and beautiful book to the YA market. Pooja has found a unique and accessible way to deal with what is often treated as very 'adult' matter, but it's an important topic for young people to be thinking, talking, and reading about. We've always been champions of debut authors at Black & White, so it's great to be able to launch the YA imprint in the same vein and to give a voice like Pooja's a platform. ’

    The Jungle is the debut novel from creative-writing student Pooja Puri, and will be one of the first books in the YA market to examine life for children as a refugee in the camps in Calais. The novel follows fifteen-year-old Mico as he finds himself alone and navigating one of the world’s most inhospitable environments – the Jungle.

    Pooja PuriDuff has acquired World Rights for Puri’s novel from Lauren Gardner at Bell Lomax Moreton Agency. Gardner says of the deal, ‘I’m delighted to have found Pooja a home with Black and White’s new YA Imprint – The Jungle is an important, brave and beautiful narrative written by an exciting and diverse young author, and I am very proud to be representing Pooja and her words as they set sail on this journey.’

    Pooja Puri, who is studying for a Masters in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, decided to write The Jungle after watching a special news report on life in the Calais migrant camp. Puri says, ‘I was particularly struck by the sheer number of young people living alone in such terrible conditions. Nobody should have to experience the hardships these children face. I truly hope The Jungle will, in some way, act as a small step in fostering understanding and compassion to those who need it most.’

    The Jungle will be published in March 2017.

    The Jungle, Pooja Puri

  • Casting Off, P.I. Paris – Blog Tour

     

    We're delighted to kick off the blog tour for P.I. Paris' latest novel, Casting Off! A hilarious, poignant tale of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice – and how it’s never too late to try something new, Casting Off is sure to be the feel good book of the year! Keep checking back every day to head over and see the latest blog posts :)

    Casting Off Blog Tour

    Thursday 15 September

    From First Page to Last | @JanetEmson on Twitter

    Friday 16 September

    The Quiet Knitterer | @Murronsmama on Twitter

    Monday 19 September

    Words from a Reader | @BookLoverX on Twitter

    Tuesday 20 September

    Portobello Book Blog | @portybelle on Twitter

    Wednesday 21 September

    Tracy Shephard | @tracyshephard on Twitter

    Thursday 22 September

    Page to Stage Reviews | @zarinatweets on Twitter

    Friday 23 September

    Boons Book Case | @JulieBoon on Twitter

  • The Last Day I Saw Her • Blog Tour

    Join us for the blog tour for Lucy Lawrie's second novel The Last Day I Saw Her. The blog tour runs from 8-17 August! Keep checking back every day for a new review or feature on the book.

    Moving and suspenseful, The Last Day I Saw Her is a richly emotive story of friendship lost and found, and how facing up to the past can help you find a better future.

    Blog Tour

    MONDAY 8 AUGUST • Cosmochicklitan@cosmochicklitan

    TUESDAY 9 AUGUST • This Chick Reads • @thischickreads

    WEDNESDAY 10 AUGUST • Liz Loves Books • @lizzy11268

    THURSDAY 11 AUGUST • Louise Wykes, Shaz's Book Blog • @shazsbookblog

    FRIDAY 12 AUGUST • Heather Writes • @heathermmcd

    MONDAY 15 AUGUST • Compelling Reads • @compellingreads

    TUESDAY 16 AUGUST • Comet Babes Books • @CometBabesBooks

    WEDNESDAY 17 AUGUST • On My Bookshelf • @Agi_mybookshelf

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