All the books, all the festivals…

Hello, and welcome to my latest roundup of news!

First of all, I have been working hard on a couple of books, soon to be released into the wild.

My Best of British Science Fiction series from Newcon Press is going strong, and the latest instalment will be launched on 9th August. You can preorder it here, choosing from a signed limited-edition hardback or paperback.

As is now traditional, you can join me from 7pm on 9th August over on Twitter (@wishusdonna) under the hashtag #BOBSF21 and I will be sharing video treats, story facts… as well as the usual cheese and wine party commentary. Feel free to join in with the snacks and drinks of your choice! (Note to self: do not drink a whole bottle of Royal Flush Darjeeling kombucha wine to yourself this time. It might have been alcohol-free, but, oh boy…)

Cover of book

I am reaching the penultimate furlong in putting together my next anthology for Friends of the Arts Lab. This has been a true labour of love, but also anguish as we have been beset with multiple hurdles in getting it together – particularly the global pandemic we have all just been through. We also find ourselves nameless and searching for a title that sounds a bit less like a musical album than Super World Unknown. I will be able to reveal both the amazing ToC and title in the next newsletter or two (I aim to make these monthly). In the meantime, this is the gorgeously crazy comic-style cover designed by Scott Jeffery who has taken the roots of 1960s’ Arts Lab and its love of experimentation, plus the acronym FOAL to create this amazing landscape of psychedelic horses.

Wrap of a book cover

We are now conspiring to think of a great new title for our science-fiction and fantasy anthology with a bit of a nod to horses, psychedelia, mind expansion etc. and featuring stories by the likes of me, Alistair Fruish, Alan Moore and many imaginative Arts Lab members. Hmmm… what will it be?

I also have a few gigs to look forward to this summer. Coming up is the legendary Bushfest at Cradley’s The Holly Bush (all weekend, I’m there Sunday 24th July). I’ve performed there a few times and it’s always gloriously shambolic. It’s the Black Country through and through, run by top bloke Dave Francis. The Bush even has a Crossroads-type soap on YouTube: Bushroads. Tom Stade (below), James Acaster, Joe Lycett, Angelos Epiphemiou, Johnny Showaddywaddy Sorrow, Mr Badger, Satan, The Good Kids, Jo Fagan, Gary Powndland – just some of the people who have performed there absolutely blethered on £2 Scandi lager.

Then I’m at Lakefest in Herefordshire on Saturday 14th August. Yes, I’m warming up for the Manic Street Preachers!!! Actually, it’s Angie Belcher’s astonishing comedy hour. But seriously, I’m running to find the Manics when we’re done. I love you, James Dean Bradfield! Seriously, I have had such a good summer already for music, having been to the Eden Project to see Nine Inch Nails, then Waddesdon Manor to see Tears for Fears, then BST at Hyde Park to see the Pixies and Pearl Jam. I last saw Manic Street Preachers in 1992 at the then Stoke Poly. Seeing them again at a festival I am also performing at will be the icing on the cake and it’s already a huge, delicious cake!

I’m also going up to Edinburgh Fringe. I’ve not been since 2010 as I couldn’t afford to get up there until now. Even now, though my comedy group the Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen is there for the full run from 3rd-29th, we have a rotating cast, so I’m there from 26th-28th, and my husband is there 5th-7th. I’m also taking part in some spots while I’m up there, including Alex Leam’s daredevil improv show that involves a real risk of burning yourself with a candle – Improv Provocateur! See me do that on 26th and 27th.

Please allow this little plug for the Baron’s companions – we really could do with selling lots of tickets. Go check out our website and see if we are performing anywhere near you. We currently have shows coming up in Duram, Edinburgh and London.

My performing calendar has been slightly quieter lately, and while I’ve had the books to focus on, I’ve not let that concern me too much. I’m really pleased to have some awesome gigs to look forward to now though and it’s going to be a fab summer for that, but also a chance to get on with some writing, decluttering my working space and starting my podcast project back up. Champagne Social Butterflies is currently gracing the French stand-up charts as I’m being picked up by a whole new audience, which is a little strange but also exciting.

Bonjour tout le monde en France! J’habitais l’Alsace dans les années quatre-vingt dix, et je travaillais comme l’assistante dans 2 colleges.

I don’t know why I’m so popular in France though. I mean, in my head I’m practically Antoine de Caunes or Christophe Déchavanne, but you don’t know that – it’s all on the inside of my head.

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