I will be in Dundee, Scotland this weekend to do a live reading from, and to talk about my forthcoming work of fiction Dicky Star and the garden rule. I will also be attending the opening of the exhibition by the artists Jane and Louise Wilson. The two things are connected, and not only because both will be taking place at Dundee Contemporary Arts.
Jane and Louise Wilson’s works were commissioned by Forma Arts and Media to coincide with the anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the former Soviet Union on 26 April 1986. I was commissioned by Forma in turn to respond to all of this in a work of fiction that could be published as a standalone edition alongside this DCA show and at subsequent exhibitions of Jane and Louise’s work, notably at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester in September of this year, as well as for general sale.
Dicky Star and the garden rule will be published on the anniversary of the disaster on 26 April, when it will be launched with events in London and (I hope) Leeds — and there are some exciting plans afoot for Manchester — but some early pre-publication copies will be available on Saturday and then from DCA throughout Jane and Louise Wilson’s show, which runs until 25 March. Review copies will be going out in February.*
I have blogged some background during the research process: here and here. Dicky Star and the garden rule is set in Leeds, where I was living in 1986, but I wanted to draw on new research rather than old stories: new research which took in amongst other things the archive of alternative news weekly Leeds Other Paper, home of the extraordinary headline above, from their cover for 9 May 1986 (right). These blog-posts were then partly a means of thinking aloud about the project, but also a way of divesting myself of — or throwing off — some of my existing stories about the period; ridding myself of biographical anecdotes. I wanted to be able to start from scratch: to respond both to Jane and Louise Wilson’s work, and to the Chernobyl disaster itself in a completely new way.
Here (left) is a shot of the front cover design, and the following is an extract of the back cover blurb:
Dicky Star and the garden rule follows Laura Morris and her boyfriend Jeremy through the turbulent days at the end of April 1986 when the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the former Soviet Union.
Dicky Star and the garden rule is published to accompany Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum) by the artists Jane and Louise Wilson, a series of works that were commissioned to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Novelist Tony White reveals Jeremy and Laura’s story in vivid daily chapters that follow the disaster’s impact in the UK, but are also each determined by their own quixotic puzzle…
More on all of this in Dundee on Saturday, and on here and elsewhere anon. In the meantime, I’ll paste in the booking info for this Saturday’s event at DCA below. If you can get to Dundee it would be great to see you there.
*N.B. If you are a book blogger and not already on my press list but you would like a review copy of Dicky Star and the garden rule, please message me your contacts and a link to your blog on tonywhite [dot] popp [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll do what we can – thank you!
Tony White reading from Dicky Star and the garden rule and other works
Saturday 21 January 2012, 2pm
Free but please book in advance on 01382 909 900
Jane & Louise Wilson are at Dundee Contemporary Arts from 21 January – 25 March 2012