BAMB 7Qs with Jeff Phelps

Jeff Phelps will be joining us on Books Are My Bag day - Saturday 10 October - between 9 am and 10:30 am! Jeff will be enjoying cake as well as chats, photos and book signings!

Jeff Phelps is a writer and poet based in Bridgnorth. His stories and poetry have been widely published, notably in London Magazine and in Critical Quarterly. In 1991 he was overall winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Fay Weldon described his story as ‘an intensely attractive piece of writing’. 

1) Why are high street and independent bookshops important to you?

“Because they know and understand the community they serve.  I love that they support local readers and writers, that they put on events and have unusual books and editions in stock.  It makes me remember what it is that still draws me to books.  Also there’s a wonderful element of surprise - you never know what or who you will find there."

2) Name your three favourite independent bookshops (apart from us, of course!). What makes them special?

Burway Books, Church Stretton.
Pengwern Books, Shrewsbury.

The Albion Beatnik Bookshop, Oxford."

3) What is the best, funniest, quirkiest or most moving experience you have ever had in a bookshop?

“Recently reading at the launch of a literary magazine in the wonderfully named Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Jericho, Oxford.  The bookshop owner was flummoxed at first by the number of people and panicked when chairs were moved about.  But once going the shop was a perfect backdrop - books everywhere.  My daughter came, and three of her friends.  I think there was a road-to-Damascus moment in Jericho."


4) What three words come to mind when you think of Wenlock Books?

“Surprising, poetry, cakes."

5) What has been your favourite book of 2015 so far?

“2015 has mainly been a year of writing for me and catching up with things I should have read before. In poetry I loved Liz Berry’s Black Country (2014) and in fiction it was discovering John Irving’s The World According to Garp."

6) What books are you looking forward to reading before the end of the year?

“We’re going on holiday to Exmoor so I thought I’d read Lorna Doone.  I didn’t know it was full of dialect and not that easy to read, like a Victorian Irvine Welsh!  Then there’s H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, which has been sitting beside the bed waiting for me to get round to it, then I‘m looking forward to Paul Evans‘s Field Notes from the Edge and after that… whatever turns up."

7) What are your top three desert island reads?

“Something novelistic, something instructive/entertaining, something poetic:

Wise Children - Angela Carter

Bird by Bird, some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott

Staying Alive, real poems for unreal times - edited by Neil Astley."

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