Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Win a copy of the U.S edition

More U.S editions of A Song for Issy Bradley arrived yesterday. I'm giving away one copy - I'll sign it and mail it anywhere in the world. All you need to do to is comment on this post or on the equivalent post on my Facebook page and one name will be drawn out of a hat at the weekend. 



I loved A Song for Issy Bradley. It's wry, smart, human ... it's moving and comforting in a way that makes sense even to the agnostic.
Nick Hornby, The Believer

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Verb, RTE and new books

Yesterday I went to Media City to record  The Verb with Ian McMillan. Jackie Kay and DBC Pierre were also on the show, but they were in Inverness and London respectively (so they couldn't sign the books I'd fangirlishly - not sure if that's a word - carried to Manchester with me). However, brilliant folk singer Martin Carthy was in the studio and it was lovely to listen to him perform live. The program can be downloaded here.

Afterwards I went to Liverpool where I bought some of my favourite chocolate in the world. Then I popped to Radio Merseyside where I did a live interview on RTE

Here's a link to the podcast.


When I got home I discovered a parcel containing 2 copies of the U.S edition of the novel. I think they're gorgeous. 

Here's a photo of my fish reacting to the cover (could be that he's just swimming around obliviously, of course). 

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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Miracle Boy

Here's a video from Word Factory of me reading the first part of Jacob's chapter 'Miracle Boy' from A Song for Issy Bradley.


Carys Bray reads 'Miracle Boy' from WordFactory on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Book at Bedtime

Some lovely news.

A Song for Issy Bradley will be BBC Radio Four's Book at Bedtime for two weeks, beginning 11th August. 






^ That was me being calm and dignified.

For a more authentic depiction of my response, imagine a combination of the following:



          

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

And breathe

Last weekend I dragged the children and my husband to London and bored the socks off them with a long game of spot-the-tube-poster, followed by a visit to the Tate (the Tate was slightly better received - in part due to the large numbers of naked statues and paintings).



On Saturday evening I read at Word Factory which took place in Piccadilly Waterstones - a gorgeous shop - alongside two fantastic writers, Vanessa Gebbie and Val McDermid (who also sang, beautifully). Afterwards I went out for a meal with two school friends I hadn't seen for almost two decades, a lovely experience.

On Tuesday I attended Short Stories Aloud in Oxford and listened to work by myself and Kerry Hudson, performed by Julie Mayhew and Melissa Berry. Julie did the most incredible job of reading my story My Brother is Missing - she read it so well that it felt like it had been written by someone else.

On Thursday I attended the Edge Hill Prize award ceremony. The main prize was won by John Burnside whose collection Something Like Happy was outstanding. The readers' prize was won by Rachel Trezise with her confident, cosmopolitan collection, Cosmic Latte. I really enjoyed being a judge on the prize this year. All five of the shortlisted collections were excellent. I'll always remember Bernie McGill's beautiful title story 'Sleepwalkers' and the concluding story of Jaki McCarrick's dark and evocative collection The Scattering - 'The Jailbird', a gripping and horrifyingly funny depiction of a co-dependent mother and son. And I was fascinated by David Rose's wry, slightly off-kilter worlds in Posthumous Stories. It was a diverse and deserving shortlist.

After the Edge Hill Prize ceremony I hurried away to Literary Death Match at Foyles.



John Boyne won the death match with a very funny story about football (and Nick Harkaway, Anthony Anaxagorou and I all survived, which was good). 

On Saturday I read and signed copies of A Song for Issy Bradley at Formby Books


Yesterday I read and signed books at Chorley Library with Ebb & Flo Books

And that's it. I've finished my novel-related commitments until the autumn. Phew! 

Now I just need to make the corrections to my PhD poetics, start working with my WoMentoring mentees and prepare my presentation for the Sunstone Symposium in Utah on 1st August. Oh, and there's the small matter of a second novel, too... 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Author interview



Want to know more about A Song for Issy Bradley? Have a listen to this interview.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Newspaper reviews and other fun stuff

I was (metaphorically) biting my nails as I awaited press reviews of A Song for Issy Bradley. They have been trickling in and so far I've been very lucky - people have said some lovely things about the novel. 

Grace McCleen's Guardian review described it as ‘A skilful and empathetic dramatisation. The fact that it deals with such distressing subject matter without falling prey to sentimentality makes it all the more admirable.’

'Bray demonstrates the comforts of faith - the magic, hope and imagination - as well as its restrictions. This is an impressive debut from a compassionate, wise and original new voice,' wrote Suzi Feay in The Independent.

The Times reviewer, Carol Midgley said, 'I couldn't leave it alone. Bray writes with such clarity, intelligence and authenticity that it feels as if an old friend is telling you the story, that the characters are people you know.'

Christie Hickman in The Sunday Express said there was 'An astonishing lightness of touch and real humour woven into the sadness... A stunning, unmissable debut.’  

The Sunday Mirror described it as 'funny and vividly written,' while the Sun picked it as 'an early contender for book of the year.'

As if all that wasn't lovely enough, I've been out and about this week. First to Plackitt and Booth in Lytham where I did a reading and answered questions about the book. 


And then to Radio Lancashire, where I spoke to John Gilmore about writing.


Finally, this arrived. 


I'm not sure whether there's a wall in the house that's big enough or whether (if I find a wall) the children will ever speak to me again... but I'm planning to find out.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Book Launch

We had a lovely night at Broadhursts bookshop in Southport. Thank you so much to all my lovely friends and family who came to wish me well. Here's a few photos.









And here's a link to Robert Sheppard's account of the evening. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The most fortunate creature

Remember that bit in Pride and Prejudice where Jane says, 'I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever existed... How shall I bear such happiness' ? Well that was me today, wandering around London with the lovely Charlotte Bush, spotting tube posters of my novel and listening to my phone ping as wonderful book bloggers Tweeted about my novel. 

I'm afraid I lack Jane Bennet's goodness, so I'm pretty convinced I don't deserve this happiness, and, unlike Jane, I shan't be asking whether I can bear it, as I'm sure I can. 



Here I am in Fubar Radio on the Mark Dolan Show. Having watched some of Mark's comedy work, I was quite nervous about talking to him. Although A Song for Issy Bradley is (I hope) quite funny in places, I'm not very spontaneously funny (writing funny scenes can take me *days*). However, Mark was very charming (and extremely tall) and I had a great time. 



After lunch it was off to Front Row for an interview with Samira Ahmed. We talked about all sorts of things, including polygamy, Islam, women's roles in Mormonism and how to write prose that is both funny and sad. 


Here I am with Jo Good from BBC Radio London. This interview unexpectedly opened with an audio clip from HBO's Big Love. That was a surprise! We chatted about football, children and grief. 

Then it was back to Random House where there's a lovely display made of quotes about the novel and cut-out birds.

Today, I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever existed.