North By SouthWest – Bristol Writers Anthology

Hi All!

Sammy has kindly allowed me to come onto the KI blog to tell you about an anthology of local writing that I’m editing, and that BristolCon are helping to support.

North By SouthWest is the first anthology put together by North Bristol Writers, and they are halfway through a Fundsurfer campaign in order to finance the release. They have some fabulous incentives, from personalised artwork to BristolCon memberships (which are going fast!), ebook and paper copies of the book.

Take a look at their Fundsurfer here :

In the words of Pete Sutton, who organises the group :


North by Southwest is an anthology of 15 stories by 10 North Bristol Writers: 

The stories are original, never before published, inventive and have a great variety which is a strength of the book, showcasing as it does the work of the writers after a year or so of collaboration. Bristol is such a creative city and the stories are certainly infused with that energy. Bristol has had such a great effect on transport through the ages – it’s an airplane city, a railway city and a port city so such themes recur, as does the theme of ‘North’, The stories are beautifully illustrated by artist Claire M Hutt with art to appear in B&W in the physical book.

Join The Noon Train (by Roz Clarke), or a Tragedy on Concorde (by Margaret Carruthers), walk from Portishead to Bristol in Latitude (by Pete Sutton), join John Cabot as he sails from Bristol in search of new lands in Fisher of Men (by Justin Newland) or just sit back and let Desiree Fischer’s Taxi Driver take you where you need to go. If those forms of travel are too dull then strap in to John Hawkes-Reed’s war elephants in Miss Butler and the Industrial Automation Group or journey Like Giants with Kevlin Henney.

Explore new visions of Bristol in House Blood and Lye Close (by Ian Millsted), Bristol Pound (by Jemma Milburn) or Christmas Steps (by Pete Sutton).

Or indulge in a bit of darkness in Gardening Leave, Uncle Lucas and The Top of the Hill (by Clare Dornan) and Hater (by Pete Sutton).

We have the stories, we have the art, and now we need the money to pay for the typesetter and printer in order to create our book. We need you to help get this off the ground by using this Fundsurfer to pre-order your copies & also grab a bunch of other great rewards including signed artwork & personalised stories.

If we get over £2,000 we have a few stretch goals that we’ll share.

Please pledge what you can & share with your friends and family!


There are some excellent stories in the anthology, by some very talented local writers, and I’m really happy to be involved in it.

And as a taster of what you can expect, I’m going to leave you with an extract from one of the longer stories in the anthology, “Miss Butler and The Industrial Automaton Group” by John Hawkes-Reed. The redoubtable Miss Butler made her first appearance in a story in Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion. I hope you enjoy this little teaser, and if exploding mechanical elephants and sinister cabals of saboteurs are your thing, you know what to do….



It was the day the test elephant exploded.

I was already hiding behind the big stable door with Hoskyns when the screaming from its turbine changed from a noise I could hear to a pressure somewhere behind my eyes. I’d never heard one do that before, and I crouched low with my hands over my ears, willing someone or something to arrive and put the poor beast out of its misery.

There was a dull slapping noise and everything around me jumped. The top half of the door bounced away down the yard, spitting big splinters as it tumbled end over end. I was enveloped in a cloud of steam and dust and hauled a handkerchief from my sleeve for something to cough into. When I could breathe properly again, I scrubbed my eyes and discovered Hoskyns looming over me and miming something. All I could hear was the final whine of the turbine, so I pointed at one ear and shrugged. He scowled and held up a finger. Be a good girl and stay out of the way while the men deal with the dangerous thing. I scowled right back and scrambled to my feet – Hoskyns had been my driver cum tutor cum minder for a year and a half and should know damn fine who was going to be most use at poring over the entrails of a detonated steam elephant.

When I peered inside what had once been a stable block, I scowled again at the state of the test stand. I was going to get wrinkles, look prematurely aged and who-knew-what-else. At least that was what the voice in my head was telling me. I ignored it, gathered my skirts in one hand and began trying to work out which pile of smoking remains was exploded elephant and which was demolished test stand.

From the door, the elephant looked like it had slumped down in the far corner for forty winks. Only closer inspection, when the dust cleared, revealed that the dark patch on the lower flank wasn’t a shadow but a human-sized hole punched though the steel plate by most of the high-pressure turbine impellers. Judging by the white scar in the black brick floor, that was where the rapidly-moving shrapnel had ricocheted before ripping away the top half of the stable door on its journey into the next county.






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