UKA Members Name: Niece


Here you’ll find Sharath, who becomes “holy” by accident; little Tanya who innocently reveals her father’s infidelity; a mother driven crazy by her cruel husband, and two teenagers who power-walk with damaging results. Add to these Roshan, who carries fish on a bus next to a Brahmin; a young girl who really does “grow up” with sad consequences, and Lina’s aunt, who plans a heart attack – for Lina. These are characters based on the author’s understanding of human motivation.

Set mostly in India, other stories deal with superstition and the spiritual worlds: Meenu, a young girl who is befriended by a demoness; Mihir, a small boy marooned in the past; Rustam, stranded on the way to heaven; Snehalata’s truly angelic baby; the revenge of dead Kamala and a guest who is completely ignored by the family. Also, a man who faces his worst nightmares- literally!

And the title story? A woman whispers into the darkness – and is answered.

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Directly from Grenadier Books...

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"This book of short stories is strangely compelling. Some of them leave you with a question mark hovering over your head, like a baffled character in a comic, yet still you can't wait to turn to the next one.

Krishnan came to this country from India in 1961 so his yarns have settings as diverse as the Airline Staff College in Bombay, the furnace fires of hell and Hove seafront near the King Alfred.

Some startling, all good fun, they range from the mysterious gratitude of the man knocked down by his father's car as it squashes frogs on a rain-lashed road to a lost vision of love among the Cessna flying-lesson planes of Shorehan Airport."-Mike Bacon, The Argus, Sussex

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THE DANCE IS OVER by Soman Panicker

UKA Members Name: Soman

Thedance isover

In the author’s hands, we experience the sights and sounds of a bygone age and exotic locations. There are animals: an aristocratic dog; an elephant in a hole; a lizard that foretells the future. And people: a dancer who descends into poverty and suicide; a king greeted by his subjects’ bottoms; drunken Mohan who is sober; robbers in the night; a man whose nose drops in the soup, and Kurup, who loses a flat because of his superstition. Also travel: a family holiday traveling with a hoodoo; Jonah, who always ends up at the wrong airport, and the perils of Indian railway: "The clever and dashing chaps would engage two smart porters: one to jump with the baggage onto the coach as it came rolling on to the platform, then spread the bedroll on the upper rack, while the other porter would propel (by shoving) the passenger in through the window. For the second porter, rates often varied according to the bulk and mass of the cargo. Those of the bantam class, like myself, had the edge…"

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UKA Members Name: e-griff


The stories include a tale of Victorian lust and love, a man whose wardrobe leaves him, two ghost stories and the atmospheric “Cabin”. They present a wide variety of styles and settings: serious, humorous, horror and SF

The Poems are accessible. Even if you don’t “do” poetry, you’ll find a poem here for you…they are clear, understandable and enjoyable.

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WORMWOOD, EARTH AND HONEY by Catherine Edmunds

UKA Members Name: Delph Ambi


Catherine Edmunds worked for a couple of decades as a classical musician before switching careers to re-invent herself as an author and artist/illustrator. Her published stories and poems are embedded in the natural world and veer between fantasy and romance, with a dash of humour. Her artwork embraces such diverse themes as delicate portraiture and exploding beetroots. Catherine is married with three children and currently lives in North East England, between the grey North Sea and the windswept High Pennines.

This, her first poetry collection, is accessible but never trivial: warm, earthy, intelligent and – just when you begin to snuggle into the intimacy of it – spiked with fire and venom.

Available to buy here...

Catherine's Website can be found here...

ALLAKAZZAM! by Daniel Ableman


Man, myth and magic in lightest Africa

Wickedly humorous Daniel Abelman is our guide on a magical mystery tour of African and Jewish culture, apartheid, the holocaust, telepathy, police corruption, rigged boxing, exploding dogs and orthodontics ... while a lovable psychic conman tries to peddle a miraculously discovered manuscript to gullible publishers with $$$ in their eyes.

The astute reader navigates a labyrinth of highways and cul-de-sacs from the African bush to Jerusalem, via Germany, solving riddle after riddle (never sure if he, too, is falling under the trickster's hypnotic spell), until he ultimately finds himself as though waking from a memorable dream.

Abelman writes with an enchanted pen. He shatters the rules of the novelist's art by creating new and more ingenious ones of his own, pulling rabbits from hats where other authors don't even have hats.

ALLAKAZZAM! is accompanied by three of Abelman's haunting short stories.

The novel and its accompanying short tales are exquisitely illustrated by artist Catherine Edmunds.

Available to buy here...

More about Daniel Abelman here...

REFLECTIONS by Luigi Pagano

UKA Members Name: Ionicus


Fresh from the press: my second collection of poetry entitled 'Reflections' published by I*D Books (ISBN 978-1-905373-04-8) containing 80 hand-picked poems for your delectation and all for the trifling sum of £ 5.99 (Incl. P.& P.)

Those discerning people wishing to avail themselves of said publication can contact me by e-mail:

More publications by Luigi can be found at Smashwords...

WAKING LLOEGR by Glen Batchelor

UKA Members Name: Glennie


King Arthur has awoken after 1,500 years to find Britain under the control of the Anglo-Saxons. He must once again take up Excalibur, this time an electric guitar rather than a sword, and once more bring Britain under Celtic rule.

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UKA Members Name: Teifii

Therby hans a tail

Memoirs of a Border Collie.

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SUN ON THE HILL by Daffni Percival

UKA Members Name: Teifii

On sun hill

Poems from Wales.

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UKA Members Name: Barenib

Had van gogh

'Had Van Gogh Had a Day Job' by John Webber. A collection of poems published by Indigo Dreams Press, one of the three winners of their 2008 booklet competition.

Review by Bernard M Jackson (Reach magazine) >>>

Purchasing - Email John at

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Beyond Big Willow by Val McKinley

UKA Members Name: Bradene

Beyond Big Willow resized

A review by John Webber

Beyond Big Willow is a journey through the life of the author, from childhood to the present day, a memoir in verse one might say and illustrated with photographs that put faces to the names of the major players that populate the poetry. The book is divided into three sections – two halves of childhood defined by location and a third embracing adult experiences more generally.

As – and I hope she won’t mind my saying this – the author is now of more mature years, the book covers a passage of time that dates back to an England that many will not have experienced. As she puts it herself in her introduction, ‘there were …. things that would be oh so lovely to experience again, like steam trains and working canal boats; a gentler more relaxed way of life.’

This is not however a book full of wine and roses; it is an honest, sometimes gritty, sometimes nostalgic account of a life full of all the pleasures and heartache that we all experience along the way. It is personal to McKinley of course, but in it there is much that the reader will relate to and as such it is a powerfully endearing book.

The childhood years are of course the ones that paint a picture of a landscape and a way of life now more or less gone. No one poem specifically deals with this, but there are snippets, little pearls woven into the larger tapestry, so to speak, as in Winter1947;

I could see a magical place

all silent and bright.

It felt like I was the only soul

left in the whole world.

When I looked across to where the trains

chuffed and puffed past each morning,

the land lay buried and quiet

beneath, what

to my four year old eyes,

looked like fallen fluffy white clouds.

There is also an achingly sad theme that pervades this section; the fact that McKinley’s father was killed in World War two, so she never had the chance to know him. The book opens with a poem written about the day of her birth, Wednesday 26th May 1943;

Not understanding then,

for how could I see,

the man

from whose loins I sprang

would be but a shadow,

a ghost to me?

In the second section the author has grown a little and innocence begins, as usual, to be lost. McKinley explores the familiar themes of friendship and the stirrings of early romances, but also explores slightly darker themes, as in The Haunted Lanes of Old Wigston where she and her friends encountered a man with what we now know to be Tourette’s syndrome, but of which there was little knowledge then;

While we, well, we were scared,

But so bloody cruel,

Tormenting the poor man

On our way to school.

We would follow at a distance,

Copying him.

When he grew silent

We would shout out,

“Come on, sing!”

She also tells of her experience of having Tuberculosis, an illness that may well have been fatal only a short time previously, until the advent of streptomycin. She was treated in a sanatorium and three poems chronicle this crucial episode, the last being Summer in the San 1956;

From a bed in the corner

of a small cubicled room,

I watched summer slowly unfold.

Through tall French windows

I saw the flowers bloom

with eyes prematurely grown old.

The final section deals with her adult years and the poetry matures accordingly, perhaps in order to cope with the increasing complexity of experiences and emotions. Themes range from the births of her children to love and loss, but the refreshing honesty of the verse is as strong as ever. In Summer Cheat, for example;

The rest of that loveless year

I survived from day to day,

then suddenly the spring was here

so I sloughed my blues away.

I opened wide my eyes to see

how beautiful

my life was.

I was worth so much more to me.

Finally we get the sense of McKinley coming to terms with her life’s experiences, making sense of the journey and putting both triumph and disaster in their respectful places, as with Faded Collection;

Now in old age I catch

faded memories in a cleft stick

and blow away the dust

from the cobwebs

to see more clearly

the collected storms and teacups,

and I smile wistfully at life’s irony.

Beyond Big Willow does not claim to be high poetry, there are no literary conundrums or references to be solved, it does not exist to impress the literati - nor should it. What it does is to hugely impress with humanity, honesty and a powerful voice. McKinley speaks clearly and strongly to us of what it is to live a life and expresses it with unadorned words of emotion, reason and clarity; thus it is poetry.

Beyond Big Willow is published by Allen Ansell, price £7.50

Purchasing - Email:

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