One of the joys of this job (publishing writing about sport) is that I'm constantly bombarded with stories from all directions, depending on the individual projects I'm working on at any particular time. In the latter part of 2016 that list of projects included Sporting Stories, our main project about Stoke-on-Trent European City of Sport; the Potters 'Arf, our book on the 2016 race; a forthcoming book on the Cat & Fiddle cycle challenge; a Sporting Futures schools project with St Joseph's College in Trent Vale, Stoke; and a nascent swimming poetry book with Hillside Primary School in Baddelely Green, Stoke-on-Trent. So I hope you'll forgive the hiatus in blog posts here!
I made several New Year resolutions this year, principal of which was to never again be publishing two books simultaneously over the Christmas and New Year period - which is exactly what I managed to do a few weeks back. Our Potters 'Arf book came out on 23rd December (and I sold the first dozen at a Christmas Eve run!) and the Sporting Stories book went to the printers on 10th January and appeared just (literally just) in time for its major launch event, which we put on in the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery with the help of the City of Sport team at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The guest of honour at the launch was the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Anthony Munday, who gave a lovely speech about sport in the city and how the Sporting Stories book was making an important contribution by capturing and publishing inspiring stories that might not otherwise be heard. With about 120 guests in the Museum, including nearly 40 contributors to the book, it was a wonderful occasion. The thing that made it really special for me was the sight of so many people going round the room collecting signatures of authors for their copy of the book. With over 80 authors in total in Sporting Stories that may be a labour of love, but what a great way for people to meet and chat with our sporting heroes, be they world record holders or someone who just loves their chosen sport. I hope the pictures below give an idea of just what a great evening it was.
Now the work starts on this year's collection of stories!