Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The call of the Cumbrian Cthulhu

The remarkable work of Andrew Paciorek
FORGET William Wordsworth, dispatch Beatrice Potter into the waste bin and prepare to scare yourself to death with a collection of horror stories from the Lake District.

The pastel-coloured landscape and peaceful fells have been given a good dash of evil thanks to some enterprising  horror writers and their tales have now been published in Cumbrian Cthulhu.

For a start Cthulhu is pronounced Ka-thoo-lu. And for seconds it’s a monster created by science fiction writer HP Lovecraft in the 1920s. A monster that sleeps in the bowels of the earth but terrorises mankind through dreams. The creation inspired a number of tales including many written by other authors. And the mantle has now been taken on by this group of writers who decided to base their tales around the Lake District.
Both project founder Andrew McGuigan and illustrator Andrew Paciorek are Cumbrian born and bred.

McGuigan (born at Beckermet) runs the Cumbrian Cthulhu blog ( which first publishes the stories but there’s nothing like curling up under the duvet with a proper book to scare yourself to death with. And as an added bonus profits from the book sales go the mountain rescue service. Paciorek is one of Britain’s most remarkable artists and if the tales don’t give you nightmares, his illustrations certainly will.  You’ll find many familiar Lake District locations within the stories which give them an un-nerving patina of authenticity. Some of the tales are from published authors but many are by previously unpublished ones. It’s a wonderful introduction to some new talent.  All the stories will entertain – and some will scare you half to death. But then that’s what you want from a collection of horror stories.

There are two volumes available – both at £12.49 – from

Friday, 11 January 2013

Last Writes - first announcement

The public library at Boot Mill, Eskdale, Cumbria

Last Writes

A Requiem for the Printed Word

Ebooks, Kindles, iPads – technology is transforming the way we write and the way books are published. But in the rush to grasp the digital future are we being too quick to throw away the rich heritage of 'real' books and the printed word? In a new exhibition at Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, freelance journalist Alan Cleaver celebrates 5,000 years of the written word and warns of relying too much on graphics and pixels.

Included in the exhibition will be:
  • Cumbria's oldest piece of writing: a 6th century lullaby that can still touch your heart
  • Books for burning?: Not all books have been loved and some have been banned
  • The art of calligraphy: Cumbria's finest calligraphers demonstrate how the written word can also be the beautiful word
  • Libraries – an old-fashioned idea no longer needed or an valuable institution about to be reinvented and rediscovered? Cumbria's most beautiful library revealed – and what school libraries should look like.
  • Hold the front page: Some of the best – and worst – headlines of the last 100 years
  • The world's first ebook museum. You may think the ebook is brand spanking new. But meet the clumsy, cumbersome antique ebooks from the 1990s.
  • Have a go at calligraphy – it's not as hard as it looks (although several years' practice won't go amiss)
  • Remember typewriters? No nor do I. But come and have a go and rekindle the loving memory of crashing keys and end-of-line bells.

The exhibition will be at Florence Arts Centre, Egremont during April 2013. Admission free.