TLC Free Reads Writer Kate Hunter Published by Fledgling Press

May 23, 2017 | Other News, TLC Talent

We are delighted to share yet another success story from a TLC writer, this one adding to the many stories of publication success of writers coming through our Free Reads scheme, funded by Arts Council England. The scheme has supported writers including Sarah Butler, Jenny Downham, Liam Brown, Winnie M Li and Louise Jensen. Kate Hunter was awarded a Free Read bursary by New Writing South, and has been kind enough to write about her experience for us here. We are delighted for her, and look forward to seeing The Caseroom on bookshelves.

Kate said:

“My New Writing South award for TLC’s free read scheme was one of those rare pieces of good fortune that being hard up can bring. It was a tremendous boost. TLC reader Lesley McDowell liked my work, made useful suggestions, suggested a publisher and said I could use her name. When that publisher rejected my novel I prepared myself for the long haul, but a few months later Fledgling Press read and truly appreciated it. So, thank you TLC, thank you Lesley and thank you Clare of Fledgling Press.”

About the author:

Since my dad took me to the public library when I was wee, reading and stringing written words together have fulfilled a deep need in me. Even within the limits of my capabilities, there’s no end to what you can make with words. My father’s family made books; they read them; but they never got the chance to write them. It’s taken me long enough, but now I’ve written one.

The Edinburgh printers I worked in when I was fifteen still used some Victorian technology, so I know the sounds and smells of The Caseroom. When, still in my teens, I got on a bus to Manchester, I wanted to be a writer but didn’t have a clue how to go about it. Instead I packed cornflakes in Kelloggs, became an active trade unionist, got pregnant. (I didn’t know how to do that either but it was a lot easier to find out.) Though I have had poetry published, The Caseroom is my first novel. Seeing ‘compositor’ listed as my father’s mother’s occupation on the 1901 census sowed the seed. The women of our family were envelope folders or domestic servants. So, how come? I’d stumbled on a fascinating bit of hidden history and wanted to go into that world and take others there.

About The Caseroom:

Late-nineteenth century Edinburgh is at the heart of Britain’s print industry and St Leonards and Canonmills ring with the clamour of print works. Determined to follow her father and brothers into the works, callow thirteen-year-old Iza Ross enters the arcane world of the caseroom to learns the intricacies of a highly-skilled trade. As one of some 800 Edinburgh women who for a few decades did so, she becomes a hand-typesetter, work that had been, and was to become once more, a male preserve.

Against all odds, Iza persists in work that allows her to feed her imagination on books. But holding on to her trade means hardening herself to the needs of those she loves. And when the men’s union moves to eliminate women from the caseroom and a We Women movement supported by suffragists forms to oppose them, there is no middle ground. Embroiled in a bitter labour dispute, Iza must choose sides.

The Caseroom will be published by Fledgling Press on 31 May 2017.