Violence & the Senses: Other Reflexes launch with Diana Georgiou, Bridget Penney and Lizzie Homersham

Burley Fisher Books
Thurs June 1, 2023, 6.30–8.30pm
Free but book a place here.

Join us for the launch of Other Reflexes, the debut novel by Diana Georgiou. Published by Book Works as part of the Interstices series, it was recently included in frieze magazine’s ‘What to Read This Spring’ feature.

Diana Georgiou and Interstices editor Bridget Penney will be in conversation with Book Works’ editor, Lizzie Homerhsam, to talk about the process of writing during the pandemic, the importance of open calls and editorial support for new writers, and the complexities of writing about violence and the senses.

Other Reflexes offers an unprecedented depiction of Cyprus that gives voice to the marginalised women of the island and the intersecting oppressions that they sustain. Each one of its five interrelated tales (‘Sonic Memories’, ‘Good Taste’, ‘Final Touches’, ‘Visual Pleasures’ and ‘Heavenly Smells’) departs from one of the human senses as a way to recount how sensorial responses become compromised when they have been subjected to traumatic events. Capturing the difficulties of queer experience in the deeply conservative and patriarchal society of 1990s Cyprus, the stories feature amongst others a raucous gang of girls of different nationalities, a feisty grandmother who spreads gossip and myths, a pair of best friends who navigate the world together in the absence of safety nets, and surrealist paintings that animate the imagination of a young girl trying to escape desolate sounds of domestic abuse.

Bridget Penney’s Licorice, the inaugural title of the Interstices series, tangentially explores the effects of the Hostile Environment policy, instigated by Theresa May in 2012 with the aim of making everyday life so difficult for immigrants that they would voluntarily leave. The protagonist Licorice, a reclusive middle-aged film-maker, has only a brief window of opportunity to realise her long-cherished film project about the story of Nan Kemp. A grisly story of infanticide, cannibalism and rough justice remembered on the map: local kids have dared and scared each other to run round ‘the witch’s grave’ since way back when. As events spiral out of control, the horror tropes invoked by the project contextualise an immediate, inescapable sense of unease.

About Interstices

In spring 2020, Book Works announced an open call for submissions to Interstices, a series of experimental fictions guest-edited by Bridget Penney, whose novel Licorice was published in February 2020 as the inaugural title. Diana Georgiou’s Other Reflexes was one of two proposals selected and developed with support from Book Works and Penney over the following years, through Covid lockdowns and beyond.

Diana Georgiou is a writer, curator, and associate lecturer in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths, University of London. She holds a PhD in Visual Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London, offering an innovative account of the relationship between art-writing, ethics and subjectivity through the lens of feminist theories. Attentive to the sonic resonances of language, her textual work also takes the form of recorded sound poetry and performative live readings.

Bridget Penney was born in Edinburgh and is now based in Brighton. Her book publications include Index (Book Works, 2008), and Licorice (Book Works, 2020). Her stories and non-fiction have appeared in many print and online magazines.

Lizzie Homersham is a writer and editor at Book Works. Her arts criticism has appeared in Artforum, Art Monthly, Another Gaze, The Wire, and elsewhere.

Copies will be available at the launch, or you can preorder Other Reflexes here.

Violence & the Senses: Other Reflexes launch with Diana Georgiou, Bridget Penney and Lizzie Homersham; ; January 1970; | Commission: Interstices | Designer: James Langdon