A Witness of Waxwings, Cultured Llama Press 2017
Longlisted for the Saboteur Awards 2018.
'Each story offers a transformation, sometimes literally, where a main character has to accept and understand their past and its effect on their future. Alison Lock brings a poet’s eye for details, offering sparingly, which enable a reader to imagine the scene whilst leaving the reader enough space to engage with the story. Each bears re-reading too. “A Witness of Waxwings” is a skillfully crafted collection of engaging short stories.'
'There are elemental forces writ large in Alison Lock’s collection of short stories, especially the sea, and the tides which turn, inexorably. And fluidity is sewn through these stories, in terms of memory and meaning as well as water.'
'Alison Lock’s A Witness of Waxwings is a tantalising collection concerned with metamorphosis and reminiscence. Age, retrospection and transformation emerge time and again in these brief narratives which spool imaginatively across time and place, frequently shapeshifting in form. Selkies and ghosts spook the pages, there are fast-forwarding clocks and masked villagers, there are ancient children, houses choking on secrets. Whilst Lock keeps one foot firmly on the living room floor in terms of coastal landmarks readers can identify with, including deserted beachscapes and idle rivers, these are stories shot through with the unimaginable. Sharp-edged turning points knock the familiar right out and take the reader’s breath with it. At times it feels like Lock is blowing the torch out with a dark fluidity and speed that makes the skin damp.'
Revealing the Odour of Earth, Calder Valley Poetry, 2017.
‘This is visceral writing; she captures the precise way lichens clings to stones, and the feeling of nutshells crushed underfoot. For all its focus on rural aspects of nature, this is also intensely human poetry. The poet involves companions in her journeys and invites the reader to join them, leaving spaces for reflection.
Revealing the Odour of Earth is no Arcadian idyll; there are hints of challenges in her themes, too; borders to be navigated against the odds; the cataclysm of the American political scene; risks, dangers. The peat bog refuses to give up its ancient inhabitants. Familiar lexical fields are redrafted to highlight ‘the wing of a grouse … stitched to the tarmac on a weft of bronze plumage.’
I'm not sure what age group I'd recommend it for - some of the words would suggest an older readership of maybe 10+, but I think younger children would enjoy it being read to them, and even adults may appreciate this fantasy adventure.'
Sabotage Review - http://sabotagereviews.com/2013/09/23/above-the-parapet-by-alison-lock/
'..it?s a series of evocative, emotional vignettes about a variety of (mostly) interesting characters, told with painstaking, utterly engaging attention to detail.'
Reviews by Iain Pattison
'This collection has a strong Eco-message. But the learning and the enlightenment is so far removed from the `Go Thou and Feel Bad About Thy Way Of Life.' Alison has a wicked sense of humour - no better displayed than in `Poetic Licence' where a local postman takes the moral high ground - far, far above us all (and didn't we always suspect that this kind of thing occurs...?)
`Above the Parapet' achieves an unusual balance - subtle and witty for those who are familiar with Alison's previous work - and true, pretty, genius eco-enlightenment for those of us who have only just discovered the Talent Of Lock.
Her stories have an uncanny knack of imprinting themselves upon your brain. But in a positive and uplifting way. Read 'Above the Parapet' and especially 'The Mission'... and I defy you to think of a local village or town sponsored event in the same, 'same old' light..
'Swarm' and 'Where the Blue Line Fades' in Sentinel Champions #10
Swarm and Where the Blue Line Fades won both 1st and 2nd prize in the Sentinel short story competition: judged by Adnan Mamutovic. These are his comments:
The first prize goes to 'Swarm', because it manages to tell a large story through attention to small things. Everyday work of a family becomes a metonym for the mundane lives of a larger population. It is highly suggestive and simple. It gives a sense of both personal intimacies and historical urgency.
The second prize goes to 'Where the Blue Line Fades'. This story takes place at a threshold for the characters. It holds back a great deal of detail and thus creates a sense of the forgetting of the past, while at the same time the memory of it is quite potent and important.
'Run Boy Run' in Sentinel Champions #7.
'Erthenta' Momaya Annual Review
'Apple Tree' - Onward Anthology I
''Eggshell' - Onward Anthology II
'The Cemetery Bus' - Journeys and Places, York St John University 2010
REVIEW of The Apple Tree
I love the subtly of this piece, which doesn't spell out events but allows the reader space to imagine them.
A beautiful and powerful story of loss.
by Shirley Golden