Solstice Shorts Festival 2020

by Arachne Press in London, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £1,138

raised so far



Funding Solstice Shorts Festival 2020 - Tymes Goe By Turnes

by Arachne Press in London, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 15th October 2020 we'd raised £642 with 29 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Arachne Press has run Solstice Shorts Festival since 2014 - a one day TIME themed festival of specially written short stories and poetry, and (traditional and original) music, performed by professional actors and musicians. Everything happens on the Shortest day of the year (the winter solstice), 21st December. 


The festival is asignificant event in our calendar, both financially and creatively. We use the festival to talent scout for writers, many of whom have since been published repeatedly by us, and some have gone on to publish full collections of poetry or short stories with us, but mostly it is a celebration at the darkest time of the year.

Here are some of the contributing authors introducing themselves and their work

Although Arachne Press is based in Lewisham, the festival originated in Greenwich on the Prime Meridian (of course). Since 2017 we have branched out with events across the UK, all happening at the same time, or in the case of our Dusk event, overlapping as the sun set across the country. Again, since 2017 we have livestreamed to Facebook. 

This year, times have been pretty dark throughout, so the winter solstice, a time for reflecting and looking forward, lighting flames against the cold, and above all telling stories, is all the more important. Just as we were ready to put out the submission call for material, lockdown struck, and a quick change of plan lead to a Corona-tinged theme. We are working on the assumption that the festival will have to be on line, but if we can do something on the ground, we will.

We now have the material: 14 stories, 9 poems and 3 songs all of which respond to the 16th Century poem Tymes Goe by Turnes by Robert Southall. We chose this poem for its acknowledgement of hard times and better times ahead, the wide variety of images it gave writers and musicians to play with, and because I personally have found it comforting!

 A small crisis grant from Arts Council England allowed us to get this far, but as it only covered a few months it can't be used to produce and promote the festival, or create the book of the material.

We will create a book from the stories and poems and we already have a designer, Kevin Threlfall, working on the cover.

Previous books from Solstice Shorts Festival (these are available as rewards!)


We've just started contacting actors to find out who has facilities to video their contribution, and some of the authors are also up for videoing their own work. We haven't yet decided whether we will video live - probably on Zoom (risk of internet collapse) or pre-record and premiere it on Youtube and Facebook (loss of spontaneaity and sense of ocassion). We have a survey on the go, asking people what they prefer, so if you have an opinion on this, do please put in your thoughts (closes 30th September). We might prerecord the more complex pieces and do the shorter poems live...

I don't like not knowing exactly what we are doing, nor do I like trying to fund from a position of uncertainty, but that's Covid-world for you.

One of the lovely things about Solstice Shorts is the community of writers and musicians it brings together and their commitment to the project - which even includes providing rewards for the crowd fund! We couldn't offer one of the suggestions - a weekend in a holiday cottage, because of potential lockdown issues, (but thank you Jackie!) We also decided it wasn't sensible to offer the traditional solstice cakes that editor Cherry makes, so she's offering writing critiques instead - not quite as tasty...  we also have coaching sessions for writers from author Neil Lawrence

a suncatcher from author Patience Mackarness, (This has GONE)1600356298_suncatcher.jpg

personalised poems from poet Laila Sumpton1600355642_laila_park_write_pensive.jpeg

badges & t shirts designed by Cherry Potts1602236375_julian_t_shirt.jpg1600355853_solshorts_badges.jpg1600355440_tshirt_design_for_website.jpg

New T shirt design and prints from cover artist, Kevin Threlfall1601914037_tymes_t_shirt.jpg


hand crocheted shawl by author Karen Ankers


poetry collections from Claire Booker, Jane Aldous and Ness Owen, all of whom are poetry contributors to the festival.1601914129_9781909208810_for_email.jpg



So hopefully you will be as keen to support our festival as our writers are. Thanks for reading!

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see Crowdfunder's Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.


This project offered rewards

£10 or more

The new anthology, Tymes Goe by Turnes

preorder a copy of the upcoming BOOK, Tymes Goe by Turnes (includes postage).

£5 or more

£5 Reward Thank You

pledge £5 for a walloping great 'thank you!!!'

£5 or more

solstice shorts badge

Solstice Shorts badge: various designs, check the pictures in the 'story' 20 Longest Night, 3 Shortest Day and 5 sunface supporter badges available

£5 or more

ticket to the show

Tickets! get a ticket for the show! or buy one for you, and one for someone who can't afford it, with our pay it forward option.

£9 or more

Mamiaith poetry collection

pledge £9 for a copy of Mamiaith Debut poetry collection from long time Solstice Shorts contributor and collaborator, Ness Owen. Bilingual in Welsh and English.

£10 or more

One of the earlier SolShorts books

pledge £10 for one of the earlier solstice shorts books pick from the list!

£10 or more

pay it forward ticket

a ticket for you and a ticket for someone who otherwise wouldn't be able to come.

£10 or more

Let Out the Djinn, Poetry collection

Poetry collection by Solstice Shorts contributor Jane Aldous, published by us almost exactly a year ago.

£10 or more

A Poet on the Porch - CD from Kevan Taplin

new cd from Singer Songwriter Kevan Taplin, who performed at last year's Time and Tide Solstice Shorts Festival, and has written a new song for Tymes goe by Turnes - which isn't on the CD of course. you can hear a snippet of that song on the main page, or in the updates. Kevan's voice reminds me of JJ Cale or Leonard Cohen but his style is his own.

£12 or more

No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book

Our eighth anniversary anthology, all about spiders and wonderfully strange.

£25 or more

Solstice Shorts Supporter T Shirt

Pledge £25 today and we'll reward you with a Solstice Shorts Supporter T shirt, White on Black design festuring the SolShorts frozen sun and clock designs. Unisex, short sleeves, sizes tend to be a bit small, so you might want to order a size larger than normal. PLEDGE NOW> CLAIM LATER

£25 or more

Personalised birthday poem

pledge £25 and Poet Laila Sumpton will write a short personalised poem. This can be for a family or friends birthday - she'll just need you to answer 4-6 questions over email. she will then send you the text as a PDF for you to print out however you like, and a film of her performing it.

£25 or more

Tymes Goe by Turnes T shirt

Black unisex T shirt featuring the Cover design of the book sizes tend to be a little tight-fitting so if you like you T loose, consider ordering up a size

£25 or more

Julian (Chief assistant Editor) Tshirt

This one is by special request of Julian's MANY fans (see main info for image) and which image to use voted upon! So I HOPE we'll get lots of request for this one! Black cotton unisex, a bit straight up and down so if you dont like your T clingy, go a size larger than usual

£40 or more

original print by cover artist Kevin Threlfall

pledge £40 or more for an original print by cover artist Kevin Threlfall. approx 40x50cm two designs, see the pictures in the 'story' section.

£40 or more

Hand crocheted 'Virus' Shawl

UNIQUE! We don't know why the pattern of this shawl is called virus, but ut seems appropriate! Made by Author and Solshorts Contributor Karen Ankers, it measures 34 inches across and is crocheted in Hayfield Spirit DK yarn, which is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. see picture in 'story'.

£50 or more

full set of earlier SolShorts books

pledge for a complete set of the existing Solstice Shorts Festival books: Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time Shortest Day, Longest Night Dusk Noon Time and Tide

£50 or more

Fiction Critique from Arachne Press Editor

pledge £50 for an email critique of up to 500 words of fiction from Arachne Editor Cherry Potts. If you want a longer piece critiqued, pledge appropriately. This will take longer to deliver as we will be working full tilt on the festival until it happens.

£80 or more

90 minute writers coaching session

Author and Solstice Shorts Contributor Neil Lawrence is a qualified life coach, and is offering a 90 min phone/zoom coaching session for you as a writer - how are you doing right now, where do you need to focus to get your writing to the next level. Neil's coaching website and his writing website

£100 or more

'Arachne Friendship'

Join the Arachne Friends scheme - 10% off everything we sell, for ever, for you; a special edition badge, and your name in the thankyous for our next published book. plus special invitations to book launches (when we can have them in a physical space again)

£6 or more

Later there will be Postcards (poetry)

Claire Booker's poetry collection 'Later There Will Be Postcards'. Claire has very kindly donated two copies of her book. "...holds the human drama at its heart. The poems are immediately engaging, clear-eyed and elegant." Lisa Kelly, Chair of Magma

£20 or more

seeds gathered from a scottish allotment

Flower seeds collected from the allotment of Jane Aldous, poet and solstice shorts contributor: Hollyhock, Borage and Calendula, which would have been grown in herb gardens in Robert Southwell's time. Also includes plant labels and a bamboo seed tray. seeds will be in proper seed packets and include growing instructions. The lopped tree in tyme may grow agayne; Most naked plants renew both frute and floure...

£35 or more

Hand-made suncatcher

Pledge £35 today and we'll reward you with... a hand-made suncatcher created by author Patience Mackarness, using drift wood and seaglass - (solstice and suncatching... sea glass and recyling, and Tymes goe by Turnes...) only one available, completely unique.

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