Cree (Mayfly Press, 2018) is set in Stanley, a small town in a beautiful rural area just outside the city of Durham. Much of this part of the north east went into decline after the closure of the British Steel plant in Consett in 1980 and the closure of coal mines in the area after the miners strike of 1984-85. However there is more to this area than the decline of heavy industry. There is a supportive community, finding its own ways to thrive and one great way to thrive is to Be Creative, the name of the women’s support group occupying an empty shop that Cree is based on.
You can watch a video about the history of Stanley and Consett here.
Commissioned by New Writing North and Durham Book Festival, this is the first time this organisation has commissioned graphic work, so it was a real honour to work on this commission and resulted in a beautiful book – colourful, quirky and an exercise in asymmetry with a story that walks into the book at the beginning and walks out again at the end, repeating certain motifs. The centre folds out to show the action inside the little shop on Front Street that became a hub for women in the local community. Cree is based on real life stories told to me by the women of Stanley. It is the result of a two year project with research and development, public participation, events and finally a full colour comic book.
I need to thank the Just For Women Centre, Front Street, Stanley, County Durham, for their enthusiastic participation and support and wishes them all the luck in the world for their new adventure in their posh new premises in St Joseph’s House, where they have a cafe, shop and training centre as well as counselling rooms and a garden. Truly, it’s amazing what can be achieved when we work together.
The book is available on Amazon, direct from Mayfly Press or via my Etsy shop.
See a review of Cree on Bookmunch here. It gets a big thumbs up from them.