For Hope Is Always Born — Jan Fortune
The astounding conclusion to the Casilda Trilogy…
Epic and personal; strange and political; magical and true
What is the connection between the tenth century Moorish princess, Casilda, and a young Jewish woman, Miriam, completing a Masters degree in contemporary Toledo? What links both to the Spanish singer, Casilda Faertes and to her mother, another Miriam, born in Budapest and raised in Nice?
Spanning a thousand years and bringing together the stories of three generations of women in North-east England, Budapest and Spain, For Hope is Always Born, follows on from This is the End of the Story and A Remedy for All Things to ask huge questions about identity and the nature of love and loss.
Like Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, what matters in For Hope is Always Born is not about what is real but what is ‘true’, even when the truth seems impossible. Taking it’s cue from Don Quixote’s claim that “maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be” the story explores the impact on individuals and through generations when the personal and the political collide.
Jan Fortune was born in Middlesbrough and grew up in Redcar. She read theology at Cambridge and completed a doctorate in feminist theology at Exeter University. Jan has worked as a teacher, priest (ordained at the first ordination of women to the CofE) and charity director. She is the founding editor of Cinnamon Press and has edited around 400 books and led numerous creative writing courses in the Wales, the UK (including courses for Arvon and Ty Newydd), Spain, France, and online. She mentors writers from beginners to highly experienced, across genres and hosts a writing community, Kith, that includes weekly prompts, courses and inspiriation for the writing life via her site Becoming a Different Story.
Her previous publications include non-fiction titles in alternative education and parenting and the major book book for writers: Writing Down Deep: an alchemy of the writing life (available as both hardback and paperback editions) ; the novels Dear Ceridwen and Coming Home. Her previous poetry collections include Particles of Life (BlueChrome), Slate Voices (a collaborative collection with Mavis Gulliver), Stale Bread & Miracles, Edge (a companion to Adam Craig’s Year W), and Turn/Return, a pamphlet inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Her most recent work is the Casilda Trilogy of novels, which includes This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things as well as For Hope Is Always Born, and the spin-off, stand-alone novel Saoirse’s Crossing.
Her cross-over novels re-envisaging the Arthurian legends in a near-future authoritarian UK are The Standing Ground (originally published in 2008 and being relaunched in a new edition in autumn 2021) and The Roots of the Ground, written during the first UK lockdown as a live project with a group of writers as daily audience for first draft readings, and also due out in autumn 2021.
She is currently working on a haiku and lyric sequence tracking the seasons of a forest.
Jan is in the last stages of qualifiying as an aromatherapist, about to begin her second intensive apprenticeship in herbalism and is currently training as a yoga nidrā teacher. She lives in a surviving area of ancient forest in Finistère, Brittany.