22 November 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
Rowing Tales 2021 is here. No worries then to find the perfect Christmas present for the rower in your life.
Earlier this month, Rebecca Caroe came out with this year’s edition of Rowing Tales, an annual anthology of stories which is the fifth edition she has published.
Caroe has gathered around 40 “tales” from slightly more than 30 contributors, who live in the UK, Ireland, USA, Australia, New Zealand (where Rebecca Caroe herself is based) and South Africa.
While there are more male than female writers in this anthology, Di Benley, earlier “the public face” of Rock the Boat company, has penned five of the stories. Personally, I am happy to see that one of HTBS’s irregulars, Sarah Risser, has two stories published in Rowing Tales 2021, two pieces which have been previously published on HTBS.
Otherwise, there is a mix of known and (to me) unknown rowers/writers in this year’s edition. The writers are everything between recreational rowers, master rowers and Olympians, among the latter Cath Bishop (rowing for Great Britain), Lindsay Dare Shoop (USA), Jake Miller Green and Lawrence Brittain (both South Africa). Camilla Hadland, known as a skillful commentator at World Cup regattas since a couple of years back, and at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer, has an entertaining story about how dangerous it can be to Google-translate a language you don’t speak to get information about a rower.
Many of the tales are short, lighthearted anecdotes and a few are longer stories running for several book pages. There is also poetry, even something as unique as a 15-line sonnet.
Rebecca Caroe, known to many as the producer of the always interesting podcast RowingChat, specially points out in her “From the Editor” that there is a fictional story among the contributions, this being the first time in any Rowing Tales – “Win it for Jack” by Simon Murch, author of the entertaining rowing novel Water Under the Bridge (2009). Good to see Murch back with a funny story. Of course, I think there are too few fictional stories published in the world.
Among the longer tales is an excerpt from David Hickey’s brilliant autobiography The Trinity College VIII – Rowing for the Ladies Plate published by The Liffey Press in September this year. Read HTBS’s Greg Denieffe’s “preview” of Hickey’s book here.
I have to mention that I admire Rebecca Caroe for her work on getting five editions out of Rowing Tales, one every year since 2017. I worked as a book editor for 13 years in Sweden and as a magazine editor for slightly more than 9 years in the USA (please note, I am not even mentioning the soon to be 13 years as editor of HTBS) – I know how hard it is to put together a book or a magazine when several people are to contribute articles or essays. While it is “easy” to get people to sign up to write (who does not want to see their name in print?), it is not that easy to get their work in on time. I cannot remember how many times I have told a writer that the deadline date is not a suggested date, that is the freaking last day to come in with their piece!
So, Bravo Rebecca!
However, in her “From the Editor”, Caroe mentions that this edition of Rowing Tales might be the last. She writes, “maybe the well of anecdote is running dry”. Though, she gives us hope when she then continues, “I’m not sure if this decision is firm and maybe it’s just the pressure of a publishing deadline talking. We’ll see”.
Last but not least, praise should go to artist Rachel Hunt for a splendid cover illustration. More about Hunt’s rowing and other illustrations is here.
Now, hurry up and order your copy of Rowing Tales 2021. Or make it two copies, one for yourself and one for your rowing buddy. A book is always the perfect Christmas gift.
If you live in the USA, you can order your copy of Rowing Tales 2021 at row2k.com.
If you live in another country, try to order the book at Amazon in your country. Remember Amazon ships globally to many countries.