In an age when bookshops are on the decline, having been swept up by the combined might of supermarket juggernauts, WHSmith and book superstores, (no, I’m not using the Amazon word, because this is before Amazon then hoovered up the selling power of the book superstores, but that’s another story) it was nice to attend an event at a genuine independent book shop in Walsall.

Southcart Scarefest Halloween eventSouthcart’s 2nd Annual Scarefest involved author readings, wine, nibbles, fancy dress, lots of books and a great deal of laughter.

I doubt you could find bookshop owners who were any friendlier than Scott and Amy, even if they were dressed rather terrifyingly as Herbert West and Carrie. But then I was the one who began to feel slightly out of place as the shop filled up with a cast of weird and wonderful characters.

The author readings were all great, although a particular mention has to go to James Josiah for the reading of his short story, Voices. This creepy little gem about a lad visited by the ghosts of children murdered by a serial killer was utterly engrossing. Even more remarkable to me at least was the fact that James had written this story especially for the Southcart event.

Horror author Duncan Bradshaw also deserves a mention for his performances of various characters’ expressions and voices during his particularly gory reading from his zombie novel, Class Four.

And I doubt that I will ever be able to forget Jessica Laws’ Octokittens. Truly terrifying, for me anyway, there was no way on earth I could be persuaded to buy one of those things. But a few of them did manage to find themselves homes with other attendees.

And the very natty and well attired Austin Chambers, creator of the Sam Spallucci series, read us an entertaining short story about a monster at the bottom of a well, wondering why his ‘food’ never came to visit him anymore. The account of his journey out of the well to look for his ‘food’ was by turns hilarious and disgusting.

Special thanks also go to Scott’s mother for providing everyone with endless cups of tea and coffee.

Please go and support these guys. It’s not easy running a bookshop, and this one is a fantastic little gem. They regularly run events like the Scarefest, so go like their Facebook page or visit their website to find out more.

Well done guys. I had a blast!




A Full Shop!
Octokittens! Eek!
Need I say anything at all?
The doctor is in the house, but the patient is not looking well.
Theresa Derwin about to treat us to a poem from her creepy Christmas book.
Jessica Law and her Octokittens.
Duncan Bradshaw has an epiphany during his moment in the reading seat.
Patrick Bateman…..erm….dancing.


Ken Preston

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