A Swindon author, who published her first book just two years ago, is launching a fourth, and it’s the one she’s always wanted to write.
Angela Atkinson, who pens the popular blog Born Again Swindonian, is passionate about the town and her fourth book is a further tribute to her adoptive home. She’s holding an official launch on Saturday 8th August, from the town’s Museum of Computing – part online, part face-to-face, to allow for lockdown restrictions.
Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide uses the tagline #LookdownLookaroundLookup, and acts as a guidebook, encouraging readers to get out and about to explore some of the town’s treasures. To help them do that, Angela has filled the book with urban exploration trails. Some of them pre-existing and some that she has created, including a couple of quiz trails for children to do with their parents. Though green spaces and nature reserves are not forgotten!
It features a number of Born Again Swindonian blogs, some new chapters, and notably includes an imagined guide book entry Angela wrote while studying for her English degree: a visitors’ guide to the town’s famous Magic Roundabout.
Derbyshire-born Angela’s previous publications – Secret Swindon, Swindon in 50 Buildings, and a retrospective on Swindon-born artist Ken White – are all best sellers among proud Swindonians.
“The difference between this and the other Swindon books, is this one is for getting out and about with, while the others were to sit and read,” said Angela. “It’s the one I have always wanted to write, ever since I started the Born Again Swindonian blog. It’s curious, that something I conceived some years ago has now become very timely due to pandemic keeping people at home. Never was the word ‘staycation’ on so many people’s lips.
“So many people say Swindon is ugly, but that is a little word carrying so much meaning. My friend and poet Carole Bent once wrote about the glitter in the concrete and the sparkle in the cement as a metaphor for life. Yet it is so true of Swindon. It has a rich history, and many wonderful buildings, walks, and works of art, and I would love people to discover these.”
Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide features hand-drawn maps by the artist Marilyn Drew to illustrate the trails. These include the West Swindon sculpture trail, which was one of Angela’s first discoveries, before she had even heard of the term public art!
When she’s not writing Born Again Swindonian and her books, Angela runs a proofreading, copywriting and editing business, AA Editorial Services, which she founded after graduating with a First in Joint English Hons from the University of the West of England. She also attained a First for the travel writing module which kickstarted her blog.
She said, “I told my tutor I was interested in the travel writing module but I didn’t really travel anywhere – I don’t even drive. He said the last thing he wanted was another account of a gap year in Thailand, and asked me to write about what I saw. So I did, hence the first blog on the Magic Roundabout.”
Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide will be officially launched on 8th August, from midday to 2pm.
Although the Museum of Computing will be closed to the public (due to Coronavirus restrictions) Angela will be there, with a live Zoom broadcast. The Zoom event will offer an opportunity for interviews and Q&As and will incorporate poetry, music and more. There is a Facebook event, which can be reached via the Born Again Swindonian Facebook page. Those not on Facebook who would like to join the Zoom event, should drop Angela an email to on email@example.com and she will supply the Zoom link.
Angela will be signing copies at a stand outside the museum, and there will also be some exclusive giveaways, including Sinclair C5 3D printed keyrings, and bookmarks on a first-come-first served basis.
The book costs £9.95, and the first 30 purchased on the launch day will contain a limited edition postcard by Swindon artist Dona Bradley, which includes a competition.
For information on the book, published by Hobnob Press, visit Angela’s Born again Swindonian blog at swindonian.me/born-again-swindonians-guide-book/