The Magic Roundabout and other unique features of Swindon in new book

By Barrie Hudson - 27 July 2020

CommunityArts and CultureLocal history

A Swindon author is launching a guide to her adoptive home town.

  • Angela Atkinson's latest book encourages readers to explore the town and its heritage

    Angela Atkinson's latest book encourages readers to explore the town and its heritage

Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian's Guide is the latest work by Angela Atkinson, who writes the Born Again Swindonian blog.

It features a number of Born Again Swindonian blogs, some new chapters - and an imagined guide book entry to the Magic Roundabout which Angela wrote while studying for her English degree.

Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide uses the tagline #LookdownLookaroundLookup, and encourages 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.

Angela said: “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.”

Derbyshire-born Angela’s previous publications – Secret Swindon, Swindon in 50 Buildings and a retrospective of Swindon artist Ken White – have earned plenty of praise from reviewers and general readers alike.

She said: “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.

"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."

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.”

The new book will have its official launch from noon to 2pm on Saturday, 8 August from the Museum of Computing in Theatre Square. Because of lockdown restrictions, it will be partly online and partly face-to-face.

Although the Museum of Computing will be closed to the public due to the restrictions, Angela will be there with a live Zoom broadcast including poetry, music and more. There will also be a Facebook event, reachable via the Born Again Swindonian Facebook page. 

Those not on Facebook who would like to join the Zoom event can email Angela at aaedits56@gmail.com for the 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. 

Further information about the book can be found at Angela’s Born again Swindonian blog - https://swindonian.me/born-again-swindonians-guide-book/

For more information about AA Editorial Services, visit https://www.aaedits.co.uk/

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