Writing Our Space: an LGBTQ+ Anthology from Arkbound
‘I am Queer. I have fallen from the stars in a burning ball of light… the world made me feel like I was too much. I am not... I am not too much for my universe - or for yours.’ (Renée Gerald, Fallen from the Stars).
Arkbound is a charity publisher and social enterprise that aims to promote social inclusion, community development and artistic talent: three inspiring aims that are greatly in evidence in their 2021 LGBTQ+ Anthology Writing Our Space. Edited with a light yet imaginative touch by Eilidh Akilade and Ross Tanner, this collection is quite literally queer by name and queer by nature: encompassing a spectrum of experiences and literary genres that lets ‘queerness seep through these pages in its truest and realist form’. Indeed, this plurality of perspectives even extends to the individual pieces: erotic and unsettling, elegiac and grateful, addressing many different kinds of love as well as many different kinds of loss.
You’ll find powerful poetry like Jim Boyle’s modern classics: ‘Laughter and grief: / Dreams and bones… Leaves crackle and crunch: / This stick of a heart beats me senseless.’ and Aude Naudi-Bonnemaison’s literally windswept words:
‘To stay alive is to feel the wind gently embracing the dips of my skin,
to walk without aim, till my heart starts to race and my head begins to spin…
to stay alive is to discover.
It is learning who I am -
The anthology is also filled with compelling prose, including in Scots: Harry F Rey will mak ye gaffaw an greet aw in ain story! One of many highlights for me is Criz McCormick’s The Crochet Years: it’s a regrettably rare queer anthology that holds adequate space for more mature voices, but great richness is to be found in realising that life at any age is seldom tied up in a neat bow. Asyia Iftikhar’s Leaves Like Starry Jewels glitters poignantly and unforgettably, Beth Kirkbride’s Table for One is a delicious (in every sense) testament to the power of words spoken and unspoken, and Ciara Macguire’s A Rough Guide to Leaving is a beautifully smooth example of how to keep a reader captivated.
In a (queer) nutshell, Writing Our Space is a slim volume made up of substantial ideas, where diverse voices tell tales unique to them whilst calling in unison for radical, revolutionary acceptance. Whoever you are and whatever has inspired your enquiries into queerness, this anthology welcomes you along for the lifelong journey. Happy reading!
Ps. Use the code below to enjoy 10% off Writing Our Space and all other Arkbound books. Thank you Arkbound!