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A Magazine for Sheffield

Wordlife: Creative Writing: Mary Carr / Treat Your Shelf / And Other Stories

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Rosie Fleeshman

We're mixing things up this month, with a spotlight on two literature organisations in the city who are doing great things.

We're going to be looking at publishing more book reviews, interviews and features across these pages moving forward, so if you'd like to get involved as a contributor, please get in touch.

Wordlife is back with our first event after the summer break and it's Off The Shelf this month, so there is a huge range of literature happenings occurring across the city.



Wordlife Ft. Rosie Fleeshman, Helen Rice & Open Mic

Thu 10 Oct | 7:30pm | DINA | £5, £4 concs, or Pay What You Can

We return with our live event series after a summer hiatus. Rosie Fleeshman is the Great Northern Slam Champ. Her debut play, Narcissist In The Mirror, has just finished a run at Edinburgh and has been optioned for TV. To sign up to the open mic, email [email protected].

Kayo Chingonyi & Warda Yassin

Wed 16 Oct | 7pm | Millennium Gallery |£7, £6 concs

One of the highlight's of Off The Shelf's poetry programme, with Wordlife co-founder Kayo Chingonyi reading from his book Kumukanda and Sheffield's own Warda Yassin, recent winner of the Poetry Business New Poet's prize.

Mike Berners-Lee: There Is No Planet B

Sat 19 Oct | 7pm | Firth Hall | £8, £7 concs

Berners-Lee's book asks us to consider what steps we as individuals can take in the face of climate catastrophe. Presented in association with Festival of Debate. Read our interview with Mike in this month's issue.

Treat Your Shelf

Treat Your Shelf is a monthly book subscription box focusing on championing the voices of marginalised people. Each month, subscribers receive a paperback book which has inclusivity and diversity at its heart, alongside a selection of indulgent self care goodies and prints from a featured artist.

The business idea came about through my love of books, baths and intersectional feminism. As a bookseller, I spend a lot of time surrounded by and thinking about books, and what I noticed is that the voices being celebrated are disproportionately from people who are white, cisgendered, able-bodied and heterosexual. While these stories are important and valuable, there isn't a representative percentage of diverse voices being advocated for.

You can pick up any book and be transported to someone else's world

Understanding how other people experience the world is key to being able to empathise with each other and books are the perfect tool for doing that. You can pick up any book and be transported to someone else's world. You can listen to and understand the ways in which they feel empowered or disregarded, and that's a wonderful thing. It's important to me to be able to understand other people and that's what drove this idea. I hope that I can offer narratives that are under-represented and potentially help them reach a wider audience than they may have otherwise.

Last month's book was a stunning debut by Sara Collins called The Confessions of Frannie Langton. It's an immensely powerful and affecting novel about minority voices which have too often been silenced. It tackles themes of race, class, sexuality, science and the psychological effects of servitude. A gentle unravelling of deeply haunting events that are far from fictitious, it stayed with me for a long time and left me questioning my own levels of privilege.

Rosy Morris-Roe

And Other Stories

And Other Stories is an internationally-renowned publisher of literary fiction, including many translations. AOS was founded in 2009 in London, but in 2017 they decided to move up North, and now work out of an office at Sheffield Central Library.

Their books are sold and distributed all over the world, selling as many copies in the US as they do here in the UK. Their latest catalogue includes books from authors based in Mexico, Norway, Australia, the Caribbean - and Sheffield, of course.

They are interested in fiction which feels fresh and offers an original perspective. Recent successes include Deborah Levy's Swimming Home, which was nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Forthcoming titles include Michelle Tea's Against Memoir, "an exuberant guide to the hard times and wild creativity of queer and misfit life in America", and Endland by Sheffield's own Tim Etchells, portraying a world of "empty tower blocks, 24-hour cyber cafes and bomb sites that holds a broken mirror to England".

And Other Stories are open to direct submissions

Unlike many other publishers, who only accept submissions from literary agents, And Other Stories are open to direct submissions and their reading groups in other languages give direct guidance to the editorial team on which books from other countries they should translate and publish in English.

There are lots of ways to get involved, from their excellent subscription model, which gets you six books a year, to their annual publishing days, which offer talks and workshops on how to start a career in publishing.

And Other Stories also run the Northern Book Prize, which offers £5,000 and a book deal to the best unpublished work of literary fiction by a writer who either lives in the North of England or has a strong connection to the North.

Joe Kriss


Put yourself in the picture-

it's an old frame with your great- grand father

in it: scratching his head, thinking about how

or whether to cross the stream

that is just out of view;

you know now that he has been where you are and

that in this moment he is wondering, that's all.

One day it will stop:

the thinking, the cleaning,

the drawing, the drinking

whatever it is you are telling

yourself you need to do.

Will you consider and continue and

wait and wonder,

or will you put yourself in the picture?

Just one boulder in the foreground

is in sharp focus.

Mary Carr

Next article in issue 139

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