Raising funds against hate
Saturday, 20 June 2020
This is a sad and frightening time to be updating supporters on the Others project. When I had the idea for the book, three and a half years ago, I wrote these words to potential contributors:
Across the world, intolerance of otherness is growing: in Donald Trump’s America, in post-Brexit Britain and in a Europe seared by nationalistic resentment. Racism, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia…
Stories in Transit: announcing Marina Warner as a new contributor to Others
Thursday, 18 January 2018
As a supporter of Others, you'll know by now that we are celebrating how words can take us into the viewpoints of people whom we might otherwise treat as 'other' – and how, at the same time, stories and literature can reveal something of the strangeness of our own selves. One writer who has been grappling with these questions throughout her entire career is the distinguished writer and academic Marina…
Twelve Days of Others #12: From 'I, Migrant' by Kamila Shamsie
Friday, 5 January 2018
One London night, a few weeks after Brexit, something happened as I was walking to a bus stop that had never happened in the 9 years since I’d moved to the UK: a man (white, young, Londoner by his accent) shouted abuse at me and followed up with ‘Go back where you came from’. He seemed more ridiculous than threatening but even so I wasn’t about to get into any kind of exchange with him, so I didn…
Twelve Days of Others #11: 'Visitors' by Charles Fernyhough
Thursday, 4 January 2018
They came in the mornings, punctually at eleven, as she had asked them. They made smalltalk, inquired after the baby’s health, and said things like ‘Are you well today, Sarah, or are you not well?’ If they had been there at dawn, when Joseph was clucking out of sleep like bird-life, she would have been hard pushed to answer that question either way. By mid-morning, Sarah thought she had seen enough…
Twelve Days of Others #10: 'Awakenings' by Tiffany Murray
Wednesday, 3 January 2018
He didn’t remember.
All was grey, as grey as the moth wings that filled his mouth. That was until the child spoke to him, until that Sugar child had him appear.
It was a command, after all. The child’s blood had called to his in little seductive whispers, because the child’s blood was his blood. And so that day he had appeared by the window in the wooden shed. He had appeared and he had…
Twelve Days of Others #9: 'The Other Side of the Sun' by Joanne Limburg
Tuesday, 2 January 2018
What my mum doesn’t know is
I have my own planet.
You can’t see it from the earth:
it’s the other side of the sun,
and everything there is opposite:
they go to bed in the morning,
and they get up at night,
the children teach the grown-ups
and tell them off at home,
the best food there is crisps
and broccoli is bad – very bad.
Twelve Days of Others #8: From 'The Ostrich' by Leila Aboulela
Saturday, 30 December 2017
I weave paper ribbons with holes, chains; the edges of each sheet are sharp. Grapefruit juice, no one buys for themselves alone, always sharing, competing in generosity (our downfall, Majdy says, the downfall of a whole people, a primitive tribal mentality and so inefficient). Pink grapefruit juice, frothy at the top, jagged pieces of ice struck out of large slabs with particles of sand frozen…
Twelve Days of Others #6: 'What You're Looking At When You're Looking At Me' by Tom Shakespeare
Saturday, 30 December 2017
It's the time of year when restricted growth people are on stage, but not in a good way, it seems to me. In 2005, I did my own one-man show, at Newcastle’s Live Theatre, and talked about all the ways in which inheritance has marked my life. Here’s an extract, looking at what you’re looking at when you look at me.
Being a dwarf isn’t a big problem. It’s not a degenerative illness. You don…
Twelve Days of Others #4: 'Soup' by Salena Godden
Thursday, 28 December 2017
Imagine if seven people from seven nationalities
Came to your home to share one pot of soup
You would have seven conflicting versions of that soup
Someone would write to note the flavour. Another the heat
Someone would write about the meaning of soup
The size of the portions. The memory the soup triggers
Too salty. Not enough meat.
This is a stew? It's more a casserole!
Twelve Days of Others #7: 'Fingerprints' by Sam Guglani
Wednesday, 27 December 2017
Look at how we start, like fortune-tellers, at the hands. Here by the window, where ward meets world, I examine this man’s, turn them over like found leaves. They're remarkable, creaseless, a baby’s, glass palms reflecting my own: now white, now brown. He laughs at my surprise. A tree surgeon’s hands, he says, my skin pressed into other life, its bark and blood, just like you doc I bet, your fingerprints…
Twelve Days of Others #3: 'Waiting for a Paternoster' by Rishi Dastidar
Wednesday, 27 December 2017
I am the product of sweet violence, like you.
I was a beloved of a king, like you.
My pride bears the pinch of now, like you.
My heart is an incurred mess, like you.
I am fox-devil wild, like you.
I will either harden or break, like you.
I am existing in the must-live universe, like you.
I am a shaman that always rises, like you.
I am a whispered meeting, like you.
I am a threnody…
Twelve Days of Others #5: From 'Sounds of Blackness' by Colin Grant
Tuesday, 26 December 2017
For this excerpt, I had in mind the parable of Peter denying Christ three times before the cock crowed. It seemed a fitting segment for Twelve Days of Others.
‘These West Indians make an awful racket, don’t they,’ said the commuter half turning towards me. I was surprised by his intervention. We had stood isolated from each other on an otherwise empty platform at Harpenden, a leafy suburban…
Twelve Days of Others #2: From 'A Boy Called Christmas' by Matt Haig
Monday, 25 December 2017
Nikolas saw Miika scuttling along the edge of the floor. He stood up on his back legs, stared at Nikolas, and looked ready to have a conversation. Well, he looked as ready as a mouse ever looks to have a conversation. Which wasn't much.
'Cheese,' said the mouse, in mouse language.
'I've got a very bad feeling about all this, Miika.'
Miika looked up at the window, and Nikolas thought…
Twelve Days of Others #1: 'Stars' by Gillian Allnutt
Monday, 25 December 2017
There are those who have not fled shame
the numberlessness of am
the innumerable one
the dark of the moon, as absence, abstinence, is home.
In shoals, in sheols, they will come
with mobile phones.
'Solidarity is not discovered by reflection but created. It is created by increasing our sensitivity to the particular details of pain and humiliation of other, unfamiliar sorts of people.'
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
‘Writers help us imagine.’ I’ve been doing a fair bit of tweeting to try to pique people’s interest in Others, and that’s been a nice short slogan for the different ways in which our contributors will be showing how words and writing can take us into the perspectives of other people.
One writer who has really engaged with that idea is the bestselling novelist Louise Doughty. Louise has been in…
'With this collection, I hope that some readers might come to recognize the value in difference, while others might see a sliver of themselves on the page, feel a little peace.'
Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Others is an anthology of writings celebrating how words and literature can take us out of our own rooted viewpoints and show us the world from another’s perspective. We’ll have pieces on migration and racial prejudice, and what it’s like to have people making judgements about you on the basis of the colour of your skin or where you appear to be ‘from’. Look out for a piece from Salena Godden developing…
‘Writers narrate the times, we report from the trenches, and write from the front line and the breadline, from the guts and from the heart.’
Monday, 30 October 2017
Hello! I hope you’ve been enjoying the updates on Others. We have a brilliant line-up of authors who will be exploring how literature can break down barriers of understanding and imagination, showing how we ourselves are ‘other’ to those we want to set apart as different, dangerous and unknowable. You’ll see from the updates so far that we’re covering topics including deafness, neurodiversity, mental…
‘To be one of the others is to live at the end of the queue, and to understand that you belong there.’
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Our theme in Others is how words in the hands of writers can show us the world as others see it. If you’ve followed these updates, you’ll know that we’re looking at otherness in a whole variety of its facets: the dividing lines of politics, the strangeness of the medical encounter, the anonymising power of city life, and endless battles that should have been won by now around social inequality. We…
'Anonymity is both the place before and the place after individuality. As the place after it can be full of joy and beautiful.'
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Our question in this project is quite simple: how, why and under what conditions do writers try to enter the perspectives of others? If they didn’t, we would have no Underground Railroad or Mrs Dalloway. But what are the risks and pitfalls? How do writers pull off this trick?
You’re reading this because you’re interested in the idea. I'm pleased to say that more than two hundred people feel the…
'It seems to me there are no others: only fragile, weathering and astonishing life.'
Monday, 4 September 2017
This update comes with news of a milestone: Others is now one-third funded. More than two hundred people have signed up to support this project; you can read their names here. There's still a way to go, and I need your help. More on that below.
Today, I've news of an exciting addition to the line-up of contributors: the very brilliant Sam Guglani. As you'll know by now, Others is about celebrating…
‘When it feels as if all the good is on my side and all the bad on the other, I know I’ve probably got lost somewhere.’
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Others is an anthology of writings celebrating how words, in the hands of brilliant writers, can help us to see the world from other points of view. When there is political upheaval, of the kind we've seen so much of over the last year, there is often a closing of minds. That’s the theme of our profiled author this week, the award-winning journalist and author Will Storr.
Will is the author…
‘We need a space for others to share their stories, a chance to be seen and heard on our terms.’
Friday, 16 June 2017
Thanks for supporting Others. We’re here to celebrate how books and writing can free us to imagine other points of view: whether it’s a novelist giving voice to the voiceless, a poet bringing alive a moment of consciousness we might not otherwise have experienced, or an essayist examining the many ways in which people can be strange to each other.
We’re crowdfunded, so we need you and all your…
‘To some people, at some points, in some places, everyone is an other.’
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be showcasing some of the writers who are already lined up to contribute to Others. First up is an outstanding voice in British poetry, Rishi Dastidar. Rishi has been described (by none other than Daljit Nagra) as ‘one of the most ingenious, modern, thrilling, hilarious and tender poets writing today’. With cool wit, exhilarating invention and sheer verbal brilliance…
Thanks for supporting Others!
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
You’ll know what this is all about by now: a fantastic group of writers celebrating how words can help us to see the world as others see it.
You’ll also know that proceeds from the book will be going to two very worthy causes. Stop Hate UK works to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination, and runs a 24-hour helpline for reporting it. Refugee Action supports people fleeing from…