In Other Words

By Mainspring Arts

A remarkable anthology of short stories by eight autistic writers, with forewords by David Mitchell and Joanne Limburg

Campaigns | Fiction
107% funded
203 supporters
Published

Publication date: June 2021

book cover
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Raffi the Hound

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Personalised poem

Tell us your name and a couple of nuggets of information about you and one of the writers who contributed to In Other Words will compose a beautiful poem especially for you. You’ll receive it handwritten on a postcard, plus a limited-edition, hardback version of the book, with your name in the list of patrons. (Limited to 20)
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Bundle of books

Receive four signed, limited-edition, hardback versions of the book, with up to four names listed among the patrons
$300  + shipping
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Limited-edition art print - Arrival by Wiskey

Two of the writers who contributed to In Other Words are also artists, and you could be the proud owner of a limited-edition print of one of their beautiful works of art. Select this level to receive a limited-edition art print of Arrival by Wiskey and you'll also receive a limited-edition, hardback version of the book and your name among the list of patrons. (Limited to eight)
$300  + shipping
4 pledges

Limited-edition art print - Play Supply Nodes Number 67

Two of the writers who contributed to In Other Words are also artists, and you could be the proud owner of a limited-edition print of one of their beautiful works of art. Select this level to receive a limited-edition art print of Play Supply Nodes Number 67 by Jon Adams. Plus you’ll receive a limited-edition, hardback version of the book and your name among the list of patrons. (Limited to eight)
$375  + shipping

Get feedback

Are you working on a book? Editors Katya and Miranda will offer you detailed feedback on up to 10,000 words of your manuscript. Plus you'll receive a signed, limited-edition, hardback version of the book and your name among the list of patrons. (Limited to five)
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Get one-to-one feedback over a cuppa

One of our editors will meet you in a London cafe to offer detailed feedback on up to 10,000 words of your manuscript. Plus you'll receive a signed, limited-edition, hardback version of the book and your name among the list of patrons. (Limited to five)
$750  + shipping
1 pledge

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Help us to make this book and we will dedicate In Other Words to you, plus you'll receive a signed, limited-edition version of the book and an invitation to the launch party

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Please note: the video above contains music combined with spoken text that those with sensory issues may find too loud. The text is subtitled, so please turn down the volume or mute the sound if you may be affected.

They don’t understand metaphors

They don’t have any empathy, do they?

They’re not very good with emotions

They’re great at maths though, aren’t they? Like Rain Man?

There are so many myths surrounding autism and autistic people and they have persisted for generations. Despite autism being prevalent -- one in 100 people is diagnosed as autistic -- society is still fraught with misconceptions and misunderstandings about it.

This isn’t helped by autistic people rarely being afforded their own voices in arts and literature. Their perspectives, thoughts, creations and ideas are elided in favour of the neurotypical. It’s no wonder the world is unaware of the creativity of the autistic community. We need far more -- and far more varied -- depictions of autism.

In Other Words is the result of Square Peg Stories, a creative writing scheme aimed specifically at autistic writers that took place in London between November 2016 and May 2017. Eight participants were selected to take part in a series of workshops and mentoring sessions run by published authors, with the aim of each writer producing a short story. Workshop leaders included author and poet Joanne Limburg and YA fantasy author Corinne Duyvis, who are both autistic. The workshops were designed with the specific needs of the participants in mind, meaning the writers were able to relax into their environment and produce some outstanding work. You can hear some of the writers read their work in the video above.



Among the participants was Wiskey, who was diagnosed as autistic aged 50. For him, the diagnosis brought a release and he began taking bolder steps with his writing. Another participant, Esther, aged 19, used writing as an escape from the world and an opportunity to explore social rules and other people’s emotions. What all the participants had in common was a passion for writing and the freedom it brings -- the limitless possibility that enabled them to find their voices in a way the neurotypical world often didn’t allow them to -- and a desire to share their writing with others.

The stories are as wide-ranging and diverse as the writers themselves. Some cover trauma, societal issues and stigma. Some reach back in time, while others are set in another dimension altogether. There is heartbreak, wit, humour, poignancy and above all fantastic writing. What these stories share is that they are written by people whom mainstream society often dismisses as unimaginative, or not capable of creativity. When you read these stories, those stereotypes dissolve. This anthology is so important in countering the neurotypical representation of autistic people. The range of subject matter covered shows how the widely held view of autistic people as a homogenous group only interested in maths and science is wildly inaccurate. We need to get the message out there!

The anthology includes a foreword by David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas (2004) and the translator of the bestselling book The Reason I Jump, an account by the Japanese author Naoki Higashida -- then aged 13 -- of what it is like to be autistic. It is also introduced by Square Peg Stories workshop leader Joanne Limburg.

In Other Words is timely, necessary and beautiful. Pledging will support both the visibility of neurodivergent creatives and the idea that we need new, diverse and exciting voices in literature.

Names of contributors

Damian Sawyer

Wiskey

Kate Roy

Richard Baskett

Esther Lowery

Sarah

Luke Matthews

Jon Adams

Picture 1: The Square Peg Stories workshop; picture 2: poet Joanne Limburg with Square Peg Stories workshop participant Wiskey; picture 3: Raffi the Hound

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$30  + shipping
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Receive a limited-edition, hardback version of the book
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Receive a signed, hardback version of the book, with your name in the list of patrons