Hudson, Guo and Forna write for flagship flipped eye anthology

Hudson, Guo and Forna write for flagship flipped eye anthology

Independent flipped eye is releasing Not Quite Right for Us, an anthology of poems, essays and stories by 40 writers who “have challenged the mainstream”, featuring Kerry Hudson, Xiaolu Guo and Aminatta Forna, and a foreword by Linton Kwesi Johnson.

The book, published on 21st May, is the publisher's flagship title to mark its 20th anniversary and also the 10th birthday of Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions. Other featured authors include Colin Grant, Nick Makoha, Byron Vincent, Rishi Dastidar, Johny Pitts and Rafeef Ziadah.

Flipped eye, which holds world rights for the title, said: “Spanning eight thematic areas (childhood, family, friends, work, travel, love, yesterday/today and today/tomorrow), the anthology features a huge breadth of contributions, from autobiographical essays to a short story translated from Bengali, from fictional email exchanges between authors and editors, to extracts from theatrical plays and mythological poems. Wry, gentle, furious, humorous, passionate, analytical and elliptical, in Not Quite Right for Us new and established writers evoke their own experiences of outsiderness—and defiance against it.”

The anthology is edited by Speaking Volumes co-founder Sharmilla Beezmohun, who has worked in publishing for 25 years, including at Virago and at Heinemann. The book jacket is designed by internationally acclaimed poet, performer and playwright Inua Ellams.

Beezmohun said: “This anthology completely captures Speaking Volumes’ ethos; it puts a wide range of authors, who happen to hail from the most diverse of backgrounds, front and centre. As an editor, it’s been a joy to work with writers from near and far on a theme that has clearly captured the zeitgeist. Their work speaks for itself in its universality and quality."

The book has already won praise from writers including Caryl Phillips and Roger Robinson, while Booker winner Bernardine Evaristo said: “It was so stirring to read this rich and varied feast of wonderful writing about culture, creativity and opportunity from so many powerful writers at the top of their game. It reminds us of the struggles faced by those who are minoritised and how far we have to go as a society to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.”

This summer, Speaking Volumes will be organising an innovative digital tour to major literary festivals, featuring authors from the Not Quite Right for Us anthology, with more details to be announced soon.

Mitchell Albert, editorial director at flipped eye, who commissioned the book, said: “Part cri du coeur, part warning shot, part affirmation, this anthology is education in 40 tales. All of this is very close to the mission of flipped eye, which has always prided itself on going its own way, successfully, often against odds and conventional expectations. Not Quite Right for Us will resonate with readers who understand from within where it's coming from, or who are allied to its purpose, or—hopefully—who are ready for an unexpected lesson in empathy.”