A write-up of a truly wonderful event, IndieRecon, the Indie Author Fair, and the Indie fringe at London Book Fair will follow. Here, I will just say an enormous thank you to Orna Ross at the Alliance of Independent Authors who does such incredible work and despite the organisations expanding profile continues to let an obscure little poet take a place. And to the ridiculously talented and lovely Rohan Quine for letting me share a stage with him on the vital topic of literary fiction in self-publishing. For now, this is just the transcript of the poem I gave as people have been asking for the words.

With huge thanks to David Penny at the Alliance of Independent Authors, here is the footage of our session, with Rohan from 0:00-5:20 and me from 5:20-end

I asked a simple question – why should self-publishing protect and promote the full range of diverse voices in writing?


Because every day a little girl, let’s call her Sarah,

Hears the world condensed into words

And falls in love with a possibility.

That she might fold her life into a gift of syllables and sentences

And hold it out

For all the sisters, misfits, lonely souls and drifters

To open and unfold towards a beautiful horizon they’d always thought hopelessly distant.

Because her parents see the way she looks and sigh

And go to bed and cry because they know

Tomorrow they take Sarah to a place every other child she knows believes is magic –

A bookshop.

Because they know when she reaches her beautiful black hands to the mirror of the shelf

Instead of herself

She sees my white hands reflected back

Because tomorrow’s books are written by the choices we make today

Their pages penned by voices we invite to stay

Not voices that we cast away.

Because when we set our sights on our own freedom

The light we see at the end of the tunnel is just a metaphor

Systemically generated by the literary hegemony

To strengthen the advantages of an already charmed existence

To keep others at arm’s length and their chances at a manageable distance

Because what we call quality others call colony

Whose overlords behead the aspirations of others

With ceremonial swords

Of approving badges, nodding column inches, blogging and awards.

Because when we pick and choose the facts of writing right,

Dictate the tropes and tools of narrative exactitude

So Sarah loses if she enacts her life

Maybe the syntax we use is wrong.

Because if we want to uncage every song

Be fibres of a fabric where every thread belongs

It is our duty to take this microphone

And these tweets

And empty them of middle-aged white guys like me.

To hold the door as I withdraw

And Sarah takes the floor,

And unrolls a carpet woven with the warp of her words and the weft of her dreams

And waits with open pages

For all the sisters, misfits, lonely souls and drifters

As their lives unfold towards the heart-lifting, dream-shifting, gloriously glittering stage.

19 thoughts on “Because

    • Thank you! There’s a note on the Indie ReCon site saying they’re hoping to upload recordings of all the live streams on April 22nd. Can’t wait to watch everything – so many fabulous things going on

  1. Pingback: Closing Remarks *cue music* | IndieReCon 2015

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  3. Pingback: IndiReCon 2015 Closing Remarks | Self-Publishing Author Advice from The Alliance of Independent Authors

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