Contributors, Interviews, Projects

Meet the Humans: Jonathan Bay

UPDATE: This week we have climbed over the £2000 threshold! Let’s keep it going folks. 

As part of our campaign we will be introducing you to our contributors – the fabulous, creative and talented people we’ve recruited for this project.


Jonathan Bay is a trans poet from California currently living in Scotland as he finishes up a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. He is a House of Three poet and has been published in many journals and anthologies in UK. He likes intriguingly flavourful beer, traveling to wild places and empty quiet rooms.IMG_0133

[Knight Errant Press]: Is gender identity a theme that comes up a lot in your writing? If not, what pushed you to explore it this time around?

[Jonathan]: Gender identity is not necessarily something that I try to focus on exploring through my poetry – I find that it crops in though. I am most interested in exploring my own trans experience and how it relates to the world. I am highly conscious of my own upbringing as a then female bodied white middle class person and how that has affected the way in which I interact within the world. I don’t want to erase that past.

[KEP]: Has exploring gender affected your worldview and your writing and reading habits?

[J]: I’ve been lucky to get to explore queer writing in my postgraduate studies.

[KEP]: Was there a particular book, short story, poem or event in your life that inspired you to write your own?

[J]: At twelve I was encouraged to write poetry to process my parents’ divorce. I have been writing ever since.

[KEP]: What author or book do you think is most underrated? And why? 

[J]: I don’t think it’s underrated, but I love Li-Young Lee’s The City in Which I Love You.

[KEP]: Tea or coffee?

[J]: Depends on my mood.

[KEP]: Early morning or late into the night?

[J]: I enjoy sleeping, but there is something about the quiet of early morning and the way that it makes you feel like you have so much more time that I love.

[KEP]: Digital or analogue?

[J]: I prefer analogue but I am not a luddite.

 


GetFileAttachmentWould you like to support #QueerQuarrels?

Here are a few ways you can do so:

  1. pre-order the book (and other perks) on Kickstarter
  2. boost us on Thunderclap
  3. support us by sharing and retweeting on Facebook and Twitter!
  4. if you’re in Edinburgh, Scotland – pick up a copy of our preview booklet @LighthouseBooks
Contributors, Interviews, Projects

Meet the Humans: Sarah Spence

As part of our campaign we will be introducing you to our contributors – the fabulous, creative and talented people we’ve recruited for this project.


Sarah Spence is a PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow, specialising in the Medical Humanities. Her current project examines stigmatised health issues (mental illness, drug addiction, obesity) in contemporary Scottish literature. She writes poetry, short fiction and nonfiction and is an editor for literary journal From Glasgow to Saturn. Her work appears in a variety of publications, such as Thistle Magazine, The Glasgow Review of Books, Hold My Purse, Gilded Dirt, theGIST and Qmunicate. She often writes about illness, science, history and animals, and tweets @_sspenceSarah Spence pic - Knight Errant Press

[Knight Errant Press] Is gender identity a theme that comes up a lot in your writing? If not, what pushed you to explore it this time around?

[Sarah]: I’d never written about gender before – it seemed too personal and too overwhelming a topic.

As a girl, I feared being dismissed as feminine, so in my poem ‘Playground’ I explored my own flawed relationship to masculinity in high school. I joined in with the roughhousing boys, even though I’m a total wimp, because I knew their willingness (enthusiasm?) to hurt me was really a mark of respect. An imperfect way to navigate self-esteem and womanhood to be sure.

I was inspired to write my poem ‘Hemingway Masculinity’ after going to an exhibit at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery about representations of masculinity. It made me think of Ernest Hemingway, who tried to evoke a macho hypermasculinity not only in his subject matter but also in his plain, direct writing style – as a way to purge literature of its supposed femininity. So I’ve stolen his style and used it against him.

[KEP] Has exploring gender affected your worldview and your writing and reading habits?

[S:] I’ve since written another poem on gender, ‘The Edinburgh Seven, 1870’ published by Hold My Purse. The Edinburgh Seven were the first female undergraduates in Britain and they faced much opposition and discrimination, which lead to the Surgeons’ Hall Riot. I’d like to write about gender again – I think fiction can bring to life historical perspectives on gender, highlighting what has and hasn’t changed, as well as helping us to re-examine our current, often invisible gender norms.

[KEP] Was there a particular book, short story, poem or event in your life that inspired you to write your own?

[S]: I’m often inspired by the ‘stories’ of history or science. I always take lots of notes in museums, whether about the evolution of crocodiles or the origins of forensics (both weird and fascinating).

[KEP] What author or book do you think is most underrated? And why? (Prime time for some reading recommendations.)

[S]: The Sound of My Voice by Ron Butlin. It looks at alcoholism but through a second person narrator (‘you’) which is both uncomfortably immersive and almost whimsical. Butlin is also a poet and the novella is like a big poem with its vivid imagery and structural tricks.


[KEP] Is there any book, written by someone else, that you wish you’d written? Would you change it, if yes – how?

[S]: Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy. It’s fast-paced and charismatic but also a really sophisticated, unsettling, challenging look at gender politics. The first book opens in a tiny settler town populated only by men but goes on to explore female as well as non-human perspectives in a world where the thoughts of men – and only men – can be heard by all.

[KEP] What’s the most famous book you haven’t read?/play you haven’t seen?/album you haven’t listened to?/film and TV series you haven’t watched?

[S]: I’ve tried – and failed – with The Godfather more than once.

[KEP] Do you ever feel like you have book FOMO (fear of missing out) because of a famous title you haven’t had the chance to read, if so, which one?

[S]: Not FOMO so much but I always have a long reading list on the go. I’m currently doing a PhD so I even have special bibliographical software to record everything that I need to read later!

[KEP] Tea or coffee?

[S]: Tea – peppermint tea.

[KEP] Early morning or late into the night?

[S]: I’ve been experimenting with early mornings recently, with mixed results.

[KEP] Digital or analogue?

[S]: Digital!


Want to support #QueerQuarrels?GetFileAttachment

Here are a couple of the ways you can do so:

  1. pre-order the book (and other perks) on Kickstarter
  2. boost us on Thunderclap
  3. support us by sharing and retweeting on Facebook and Twitter!
  4. if you’re in Edinburgh, Scotland – pick up a copy of our preview booklet @LighthouseBooks
Contributors, Interviews, Projects

Meet the Humans: Ever Dundas

UPDATE: We reached 25% ! Go you! Go us! Keep it up folks, share with your friends, family and comrades. 

As part of our campaign we will be introducing you to our contributors – the fabulous, creative and talented people we’ve recruited for this project.


I’m a writer specialising in the weird and macabre, with Queer Theory (problematizing the ‘normal’) forming the backbone of my work. I write literary fiction, sci-fi, horror, and faVenice 2013ntasy. My first novel, Goblin, won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award 2017. I’m currently working on my second novel, HellSans, a science fiction thriller with disability as a major theme.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

[Knight Errant Press] Is gender identity a theme that comes up a lot in your writing? If not, what pushed you to explore it this time around?

[Ever]: Yes. Growing up, I was keenly aware of how oppressive gender could be. Because the backbone of all my writing is ‘queering the normal’ and defamiliarisation, tackling the way gender constrains our lives comes up a lot in my writing.

[KEP] Has exploring gender affected your worldview and your writing and reading habits?

[E]: In terms of worldview, it makes me sad and disappointed that we allow gender to constrain our lives – there’s so much lost potential, and so many lost lives. As a writer, I see how much it constrains creativity – writers peddling the same boring gender norms just make me roll my eyes with boredom. We can do better.

[KEP] Was there a particular book, short story, poem or event in your life that inspired you to write your own?

[E]: It’s hard to narrow it down to one – pretty much every book I’ve read has been inspiring. I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was seven and the main books that cemented that ambition as a kid are Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz, Run For Your Life by David Line, The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson, and A Box of Nothing by Peter Dickinson. Films like The Princess Bride, Labyrinth and Time Bandits also inspired child-me.

[KEP] What author or book do you think is most underrated? And why? (Prime time for some reading recommendations.)

[E]: Everything by comic writer and artist Charles Burns. I love his bizarre depiction of our world, and his incisive commentary on the rot beneath the suburban veneer. He also deals well with the way children try to make sense of an often baffling adult world, and he captures the fraught tensions of teendom (particularly in Black Hole). I adore his artwork – he’s renowned for heavily stylised large swathes of black ink against crisp white, but he also uses colour to great (and nauseating) effect in the Last Look trilogy. If you want delicious art, existential angst, and lashing of strangeness and body horror, Burns is your creature.

[KEP] Is there any book, written by someone else, that you wish you’d written? Would you change it, if yes – how?

[E]: The Vegetarian by Han Kang and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. I wouldn’t change anything – they’re both perfect.

[KEP] What’s the most famous book you haven’t read?/play you haven’t seen?/album you haven’t listened to?/film and TV series you haven’t watched?

[E]: Jane Austen’s books.

Not the most famous, but I wish I’d seen one of the professional productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

I’ve purposively avoided all albums by Oasis and Blur.

I haven’t seen LaLaLand because I’m convinced it will irritate me. I might be proved wrong…

I’ve still to watch The Handmaid’s Tale.

[KEP] Do you ever feel like you have book FOMO (fear of missing out) because of a famous title you haven’t had the chance to read, if so, which one?

[E]: Up until a couple of years ago it was 2001 by Arthur C Clarke. Now it’s everything by Joan Didion.

[KEP] Tea or coffee?

[E]: Damn fine coffee.

[KEP] Early morning or late into the night?

[E]: The gloaming.

[KEP] Digital or analogue?

[E]: Both.

 


Would you like to support #QueerQuarrels?

GetFileAttachment

Here are a couple of the ways you can do so:

  1. pre-order the book (and other perks) on Kickstarter
  2. boost us on Thunderclap
  3. support us by sharing and retweeting on Facebook and Twitter!
  4. if you’re in Edinburgh, Scotland – pick up a copy of our preview booklet @LighthouseBooks