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: Julya Oui

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.


Being an author and a screenwriter Julya Oui believes in keeping monsters, having nightmares, and dreaming up worlds that defy logic. While Mother Nature inspires her, mindbending curiosities motivate her. She lives in a town known as the City of Everlasting Peace, or Taiping, somewhere north of Malaysia. She is also a pluviophile and an entomophile who loves shinrin-yoku.
BioPixHiRes.JPGYou can find her here and here.

[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?

Yes. It’s not so much of a question as to why or how but a question of being realistic.

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

Definitely. I have seen the world through different physical forms. How I was treated for being so gave me insights I have never known or seen before through a series of actions and reactions. That is why it’s always nice to read a book without having to focus on the characters’ physical forms which can easily be misconstrued for what they’re not, like how it is in real life.

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

[J]: I grew up with Pan Book of Horror Stories, doses of The Twilight Zone, and superstitions in my little old town. But what inspired me to pursue the love of my life and kept me going was The Lesson of the Moth by Don Marquis.

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

[J]: Jungle without Water by Sreedhevi Iyer. She made me laugh and cringe and upset at how wonderful and terrible life can be at the same time.

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

[J]: The Old Man who read Love Stories by Luis Sepulveda. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s too beautiful to change even a single word but I would like to write something as gorgeous as this some day.

[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?

[J]: I have not read a lot of classics but I guess the most outstanding thing I haven’t done recently is to watch or read Game of Thrones. I still haven’t a clue what I am missing.

[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?

[J]: Yes. All the time. I’m a slow reader and I can only go as fast as my love for reading can allow me to. I would like to get my hands on Yesterday by Felicia Yap. Futuristic murder mystery? Hell, yes!

[KEP]: Tea or coffee?

[J]: Tea.

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

[J]: Early morning.

[KEP]: Digital or analogue?

[J]: Both. Depending on the situation.

 


GetFileAttachmentWould you like to support #QueerQuarrels?

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