Five Anthologies for 2021

Our Standing Proud Writers’ Group (ran in partnership with Out2gether)
after their performance at The Times & Sunday Times
Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021.

We were so grateful to receive support from the National Lottery Community Fund for the third year running. This year we partnered with Redditch and Bromsgrove District Councils and Worcestershire Libraries to help us promote our courses to residents of Worcester, Redditch and Bromsgrove. We wanted to spread our reach beyond Worcester city and after some research chose to focus on Redditch and Bromsgrove as these are areas where there is limited engagement with the arts.

In August we produced two mental health anthologies (the result of three mental health courses, facilitated by Giovanni ‘Spoz’ Esposito, Lorna Meehan and Holly Winter-Hughes), and an anthology from our brand new LGBTQ+ group, Ssh-OUT! The cover artwork for these anthologies was provided by course participants. With Nicola Longworth-Cook’s photography gracing the pages of our Words To Live By 2021: Human Nature and Words To Live By 2021: Reflections anthologies. The cover art for Ssh-OUT! 2021 was created by Corinne (@corinnesdiary). We celebrated with an open air book launch at Worcester Country Park on Saturday 14th August. This allowed participants from all four groups to meet safely.

These projects concluded with an online performance event where participants from all groups were invited to share their poems. Our special guest was Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2021 Ade Couper, who not only treated us to a performance of his own poetry but also offered encouraging feedback and support to the participants.

Our final two anthologies from the project, Standing Proud 2021 (from our ongoing LGBTQ+ writing group, ran in partnership with Out2gether) and One Of The Heard 2021 (featuring a diverse range of Worcestershire voices) were published on Saturday 18th September, with a launch at Worcester Pump House Environment Centre. One Of A Heard also included an introduction by Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2021 Ade Couper and a selection of poems from himself and Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate 2021 Faith Taylor.

All of these books were available for free from Worcestershire Libraries from October 7th (National Poetry Day) for one week. Copies have also been distributed to Worcester University Library, Worcester Hospital Library, Worcester Hospital Mental Health Services, Alexandra Hospital Library, Home Group Housing Mental Health Services, Home Start Worcestershire, Worcestershire Community Centres, Behind The Smile mental health support group and Out2gether LGBTQ+ social group.

You can read Words To Live By: Human Nature here.
You can read Words To Live By: Reflections here.
You can read Ssh-OUT! 2021 here.
You can read Standing Proud 2021 here.
You can read One Of The Heard 2021 here.

Slideshows of our book launches, Bromsgrove Pride (with Out2gether) and National Poetry Day displays in Worcestershire Libraries:

Midlands Air Ambulance Air30

To celebrate 30 years of the Midlands Air Ambulance we produced a new anthology in November 2021! This project was funded by Arts Council England and included a film poem, making of video and the book itself. The book includes poems by Giovanni ‘Spoz’ Esposito and Holly Winter-Hughes, as well as poems and prose pieces written by a variety of people involved with Midlands Air Ambulance, including past patients, critical care paramedics, doctors, volunteers and other staff. It celebrates this wonderful organisation, giving us all an insight into the exemplary work that they continue to do.