One of the editors of the anthology Uncertain Truths, which is being launched on 3 November in Nottingham, discusses the project.
Back in 2020 when I applied to study for NTU’s MA in Creative Writing, I could not have envisaged that the Covid pandemic would still be with us as our cohort embarked upon the 2021 MA Creative Writing anthology. Our chosen title, Uncertain Truths, reflects something of the world we found ourselves in. A world already filled with the uncertainty of fake news, gossip, and stories spread by social media with the added anxiety of a pandemic thrown in.
Due to the pandemic, we have been a smaller cohort than usual – ten students form our main core of writers have contributed their writing and time to producing this book. One of us, Lee Skinner, a trained animator, has also designed the cover, layout, and website.
It has been an interesting time managing the production of this book at a distance. I have got used to regular meetings on Microsoft Teams with the two other project managers Matt Biggs and Claire Roberts, and messaging via WhatsApp and email to our group to ensure all tasks are completed to produce our book. Sometimes, we even managed to meet in real life! As well as contributions from some of the second year MA Creative Writing students and lecturers associated with the course, we are also very pleased to have work by five well-known authors connected to Nottingham: Alison Moore, Megan Taylor, John Harvey, Lynda Clark, and Jo Dixon.
The creative response to our title Uncertain Truths has been wide and varied, in fiction, poetry and memoir. Rumours of beasts and wolves, ghosts, a hand with a life of its own, strange fish and fishy tales, will all be found in the anthology. Fantastic and fanciful narratives have come together with darker work exploring painful truths of the human condition. The uncertainty of love has also found its place in our pages. In the foreword, the poet Jenny Swann, also a trustee for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, identifies one of the anthology’s strengths, which is rooted in the broad range of writing talent that exists on NTU’s Creative Writing MA:
One of the admirable qualities of Uncertain Truths is that it avoids the monotony of tone that can sometimes afflict, and spoil, anthologies. Rather, there are plenty of changes of gear, scene, and direction – one minute, the reader is enjoying a laugh about a post-Jackie-Weaver-style council meeting, the next, the mood and locus of a story or poem could not be more different.
Bringing together this anthology has been a huge collaborative effort amongst our small group. As well as Lee, our talented designer, we have: Abigail Cobley our fantastic proof-reader, aided by David Obiri; Lucy Grace, who brilliantly ordered the work for the anthology; and Kyran Wood, our social media manager, whose tweets prompt visits to our website, where we all regularly post blogs ranging from the sadness of sitcoms to the inspiration of archival newspapers for writing. There is also a blog about our collaborative short story, discussed below. Jade Curley and Jess Parkinson have also edited work.
In addition to the anthology, we have produced a shorter read: a collaborative short story by our cohort of ten. We can be followed each week via Twitter and on our website, as we post one or more ‘episodes’ of our story. This will build each week so eventually by the end of October the complete story will be able to be read on the website.This was intended as a fun writing exercise which we arranged between ourselves. Each of us took turns to write a piece of the story. We had no idea how it would develop but it has Nottingham references, a touch of fantasy sci-fi and a protagonist called Harmony Horatia.
Uncertain Truths will be published in the autumn and launched on 3rd November at Antenna in Nottingham. To book a place at the launch and to pre-order a copy of the anthology visit our website https://uncertaintruths.co.uk/. You can also follow us on Twitter Uncertain Truths @UncertainNTU
Alison Goodchild is a student on the MA Creative Writing at NTU