Anthology Count Down

April 13, 2015 in Reviews by Irulan Horner

So it’s been nine months of meticulous planning and in exactly one month’s time our Beautiful Lies anthology will be  officially launched. This is the showcase for 19 writers who’ve just completed their MA in Writing for Young People. 19 hopeful dreamers who want to share their stories with the rest of the world.

When I took on the role of co-editor little did I know what I was about to embark on. It did however come with a warning from our predecessor, ‘It will be a lot of hard word’. Val – you were so right! There were days, where I’d worked my day job of a full eight-hour-day plus commute, then tackled four hours of anthology related emails to reassure the nervous, fend off unwanted opinions and placate the irritated, that I wondered why I was doing this. Next week I get to hold the culmination of all our hard work, the physical book itself, and I can’t wait.

I was very fortunate to have an amazing companion on this adventure, my fellow co-editor, the calm and collected Alyssa Hollingsworth. And even though we conducted all of our dealing across the Atlantic, as Alyssa lives in America, through the ingenuity of technology, daily emails and Skype calls, we made a great team. I took on the physical stuff – the meetings and the anthology mail out, while she handled the artwork, website and social media. But we were not alone on the adventure, 17 other writers joined us, each with their own story to tell and their own opinion to offer. They were professional, creative and supportive, but, as with every endeavour, there were always monsters lurking in the shadows in the form of budget constraints, hoops to leap through and the odd prima donna who’d forgotten the first rule of being a writer – be a joy to work with.

This all started with a name, when the legend David Almond, professor at our university, said to us, “All truth, when you write it down, becomes enriched by lies. We make beautiful lies.”

And so ‘Beautiful Lies’ was born. Together the 19 writers edited their extracts, struggled with their bios and honed their book blurbs. We each had 2,500 words or less to sum up ourselves and our story, showcasing what we can do.

Vickers_Feral_Faerie2Then there was the venue to book, catering to order, paper to choose, layout to discuss, budget to present, cover brief to write, artwork to choose, website to build and every single last word to agonise over.

We had a team for everything: venue, invite list, editing, social media and artwork. Each of us juggling jobs, families, writing and life’s tribulations to deliver the best we could.

Our anthology launch for agents and publishers in the writing for children and young people industry will take place at the Foyles’ flagship bookstore on Charing Cross Road on the 12th of May 2015. 19 friends forged from a shared dream and dedicated hard work will gather under one roof for the first time in ten months. Each of us dreaming of finding the perfect agent for us and the perfect publisher for our story.

This journey is almost at its end but we’re all about to embark on a new one. With hope on our side and armed with an MA from the amazing Bath Spa University, we know the path will be paved with bold writing, gruelling editing and late night soul searching, but we will have each other to lean on as we bravely step towards our next adventure – being published.


The Beautiful Lies anthology is now available to download – click here.