Write Out Loud regulars in collection supporting fire-hit bookshop

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On 1 February this year, Freedom Bookshop, London’s anarchist press and bookshop, was seriously damaged in a suspected firebomb attack. Freedom Press was founded in 1886 by a group including Charlotte Wilson and Peter Kropotkin, and describes itself as the “largest anarchist publishing house” in the country.  Many books were burned or charred in the attack, and due to a lack of funds, the shop had been unable to renew its insurance so could not make a claim to restore the shop and its contents.   The damage can be viewed here.

“Donate a Poem for Freedom” was one of many fund-raising campaigns set up after the attack to help raise money to clean up and repair the shop, and replace stock. Over 700 submissions were received by the editor, Alex Clarke, also an author, playwright and activist  who took on the enormous task of reading through them all, and narrowed the list down to 45 poems for the anthology. 

I asked Alex how she felt about the anthology. She said: “This feels like a triumph for brains over brawn. There's been this big movement among artists in response to the firebombing, from the release of a fundraising album, to spoken word and music events across the UK and of course our poetry book - all without mainstream media too. We are more connected and solid since the fire - what a lovely paradox.  I think people will be pleasantly surprised by the collection, which ranges from the political to the obscure. The mix of poets, from the established to the newbie, makes the whole anthology fresh and exciting - it's been a pure pleasure working with these words and the people who offered them freely. Art really is activism in action.”

The collection includes several Write Out Loud regulars, including Ushiku Indigo Angel Crisafulli, Cathy Bryant, and Laura Taylor. The book is available to buy here. In buying a copy, not only will you be reading some amazing poetry, but you will also be contributing to the right to free speech and a free press, and the restoration of a small but hugely important bookshop. You can burn books, but you cannot burn ideas.




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Lesley Hale

Sun 5th May 2013 20:14

Thanks to Alex for pulling this together. Pleased I could offer something useful.

Please buy from Lulu rather than Amazon, to avoid the tax-avoiders.

Lesley Hale

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Martin Peacock

Wed 1st May 2013 10:54

Fascism lurks in the brightest corners; perhaps the 'person' who threw the bomb hides behind a facade of respectability. Well thank all the gods they can't bomb ideas! It's good to know that Freedom still exists [in every sense of the word]. We are entering dark times, very dark times indeed and a single candle is all it takes to shine a light for the righteous. Property isn't the only theft: stealing our right to free and fair knowledge is perhaps even more invidious. Rage on!

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Laura Taylor

Tue 30th Apr 2013 12:53

Cheers folks!

Haha Isobel - ooo I very much doubt it ;D

Must read that book actually Darren...

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Mon 29th Apr 2013 20:52

They weren't by any chance trying to sell Margaret Thatcher annuals at the time, were they ;?

I've read that Ray Bradbury book and can't for the life of me remember a thing about it - it must have been good.

Glad to hear that a free press is just that. Congratulations all, on raising it from the ashes.

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Mon 29th Apr 2013 16:19

Félicitations Laura pour ton inclusion dans l'anthologie !

Interesting and informative article - good job!
Thank you for sharing :-)

darren thomas

Mon 29th Apr 2013 12:40

I'm reminded of Ray Bradbury's book 'Fahrenheit 451', especially as the book contains 45 poems!

Nice one Laura!

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Julian (Admin)

Mon 29th Apr 2013 11:22

Bookshop burning sends a shiver down my spine. Too reminiscent of what we thought was a bygone era. Great article Laura. I hope we can help through this.

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Laura Taylor

Mon 29th Apr 2013 09:13

Thanks Greg! I'm just really glad to be able to help out in some way. Massive credit to Alex for all her hard work and the idea in the first place.

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Greg Freeman

Mon 29th Apr 2013 07:47

Thanks for this piece, Laura, and congratulations on your inclusion in this anthology, in what looks like a very competitive field! I will order my copy soonest. Greg

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