Introducing... We Were Always Here: A Queer Words Anthology

A while ago we told you about the Queer Words Project Scotland, which would mentor emerging writers to publication by some of Scotland’s most prominent queer authors, poets and playwrights, run by Ryan Vance and Michael Lee Richardson. Submissions were subsequently opened for the resulting anthology and today we are delighted to introduce you to it in all its glory.

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We Were Always Here:
A Queer Words Anthology

Publishing 31st January 2019; available to pre-order here.

From drag queens and discos, to black holes and monsters, these stories and poems wrestle with love and loneliness and the fight to be seen. By turns serious and fantastical, hilarious and confrontational, We Were Always Here addresses the fears, mysteries, wonders and variety of experience that binds our community together. We Were Always Here is a snapshot of current Scottish LGBTI+ writing and a showcase of queer talent.

On the project, co-editor Michael said, “When we opened the submissions, I thought we’d be selecting the best pieces for inclusion. But, as we kept reading, so many of them were so good that it felt like we were curating an anthology, creating a journey for the reader, and selecting pieces from a really strong cohort. Once we’d drawn up a very long longlist, it was difficult to choose what was going to go in the book itself. I’m so excited by the voices that we’re including in this anthology. The fact that we’re publishing work from Jo Clifford, who has written over 80 plays and whose work has been performed all over the world, alongside writers like Callum Harper who’s work is being published for the first time feels really exciting, to me, and absolutely in the spirit of the project.”

Co-editor Ryan Vance adds, “We went into this project hoping to find inclusive representation, but found something even better: a continuing conversation. These aren't queer writers speaking for queer people, but queer writers speaking to queer people. No words are wasted justifying who we are, why we're here, or why we matter - that validation is this collection's foundation. That's both an exciting surprise and a much needed comfort; it feels like a chat with friends who aren't ignorant of our past, but also know we don't have to cover old ground before we tackle the new. For some writers, that newness was the space to be as angry or as hurt or as joyous about the queer experience as they dared. But for others, it's the freedom to write something that's not necessarily about being queer, but just about being. Queerness is not some monolith of experience, or a genre, or a zeitgeist - it's here, and it's now, and it's us. It's been thrilling to bring together a collection that's as varied and weird and incomparable as the real thing.”

Pre-order your copy.

Meet the contributors

Editors: Michael Lee Richardson, Ryan Vance

Contributors: Alice Tarbuck, Andrés Ordorica, April Hill, AR Crow, Bibi June, BD Owens, Callum Harper, Christina Neuwirth, Ciara Maguire, Elaine Gallagher, Elva Hills, Eris Young, Etzali Hernández, Felicity Anderson-Nathan, Freddie Alexander, Garry Mac, Gray Crosbie, Harry Josephine Giles, Heather Parry, Heather Valentine, Jack Bigglestone, Jane Flett, Jay G Ying, Jay Whittaker, Jonathan Bay, Jo Clifford, Kirsty Logan, Laura Waddell, Lori England, MJ Brocklebank, Rachel Plummer, Ross Jamieson, Sandra Alland, Shane Strachan, Zoe Storrie.

You can read more about them here.