Friday 1 March 2019
Review by Hilary Hares of "Family Matters: An Anthology of New Writing," edited by Fiona Linday
As Michael Attenborough, CBE, says in the Foreword to this slim volume, ‘our basic human right to communicate with one another lies at the centre of what humanizes and civilizes us.’ The Family Matters project in Leicester sought to facilitate this goal by promoting previously unpublished writers and stripping away barriers to communication.
In a series of workshops, around twenty local participants were encouraged by studying the work of established writers, sharing writing tips and practising techniques to hone their skills. The result is a colourful mix of short stories and poems pulled together through the common link of family – a topic which means such different things to all of us. Here it has been tackled in a variety of ways – from what’s putting a daughter off her food to the trials and tribulations of a family of bricks!
Collaborative efforts can sometimes result in an ill-matched hotch-potch but this one reads as a cohesive whole. Despite the inexperience of these new voices, what strikes me is their confidence and enthusiasm to bring their chosen subject matter to life on the page. I am equally impressed by the colloquial tone which runs throughout. Nothing tries too hard but is delivered with a light touch which still pays meticulous attention to craft and detail.
These writers have clearly been guided by skilful hands and the joy of communicating really shines through in every contribution. Here’s hoping this experience will give them the encouragement they need to expand and develop their talents even further.
About the Reviewer
Hilary Hares lives in Farnham, Surrey, and spent nearly thirty years using the power of words to raise money for charity. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Manchester Metropolitan University and her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon, is sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.