On 26th August, 2018 an exciting new book was released. Written by the Anti-Austerity Collective and edited by Rupert Dreyfus, Mike Robbins and Harry Whitewolf, The Anti-Austerity Anthology is a collection of short stories, poetry and essays agitating against austerity. ALL proceeds from sales will go to food banks.
The foreword is by the renowned Steve Topple, who somehow manages to condense into a few pages everything he know about austerity, which is a pretty mean achievement because he knows so much, as Canary readers will know. It's a powerful, eye-opening start to the book.
There are poems from writers:
Ruth F Hunt
Ford Dagenham and
Harry Whitewolf. (Harry also has an Amazon author page which you can find here.)
If you have any preconceived ideas about poetry being a bit flowery or not suited to such a horrific ideology as austerity, STOP RIGHT THERE. The poetry from these authors is mostly brutal and angry but at the same time filled with pathos. Poetry that strips austerity, Brexit, racism, ableism down to the naked truth and uses imagery that prose can't quite emulate to shine a spotlight on the harshness and inequality of life in Britain today.
There are short stories from:
Riya Anne Polcastro (Amazon author page here)
Riya's story is a stark warning from across the pond, where austerity is mixed with an even worse welfare state and no NHS.
Rebecca Gransden (WordPress here; Amazon author page here)
Rebecca's first story is about something many of you will recognise but I can't describe it without spoilers! Something is sucking the lifeblood out of people but what could it be?
Her second story is heart rending, about those left behind when people fall through the cracks. *Warning: Your eyes might leak*
Chris Harrison writes an intriguing story about a bet, with unexpected outcomes.
Leo X Robertson (Amazon author page here) writes with vitriol to start with, a story (for me anyway) about the power of poetry.
An extract from a novel by Ruth F Hunt about attitudes towards disabled and other people on benefits.
Mary Papastavrou (Amazon author page here) writes about a dystopian future born from the seeds of austerity.
Rupert Dreyfus (website here; Amazon author page here)
As in all his books, always agitating for change, Rupert sticks up two fingers - possibly one - at the establishment.
Harry Whitewolf's contribution is about a word tax, which as you read it becomes less and less inconceivable! (Amazon author page here)
There is a compelling essay from Mike Robbins (blog here) where he argues
... that what lies behind benefit sanctions is the urge to punish, and that this is part of a broader sickness in British society. That sickness is bullying."
Interspersing these pieces are:
--- Green's Vacuous Vacancies ---
works of satirical mastery by Jay Spencer Green (website here; Amazon author page here).
This book is the unmissable book of 2018. Never mind all those books on Trump or whatever else you've been reading! This book is iconic in it's mix of authors and styles, in their determination to slay the monster that is austerity, leaving no shadowy excuses behind which it can hide. It is a potent example of how the arts can agitate for change. It also works towards improving the lot of people struggling under such a cruel regime, by donating the proceeds to food bank charities.
I have bought the Kindle version and paperback version. I bought the paperback after reading the Kindle because I wanted something physical to hold - a tangible memento of when things started to change for the better through the power of a collective.