Foundation of the ‘Literacy Pirates’ Anthology

Inside the Literacy Pirates organisation

‘A Ten-Year Voyage’, insight from inside the Hackney pirate ship.

As part of Roehampton University’s collaboration with Literacy Pirates, the students involved in creating the charity’s ten-year anniversary anthology were welcomed aboard the Hackney ship, to meet the crew and get a sense of what goes on underneath the deck.

From the first steps into the building on Kingsland High, one can see the effort and dedication that the pirate crew put into creating this safe space for children. The wooden barrel-like walls with full bookshelves, the velvet curtain that leads you further into the ‘ship’, the book inspired staircase and the aquarium that hosts a golden fish, all contribute to the magical atmosphere of the place.

Considering the practical side, the Literacy Pirates’ teaching materials can be seen all around, from books to guides and writing prompts, all neatly organised on desks, awaiting volunteers to hand them out and children to use them. The charity aims to improve literacy among children aged from approximately nine to twelve, through creative writing exercises and projects, that they later have the opportunity to see in print. 

The impressive amount of books published by the Literacy Pirates until now includes a variety of genres and formats, worth mentioning is a play and a comic book. The books’ content is as diverse as the authors are, the stories revealing children from all over the world, united because of the sessions they attend with the pirates. Literacy Pirates provides them not only with a space where they learn how to express themselves in writing, and where reading is promoted but also with a space where they can learn from each other and discover new cultures.

Both the magical atmosphere of a ship with bookish Pirates, and the educational and creative activities held there, make the Hackney office a reflection of the charity’s spirit and goals. Pauline Rolland, Sarah Newman, Isha Gadgil, Teodora Hociung and Zuzanna Majkowska hope that their enthusiasm and belief in this project will also be felt in the ten-year anthology that they put together, because more children should get the chance to walk in through the Pirates’ doors and step into the fantastical world of stories.

Production of the ‘Literacy Pirates’ Anthology

Front cover of the anthology

Back in 2011, a teacher in North London came to the realisation that some of her students needed more help and support beyond what their respective schools could provide. Hence, after proposing a pilot project with the local charity ‘Bootstrap Company’, Catriona Maclay founded ‘The Hackney Pirates’, which today is proudly known as the non-profit organization, The Literacy Pirates. 

The Literacy Pirates is a teachers’ community who believes every child should be successful in learning which they achieve by providing them extra support to improve their learning abilities. They work with children aged from 9-12 years and provide them guidance on reading and creative writing activities. The children’s written work is then published in books, films as well as audio projects.

After a decade of perseverance, Literacy Pirates, in collaboration with the University of Roehampton’s very own Fincham Press, decided to do an anthology which highlights the hard work of the organisation and its children.

From the MA Publishing programme, Pauline Rolland, Sarah Newman, Teodora Hociung, Zuzanna Majkowska and Isha Gadgil have put their heart and soul into this project and put together the anthology with the kindest help from Izzy Taylor, Communications Manager at the Literacy Pirates and Dr. Susan Greenberg, convener of MA Publishing at the University of Roehampton. 

The anthology is called ‘A Ten-Year Voyage’. It is divided into three sections. ‘A Trip Around the World’ is based on the celebration of diversity among these children who love to celebrate various festivals in various countries around the world. ‘A Journey Through Imagination’ is the section that features stories when these young children flexed their creative and imaginary boundaries with fictional stories to tell the world. The last section is named ‘A Virtual Ship’ which focuses on how the Pirates worked when the world was hit by the pandemic storm and the United Kingdom was on lockdown. 

The cover design of the anthology is designed by Sarah Newman. The sections were divided among Isha, Pauline and Zuzanna, and the developmental editing has been worked on by Teodora. All the five members of the team have worked hard on this project, and they have put together the anthology to cherish the brilliant work put up by the Literacy Pirates and their children. 

The Age Between in Translation

Aidan Chambers’ personal reflections on youth fiction are now available to Dutch and Italian readers

Tussentijd: over het schrijven voor jongeren 
(In the Meantime: on writing for young people) is translated by Joke Linders and published by Schaep14
L’età sospesa. Dalla letteratura young adult alla youth fiction: riflessioni sulla letteratura giovanile 
(The Suspended Age: from young adult literature to youth fiction: reflections on youth literature) is translated by Gabriela Zucchini and published by Equilibri 

Anthologies – What are they good for? The answer is, quite a lot

The panel discussion from our Hidden Treasures double-book launch, featuring Clare Bogen and Giselle Leeb, can now be watched in full online.

The discussion gives witness to the process of creating an anthology, as a publisher and editor, and the author’s experience of being published in one. In just half an hour it manages to combine these different points of view while also tackling the need to bring more diverse voices into the publishing industry.

The panel was part of the May 25 launch event for the two latest Fincham Press student anthologies, The Box and All That Glitters. It was moderated by Odhran O’Donoghue, a Roehampton PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing.

Clare Bogen is the founding editor of 3 of Cups press, which started in 2017 in the hopes of creating a more equal literary landscape. 3 of Cups have released four anthologies of short stories and creative non-fiction, and are currently working on a poetry anthology to be released later this year. Clare is also the publicity director at Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Giselle Leeb grew up in South Africa and lives in Nottingham. Her short stories have appeared in over forty publications, including Best British Short Stories 2017 (Salt), Ambit, Mslexia, The Lonely Crowd, Litro, and Black Static. She has been placed or shortlisted in competitions including the Ambit, Bridport and Mslexia prizes. She is an assistant editor at Reckoning Journal and a Word Factory Apprentice Award winner 2019, and was recently chosen to attend the David Higham Associates New Writers’ open week. Her story, ‘Scaffolding’, is forthcoming in MAINSTREAM, an anthology of stories from the edges, from Inkandescent.

You can purchase copies of All That Glitters and The Box separately for £8 each, or get them both in our special Hidden Treasures book deal of two for £12.

Recap: Hidden Treasures Book Launch

Fincham Press capped a series of online events with a panel discussion on May 25, to mark the release of our two latest student anthologies, The Box and All That Glitters.

The panel discussion, focusing on the importance of anthologies for authors and publishers, featured guest speakers Clare Bogen and Giselle Leeb, and was moderated by Odhran O’Donoghue, a research student at Roehampton and part of the book launch team.

‘We’re always happy when we can put a new book out into the world, but especially this year, after all the obstacles,’ said Susan Greenberg, Senior Lecturer at Roehampton and Publisher of Fincham Press, who led the event team.

Clare Bogen is the founding editor of 3 of Cups press, which has released four anthologies of short stories and creative nonfiction and is currently working on a poetry anthology, to be released later this year. Giselle Leeb is an author whose work has appeared in over 40 publications. Her story ‘Scaffolding’ is forthcoming in Mainstream, an anthology of stories from the edges, from Inkandescent.

Clare and Giselle brought their thoughts on how to bring more voices into the publishing industry and the process of writing for an anthology. We also heard an excellent debate about the pros and cons of publishing an anthology, which collects the work of different authors, compared to something written by a single author.

The evening was topped and tailed by readings from the two books. Cleo Thomas began with her creative nonfiction piece ‘W-Oh Men O Pause’ and Lisa Gaultier read her short story ‘La Grosse Flora’. Closing the event, Katie Oliver gave a reading of the title story ‘All That Glitters’ and Wilma Lång the flash fiction ‘The Houseboat’. All four pieces are from All That Glitters. Readings from The Box can be accessed as videos from our Linktree page.

Thanks to all who attended and spoke at the event, and to team members Odhran, Jessie Hedstrom, and Angelos Drakopoulos, who worked hard to put the launch together. Special shout-out to Susan for putting the team together and for all of her efforts to make this launch happen after Covid delayed the initial launch.

You can purchase copies of All That Glitters and The Box separately for £8 each, or get them both in our special Hidden Treasures book deal of two for £12.

Jessica Still reads her poem “A Declaration Of Love For Hips” featured in Fincham Press student anthology “The Box”

In preparation for the upcoming Hidden Treasures book launch of Fincham Press’s two student anthologies, The Box and All That Glitters, students whose work is featured in the anthologies read their work.

Jessica Still reads her poem A Declaration Of Love For Hips from Roehampton University’s sixth creative writing student anthology The Box. 

Jessica is a writer and body-positivity advocate from London. She has previously been published in Roehampton’s Speechless anthology and enjoys writing about hips and tummies, mental health, and her cat, Joey. She believes all bodies are good bodies. You can find her on Instagram at @je.ssicas.

Get your ticket to attend the upcoming free double book launch event of The Box and our newest anthology All That Glitters.

Or order your copy of The Box now.

Katie Oliver reads her short story “All That Glitters” featured in Fincham Press student anthology “All That Glitters”

In preparation for the upcoming Hidden Treasures book launch of Fincham Press’s two student anthologies, The Box and All That Glitters, students whose work is featured in the anthologies read their work.

Katie Oliver reads her short story “All That Glitters” from Roehampton University’s seventh creative writing student anthology, All That Glitters.

Katie studied MA Children’s Literature. She is a short fiction enthusiast and has been shortlisted for the Bridgeport Prize and the Bath Flash Award, with further work published by Funny Pearls and Popshot Quarterly. Her short story, TimeOut, features in the 2019 Fincham Press anthology The Box. She is working on a short story collection and can be found on twitter under @katie_rose_o.

Get your ticket to attend the upcoming free double book launch event of The Box and our newest anthology All That Glitters.

Or order your copy of All That Glitters now.

Wilma Lång reads her flash fiction “The Houseboat” featured in Fincham Press student anthology “All That Glitters”

In preparation for the upcoming Hidden Treasures book launch of Fincham Press’s two student anthologies, The Box and All That Glitters, students whose work is featured in the anthologies read their work.

Wilma Lång reads her flash fiction “The Houseboat” from Roehampton University’s seventh creative writing student anthology All That Glitters.

Wilma is a Finnish writer, who spent the first nine years of her life in Sheveningen, The Netherlands, and the rest in London. “The Houseboat” is a love letter to home.

Get your ticket to attend the upcoming free double book launch event of The Box and our newest anthology All That Glitters.

Or order your copy of All That Glitters now.

Veslemøy Stavdahl reads her short story “Goodsprings” featured in Fincham Press student anthology “The Box”

In preparation for the upcoming Hidden Treasures book launch of Fincham Press’s two student anthologies, The Box and All That Glitters, students whose work is featured in the anthologies read their work.

Veslemøy Stavdahl reads her short story “Goodsprings” from Roehampton University’s sixth creative writing student anthology The Box. 

Veslemøy loves writing stories that don’t make sense to her until they are finished (sometimes not even then). She is interested in strange behaviour and has a habit of infusing her stories with magical elements. She is twice published by Fincham Press and is honoured to have been chosen for this anthology as well.

Get your ticket to attend the upcoming free double book launch event of The Box and our newest anthology All That Glitters.

Or order your copy of The Box now.