It’s been years in the making but, finally, we’re here.
Almost as long as there’s been dodgeball at British universities, there’s been talk of “going BUCS”: joining the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) system, the governing body of university level sports within the UK.
When the World Dodgeball Federation (WDBF) announced in March that Patrick Nally was joining the organisation as an advisor, the news was met with great excitement. Words like FIFA, Coca-Cola, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) colour his biography. For many, the fact that someone with such credit to his name would be willing to help dodgeball was a sign of something we’ve been waiting for. Dodgeball is being recognised as a serious sport; a sport worth backing; a sport that has the potential to be something truly great, with just a little guidance from the right person.
The central problem at the core of all pamphlets is space. There’s so little time to build up to anything of substance that many err on the side of caution, opting to tackle a tiny concept in great depth. In Pat Edwards’ Only Blood, however, the subject is the greatest and longest: life, complete and whole. This is a bold decision, one that easily could have floundered. But instead of feeling lacking, the experience of reading the pamphlet is akin to watching a train go by from the platform: you can see individual snippets in each window, each frame showing a complete, succinct image, and then in a flash it’s gone; but the next carriage is still part of the same train, the whole thing connecting seamlessly. Life is short, but deep, made up of tiny moments that define us.
You’ve seen the sweat and post-workout squints on Instagram. You’ve witnessed his jammy catches and powerful throws in that iconic purple jersey. Now meet Simon Tapping – Phantoms coach, captain, founder; England hopeful; lockdown hero and all round great guy – as he sits down with us for an interview.
Parallel translations always bring a certain kind of joy. I have fond memories of reading Pablo Neruda for the first time, original text on the left, English translation on the right. Feeling out the Spanish sounds out loud with no understanding, then checking the following page and finding that sweet intersection, where sound precedes meaning and then adds to it. The musicality of poetry is obvious when you have the two parts of a poem – sound and meaning – separated onto two sides of a page.
Enter Mither Tongue, a collection of translations of the Chinese poet Jidi Majia, and one that I would struggle to call parallel. Perhaps it’s better named triangular translation, three versions of the same poem dancing across the page. Jidi’s original at the back, English on the left by Denis Mair, and a dialect of Scots on the right.
Ryan Dennis is a former Fulbright Scholar in Creative writing, and has taught at several universities. He recently completed a PhD at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His work has been published in a number of journals, including the Cimarron Review, The Threepenny Review, and Fusion. He is also a syndicated columnist in various agricultural journals around the world. His first novel, The Beasts They Turned Away, was published by Époque Press in March 2021, and follows an aging farmer facing adversity as he tries to hold onto both his farm and the young boy he takes care of.
Food: a growing issue. As a cultural foundation and a method of human connectedness, today’s episode discusses food’s prevalence in our reading and writing. Alienor Bombarde is joined by Ruby Martin and Zoë Wells to discuss reading and writing food. Ruby narrates her hilarious experimental piece ‘roadside jam’, while Zoë delves into the intrinsic beauty of breadmaking in 1940s Berlin. Please join us for this second episode of ‘Reading Writers’.
The old man and the young boy, struggling to make their way through an unforgiving environment. It’s a story you’ve heard before, likely read and enjoyed before, but in Ryan Dennis’s debut, The Beasts They Turned Away, everything familiar is made eerily different.
There’s something unnerving about historical fiction that feels like it could have played out just the same today. Though set in a tumultuous Nigeria in the 1980s, Ogadinma’s themes are sadly, infuriatingly, entirely too relevant today. After a rape turns into an unwanted pregnancy, which in turn is resolved with a dangerous and illegal abortion, seventeen-year-old Ogadinma is forced to leave her home in Kano to live with her aunt and uncle in Lagos. This is the preferable outcome, as opposed to some hurried marriage to bury the shame of the situation – because, of course, it is Ogadinma’s shame to carry, not that of her rapist. Lagos in turn represents new ground and opportunities, and a chance to fall in love; but this veneer is rapidly shattered as the many ways men can control women in this society are put on display.