Whew! It’s now 2020, and I’m back to my regularly scheduled program as a freelance editor. But where the heck was I for most of 2019? Assigned to an amazing project!
In 2017, I pitched an idea to the Director of Renaissance press about an anthology where all the authors would be disabled, in order to elevate their voices, because our representation is often so poorly written in fiction. By the summer of 2018, we were given the okay to post a call for submissions for the Nothing Without Us anthology that fall. The title was inspired from the anthem “Nothing About Us Without Us.”
Stories poured in for co-editor Talia C. Johnson and me to read through. We were specific in saying we wanted protagonists who identified as disabled, Deaf, blind, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who managed mental illness. We ended up with 22 own-voices, multigenre short stories that we simply loved.
Working with a small press meant we needed to crowdfund the project to pay our authors. In April of 2019, we exceeded our goal on Kickstarter, which meant we could pay our contributors professional rates! Talia and I were so thrilled. Nathan Fréchette of Renaissance had been instrumental in the success of it. It’s so nice to have an expert by your side when you’re a crowdfunding noob.
But wow, I had no idea being a co-editor in chief of an anthology was year-long work. From this point forward, if I meet an anthology editor, I think I’ll salute them or bow or something. Still, it was a labour of love, and now Nothing Without Us is available on Kobo (ebook and audiobook), Amazon (ebook and paperback), and of course, from Renaissance (audiobook, e-book, and paperback). It’s also sold at Glad Day Bookshop (499 Church St., Toronto) and will soon be at Another Story bookshop (315 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto).
Being a disabled and neurodiverse author and editor myself, it’s fantastic to meet creatives with similar lived experiences and with other lived experiences, so we can grow in knowledge. The authors of this anthology were also really excited for each other’s stories. We built a little community that’s supportive and accepting.
What a wild and wonderful ride.
And now, back to nurturing the upcoming works of my lovely clients!
Happy new year, everyone! May it bring joy and peace to you.