Creative reactions to uncertain times

What's in the book?


Almost all the content is new and published for the first time in this collection. However, a few pieces (marked with an asterisk) have appeared before. This is a partial list of content, with more contributions coming in every day. Visit our twitter account to see more news.

  • April Sunshine by Jackie Kay*
  • Freedom to Write by Lawrence Schimel
  • Going for a Song by Inbali Iserles
  • Pronouns by Lucy Coats
  • Salmon by Andrew Fusek Peters
  • Where are you from? by Iris Anya Abras
  • History by Carol Ann Duffy *
  • We Refugees by Benjamin Zephaniah *
  • Progress by Cathy Butler
  • Why are you Tweeting? By Ros Asquith
  • And I still hear Nina Singing Mississippi Goddam by Alex Wheatle
  • Malala by Michaela Morgan *
  • Seven Billion Candles by Miriam Halahmy
  • by Patrice Aggs

Extracts from the work

Extract from Walking with Wolves by Shahrukh Husain

Original artwork by Jane Ray

‘Keep walking, child,’ Grandfather said. His voice slipped down his lip, like crackling embers, and disappeared into his beard. His eyelids slid shut.

I leaned close. ‘I’ll wait. I’m tired, too.’

‘Go!’ His voice was like a charred stick cracking off the pile of burning things all around us. Then, so softly I could barely hear: ‘You must keep walking.’

‘But where to?’ The fuggy atmosphere inside my lungs, made my voice thick.

‘To a safe place. The militia has destroyed this place.’

‘I don’t know the way.’

Grandfather’s throat gurgled. Its jerky rhythm showed his body would not release his chuckle. ‘Who knows the way?’ he said. ‘Even safe inside our lives and our plans, do we know where we are going?’ His hand reached out and touched my head. ‘How could you a child know. Keep walking until you reach your destination. A country far from war.’

Extract from The Wheels on the Bus by Jonathan Mayhew

Original artwork by Korky Paul

I like buses because of the noise. They rumble up your ears and stop everyone’s voices sounding so loud. I like the oily, dusty smell, too. My favourite bus is the Dennis Trident 2. I’m called Dennis, too. But my middle name isn’t Trident. I asked Dad if it could be but he said I wasn’t being sensible.

A Dennis Trident 2 got blown up by terrorists in London on the seventh of July 2005. I was only one year old then. I think it’s sad that anyone would blow up a bus. When I said that to Dad, he told me about the people on the bus and I felt bad for them too, then.

What I like most about buses, is the numbers on the front. I can tell which buses are which because of the numbers. If you took their numbers off, all buses look the same as each other.

Like people.

Extract from This Is Hell… by Susan Price

Smoke. Clangour. Darkness. Stink. “This is hell,” he said, and the rocket blew him out of the desert and arse over tit.

Why, this is Hell…

With a crump, a clout, he landed on his back. A pause, while the world spun down. When it stilled, he sat up and looked round.

A giant’s gate towered above, gleaming, white, tapering to invisibility. It was shut. But in the big gate, a small gate stood ajar.

The soldier stood and shook himself off. He looked about for his mates, but he was alone — and naked, and his pack and weapons were gone. “Hell,” he said.

…nor am I out of it.

Extract from The Boy Who Didn’t Speak by Alan Gibbons

Original artwork by Jeff Perks

A boy who didn’t speak.

A boy without words.


That is what they said, the survivors.

That isn’t how I remember Ibrahim. That isn’t how I remember my brother. I remember him playing with the other boys in the dust, his smile breaking through the ochre fog hanging over our arid land. I remember his laugh, a sharp cackle like the rasp of a buzzard. From the first light of morning through to the early shadows of dusk, he was a talker all right. He was never short of a story or a joke.