Seen from Here: Writing in the Lockdown is a collection of stories, flash fiction, poems, autofiction and conceptual writing gathered during the April and May Covid-19 lockdown, bringing together UK-based writers, poets, performance makers and artists.
Published in a PDF format by Unstable Object, an imprint launched by Etchells and Horvat for this occasion, the book is available to buy on a pay-what-you-choose basis, with 100% of proceeds to be donated to the Trussell Trust, a UK food bank charity.
The writing in Seen from Here is extremely diverse – spanning (amongst other things) enigmatic fiction from Will Eaves, Eley Williams, M. John Harrison, Courttia Newland and Fernando Sdrigotti; compelling poetry from Maria Sledmere and Marvin Thompson; powerful autofiction from Lara Pawson, Season Butler and Tony White; prescient language artworks from Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Caroline Bergvall and Andrea Mason; and compelling performance texts from Selina Thompson, Chris Thorpe and Rupert Thomson. While some of the work reflects directly or indirectly on the lockdown experience and the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, other pieces offer glimpses of past events, other realities and fictional landscapes. All but one of the texts included in the collection are previously unpublished and most are newly written, emerging from the isolating state of the lockdown to form a hallucinatory portrait of the concerns, intimate realities and fragile fantasies of the UK in the pandemic zone of 2020.
According to the Trussell Trust website, the period since the start of the pandemic (from the last two weeks of March), has been ‘its network’s busiest ever period, with 81% more emergency food parcels being given out across the UK, including 122% more parcels going to children, compared to the same period in 2019.’
Tim Etchells, co-editor of Seen from Here, said: “Vlatka and I began this project in early April with the idea of putting artistic and literary labour to the benefit of other people, by supporting the amazing work of the Trussell Trust. We’ve been touched by the generosity and inventiveness of the writers and artists we invited, whose different voices and approaches combine to make this book a dynamic and diverse picture of the situation we’re now in.”
Vlatka Horvat added: “We hope that people will buy the book – both for the rich and surprising content, and also to support the Trussell Trust in this moment when poverty and precarity, amplified by government inaction and neglect, are placing vulnerable members of our society under even greater pressure than usual. We’re hopeful that the small gesture of this book can help support those in need.”
Contributors: Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Caroline Bergvall, Aisha Mango Borja, Season Butler, Hester Chillingworth, Augusto Corrieri, Will Eaves, Tim Etchells, Rachel Genn, Chris Goode, M. John Harrison, Vlatka Horvat, Wendy Houstoun, Sophie Jung, Andrea Mason, Harun Morrison, Courttia Newland, Katharine Norbury, Lara Pawson, Deborah Pearson, Fernando Sdrigotti, Maria Sledmere, Marvin Thompson, Selina Thompson, Rupert Thomson, Chris Thorpe, Tony White, Eley Williams, Aaron Williamson, Jacob Wren.
Seen from Here: Writing in the Lockdown is available to buy from the online bookshop Unbound, a Live Art Development Agency initiative.