Review: “Truth and other related works” by the Creative Writing Society

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Completed just before the dreaded second semester essays and exams looms, Truth and other related works, a fanzine showcasing the work of the Creative Writing Society, is a dynamic representation of over 20 pieces of student literature. The zine is a great format for the job and a digital archive will follow shortly thereafter.

A remarkable short story is “It’s Just the Shape of My Land” by Jack Greeney, full of conspiracy theories and outlines. Based on a conversation between Winstone, the protagonist, and The Agent, it could effectively be converted into a two-act play, and many of its details lend themselves to the scene.

Speaking of visuals, throughout the zine, photographs of Manchester and the surrounding area are interwoven with the written work. I was particularly struck by the images of Manchester by Harley Weng U Pun, in particular “The Towers, Owen Park”.

A similar cinematic technique is employed in Lena Horak’s poem “Somewhere Else”: “Cut. Has a scene where the sand is the witness’. The poem oscillates between the image of the desert and “a sea that cannot let go of the shore”.

Now, for a quick look at a few other pieces: The Ellen Garard story “Three Months Before Her Departure” is about the “parody of romance,” a sickly attempt at seduction into a tired marriage filled with concise sentences, by example: “with all the realism of laughing in a box”.

‘Mandala’ by Youssef (Yassin) Abdelwahab is a rhymed poem, loosely based on the structure of a sonnet. My favorite line is “Their names are carved on stones while ours endure the sand,” which captures the common emotion of fragility and its connection to heritage in this poem.

Adam Collinge’s poem “The Regimen” captures the everyday nature of the routine that positively impacts addiction breaking through subtle yet touching details such as a “One to Large T-Shirt / Size”.

The zine begins with a preface by the President of the Creative Writing Society, Toreh O’Garro, and ends with one of his poems “Sonnet 4: Silent Oh’s”. And it is clear from the quality of the zine, that O’Garro has led the company in the right direction.

The zine launched at HOME on May 3, with live reads by a wide range of zine writers. It was a beautiful evening of literature and it was great to see the zine in the world read aloud. And of course a big thumbs up to the zine editors Calvin Cheng, Adrian Kanyoli and Toreh O’Garro, who clearly worked hard to make all of these pieces shine.


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