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23rd May 2019

Review: ‘Truth and Other Associated Works’ by the Creative Writing Society

Urussa Malik reviews the Creative Writing Society’s new zine, ‘Truth and Other Associated Works’, edited by Calvin Cheng, Adrian Kanyoli, and Toreh O’Garro
Review: ‘Truth and Other Associated Works’ by the Creative Writing Society
Cover Art by Hannah Teeger

Finished just before the dreaded second semester essays and exams loom, Truth and Other Associated Works, a zine 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 work and a digital archive will follow soon after.

One standout short story is ‘That’s Just the Shape of My Earth’ by Jack Greeney, full of conspiracy theories and great one-liners. Based around 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 stage.

Speaking of visuals, throughout the zine, photographs of Manchester and surrounding areas are interweaved with the written work. I was particularly struck by Harley Weng U Pun’s head-turning images of Manchester, especially ‘The Towers, Owen Park’.

A similar cinematic technique is employed in Lena Horak’s poem ‘Somewhere Else’: ‘Cut. To a scene where the sand is the witness’. The poem moves between the image of the desert and ‘a sea that can’t let go of the shore’.

Now, for a quick run-through of some other pieces: Ellen Garard’s story ‘Three Months Before He Left’ is about the ‘parody of romance’, an ailing attempt at seduction in a tired marriage filled with concise phrases, for example, ‘with all the realism of canned laughter’.

‘Mandala’ by Youssef (Yassin) Abdelwahab is a rhyming poem, loosely based around the structure of a sonnet. My favourite line is ‘Their names are carved on stones while ours endure the sand’ which captures the running emotion of fragility and its connection to legacy in this poem.

Adam Collinge’s poem ‘The Regimen’ captures the quotidian nature of routine which impacts positively on breaking from an addiction through subtle but affecting details like a ‘T-shirt / one size to big’.

The zine begins with a foreword by Chair 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 society in a good direction.

The zine was launched at HOME on the 3rd of May, with live readings by the zine’s wide-range of writers. It was a lovely evening of literature and was great to see the zine out in the world, read aloud. And of course there needs to be a big shout out to the editors of the zine, Calvin Cheng, Adrian Kanyoli and Toreh O’Garro, who have clearly worked hard to make all these pieces really shine.

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