May I introduce Beryl Belsky…
Let me state from the outset that I am first a professional editor and only second a writer. Therefore, while the anthology I am promoting, A Certain Kind of Freedom: Stories and Poems from The Writer’s Drawer, was compiled and edited by me, and I feel very much that it is “my” book, I did not write it! All 33 talented contributors that feature in the volume are the ones that filled it with substance.
But let’s start at the beginning, at “The Writer’s Drawer” mentioned in the subtitle of the book. I admire authors and especially empathize with struggling, insecure writers. I therefore decided to build a website to showcase the latter, in particular – those that have had to contend with numerous rejections or just write for the drawer, but might, with a little encouragement, air one or two of their creative pieces.
In February 2012 I launched , which I defined generally as a showcase for “shy” or “drawer” writers. It began slowly, with a poem from a colleague here, and an essay from a retiree there. But quite quickly I realized I needed to offer something unique. What could I provide that most other creative sites didn’t? Well, it was obvious: since I’m a professional editor – free editing support for submissions.
After that, stories, essays and poems from all over the world began to trickle in, many of them from non-native English speakers who write in English but need help with refining their work.
A little later, I re-characterized the website as both an intercultural and a literary showcase, because of its international character and the high standard of some of the submissions I was receiving.
About a year after I launched , I began wondering how I could get some of the talented writers posted there greater exposure. And the idea came to me: I’d publish an anthology of the best and most interesting pieces. And so, A Certain Kind of Freedom: Stories and Poems from The Writer’s Drawer was conceived and eventually born. The title derives from the first story in the book, the riveting and highly praised “A Certain Kind of Freedom,” by Canadian writer Susan Rodgers.
Since the website includes various writing genres, the anthology is divided into broad sections of Short Fiction, Stories from Life, and Poetry. The writers, who range in age from a 10-year-old child to seniors in their 80s, come from almost all corners of world: Australasia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. The short stories cover the gamut from romance, humor and folklore to paranormal and science fiction. The Stories from Life, on the other hand, give some fascinating glimpses into countries and cultures most of us know little about: a girls’ day out in Iran, for example, or the fate of a woman in India who was prevented from living in the marital home of her new husband after the family discovered her secret. Other Stories from Life focus on universal themes: a mother from Israel expressing her feelings of disappointment and sadness after the break-up of her late-30s daughter and her partner is a story mothers in many places can identify with. The last section of the anthology contains a variety of poetry, including haiku and other Far Eastern style poems.
The book was released on November 22, 2013,and is available at , and various other outlets. Hopefully, the proceeds will help me to continue the website and publish another anthology in The Writer’s Drawer Book Series at the end of 2014 (deadline for submissions, 15 September 2014). Above all, though, I feel that the writers included in it deserve the widest possible exposure so that people can appreciate their talent.
You can meet some of the contributors to the anthology in a series of guest blogs they will be writing over the next couple of months. View the first ones at The Writer’s Drawer Blog. Submit your own creative writing to the website, and you yourself will be eligible for inclusion in the next anthology.
Anthology available at:
Writer’s Drawer Book Series: http://www.thewritersdrawer.net/writers-drawer-book-project.html