Desiree Writes

Working with a publisher

When I think about my publishing journey, I’m not sure I recognise myself now.

Choose your publisher after doing a lot of research. Read submission guidelines over and over. Look at who they have already published. Does their ethos align with yours?

Like most new authors I published with a sense of true fear. I found myself at a friend’s house crying my eyes out. It wasn’t a sense of loss, that I was letting go of the thing that had framed my life, but a sense of letting in. I felt I had exposed myself to all the world and in turn the world would rush at me and judge me to be a bad writer. Of course, no such thing has happened. But when you press send something does change forever. Once the manuscript was done or what I felt was done, I sent it out. I got rejections. And then saw a new scheme being advertised.

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Book Of Sheffield, Born On Sunday, Silent.

Book Of Sheffield, Born On Sunday, Silent.

   “Born on Sunday, Silent”, a short  story in “The Book Of Sheffield” published by Comma Press. The story of a child spirit that wonders through Sheffield’s libraries and archives uncovering her own past.   “I fell in love with myself from early on. I fell in love with my name….Kai Akosua Mansah. Do not forget or get it wrong. It tires me me, this casual wrongness, this no need for correction.”   By Wasafiri Editor on December 16, 2019  “Sheffield certainly provides rich pickings for writers, as is clear from the ten wonderfully different stories which make up this book. The cemetery is the evocative backdrop for ‘Born on Sunday, Silent’, Désirée Reynolds’s powerful story of the unmarked grave of an African child dating from the early 1900s, and the city’s shameful collusion in a racist and imperial past”.     Book Review: The Book of Sheffield “Stories and experiences can lie hidden for all kinds of reasons, and Désirée Reynolds – not an occupant of Sheffield’s past, but of its current generation – digs for a life whose history was deliberately concealed. In Born on Sunday, Silent, she leads an enquiring spirit called Kai Akosua Mansah on a search for lost truths but finds that even Sheffield’s own archives don’t necessarily reveal the full tale.” “Looking for Sheffield’s past was not easy,” she writes. “The things that get left out tell a story all of their own.”   Available From...

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Article For The Racial Justice Network Charter Flights Crime

Charter Flights...

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Article For The Racial Justice Network Let Go Of The Baby

Let Go of The...

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Babylon Awards

Babylon Awards

  “Babylon Awards”.   Been thinking a lot, this time of year does it to you. Years gone, years to come, Queens speeches and golden pianos and then the list… I often wondered what it would be like to refuse an OBE or MBE? I couldn’t accept something with the word ‘Empire’ in it. And I still feel as though it’s a misunderstood, harmful and desperately out of touch word that means one thing to one people and another to the people that suffered empire. Because that is what it means. Deep sufferation, death and brutality, erasure and enforced silences, military and otherwise, torture and land grabs. The past has always been a commodity, repackaged and rebranded, conveniently omitting the continued harm and trauma of empire. Empire means that only certain peoples were allowed the status of human, that the imagined difference made it right to subjugate the ‘other’. Empire continues to mean that lack of recognition. Reading what others think of being offered an MBE or OBE, listening to them feeling like it’s a reflection of our ancestors sacrifice I couldn’t disagree more. We pick and choose which parts of history to reflect on and which parts we want to acknowledge.   Yet more articles that the mainstream media seem so happy to push out by high profile Black personalities defending their acceptance of an award, two in the last week and to my knowledge none countering that stance. Funny that. Is accepting an award one in the eye for Racism? It depends on what definition of Racism you choose to adhere to. Racism, as a huge pervasive structure cannot be tackled just by representation, when we understand that representation is ineffective, hollow and based on unhealthy ideals that are discriminatory. Representation, doled out by oppressive powers can also be easily manipulated, controlled and used as a way to justify the shutting down of any critique about Racism because look, we’re on tv or in a film or writing a piece for The Guardian. But like “Highlander”, there can usually only be one and that one has to represent ALL. We don’t ask this of whiteness. And crucially by taking a component of Racism, like the lack of representation, ends up leaving out huge parts of experience and knowledge that lead to continued and maintained silences, a complete lack of ‘intersectionality’ (shudder), ignorance and ultimately failure. It’s the system that needs to change and the change comes from collective work, not individuals that might like something on the mantelpiece. The Black celebs have felt it necessary and are lucky enough to be given a platform to lay out their carefully considered reasonings for accepting an award.  That accepting them somehow highlights the issues that Black and Brown diasporic peoples have to deal with in this country. (Highlighting to whom? Most of us know) But them not accepting an award, as others have done and laying out their reasons as to why they haven’t could also highlight those issues. There is more than one way to look at a crown. My Grandad proudly proclaimed that he didn’t come on no boat, he came by plane, because England needed him to drive a bus. This generation were the first to encounter British racism on mass, the writings of Sam Selvon illustrate the shock and loneliness of expectations unfulfilled. My Grandad, a man who hated government and bosses, had pictures of the queen on his walls. That cantankerous, loud mouthed, sweary man felt it ok to have the icon of Empire, in his time anyway, in his home, alongside the coloured...

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Salute 21 October Leeds

Salute 21 October Leeds

A part of one of the most iconic moments in sport and race history, silver medallist Peter Norman, from Australia stood beside John Carlos and Tommie Smith as they gave the gloved Black Power Salute during the national anthem. As gestures of silent protests is being reconfigured as signifying attacks on the military and dangerous to state The Racial Justice Network team alongside Leeds Black Film Club, with guests will be hosting the screening of the documentary Salute about Peter Norman followed by discussion and Q and...

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