Christmas countdown: in conversation with Raymond Antrobus

Blog / Tom Chivers

In the lead-up to Christmas we’ve decided to give our readers an exclusive insight into some of the inspirational books we’ve published this year. Each week, Sales and Marketing Coordinator Bex Shorunke will be quizzing your favourite authors on their motivations and writing tips.

Today’s interview is with the highly acclaimed Raymond Antrobus, whose recent title The Perseverance was selected as the Poetry Book Society Winter Choice 2018. In this powerful debut Raymond intertwines a number of marginalised yet relatable experiences. Among them deafness, mixed-race identity and masculinity in the modern age. Below Raymond speaks on this desire to combine his different identities, the impact of his work on the hearing and deaf communities and the importance of carving your own path.

What were your motivations behind writing The Perseverance?

To write a book that only I could write. A book that fused my different identities and experiences without reducing one part of myself over the other. To work through traumas of a younger version of myself, to lean everything on sound, language (including sign) and speech. To “instruct and inspire” as I heard Kaveh Akbar once say.

What would you like your readers to get out of your book?

I got a few emails this week from readers (both hearing and deaf) that told me it’s made them feel less alone in the world. I often feel quite intense loneliness, so making someone feel less alone is a good thing for me to know.

Thinking about the London’s cultural scene, who are some interesting writers or artists you’ve got your eye on?

That’s tough… Let me mention Phoebe Boswell, a dear friend and also one of my favourite visual artists. She has an exhibition at Iniva in Shoreditch this month. You can find a lot of brilliant London-based artists on the Shades of Noir creative database. Poetry-wise Rachel Long, Rebecca Tamás, Mary Jean Chan, Jay Bernard, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Lowe, Adam Kammerling… how long you got?

What advice would you give to any budding writers?

Read poetry out loud, seek out community, build your own canon rather than the ones prescribed by institutions.

Order your copy of The Perseverance for Christmas and get 20% off while stocks last

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