Eight Cuts – a gallery but not as we know it…

The thinker...walking @ Vecāķi beach, Riga
Image by Grozz via Flickr

eight cuts ‘exists to champion extraordinary literature from people you may never have been given the chance to encounter, be it a single poem, a performance or a body of novels’.

Those of you who know me would probably describe me as fifty-something wife, mother, teacher and writer. I don’t suppose you’d see me as a radical thinker who pushes at convention but I hope you do see my subversive streak – at least occasionally.

 I fear complacency, believe passionately in freedom of speech, hate even a hint of being patronised and like being shocked by the new – heck I even like the Scottish parliament building. If you share these tendencies then I urge you to visit http://eightcuts.wordpress.com without delay – or rather –  immediately after you’ve read the remainder of this post.

If you care about reading, writing, access to the arts and freedom in all things creative then you must read the eight cuts blog – also hosted by the wonderful platform that is wordpress.

I was alerted to the existence of the amazingness that is eight cuts by Jane Dixon-Smith, my editor at Words with Jam http://www.wordswithjam.co.uk – the bi-monthly FREE e-zine for writers, to which I contribute.

The eight cuts concept is radical, original and refreshing. It’s almost too big to describe and do it justice. In the words of its creator, Dan Holloway, ‘it’s a space to bring writers to readers and readers to writers in the most exciting way possible’. As to what it’s not – again in Holloway’s words –‘ it’s not a group, collective or publisher’.

Your best way in would be to read the manifesto on the eight cuts blog. BUT I must warn you to make sure you’re home alone when you do so as your shouts of Yes! Oh Yes!! Ohhh Yes !!! will otherwise get you some strange looks.

The space is a doorway to an artistic world that other gatekeepers such as commercial publishers don’t allow access to. Going through the doorway is to set off on a magical tour.

This is a gallery of wonderful works to explore. The latest venture is the gallery press which is about to release two first editions – ‘Charcoal’ by Oli Johns and ‘Deadbeat’ by Cody James. I plan to review at least one of them in a future post. I’ve already read the first chapter of the Johns book and I’m totally hooked by its originality of voice and content.

And most exciting and radical of all is the Christopher Al-Aswad prize – an award sponsored and organised by the site. See the details at http://eightcuts.wordpress.com/eight-cuts-prize/ This award is to honour ‘the person, organisation, website, community, whatever that has done most to promote brilliance, diversity, and the breaking down of barriers in literature over the preceding twelve months’. It is done ‘in the name of christopher al-aswad, one of the most brilliant, farsighted, innovative, generous, and supportive people in the arts. christopher, the genius behind escape into life, one of the most wonderful places in cyberspace, died in july 2010 at the age of just 31’.

I also plan to do  a piece on the recipient of the award after the announcement on October 1st. But I get the feeling that all the nominees will benefit just by being nominated.

And if you facebook, blog or tweet please consider publicising this wonderful, courageous and above all optimistic venture.

2 thoughts on “Eight Cuts – a gallery but not as we know it…

  1. Anne, thank you so much for this generous piece. We are running in-depth profiles of all shortlist nominations for the Chris Al-Aswad Prize through September on our blog, beginning tomorrow with sad red earth, an extraordinary project that documents in words and images the culture of modern Native Americans. We are also running similar pieces on the nominees for our literary award, which began yesterday with The Thomas Stolperer blog – quite simply the best thing on the internet.

    The first exhibition, Into the Desert, opens on site on October 1st, and contains exhibits of words, art, music and film. During the two week run there will also be live events. I hope that a whole world of wonderfulness will open up along with the exhibition – the submissions we’ve had have ranged from the tranquil and traditional to the inexplicable and unwatchable, and have confirmed what I had hoped – that it is impossible to capture the true potential of all our stories in something so fixed as an anthology.

    Thank you so much for your kind words about Oli. For those who don’t know him, Oli lives in Hong Kong, where he produces Gupter Puncher, an extraordinary website and a magazine that he hands out for free on the streets and in the cafes and posts to London, Toronto and New York to be given away for free there. He is troubled, inciteful, very very funny, utterly brilliant and, it is a genuine pleasure to say, moving to the UK this winter.

    Thank you so much for your kindness – I have added your link to the contributors for Chris’ prize. If anyone reaing this does nothing else, please visit http://www.escapeintolife.com and see just why around two hundred people from twitter wrote individual tributes in the mmorial book after his tragic death, and the extraordinary way in which he directly touched the lives of 2500 writers and artists for the better in just one year.

    Oh, and we will shortly be accepting submissions for our next exhibition, Once Upon a Time in a Gallery, and are continuously accepting submissions for books. Do take a look round the site, and the sites we recommend on a daily basis to see if you think your work would fit.


  2. Dan, you are very welcome and thank you for all the info you include in your comments above.

    I’ve read the profile you’ve done on sad red earth. it’s an admirable and engaging body of work that the project’s two creators have put together. I saw some parallels with the work that goes on in connection with preserving Gaelic language and culture.

    If this is the standard of all the nominees than I’m glad it’s not me who has to decide who gets the award. 🙂

    I’m in the process of getting to know the site – there’s a lot to it and thanks for the heads up on the coming exhibition.

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