“File:Yukiya Amano with Boris Johnson in London — 2018 (41099455635) (cropped).jpg” by Foreign and Commonwealth Office is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

A response in poetry

Dear fellow white people,

I get it. I do. When Black Lives Matter started in 2013 I didn’t understand it either.

Surely, I thought, all lives matter?

I worked in a very diverse school, which I loved. I abhorred racism, misogyny, homophobia… I believed in equality. I believed we lived in an equal society. There were positive signs of equality from across the Atlantic as well, with the swearing-in of the first African-American president, Barak Obama in January 2013. I thought we all had the same chances in life.

Back in 2013, I admit I probably would have said “all lives matter” as if…

How the UK government and press are using war-time messaging and the past tense to get Britain back to work

It’s eight weeks into the UK lockdown and deaths in the UK are officially approaching 35,000 (not counting those who died at home or without being tested, leading some to place the death toll closer to fifty thousand). The number of deaths are usually over four hundred a day and it has been around that number for weeks, showing the UK is still battling with huge numbers of infection and death despite being on lockdown for two months. The virus is still actively spreading (almost a quarter of a million UK residents have been infected so far).

Huge numbers of…

How using the places around you can inspire fiction

When I applied for my MA in Creative Writing almost twenty years ago, a portfolio of work had to be included. This could be fiction (excerpts of a longer piece or short stories), poetry or plays. I wasn’t much of a short story writer at that point and had given up poetry. I may have submitted a play, but I definitely submitted part of a novel I was working on. I remember this clearly because of the advice I received in response. It has stayed with me, although I didn’t always follow it.

The novel was nothing special, in fact…

From Friday the 13th to date.

The aim of this list is to document all the lies told during the election campaign and exposed since. If you know of any I’ve missed please leave a comment. Let’s hold this government accountable.

  1. Ian Levy, newly elected Conservative MP for Blyth Valley, stated across social media during the election campaign “I have worked for 30 years as a mental health nurse with the NHS so have a good understanding of the problems involving the local community” and “As an NHS nurse myself, I am immensely proud of the investment by our Conservative…

How the Tories have spent the last three years using Universal Credit to slaughter and degrade the neediest in society

I’m not going to tell you how I voted in the 2016 referendum. I’m not going to tell you how I feel now and whether those feelings have changed from three years previous. What I am going to tell you about what our politicians don’t want you to know, about the very real issues affecting hundreds of thousands of British citizens and residents which have been directly caused by their policies and hidden by Brexit stealing the headlines for three years. …

So why do we still live in a culture where rape is seen and spoken of as if it is?

A friend went to the Foundling Museum in London recently and, without giving away too much of the detail that was confided to her, she met an elderly woman whose birth mother had been a vulnerable child and had been raped, leading to the elderly lady’s conception. Immediately, I felt a flare of rage within me against all men because men are the perpetrators of this crime. In the UK, rape is defined legally as unwanted penetration of a person with a penis. Only men have penises. Only men can rape.

As soon as I felt this feeling of rage…

Why academies are bleeding the budget dry and why all schools should be brought back under Local Authority management

When I tell people I will never work in an academy school, they are confused. This was a huge talking point when the government (temporarily, as it turned out) declared all schools were to become academies by 2020. People were mystified that I would throw away my career rather than be part of the academy system.


Most of this confusion arises from the fact many people are unaware there are any differences between local authority schools and academies. This is not just in the way they are funded, but that is often the only difference people are aware of. Local…

There are many things you need to consider when writing historical fiction; it has peculiarities unique to the genre (see How to deal with Historical Research). Language is one of these. Your reader wants to believe they have been transported to the past and the language you use is how they move through time into your chosen era.

People in the past did not speak as we do. Native tongues differed (and there were more languages spoken than today) and even those who spoke the same natal tongue often could not understand each other as dialects were much more diverse…

When I was a teenager, I was mocked for three particular features: large lips, a big bum and a complete inability to tan. I used to wear large (in slimming black, naturally) t shirts to try and cover my bum. My lips I could do nothing about. Getting likened to Mick Jagger was just something I had to live with. Likewise, my skin burned in the smallest amount of sun so I had to remain either pale or face the health risks of lobster-red.

Red by Asja Boros

It was miserable starting to hate your body so young and I was not the only teenager being taught to hate what nature and genetics had given me. Many of my female friends made themselves sick, we would walk to and from school talking about it as if it were perfectly normal. The only thing that stopped me making myself sick — and I mean the only thing — was my absolute phobia of vomiting, a fear I still have to this day. We were taught to hate our bodies and analyse them within a millimetre of fat before we were even legal adults.

The physical insults which were hurled at me were all from boys. Every single one. Boys didn’t particularly like me; I didn’t know how to talk to them so I just didn’t. I realise now this made me seem aloof and probably ‘stuck up’. I was just a shy girl who didn’t know how to deal with these boys who were changing from childhood playmates into men. Physical insults never came from fellow girls and since I didn’t always have a particularly pleasant circle at friends in entirety, who never hesitated to find flaw with my personality or even family…

EH Walter

EH Walter is a writer who lives in Barnet, north London. Her interests include history, historical fiction, social equality and allotmenting.

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