We asked some of our authors the question that has been trending across social media: should 2016 be abolished? Andrew Samuelson of Eye Books summarises their comments.
Before we go local, let’s ponder which famous people might be signing up to join the movement? David Cameron, Hilary Clinton, Matteo Renzi, the England football team, if not the England rugby team…?
So what about our beloved authors here at Eye Books? We posed the question to those who have had a book published this year, thereby expecting gushingly positive responses.
Tess Burrows says this:
“I probably need to reread Soft Courage, Yannick Penguin's book which I penned, to be more aware of the bigger picture of how life's challenges are actually teaching us true values... like compassion, friendship, courage, happiness etc.
Maybe this applies on the world stage too. If political events precipitate millions of people to stand up and shout 'These are my true values!', then they have great purpose. And our Earth will come through the wash well cleansed.
Simon Fenton’s response addressed the sadness but inevitability of death – especially on the context of “all the cool people” who have been dying off this past year. His piece was uplifting and fulsome enough to publish in its entirety; it can be found here.
Abolish 2016? Absolutely not is my reply! While there were tectonic geo-political shifts that fractured and polarised, at a personal level, my experience of 2016 was the complete opposite. It was a year of consolidation and more so, a year with deep personal significance that affirmed and heartened. As an Antipodean author, my first book was published internationally in the UK, courtesy of Eye Books. In Australia, I saw the publication of my second book, an anthology I co-edited featuring true stories of defiance and rebellion from prominent Australian female writers. Professionally, I was acknowledged as one of 100 Australian Women of Influence.
But my most significant achievement is personal. As someone who lives with a mental illness, I made it through another year and did not succumb to the lure of the black dog of depression. My experience of illness has taught me that I cannot take my health for granted. My psychiatrist describes my depression as being in remission. After sustained periods of wellness, I forget about the remission until I hit a road bump and my mood is jolted, my recovery threatened, the black dog ready to pounce. I weathered the bumps and jolts in 2016 and I am still standing, ready to see in another year.
Judging by the title of his July publication All will be well, we expected Michael Meegan to err more on the side of hope and positivity than of righteous anger, but for someone who has dedicated his life to aiding some of the world’s poorest and most needy people, it was hard to contain his infuriation at the scale of injustice that he witnesses. His blog, very different in tone, is also published in full, here.
Waseem Mahmood, author of Good Morning Afghanistan, offered a one-word answer to summarise his 2016. It was tongue in cheek, and not necessarily intended for inclusion here, but his answer was perhaps the most insightful and profound of all. It was: “Toblerone”.
There were peaks and troughs; a tangible increase in distance between once-familiar points; the partial destruction of a dearly-held institution… Or did it just reflect the thoughts of a chocoholic writer who now has 12%* less Toblerone for his £1.39*.
2016 will go down in history, as Andy Zaltzman pointed out, “as all years do”. But whilst it will be remembered for seismic shifts in various power bases around the world, at the local level, indeed at the personal level, we have the power and the constant opportunities to improve things for ourselves and those with whom we come into contact.
Please take a moment to browse our back catalogue and find a book, of an extraordinary thing done by an ordinary person, which we hope will inspire you to make 2017 an even better year.
*Lazy journalism; these numbers are made up