As we move forward to 2017, please allow us a somewhat self-indulgent post looking back on some of our highlights from the year gone by. After all, 2016 hasn’t been the best year for many around the world – with seismic political events like Brexit and Donald Trump ‘winning’ the US election, along with the continuing breakdown of the natural world and environmental destruction, reiterating the necessity for all progressive, right-minded people to work together to ensure that 2017 – and the years following it – are not as bad as this one.
Without further ado, therefore, here are our Nothing in the Rulebook highlights of 2016.
Our interviews with fantastic creative people around the world
We’ve been running our Creatives in Profile interview series since we first launched the site, and in 2016 we were fortunate enough to interview some truly fascinating – and brilliant – creatives based across the world. From Japan-based author Iain Maloney through Paul M. M. Cooper, the great guys and gals at The Extra Secret Podcast and Pondering Media, to author Julia Forster, it’s been a true honour to speak with creative artists who are truly leading the way in forging new ways of looking at the world through different artistic media. We can’t wait to continue our interview series over the year ahead – so do look out for more creatives in profile!
Stumbling upon some great literary finds
We’re always on the hunt for artistic delights and creative discoveries, and it has been a great year from that perspective, as we uncovered such literary wonders as John Malkovich reading aloud Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, incredible letters from Charles Bukowski and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the mysterious literary oddity that is the Voynich Manuscript, beat poet legend Alan Ginsberg singing and reading poetry at the University of Warwick, as well as the audio recording of James Baldwin’s fascinating lecture on the real meaning of words and the artist’s struggle for integrity (alongside many others!). We’ll continue our hunt to unearth some of the great literary wonders of the world – and will be sure to bring them right to your computer and smartphone screens when we do.
Bad Sex in Fiction: the connoisseur’s compendium
One of a number of our articles to go viral in 2016 was our ‘compendium’ of all the extracts from books that won the notorious ‘Bad Sex in Fiction’ award. Featuring spasming muscles, groans, sighs, moans like “police sirens” and “otherwise central zones”, we dug through each of the books that have won the award since it first launched 24 years ago in 1993. It was quite an effort at times; but completely worth it. Do check it out for yourselves, here.
Our first podcast guest appearance
In November, we had the absolute honour to make a guest appearance on the fabulous Extra Secret Podcast in one of their ‘after dark’ episodes. We (that is, Professor Wu and Billy the Echidna) had the chance to talk everything from obscure cult cartoon shows through literature, podcasting, the direction of art and creativity in the digital age, to, of course, Donald Trump – and what his election means for the world. Do check out the podcast online here, and download it via iTunes.
Reviewing some of the finest new books and writing
A real treat for us in 2016 was the opportunity to read and review some truly excellent pieces of writing from both new and established authors. We’re incredibly grateful to the writers and publishing houses who sent us their work – especially since it confirmed for us the fact that there are so many writers out there creating truly exceptional, new and unique pieces of work. Highlights this year include The Waves Burn Bright by Iain Maloney, The Woman in the Water by Will and Sheila Barton, the F(r)iction anthology from Tethered by Letters, What a Way to Go by Julia Forster, Kingdom by Russ Litten, The Inevitable Gift Shop by Will Eaves, and River of Ink by Paul M. M. Cooper.
Welcoming new members to our incredible contributor’s team
Our entire raison d’etre is to build a platform for creative expression – where all artists can come and put their ideas and work across in a safe and supportive space. It’s been truly astounding to see new artists from a multitude of different disciplines join our gang and write countless fantastic articles. So much respect and love for the new contributors to have joined our team this year – Ben Garland, Asim Khan, Robyn Hardman, Josh Spiller, Tom Andrews, Adam Steiner and Eric A Hanson – who join our established team of contributors who have been with us since 2015; Julia Bell, Lola Blake, Rishi Dastidar, Hannah Fairney Jeans, ‘The Goatman’, David Greaves, Iain Maloney, Daniel Offen, Charlotte Salter, Chris Smith, Mark Tomlinson and George Vernon.
You, dear readers!
It should never go without saying that we are nothing without the people who read our work. Without wishing to sound overly sentimental, or start using clichéd song titles and lyrics, everything we do, we do for you. Thank you eternally for your support, and we look forward to many more journeys and adventures with you over 2017! And, if you’re an aspiring creative yourself, do consider making the jump from reader to contributor – get in touch!
Until next time, comrades – Happy New Year!