Packing (and writing) for the festival.

festwelcomeGuerrilla Midgie Press are hosting an advocacy residency in week 2 of the Edinburgh ebook festival. (August 19th -23rd) The quick witted amongst you will note that this is the 2nd outing for ‘Learning Disability week’ – the one endorsed by Mencap in England (for more on that read past posts).

In advance of the residency we’ve been trying to raise awareness and garner opinion regarding some of our work. It’s a tough row to hoe getting feedback.  But recently both A Week With No Labels and Jock Tamson’s Bairns have been given thoughtful and honest appraisals by writers Bill Kirton and Lee Carrick.  The fact that both of these are fellow ‘McVoices’ writers does not escape me. McVoices is a relatively new ‘collective’ which seeks to ‘advocate’ for writers who fall outside of (or haven’t scrambled into) the publishing mainstream.

About A Week with No Labels Lee writes:

Cally Phillips has much more eloquently opened our eyes to the power that language, generalisations or stereotypical labels can have on the person or persons to which they are directed.


Blenchod or Gan Lin Yan will more than likely mean nothing to most of us but say these words in the wrong country and to the wrong person and you are likely to cause serious offense or possibly even a fight. (Don’t bother looking them up, just trust me they are offensive).

To the average person they are just words that have little or no meaning. Cally Phillips has much more eloquently opened our eyes to the power that language, generalisations or stereotypical labels can have on the person or persons to which they are directed.


Cally entices us and occasionally gives us a gentle prod to think about how we generalise people in our society who might be deemed ‘disabled’ or have ‘learning difficulties’ rather than simply seeing them as another individual in this world of 7 billion individuals.

There is no doubt that Cally is an accomplished writer who is skilled at building a wonderfully entertaining story around an infrastructure that is serious, thought provoking and of the zeitgeist.

For the full review read here

And about Jock Tamson’s Bairns Bill writes:

It challenges the way we create compartments, chop reality into manageable chunks, box them up and label them, even though some chunks shouldn’t be in the same box and most labels are at best inadequate and at worst wrong.

And in case you’re worried it’s all too worthy for this world, he adds:

Her style is friendly, conversational and honest and, when we move to what she describes as ‘fictional stories based on factual experience’, she continues to draw us into her revelations by creating characters and situations which, yes, underline the message but are also moving, funny and entertaining. In her own words, she’s ‘respect[ing] the real-life experience of the people whose lives [she’s] fictionalised’ in order to ‘teach insight for those of us who so badly need it’.

For the full review read here

Both writers pick up on the importance of ‘language’ and its use.  The hint is there that part of the way we construct our world and everything in it is through the language we use. The Guerrilla Midgie contention is that therefore we can use language as a weapon to change the world. And this will be central to the residency.  We hope to see you there.  Previews begin on 1st August so bookmark it NOW 

Answers to some (or all) of the following questions may be given. Or not.

What’s the point?

Why is no one listening?

How can you get people to listen?

How can you change things if you’re not a celebrity?

What do the Dalai Lama and Anita Roddick have in common?

How can you voice the unvoiced?

Can we use words to change the world?


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