Wednesday 27 October 2021

Alexandros Plasatis (ed.), et al, "the other side of hope"

By Alexandros Plasatis

the other side of hope is a UK-based literary magazine edited by refugees and immigrants. We publish fiction and poetry by immigrants and refugees, and non-fiction, book reviews, and author interviews by anyone as long as the subject matter sheds light on migration.

We do not charge submission fees and we pay our contributors. For our first print issue we offered £100 per contributor, and for our forthcoming online issue we offered £50 per contributor. For writers who are seeking asylum and have no bank accounts, we offered the same amount as a gift card. 

Our first print issue has now been published, and features refugee and immigrant writers from around the world. The reader of the magazine will find prose and poetry about our hopes, dreams, fears, realities, nostalgia, trauma, about our accents, our laughter, and what home truly means. The cover image is an original artwork by George Sfougaras. Our first print issue includes: 

  • Fiction by Qin Sun Stubis, a Chinese immigrant living in Washington DC, Radhika Maira Tabrez, whose home is split between Delhi, Dhaka and Penang, Marina Antropow Cramer, born in Germany, the child of Russian refugees from the Soviet Union, who emigrated with her family to the United States, Madalena Daleziou, a Greek writer living in Glasgow, J.B. Polk, Polish by birth, a citizen of world by choice, and Musembi Wa’ Ndaita, a Kenyan writer based in Philadelphia.
  • Poetry by Atar Hadari, an immigrant, Bingh, a refugee from Vietnam who lives in the US, Kimia Etemadi, who moved from Iran to England as a baby with her mother, who fled political persecution, Amer Raawan, a Syrian refugee who lives in London, Middle Eastern Women’s Friendship Group, a group of refugee women writers who live in Edinburgh, Alberto Quero, who fled Venezuela and now lives in Canada, Flower, who arrived in the UK from Africa and was held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre, and Bänoo Zan, an Iranian immigrant who lives in Canada.
  • Non-fiction by Dan Alex, who arrived in the UK from Eastern Europe, Murzban F. Shroff, who lives in India, Jhon Sánchez, a Colombian-born writer who arrived in New York seeking political asylum, and Sahra Mohamed, a Somalian immigrant who lives in London.
  • Book reviews by Lucy Popescu and Kathryn Aldridge-Morris.

The magazine can be ordered from the website here

Our first print and forthcoming online issues were made possible with National Lottery funding through Arts Council England. We are thankful for the financial support from ArtReach, and the continuous support from Journeys Festival International, the annual refugee arts festival taking place in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth. We are grateful for the support of our patrons, A. M. Dassu and Lord Alf Dubs.

We hope that people will get a copy of the magazine and that they will enjoy reading it. For those who can’t afford to buy it, we will publish an online issue that will be free to read on our website, and will feature different immigrant and refugee writers from around the world.  

About the editors

Founding & Lead Editor Alexandros Plasatis is an immigrant who writes fiction in English, his second language. His first book, Made by Sea and Wood, in Darkness: A Novel in Stories (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021), is shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Stories from this book have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. His work has been published in US, UK, Indian and Canadian magazines and anthologies. He has a PhD in ethnography-based Creative Writing, lives in Bolton, and works with displaced and homeless people.

Fiction Editor Hansa Dasgupta is an Indian writer. She has authored Letters to my Baby, The World Beyond and After the Storm. Her short stories, articles and chapters have been published online as well as in various journals, anthologies, books and magazines in India, UK and in the States. Some of her short stories, short films, short scripts, and feature length screenplays have been shortlisted, nominated and won awards over the years, including nomination for the Culture and Heritage Award.

Poetry Editor Malka Al-Haddad is an Iraqi activist, academic and poet. She has a Masters degree in Arabic Literature from Kufa University in Iraq. She is currently undertaking an MA in the Politics of Conflict and Violence at the University of Leicester. Her debut poetry collection, Birds Without Sky: Poems from Exile (Harriman House Ltd, 2018), was longlisted for the Leicester Book of the Year award in 2018. 

Non-Fiction Editor Maria Rovisco is Associate Professor in Sociology at the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, UK. She has research interests in cosmopolitanism, new activisms, citizenship, migrant and refugee arts, and visual culture. Among her recent publications is Taking the Square: Mediated Dissent and Occupations of Public Space (2016). She is currently writing a book on cosmopolitanism, art and the political imagination, and co-editing a book on visual politics in the Global South.

Interviews and Reviews Editor Rubina Bala was born in Albania just after the fall of the country’s Communist regime and grew up through a chaotic political scene that has shaped her passion for writing and ensuring the right stories are told. She then immigrated to the UK where she completed a first-class degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Since then she has worked as an interpreter for asylum seekers as well as participating in writing projects in marginalised communities.

Design & Art Director Olivier Llouquet is a French visual ethnographer, designer and filmmaker, based in Nottingham. He studied in Freie Universität Berlin and conducted a year-long ethnographic research in Leicester, engaging with refugees and asylum seekers through creative projects and filmmaking.

From the other side of hope, issue 1

To the Editors*  
By Bänoo Zan

If my poem glorifies Islam
you accept it—
but if it critiques my fellow Muslims
you reject it

If it invites sympathy for the displaced 
you publish it—
but if it exposes violence in immigrant communities 
you reject it

If it denounces a Western politician 
you feature it—
but if it denounces the dictator in my home country
you reject it

In your pages
My religion is perfect
My community is perfect
My country is perfect

You exercise 
self-critique—the authentic critique—
but deny me the same right 

No one is healed
by claiming they are healthy 
and have the lie taken for truth

No community is perfect—
neither yours nor mine—

I wonder how long it will take
for my people to question our ways—
to stop murdering, torturing, raping ourselves—
to stop oppressing ourselves—
to stop our unending exodus 
to your part of the word—

only to be told
we cannot criticize ourselves

Meanwhile, dictators
sincerely thank you
for your support 

*Note: many North American and Western literary magazines have disclaimers to the following effect on their submission pages: ‘We do not publish work that includes racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, etc.’ 

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