It’s been a year. A year of CAPITALS USED FOR EMPHASIS AT THE END OF TWEETS. A year of walls and bans. A year of ‘making America great again’. One whole year of Donald Trump as the President of the United States.
As many of our readers and followers will know, next Thursday, the 25th January, will see the release of our own year-long project: Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations, a collection of short stories commissioned in direct response to one of Trump’s first executive orders. His ‘travel ban’ imposed a ‘complete shut down’ on people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria entering the United States for 90 days. Since that first order, it’s been blocked, revised, protested against, and, then re-implemented, as recently as December.
When we heard the news on the 27th January 2017 we felt we had to respond, and after an ’emergency editorial meeting’ – otherwise know as a quick brew on the sofa – Banthology was born. Bringing together authors from the originally affected nations, we asked them to write about the emotional and personal impact on all restrictions on movement, encouraging them to write in a variety of approaches. The result: a daring collection which is unafraid to experiment with content and form, and which branches out into satire, allegory, literary realism and more. We can’t wait for you to read it.
But we weren’t alone in our desire to react, and fight back against the ideology of arguably the most powerful man in the world (with really small hands though?). Since his election campaign in 2016, myriad literary responses have emerged, from Trump for kids, to feminist essays, to of course, most recently, Fire and Fury.
So with so much Trump related content up for consumption – and in far more palatable ways than watching Fox News – we thought we’d put together a little reading list to accompany the anniversary of his inauguration. They say ‘know your enemy’, but really, we should read them.
A Child’s First Book of Trump by Michael Ian Black
What do you do when you spot a wild Trump in the election season? Author and comedian Michael Ian Black offered some sage advice for children (and bewildered adults) on the mysterious being that blasted back into the American consciousness in the 2016 election race.
The beasty is called an American Trump.
Its skin is bright orange, its figure is plump.
Its fur so complex you might get enveloped.
Its hands though are, sadly, underdeveloped.
The perfect way to fight political ambivalence in younger generations, one bedtime story at a time!
Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic edited by Lynn Gaspard
Our friends over at Saqi Books were likewise spurred by the travel ban to produce their Sunday Times Best Humour Book of the Year winning Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic.
Featuring cartoons, graffiti, photography, colouring in pages, memoir, short stories and more by 34 contributors from around the world, this book is crammed full of subversive pieces that are an explosion of expression, creativity and colour, and are often absolutely hilarious.
Contributors include Hassan Abdulrazzak (who also wrote a story for our Iraq + 100), Carol Ann Duffy, Sabrina Mahfouz, Leila Aboulela, and many more.
This anthology released by Scotland’s 404 Ink last March was an absolute triumph, gaining widespread media attention and acclaim far ahead of its publication. Funded through a tidal wave of Kickstarter support (it nearly quadrupled it’s original funding goal), the collection was inspired by one of the most well known ‘Trumpisms’ that arose from his 2016 election campaign. On one of the live, televised debates between himself and his opponent, Hilary Clinton, he responded to a comment that she’d made regarding social security with ‘Such a nasty woman’ – political objectivity at its finest.
Thankfully, the world – and obviously twitter – is half populated by ‘nasty women’, many of whom had lots to say about his choice of insult, and 404’s anthology brings together a selection of essays and accounts, not only about what it means to be ‘nasty’, but about what it actually means to be a woman today.
Other ‘nasty women’ offerings include 100 Nasty Women of History: Brilliant, badass and completely fearless women everyone should know and Quotes for Nasty Women: Empowering Wisdom from Women Who Break the Rules.
The Art of the Deal was the first book released by Trump which, published in 1987, was a bestseller, cementing him as a household name (thanks Random House…). Part memoir and part advice business book, it’s fairly safe to assume that Trump had very little to do with the writing of this book; rather, Tony Schwartz, his co-author/ghostwriter, wrote the bulk of it for him. Schwartz has, coincidentally, released an article today reflecting on the experience of writing for Trump, offering keen insight into the Trump psyche, and discussing how best we can resist the man he refers to as a ‘black hole’.
This certainly isn’t a recent response to Trump but, if knowledge is power, then understanding how Trump wants us to see him could certainly be useful (plus I bet it has some absolutely amazing pictures in). Definitely one to buy from a charity shop if possible. And while you’re there, you might as well have a look for the autobiography of our future Prime Minister, just to get a sense of what’s to come.
Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations is released on Thursday 25th of January and will be available to buy in paperback and in eBook formats. Head to our website for more information and to pre-order now. Published in partnership with Deep Vellum, this book will also be released in North America in March. He has his copy!