Photo: Natalie Campbell
Guest article by Matisse Lefebvre of The Arkbound Foundation – SEIN’s newest member organisation.
Arkbound is a publishing social enterprise based in Bristol and Glasgow. It recently joined the South East Integration Network (SEIN) and is excited to meet all its members and participate in the creation of a solidarity network in Glasgow. Arkbound’s main aim is to support authors from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds to get their voices heard, especially for writing that covers important social and environmental themes. The Arkbound Foundation furthers this through workshops, events and mentoring.
Bridging Literary Divides
Typically, in July 2021, the Glasgow branch launched a creative writing program called Bridging Literary Divides. It is a mentoring programme which aims to empower people through writing and to increase literary representation of authors from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. By pairing up mentees with experienced authors, literary agents and publishers, it aims to boost their confidence and develop their writing skills to a publishing standard. The mentoring will also expand mentees’ writing portfolios by supporting submissions to competitions, magazines and other creative outlets.
The program is proving to be successful as, recently, the Arkbound Foundation and the Bridging Literary Divides team were delighted to announce that Natalie Campbell, one of the mentees participating in this Creative Scotland funded project, had signed a publishing contract with Jasami Publishing. Only two months after the beginning of the six-month program, Michèle Smith, Natalie’s mentor and the managing director of Jasami Publishing, managed to bring her mentee’s writing up to a publishing level.
The young Stirling-based author was explaining in June 2021 that, despite having an encouraging family and the chance to study Creative Writing at university, she was never able to fully focus on her writing during her degree as she had to financially support herself while routinely dealing with a chronic illness.
Participating in Bridging Literary Divides allowed her to dedicate part of her time to writing with the highly qualified supervision of Michèle. Natalie loves ‘being able to write diverse characters that aren’t often reflected in mainstream media […] and see [herself] and the people around [her] reflected back in them.’
“As part of the LGBTQ+ community and someone with a chronic illness, I have found writing to be a great way to express myself and connect with others that are also facing similar difficulties.”
All the more reason to be jumping at the idea of her first novel’s publication!
Call of the Void, to be released in 2022, will indeed be assembling in a tremendous narrative ‘a mercenary, a lost child, an old love, and a scientist. Mix them up, add the infinity of space and you will be drawn and called into the void.’ We can’t wait to read more of it but, while waiting for its release, Natalie and Michèle offered Arkbound an extract, allowing us to dive into the heart of this incongruous Campbellian universe:
‘Three steps, two steps… Pain flashed through him like lightning and, vaguely, he had the sense of falling. His HUD briefly flashed an image of the exoskeleton, the point of contact visible in the centre of his back, before blinking out and racing through an array of images, maps, and software code. He was still holding the girl in his arms, although his grip was weakening. With his remaining strength, him propelled forward, throwing her into the belly of his ship. He hoped it was enough as his helmet came into contact with steel. He felt his whole body seize and begin to shake violently as his HUD turned black. His head was splitting open like a great crater and his body was on fire. He could only think of pain before he lost consciousness.’
Get in touch
If you have any questions about the project or Arkbound, contact Matisse Lefebvre at email@example.com