Thursday, 28 April 2016

World Book Night 2016 : The Handmaid's Tale

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.

The United Artists assembled in the Grand Ballroom of the White Swan Hotel, Halifax on 23 April for the annual World Book Night event. This year The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood was selected by artist, performer and writer John Bently. The 16 artists present created Serena Joy, a portfolio of miniprints responding to the text, from rubber stamps contributed by 43 international artists. We were lucky to have rubber stamp authority Stephen Fowler in attendance. After a hard day at the inkpads, a musical sermon by John Bently and the Eyes brought events to a close.

Pleasure is an egg. Rubber stamp by Corinne Welch, printed by Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck 

All Flesh. Rubber stamp by Jane Cradock-Watson, printed by Angela Butler

Serena Joy: the final set, complete with gilded box. 
Photo: Sarah Bodman

You can see all the finished prints and read a full list of contributors on the UWE Book Arts website, where there is also a link to John Bently's impassioned rendition of 'Amazing Grace' and other delights. Many thanks to Sarah Bodman who assembled this digital record, as well as coordinating the event and curating the Serena Joy portfolio.

If it's a story I'm telling, then I have control over the ending... But if it's a story, even in my head, I must be telling it to someone. You don't tell a story only to yourself. There's always someone else. Even when there is no one.

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