REVIEW: Demos Rising

Cards on the table, I ordered Demos Rising, published by Fly on the Wall Press in 2022, solely because a friend and former colleague of mine, Rachel Swabey, is one of the 29 international creatives whose work is featured in this anthology.

If it wasn’t because I wanted to read Rachel’s work, I would probably have passed this by in a bookshop or online, mainly because the cover does absolutely nothing for me whatsoever and I would have no idea of its contents.

But order it I did, read it I also did, and I am very glad to have done both.

This is an anthology of protest and includes short stories, poetry and images of the 29 artists celebrating the act of protest.

Ranging from Extinction Rebellion, violence against women, refugees Channel crossing, saving trees and campaigning against destructive transport developments, the power of protest is championed here.

With our world currently in a state of chaos, post-pandemic with economic and social crisis, environmental disaster looming and desperate refugees fleeing war, oppression and disaster, I don’t think there has ever been a more poignant time to either create or read this anthology.

The joy of anthologies (obviously) is the variety of voices within its pages and these voices are fresh, vibrant and pertinent.

There is a wide variety of style in both the poetry and the prose – every new entry is a surprise.

There’s a short biography in the back of each of the 29 contributors and information about other publications by Fly on the Wall Press, which describes itself as a ‘publisher with a conscience’ that specialises in anthologies on pressing issues, novels, short stories and poetry.

It’s only 70-odd pages long but the variety, quality of writing and subject matter make it well worth a read. In addition 5% of the profits from the book are donated to Amnesty International.

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