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Front Cover Photo by Cody Davis Inside Front Cover Photo by Suzy Hazelwood Edited by Yasemin Fischer



very day we come across infinite stories colliding and unfolding from all spheres – digital, books, movies, art and real lives. This is what makes us

human. Our stories. How we write, express, perform, or choose to bury our stories within words and pictures. Bold began with an idea of fusing words with photographs to develop a far stretched synchrony. What you read may not equally set with what you see. But your mind will always try to build its own bridges to complete the missing piece. Bold believes in bringing forward new voices to the contemporary audience that is hungry to explore and experiment with writing and photography.   You never know what moment of the day will change your life, and how you perceive the world outside. For example, overcoming the weight of mental negative self-talks can feel like being a warrior, as penned down by Emma Gill in Battles Won, Battles Lost . Elizabeth Stride reminisces how moving out of your home to a different place every single time can change you, a subject she explores as a traveller in How Travel Has Changed Me. Jearl Jhelisa Boatswain discusses growing up with books and her fascination to explore through different languages in On Language Learning and Diversity in Publishing. Hannah Fields in Growing Pains, beautifully captures the essence of growing and dreaming to become someone but finds herself to become in this poem.   This issue also features an interview in conversation with the Founders of Monstrous Regiment Ltd, Ellen Desmond and Lauren Nickodemus, who have successfully published and are currently re-publishing their all-time hit The Bi-ble Vol.1 and The Bi-ble: New Testimonials Vol. 2, to share anthologies of people who identify as bisexual.   For my part, the collective should make you feel positive And most importantly, inspired. Thank you for reading. Shilpa Sheetal –Editor


Poetry 7 David Poireth


10 Emma Gill

BATTLES LOST, BATTLES WON Photograph by Lina Silivanova

15 Hannah Fields

GROWING PAINS Photograph by Jonas Verstuyft

Non-fiction 13 Elizabeth Stride

HOW TRAVEL HAS CHANGED ME Photograph by David Pisnoy

8 Jearl Jhelisa Boatswain


18 Shilpa Sheetal


Interview 16 Ellen Desmond and Lauren Nickodemus

BOOKS, BIBLE AND ALL THINGS BI Photographs by Monstrous Regiment Ltd


Photo by Samuel Zeller

BOLD Photo by Thu Anh




Inspiration is a thing. A thing without its own language. Hence, what we create is a translation of an unsayable thing: unsayable, unthinkable, indescribable, even unrecognizable. 2

To be inspired is to be lucid, to see all clearly and to see everything loaded with meaning. Not the common sense of meaning, but a meaning beyond words: that’s why we create and that’s why we fail. 3

To fail is necessary. 4

A young fellow asks while scratching his hands, he stutters: but what if I feel inspired to do something I don’t know how to do? Inspiration doesn’t care about expertise and doesn’t respond to it, I say and he seems very unsatisfied. Inspiration is violent. It’s violence without a reason and it defies everything we are and everything we know. We create in order to search the origin of such violence. 5

And we’ll find nothing. 6

However, it is also true that inspiration doesn’t exist. At least not since the second half of the Twentieth Century. 7

So, we will also need to invent it. 8

Carson’s paradox: to create inspiration we’ll need to be inspired. Hence, we start with an impasse. Hence, we start with silence. 9

Here is silence. 10

Not the common sense of silence, but a kind of silence also loaded with meaning, a meaning beyond words and without language.



ON LANGUAGE LEARNING AND DIVERSITY IN PUBLISHING Written by Jearl Jhelisa Boatswain For the past few years, I’ve always wanted to read something else. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I could remember. As a child, I hadn’t given much thought to how I didn’t resemble the descriptions of all my favorite characters. You could not convince me that me and Princess Mia could not co-exist and be best friends in an alternate universe.   I remember taking my first family holiday to the Caribbean when I was seven years old. The week before heading to Antigua, I bought a stack of Meg Cabot books to keep me occupied for the 8 hour flight and the next three weeks. Even as a child, I did not care much for picture books, something I only came to acknowledge slightly later in life. Hefty stacks and tomes interested me far more, mainly because within them lie a chance of a minor character having a trait that I, too, could identify with. Perhaps not physical, but a similarity nonetheless.I was strongly drawn to the emotions, the dialogue. Pictures, more often than not, should shatter that illusion, whereas subtle descriptors allowed me to fill in my own blanks. So I read and read - The Princess Diaries, of course - and was content for three whole weeks in the sunshine.Throughout this time, I’d also first encountered the Spanish language as my grandparents lived within earshot of a

‘Hefty stacks and tomes interested me far more, mainly because within them lie a chance of a minor character having a trait that I, too, could identify with.’

Spanish-speaking church. I hadn’t understood a word, but I was intrigued by the sounds and cadence, the women in gorgeously decorated white gowns, headwraps and talk of Orishas, Obeah and the like.   Overhearing the sounds and conversations that would echo out into the evenings, I’d imagine my own conversations. Real people would become characters, and I’d slowly begin to pick up a few words and phrases. I began to formally learn Spanish at university some twelve years later. It was around this time that I began to question my own reading habits. The previous summer, I’d had one of the most - and I’d still say so - inspirational teachers in my English literature class teach me about post-colonial literature and critique. I’d read Chinua Achebe alongside

Joseph Conrad and for the first time, felt that I could challenge thoughts and ideas, be heard, and that my opinions on what I read and interpreted would be validated.   I’d arrived to university expecting a continuation, but was met instead with the most beige of reading lists. Aside from a brief mention of Négritude for all of 30 seconds during my Introduction to French Culture, I hadn’t read a single writer of colour throughout my first semester.   The thing about language learning is, so much is taken as a given. The classics, what is considered worth reading, mirrors much of the publishing industry’s output. For many, the disconnect between their own lived experience and the lack of what is available may dissuade them from reading altogether, much less Sartre and Cervantes. In my own childhood, it is arguably that brief spell abroad that allowed me to ask ‘what is the story behind that’ that made me want to learn. Or,

‘Such is the wonderful thing about novels. They’re transformative. For each one I read, the perspective gained by the end is new and fresh and informed everything else henceforth.’

most likely, my own seven year old nosiness and curiosity. Such is the wonderful thing about novels. They’re transformative. For each one I read, the perspective gained by the end is new and fresh and informed everything else henceforth. Learning two European languages French and Spanish - knowing what I knew about how these languages were in abundance throughout the 10 10


Caribbean led me to looking for more works - both original texts and translations - by women and people of colour to sit upon my bookshelves.   I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Since graduating, trying to maintain fluency in both languages is very much still a work in progress. Whether this is the classics, poetry, or prose, each of these stories belongs in pride of place on the bookshelf. In the same way I was put off formal language learning as it didn’t resemble the conversations and sounds of my youth, my own objective is to give voice to anything mildly dissident. To some capacity, what I’ve wanted to read and hear has always been off-limits to me. As literature becomes more digital, imagine if someone had asked your seven year old self what they wanted to read, and actually being able to find it. The prospect excites me.

Photo by Filip Kominik

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BATTLES WON, BATTLES LOST Poem by Emma Gill I didn’t know just how war torn I was, Oblivious to how much I had missed. I never realised how many battles I’d lost, Many hoped I’d negotiate and sign an armistice. Going through the motions, captured by emotions, Fooling everyone, I played so innocent. On the battle field, I was subjected to torture, Losing five friends and countless nights, Perceiving everything as a victory. Battle scars remain on my wrists and my thighs. Everything was under attack; I could not retreat, My weapons became blunt, my armour: it fell. Tears stream as my battle cries haunt in flashbacks. Hiding deep in my darkened trenches of turmoil, Three long months through No Man’s Land Alone, crawling, I just wanted to break free. To win a war, battles must be both won and lost. I won’t surrender even if my enemies persist. The battles I won showed me I could do it all along, The battles I lost, they made me strong.

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Photo by Lina Silivanova

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HOW TRAVEL HAS CHANGED ME Written by Elizabeth Stride How many times have you heard someone say they are going travelling to find themselves? Away from the hum-drum of ordinary life, where the expectations of working a 9-5 job, buying a house, settling down and procreating all line up steadily soon after any vacation gets over. It’s been a long-lasting concept, stepping out of bounds into the vast world where you are meant to find yourself.   It’s the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ phenomenon. The post-millennials are torn between old-school idealism and modern-day freedom linked to the conceptualization that there is perhaps more to life than what we’ve been led to believe. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, was for many and for myself in some ways an inspiration in terms of travel, although quite honestly, I have never thought about

‘For me, travel is a way to build on and understanding of the world. To add an experience to the recess of stories that myself, on my own have already happened in my life and somehow at the most random of contextual foundation and moments, manage to pop into my mind to be retold. understanding of the   It’s not just being in a new place, or trying new food, exposing oneself to a world.’ finding myself. For me, travel is a way to build on myself, on my own foundation

different environment and culture – it’s also about the people you meet along the

way and the stories they share. Some are very memorable, from sitting on a Greyhound bus through the American south and talking to a man who had written and published several of his own books (both fiction and non-fiction about the area he had grown up in), to visiting Cambodia and listening to the very blunt, horrific and humbling story of someone who had survived the atrocities administered by the Khmer Rouge throughout the country during the 1970’s.   One thing that I came to realise as I wandered, sometimes aimlessly through places I would only ever see the surface of, was that for the most part, people are inherently good. This struck me while I was in Singapore, as I explored the Botanical Gardens to escape the vibrant, but heavy air. I sat down on a bench and an elderly Singaporean man asked if he could share the bench and we struck up a conversation. He told me all about Singapore and gave me some tips on places to see and avoid. We talked about his life, how

‘One thing that I came to realise as I wandered, sometimes aimlessly through places I would only ever see the surface of, was that for the most part, people are inherently good.’

his parents moved from China to Singapore before he was born for a new start. Although the conversation was fairly mundane, it struck me then that people, no matter where you go, are fundamentally the same despite cultural differences and language barriers, we share the same needs, willingness to help and curiosity about the world and ultimately there is much to learn from each other.   Not only to learn, but to evolve and realise that our intrinsic capability to adapt to a new environment. Whether that is becoming used to different temperatures, testing our body’s ability to cope in extreme heat, or cold, or tropical humidity and even altitude. Or the taste buds becoming acquainted with the sensations of new spices, flavours and cuisines. Much of my time in Asia was spent discovering and trying new fruits and vegetables, and it was quite refreshing to be asked for the

translation of these foods into English, for which there wasn’t one – simply because they don’t exist in the United Kingdom. Students at the school I taught in during my time in Thailand would often bring me treats, drawings and obscure presents, as do all children and it further enhanced my understanding and belief that at the core, people are the same and it is only through exposure to the world that we become who we are. 14 14

INSPIRE Photo by David Pisnoy

It’s a learning curve and every experience adds to my foundation. I first travelled solo when I was nineteen. I wasn’t afraid and was led mostly by curiosity – an insatiable need to see the world. I was as naive as one would expect of a nineteen-year-old and have followed a life-changing resolution of some sort thereafter. In retrospect, travel has perhaps been a way of affirming my independence and confidence in myself. Knowing that I can take myself to a new place, with very little materialistically and yet manage to get by and navigate using my own intuition, is both empowering and incredibly freeing. 15 15

BOLD Photo by Jonas Verstuyft

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GROWING PAINS Poem by Hannah Fields When I grow up, I think I could be an astronaut because my head never seems down-to-earth, my thoughts always fleeing high above the atmosphere where gravity has no bounds. When I grow up, I think I could be a philosopher because my entire existence has come in the shape of one towering question mark feeding hungrily upon the enticing notion of “what if ?” When I grow up, I think I could be an artist because I’ve painted my eternal timeline with so many splashes of color they pool and cement around my wandering feet. When I grow up, I think I could be someone else because I’ve spent so much time playing dress up that I often watch my dreams stumble away from my mirror to die upon a cobwebbed shelf. When I grow up, I think I could be myself because I’ve ripped up all the costumes I had left after taping over the mouths of a multitude of bystanders drowning me in false pretense. 17 17


Photo of THE BI-BLE Vol.1 and Vol.2

BOOKS, BI-BLE AND ALL THING BI Incoversation with Ellen Desmond and Lauren Nickodemus of Monstrous Regiment Ltd A micropress started by two MSc Publishing graduates in 2007, Monstrous Regiment Ltd is an independent and intersectional feminist publisher who aim to create bold and new content. Relaunching their bestselling work, The Bi-ble with its little sibling Volume Two: New Testimonials in a revamped cover design by Hanah Killoh and supported by assistant interns Lauren Mulvihill and Kelli Staake, here is why The Bi-ble is creating ripples in indie publishing scenario.

What inspired you to publish The Bi-ble?

meetings with other indie presses we were told this

We worked together a lot while we were doing our

would definitely work, and it’s sold out across the

MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University.

UK three times now.

As well as getting along really well as people, we

What challenges did you face and overcome as a

had a bit of a meeting of the minds creatively too.

publisher while working on the book?

We really didn’t want to stop working together, and

Financial pressure has always been our biggest

one day after a presentation we went for a coffee. It

challenge. Because of that, we both have to work

should have been the last time we worked together

other full time jobs, so I guess it also leads to time

at uni that day but Lauren lightly joked about

constraints. We have used crowdfunding twice now

wanting to make an anthology about bisexuality

as a means of generating capital and it’s been quite

and calling it The Bi-ble and I said why don’t we

successful. Going forward, we’re going to have to

just go ahead and do it now! We knew there was

look into arts funding and things like that in order

a market for indie publishers working on radical

to survive, but I think after two years we’ve got a

or left-leaning nonfiction in Scotland at the time,

good grasp of what we’re good (and bad!) at selling

and we both knew from personal experience

and we’re a bit more confident going forward that

that there’s not a lot out there just for bisexuals.

we know how to plan and execute viable products

It’s an identity that is usually tagged along as an

and promotional campaigns.

afterthought. After some market research and 18 18


After the first success on Kickstarter and now

And finally, what is your most important piece of

again, completing another Kickstarter for The Bi-

advice for the creative youth hustling to make their

after this?

Even if your work dream is the most important

We’re going to diversify into single author non-fiction

thing in the world to you, you have to fill life up

works and possible even fiction (in the form of a

with other nice bits too. Take care of yourself and

novella). When it’s just the two of us, working on multi-

try not to burnout! Be realistic about what you

authored publications becomes a bit overwhelming

can achieve and how quickly. Life’s not all about

admin-wise. Later this year, we hope to bring out a

work either, it’s so important to have balance. But

new essay collection by a single author and we can’t

we also think it’s worth taking big risks and putting

say who quite yet but we’re very excited about

yourself out there if you believe in something. I

it! We’ve been approached by quite a few other

think, for us, something that we did naturally was


make excellent connections with each other during

ble Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, what are your aims and vision



about possible collaborative publications



we’re prioritising planning carefully and taking our time – largely because we want to spend most of the

dreams come true?

‘We want to fill bookshelves with the things we feel are missing due to the gatekeeping nature of big publishers’

our MSc. Our old classmates are dotted around the UK and US now in different publishing houses and roles, and they are all our biggest supporters, advisors and just good friends/listeners too. It’s so reassuring feeling so connected to them and being able to just have a chat so easily with another

summer bringing The Bi-ble on a wee book tour. We

wonderful, talented publishing brain. Our MSc is

hope that issue three of our literary magazine, Indigo,

also how we found Hannah, our in-house designer,

will appear as soon as possible too.

and we knew we worked together well from testing the waters together at uni. The indie scene in

Apart from producing some fabulous and powerful literary magazines, what does Monstrous Regiment

Edinburgh and Scotland

with the things we feel are missing due to the

‘Even if your work dream is the most important thing in the world to you, you have to fill life up with other nice bits too.’

gatekeeping nature of big publishers. We prioritise

about launching. We met with so many kind fellow

Ltd as a publisher value the most? We seek to empower original, grassroots voices and often overlooked or marginalised groups of writers and readers. We want to fill bookshelves

supporting the arts as paid work. Pay from us is low





very collaborative and supportive so don’t be afraid to meet with people and talk if you have an idea that you’re nervous

indies before starting up and as well as gathering the

and slow at the moment, but it’s at the forefront

most useful hints and tips, we were met with nothing

of everything we do and we hope we will keep

but encouragement. We will always try do the same

being able to offer more and more to creatives.

for others now too.

We embrace intersectional feminist ideas, and we are an all queer and female team (there’s five of us now!) and our publishing directors are both from very working class backgrounds. At the end of the day, we just want to put out excellent content that moves people and we want to treat our team and our writers really well in the process, but in order to

Interested to read T he Bi-Ble Bundle? Preorder now! Enter the link below.

do that we have to shake up systems. 19 19


CHASING MY GOALS ONE MARATHON AT A TIME Written by Shilpa Sheetal I never grew up actively participating in sports when I was a child. I liked playing for leisure, during recess with my classmates but that is all I can remember. My father was an accomplished sportsman back during his college days. He always emphasised on the importance of developing healthy habits, including participating in physical activities. I knew about healthy eating and exercising, but like all people slaves to their habits, I was too, a person who loved food too much and moved around too little.   It was during university, I started developing an interest in marathons. I knew people ran, but what motivated them was my biggest question. I started preparing over three months back in 2016 to run my first 5k marathon. I researched online and read articles about running a marathon as a beginner. I would keep a calendar to strike off days when I practised my run and the event was nearing with no excuses. I started early morning that day finally to run with a friend who encouraged me through the entire journey. I still remember the feeling of crossing the finish line and getting a medal in the end. What I loved the most, was the community that enjoyed running and encouraged every single participant with high fives and positive slogans. I was motivated to do more.   After running few 5k’s, I moved on to run 10k marathons in different places. I

‘I knew about healthy eating and exercising, but like all people slaves to their habits, I was too, a person who loved food too much and moved around too little.’

won’t lie, it is tough when you reach 4k and have 6k more ahead and you are already feeling terribly awful about taking part midway while panting and running. But the moment you cross halfway, every kilometre after that feels a little easier towards your end point. Knowing there are people running with you, crossing

‘It’s incredible what your mind is capable of under circumstances where your body simply cannot cope with the external environment.’

distances with majestic views and enthusiastic cheering from others, how is one supposed to give up?   In 2019, I signed up to run a 13k marathon in April where the temperature fluctuated between 2 to 5 degrees Celsius and drizzled all the way till the end for two hours. It’s incredible what your mind is capable of under circumstances where your body simply cannot cope with the external environment. Pushing myself to expand my limits through running marathons has been a notable experience in my life. To see people of different ages, sizes, genders and places running as a community towards the finish line is an experience one shouldn’t miss in their lives. Every single

time I run, my mind realises how often we get stuck in our routine and find little time to do what makes us happy.   As I jot down and feel proud of how far I have come to appreciate my mind and body, and develop my strength along the way, I look forward to running what I think would be the toughest ever yet that I have ever took part in, a half marathon that covers a distance of 21 kilometres.   Let the run begin!

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SPECIAL THANKS Derek Allen Avril Gray David McClusky Samuel Cox Emma Watkins Bell & Bain Printers

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“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am.” Sylvia Plath

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