Brighton publisher QueenSpark Books wants your stories for 50th anniversary collection

A community publisher is looking to collect stories from Brighton and Hove residents for a book to mark its 50th anniversary next year.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 5:40 pm
John Riches, development director of QueenSpark Books, with some of the books it has previously published. Photo by Jon Rigby

QueenSpark Books has published more than 110 books documenting the people’s history of the city since it formed in 1972, as a grassroots campaign against a planned casino.

The first-hand stories in its archive include tales from life in the World Wars, clubbing stories, memories of childhood poverty and accounts of newly-arrived migrants.

Together they make a unique record of what makes Brighton what it is today.

John Riches, development director of QueenSpark Books, with some of the books it has previously published. Photo by Jon Rigby

To mark its golden anniversary in 2022, QueenSpark Books will be publishing a landmark book comprising 50 Stories.

It is on the hunt for tales, anecdotes and reminiscences from Brighton residents, on three themes:
– Places: Whether it is a club, square, building, the seafront or shops, what place is significant to you and why?

– Work: Write about your working life, whether you are a cab driver, bar staff, a cleaner or a teacher

– What makes Brighton ‘Brighton’: Is it the characters, the atmosphere, the geography? What does it mean to you?

John Riches, development director at the charity, said: “We’re very proud that, for nearly 50 years, we’ve been telling the stories of the people of Brighton and Hove – and we’re really excited to find out what new stories are out there.”

Stories can be short and anecdotal, but should be no more than four sides of A4 or up to three minutes of speech.

They do not have to be ‘well-written’ or perfectly told – if selected, they will be edited for publication.

By submitting your story, you give permission for QueenSpark to publish it in print and online.

To take part, send your text or audio to [email protected] by July 31.

QueenSpark Books began as part of a residents campaign to convert the 1824 Royal Spa in Brighton’s Queens Park to a nursery school instead of a planned casino.

The campaign succeeded, aided by the circulation of a street newspaper called QueenSpark, which provided information about the campaign and also the sparchivescolumn, focusing on a series of reminiscences of the area.

As well as books, QueenSpark has published ebooks and graphic novels, and has publications and photograph collections about Brighton & Hove communities and history dating back to 1850.

It has highlighted working class lives, autobiography and writing through oral history recordings, diaries and workshops.