loss and hope – the pound project

The newest limited edition book from the Pound Project arrived recently in it’s snazzy lil envelope with some added postcards inside. Including a lovely one by Charlie Mackesy, author and illustrator of the much loved The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and one where Rita Ora appears to have gone rogue with her lipstick. Might follow suit and make use of my 5+ year old lipsticks that I never use but for some reason can’t seem to bring myself to throw out. This book, Loss and Hope, was made in collaboration with Eternity, a movement created by Lola Bute which is working to raise awareness of addiction, mental health and suicide, with all the proceeds being donated to relevant charities. This slightly chunkier book is a bit different to the others I have from The Pound Project as it is a curation of lots of different pieces, featuring the likes of Scarlett Curtis, Jamie Windust, Sebastian Faulks and Adwoa Aboah (whose podcast is also a great source of hope). The writing inside, as you might have guessed from the title, is all centred around grief – a notoriously difficult subject not just for people to talk about but to try and explain and garner understanding. It’s a saddening yet beautiful little book, which really puts into focus how dire the mental health crisis is and how urgently changes need to be made. Even though grief touches us all, it’s still a story of hope, not for a new start without any pain but for the knowledge that even though losses can be truly awful you can still continue and have an inspired and wonderful life with the memories you have and most importantly, as Richard Curtis writes in the last piece, “the bit that’s alive is love, a real thing, like warmth or food or conversation”.

The Pound Project is an independent crowdfunding publisher which aims to “put the value of writing first”. They use sustainable materials and appreciate the effort that goes into writing therefore believe in paying authors their fair share. Considering my interests in the publishing industry, it’s always intriguing to see the different ways publishing is evolving and I’m a big supporter not just of the content they provide but also their ethos. You can buy the project to read or listen to online for, as you might’ve guessed, a pound. It usually costs £5 to get the ever so pleasing printed versions, of which I have four now, the other 3 of which are long form essays. The book that introduced me to the Pound Project was Dolly Alderton’s Hopeless Romantic, which is the most gorgeous little read on loving love in all it’s forms, in Alderton’s signature warm and witty writing style. Soon after this I bagged Pandora Sykes’ The Authentic Lie (in the perfect shade of yellow), which looks at authenticity in the new age of the social media presence, where picking out what is your true self is becoming increasingly difficult as is finding some sort of balance. Lastly, Emma Gannon’s Sabotage analyses why we sabotage our own lives and helps identify the many ways in which this can manifest, and in turn, how we can challenge it. This has now been made into a full length book of the same name, out in September this year.

Although the books are limited edition, they often do re-runs so keep an eye out for that if any of these caught your eye! And they’ve already announced their latest project, titled Quarantine, written by the authors, journalists and podcasters, Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson. So go check out The Pound Project’s website or social media to keep up to date as more is announced to do with that and future projects. I love what the Pound Project are doing and stand for and can’t wait to see what they do next.

—T

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