An anthology by children and young people in the Hastings area
Review by Lucy Brown

This anthology by young writers from Hastings based on the theme of the Covid-19 lockdown is as varied in content and style as the ages of the authors themselves.

Ranging from just three years old to seventeen, the Full Stop contributors tell us through fiction, fantasy, poetry and direct accounts, their experiences – both imagined and real – of a bewildering time. What is consistent is the talent and creativity in each and every piece.

Funded by Magdalen and Lasher Charity and produced by Hasting Young Writers Group, all proceeds from the book go to Charity for Kids who support disabled, sick and terminally ill children and their families in the Hastings and Rother area. Contributions from writers outside the group are included and the result is a beautifully vivid, at times funny, and very often moving collection. 

From personal suffering of illness and isolation to compassion for others who are, the anthology demonstrates an empathy from these writers that belies their years.

They describe their loneliness and fears, for themselves, for their futures, for all of our futures, in ways which are at times raw and incredibly touching. But alongside these sensitive perceptions appear pieces that use energy and ingenuity to create fantastical and optimistic worlds, worlds always triumphant in conquering uncertainty.

While missing friends, family and their former freedom, it appears the time confined has served to open wide the imaginations of these authors. Dragons, aliens, fairies and unicorns feature alongside the real, and the depicted battles and escapes, caves and open landscapes provide compelling metaphors for how the authors see difficulty can be overcome. Tales of adventure where good conquers evil and hope quashes fear bring the compilation into vivid colour and we are able to joyfully escape with them.

It’s a book you want to own. It stands alone as a rare insight into the minds of these young people and an exciting glimpse of their talent

I was interested to gain some understanding of the impact isolation has had on the young, but for it to be presented in such a poetic, accomplished and exhilarating manner was a genuine delight.

It’s a book you want to own. It stands alone as a rare insight into the minds of these young people and an exciting glimpse of their talent.  Not only is Full Stop full of hope for a future beyond the pandemic, it’s full of hope for the future for these writers, and therefore ours as their audience.

While we want a full stop for the difficulties this year has brought, I can hope only that this is the beginning for these creators.

Full Stop can be found at Teddy Tinkers, 134 London Road; The Book Keeper, 1A Kings Road, St Leonard’s on Sea; Printed Matter and Book Busters,
Queens Road, Hastings and is also available on eBay.

Hastings Young Writers can be found on Facebook, check and follow for update magdalenandlasher.co.uk and www.charityforkids.co.uk


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