2007 QUIP Annual Meeting

 

Quaker publishers decide on new youth anthology

and discuss writing and publishing as ministry

 

Quaker publishers, booksellers, authors, publications committee members and others from a range of yearly meetings in the US, the UK and France met among the hills and lakes of Cumbria, North West England, April 26-29, 2007, for the Annual Meeting of Quakers Uniting in Publications (QUIP). The theme of the meeting was 'Writing and Publishing as Ministry'.

 

QUIP united with the proposal for a Quaker Youth Book Project, which will feature short non-fiction prose, poetry and art by international young Quakers ages 15-30 from all branches of the Religious Society of Friends, including programmed, unprogrammed, conservative and evangelical traditions from around the world. This follows the success of QUIPís first anthology of writing by young Quakers, Whispers of Faith. An editorial board will now be recruited, and a call for submissions will begin in October 2007.

 

Participants presented their recently published and forthcoming books as well as ongoing projects, including: a comprehensive biographical dictionary of British Quakers in commerce by Ted Milligan (Sessions of York), due out this year; and a series of small books entitled Twelve Quakers and ..., by Friends involved in the Quaker Quest outreach project, soon to be published together in one book by publisher, O Books.

 

Several speakers talked about their experience of the theme:

 

- Vanessa Julye told us of the ministry she has developed over the past 12 years helping Friends to hear the voices of people of colour, both in the present and from the past.She has published a pamphlet The Seed Cracked Open: growing out of racism and she spoke of the different ways in which writing enables her to further her ministry. She hopes to help Quakerism to become a place where no one has to forsake their cultural identity or feel isolated.

- David Blamires, editor of Friends Quarterly, spoke in the form of a poem "interrupted by prose", and described the long collaborative process which led to his writing a pamphlet Homosexuality From the Inside in 1973 and putting his name to it publicly.He felt impelled to undertake this writing and knows that it had has been of service to many people.

- Alex Wildwood spoke of how the ministry of writing his books has always been a corporate process, with others supporting his ministry, helping to test his leading and preventing isolation.He says that the members of the committee overseeing the writing of his 1999 Swarthmore Lecture A Faith to Call Our Own: Quaker tradition in the light of contemporary movements of the Spirit acted like the banks of the river, keeping the rushing river of inspiration within bounds while allowing it to flow.

- Harvey Gillman also spoke about the process of writing a book, his newly published book, Consider the Blackbird.The title refers to a blackbird that came to visit Harvey when he was writing. The blackbird sings because it is a blackbird but we are compelled to give the song meaning. He said he needed to write this book so that he could get on living: "so I can be quiet, because I've said it".He encouraged us, rather than to try to write general words that can become just notions, to listen to the voice speaking to each of us personally, and trust that it is not just speaking to us but has a more universal message.

 

The 2008 annual meeting of QUIP will be held at the Summit Retreat Center near Greensboro, North Carolina, from April 24-27, 2008, with the theme "Publishing with Immediacy: Periodicals, Web pages and Blogs".