Rewriting the Story About HIV

“We should never underestimate the power of stories to heal and to reveal, to shape and to make, to guide and change the tide,” writes Jackie Kay, Scots Makar, in her foreword to Disclosures: Rewriting the Story About HIV, published by Stewed Rhubarb Press. “And we must never forget what it costs to share a story—the first steps are always brave ones.”

This preconception-busting anthology, edited by Angie Spoto, collects together poetry, stories, artwork, and nonfiction which challenge the image of what it means to have HIV in Scotland today.

Much of the included work was nurtured by HIV Scotland’s Positive Stories project, through which workshop leaders Colin Herd, Angie Spoto, Peter McCune and Katy Hasty helped participants to shape their experiences for print.

The book will be available for World AIDS Day, December 1st. The launch party is at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, and several contributors have been invited to read at the Scottish Parliament’s World AIDS Day reception.

The diverse list of contributors is: RJ Arkhipov, Mark Carlisle, Kevin Crowe, Will Dalgleish, Stephen Duffy, J. William James, Matthew Lynch, James McAbraham, NJ Millar, Nobody, Michael Nugent, Oliver, Rio, Fraser Serle, Nathan Sparling, Angie Spoto and Jamie Stewart. The book features illustrations by Brian Houston.

James T. Harding, publisher at Stewed Rhubarb, said: “The greatest privilege of any publisher is to be able to amplify people and stories which might not otherwise be heard. I couldn’t be more delighted to support this informative, moving, and empowering anthology.”

Jackie Kay, the Scots Makar, said: “This is a brave, bold and beautiful book – breaking new ground. The stories and poems are full of surprises and carry out their fare share of healing along the way. I was happy to write the foreword to such a much needed collection.”

Nathan Sparling, interim Chief Executive of HIV Scotland said: “This book personifies the experiences of the full diversity of people living with and affected by HIV. It challenges the misinformation and misconceptions that people have through the mix of stories and facts about HIV. It is an important message for this World AIDS Day, as the fight against the virus is far from over. We must not let stigma get in the way of ensuring everyone has the right to a long, healthy and fulfilling life.”