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PART OF THE Perspectives ISSUE

‘2017 is the year to push back against post-truths and champion real experience’

In this guest post by publishers 404 Ink, the editors introduce their forth-coming anthology Nasty Women and, in doing so, demonstrate the uncompromising and upfront ethos of their exciting new imprint.

Nasty Women: The Push Back on Post-Truths

For us at 404 Ink, and many others following a locally and internationally politically challenging year, 2017 is the year to push back against post-truths and champion real experience. Instead of tiring of experts and experience, we were tired of falsehoods, sensationalism, and stories being twisted and contorted by people in 3am Twitter rants. We craved real, personal and unfiltered perspectives on the current political climate through a range of women’s eyes.

In November 2016, the idea of Nasty Women was sparked. 404 Ink’s first book spiralled from the shadow of Trump’s election in the United States of America, where a campaign of hatred, racism and misogyny was allowed to thrive. It started with a simple idea: to reclaim a title, and instead of slapping it on merchandise or Twitter bios, to really explore it. By Christmas, it was fully formulated.

Nasty Women is a collection of essays about being a woman in the twenty-first century. Many of these are voices you won’t hear anywhere else, and are increasingly phased out of public conversations by those who can shout loudest. It’s lucky that we at 404 Ink can shout pretty damn loud.

We revealed the cover and asked for the £6,000 needed to get the book off the ground on Kickstarter on January first. By January third it was fully funded, by January fourth, it soared past £7,000 with the best part of four weeks left to go. This tells us that people want real stories as an alternative to questionable media rhetoric. And we have a whole host of real stories to share with them. Repeal the eighth, Brexit, family, heritage, role models, mental health, disability, hobbies that give you a sense of power, finding your voice – owning your voice.

nasty-women-cover

From the cover design by Maria Stoian

Katie Muriel is a woman of Latinx descent whose family is divided by race, political alliances and more. She writes about what it is to be a woman of colour in Trump’s America, and the realities of how that can tear families apart. Elise Hines documents her life moving around the States and racism she faced, and how she has gradually watched her country go from “hope to grope” in four years.

SimBajwa writes about being the daughter of Indian immigrants and how she wouldn’t change that for the world, where Zeba Talkhani reflects on her identity as a young girl growing up in Saudi Arabia, her identity now living her in Britain, and just what has changed.

Kaite Welsh navigates butch and femme identities, Chitra Ramaswamy considers pregnancy, where Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! chats to Sasha de Buyl-Pisco about her life as a trans woman today, and in the punk community.

Jen McGregor writes candidly about the battles of being a woman in control of your body, taking on contraception and the many battles women face to be informed and make the right choice, which can still be of great detriment to your body.

Mel Reeve tackles the stigma of being the ‘perfect’ survivor of sexual assault and the world’s perception of how you should respond and act. Laura Waddell writes on the experience of being a working class woman, Laura Lam considers her family’s past and keeping the history of nasty, complicated women alive, and Claire Heuchan, also known as blogger Sister Outrider, discusses being a Black woman online.

Joelle Owusu looks at Black fetishisation in her Melanin Manifesto, Nadine Aisha Jassat considers the power of names, Ren Aldridge of punk band Petrol Girls takes on culture’s ability to fight back against insidious attitudes and behaviours, JonaKottler writes on being fat in many countries, and so it continues with many more incredible women documenting their own experiences.

Nasty Women is a collection for people who will not be silenced, in a world where to speak up as a woman and simply tell your story is to be written off, attacked or shut down.

One of the beauties of small indie publishing is the ability to react and act quickly, and there’s nothing more motivating than the political and personal shifts in the past year. Books like The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla, are absolutely vital in pushing back against a hateful rhetoric that is frighteningly uprising globally, and Nasty Women is our small attempt to push with them. In 2017, that’s what 404 Ink will be doing alongside a host of incredible women, and we hope you’ll join us in doing the same.


Edinburgh-based 404 Ink will publish Nasty Women, edited by Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, on 8th March 2017. The video below tells you more about the project and you can pledge to aid publication of Nasty Women here on Kickstarter.

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