With Forest Publications, the publishing wing (now-defunct) of the longstanding Forest arts collective in Edinburgh, Scotland, I co-edited two anthologies of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction: Stolen Stories (2008) and The Golden Hour Book Volume II (2009).
Stolen Stories was born of the eternal premise that good artists copy, but great artists steal. From the back cover: Never, ever trust a writer. One minute you’re pouring your heart out in the pub, the tale of you and him, or you and her; the tears, the anguish, the pain. Next thing you know, it’s all over the papers: the best-selling tale of some twit who resembles you in every way except they have black hair and better taste in music. But this is what writers do: they steal, the take, they lie. We feel there is no shame in this. Quite the opposite. In order to celebrate this, we have compiled an anthology of the finest ‘stolen’ stories, a collection of 16 tales from both established and emerging thieves, all of whom have been forced to confess the source of their thefts.
The Golden Hour Book Volume II collected the best of the monthly Golden Hour literary and musical cabaret series held at the Forest in Edinburgh, Scotland, including contributions from Andrew Philip, Kapka Kassabova, Robert Alan Jamieson, Alan Gillis, Claire Askew, and more, and a CD with 20 songs by Scotland-based bands. Ron Butlin, former Edinburgh poet laureate: “There is genuine wit, deep feeling and real entertainment in this most enjoyable volume. Light-hearted and serious by turns, ‘The Golden Hour Book Volume II’ contains some of the best and freshest new writing I have come across for quite a while.“
Both books are now out of print, though copies do surface from time to time. An excellent write-up of the collective’s touring work can be found here, thanks to former Forest member Jason Morton.