Today I have the wonderful Aisha Bushby on my blog. She was chosen out of many, who haven't had any work published, to get her short story in A Change Is Gonna Come and her short story has to be one of my favourites in the book. It is wonderful and also, this book is now out today in the world! SO happy publication day to all the wonderful authors in this anthology and go out and buy it!
Aisha Bushby was born in the Middle East, before moving to England with her family as a child. After spending some time in Kuwait, Lincolnshire, Birmingham, Vancouver, and Cheltenham, she now lives in Cambridgeshire and works in London as assistant to a literary agent.
I remember getting 'The Email' from Ruth Bennett to say my short story had been selected to be a part of 'A Change is Gonna Come'. I had to read and re-read it quite a few times before I could properly process the news. After that, of course, I was worried that she would email me back to say there'd been a mistake. I'm sure everyone feels that way.
Up until that point, I hadn't exactly had the most positive feedback on my writing. I hadn't really put myself out there but, whenever I did, the response wasn't great. Looking back it was because I was trying to write for a genre and age group that just wasn't working for me.
Writing my short story for Stripes opened a door I never knew needing opening. It made me realise that I should focus on writing contemporary YA - at least, for now. In my opinion that's a big part of the writing journey - knowing what kind of writer you want to be vs. the one you think you are. The anthology gave me the strength to shelve a bad novel and write what I hope is a better one.
Getting my work published is my proudest achievement. It's given me the confidence to take my writing seriously, to say with certainty that I want to be an author, rather than whisper it followed by some remark about how silly I'm being. Seeing the book for the first time was weird. I wanted to simultaneously cradle it to me and hide it away in a box. Edits are hard and I became quite neurotic about them towards the end. For days all I could see were speech marks, dashes and commas floating around my head. I can't bear to read the full story in print for the fear that I might spot something that nags at me. I don't want to imagine what I would be like with a full novel.
But most importantly, being a part of this anthology is more than just about my singular publishing experience - it's about promoting under represented writers. It's about showing other aspiring authors who feel they can't confidently pursue their dreams that they can, and they should.
'Marionette Girl', is about a young woman called Amani, who suffers from severe OCD. The story follows four days of her life, where she attempts to navigate her illness whilst dealing with unexpected hurdles.
I’m both nervous and excited for the changes to come, to begin my own path navigating life as a published author.
Featuring top Young Adult authors and introducing a host of exciting new voices, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene. Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla. Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.