To celebrate Open Minds Quarterly’s fifteenth year of publication two years ago, we launched our first anthology: In New Light: The many paths of identity, struggle and mental illness. In New Light features 40 writers from across the globe and includes poetry, essays and fiction published in Open Minds Quarterly between 1998-2011. The anthology includes writings around the themes of identity struggle, examining how a person can hold on to their identity in the struggle for wellness. Contributors hail from across North America, as rural as Labrador, Newfoundland and the Canadian prairies, and as far away as Japan, Thailand and the UK.
The book’s editors, Miriam Harrison, Ken Lillie and Dinah Laprairie, were presented with twelve years of material and a big challenge. Dinah Laprairie, the current editor of Open Minds Quarterly comments:
We had such a wealth of material to consider in planning this collection, but we knew we needed to deal with the big questions that arise when you encounter mental illness. People who have experienced depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other illnesses have had to redefine their sense of self over and over. For many, this is done from a marginalized position in society, in poor health and in poverty. People are struggling with their identity while they are struggling to meet their daily needs like food and adequate housing.
We are thrilled with the success of the anthology so far and the impact that it has had on readers. One of our readers shares with us:
This book will be kept, reread and treasured. It means a lot. Much of it I identified with, admired, laughed, cried, applauded. These are my people…thank you so much.