Stewart Hotston

Hope, Anger and Writing



Not So – How the Ants got their Queen

I’m delighted to say that I’m part of the Not So anthology of stories edited by David Thomas Moore and published by Abaddon. It is slated for release on the 18th April 2018.

The collection is, to quote an ‘Anthology of culturally diverse writers create short works in reaction to Kipling’s Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories was one of the first true children’s books in the English language, a timeless classic that continues to delight readers to this day. Beautiful, evocative and playful, the stories of How the Whale Got His Throat or the First Letter Written paint a magical, primal world.

It’s also deeply rooted in British colonialism. Kipling saw the Empire as a benign, civilising force, and his writing can be troubling to modern readers. Not So Stories attempts to redress the balance, bringing together new and established writers of colour from around the world to take the Just So Stories back, giving voices to cultures that were long deprived them.

My story is called How the Ants got their Queen and tracks through the rise of colonialism, its fall and what replaced it in all too many situations. I hope it’s a little gruesome, fun and snarky all in one.

Keep an eye out!

Mixing Professionals and Newbies

Professionals eh? I think, generally, they’re just people who’ve managed to get stuff done ™. However, one other thing tends to differentiate them from those who are not professional. I don’t mean that in the sense that everyone else is unprofessional. More that professionals have a couple of habits that I find rather helpful.

  1. They know how to get stuff done – if they find blockages or obstacles, they don’t need someone to give them a manual, they try to figure it out for themselves
  2. They don’t take everything personally. People sometimes assume that they are their jobs and in those circumstances their egos can get bruised easily when things don’t go their way, when they’re not successful or, worse, when others disagree with them (or actually do them wrong). Professionals tend to stuff the emotional stuff down and deal with it later while they get the job done – they focus past the immediate.

Why this focus on professionals as if they’re some form of Greek hero?

In the very narrow context of anthologies – we’re working to open submissions for our first anthologies (go here to see the announcements) and we’re really very keen to get some people whose work we really love together with some people whose stories will be published for the very first time.

I don’t know what to expect in terms of quality, number or even styles. I’m pretty excited to tell the truth but what I’m also going to be looking for is people, who even if they’re new, have that air of professional to them – who bother to read the submissions guidelines and bother to submit on time. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.

Of course, I talk about others but hey, we still have to be professional too and that’s a whole other story!


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