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“… send out your small, brave light

If I could be God for a day, better still the Minister for Education, I would put Sophia Blackwell’s new poetry collection on the exam curriculum. Not because good poetry should be studied, per se, but so that every bullied, anxious, depressed or unsupported gay teen would have a copy of ‘The Fire Eater’s Lover’ hanging out of their school rucksack.

In this exhilarating, moving, often funny collection, girls climb trees, just for the joy of discovering their own powers, women pull their skin on and off like dresses, navigate strange cities with the skill of night time trapeze artists, or fall out of and into love with one another, without guilt or fear. The word courage is never used but it is implicit in every line of this small, powerful book, filled with vibrant imagery, music, drama, and a kill-me-now talent with words. Above all, here are deep emotions rendered with real tenderness. And the world only needs more of that.

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Jo Ely

Described as "an intelligent, creative, imaginative, original writer" by Guardian Book of the Year author Trevor Byrne, Jo Ely has been Shortlisted for the Fish International Short Story Prize and has had a short story selected for an anthology edited by New York Times Notable Book of the Year author Sandra Tyler (Woven Tale Press, US ed. 2016). Jo has published short stories, children's books and written interviews with writers for the Woven Tale Press. She also reviews for the world's first online Empathy Library. 'Stone Seeds' is Jo's first novel, published by Urbane Publications (Amazon.co.uk).

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