Alumni Showcase: Hollie Warren, Creative Writing, class of 2021

Alumni Showcase: Hollie Warren, Creative Writing, class of 2021 name

“I studied Creative Writing at the University of Cumbria due to my love of writing and I figured what better place to learn about writing than the place that birthed famous poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge: Cumbria. My ambitions when starting the degree were to enhance my knowledge of the writing and publication field, but I couldn’t have imagined what I managed to come away from my degree with. I was inspired by many of my classmates who had disabilities, mental health struggles and chronic illnesses during my time at university. This showed me how many people (like myself) who use creativity as an escapism, a way of understanding difficult things that happen to you and expressing yourself if you struggle verbally or something similar.


I started my own online magazine for disabled and chronically ill writers and artists in May 2021, as a disabled writer myself I know that we are often marginalised and misrepresented in both the literary field and mainstream media. I often felt in my own experience my stories weren’t favoured over other creatives and if they were interested, I had to censor myself and my writing. While I could’ve let this discourage me, I decided to carve out a corner of the internet where creatives with any condition and ability can share their work in a safe and positive environment. I don’t believe in censorship as I feel like the most authentic art is made from vulnerability and honesty. Wishbone Words aims to publish a new issue every two months.  


Wishbone Words is one of my greatest achievements, not just because of its success in such a short space of time, but for all of the people who’ve submitted and told me how much this space was needed and how beneficial it was to share their stories and talents. Amplifying the disabled narrative and normalising health conditions is a great passion of mine, so combining it with my other passion of writing is just the cherry on top.


My ambitions for the future are to continue to grow the magazine, as well as hopefully publishing some short stories of my own. I’ve just got a job at Carlisle Library which is such an exciting prospect for someone who wants to expand their knowledge of books, literature and media to make Wishbone Words as inclusive and educational as possible. Anyone can submit to Wishbone Words, I don’t question people's conditions, it’s more about having a safe space to be yourself.


My advice to any current, past or prospective UoC students would be: work as hard as you can but don’t burn yourself out, if you have a goal don’t settle for anything less, as nothing is impossible. If you don’t have a goal, that’s okay – I didn’t know when I started university either. It’s okay to continually grow because you discover yourself as you do that. If you’re wanting to grow your online presence/magazine it takes patience and open and friendly communication with those contributing/following, there’s no point having a space unless people feel welcomed and understood.”


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