'Young, Broke and Talented' (2015) Is Progressive, Raw, and Unapologetic
A review of an older project I am still proud to have been a part of.
This is a book review I wrote for the Toronto Public Library with regards to the anthology book that I had contributed a submission to several years ago called Young, Broke and Talented. If you would like information about the project and/or on how to get a copy of the book, email us at: [email protected]
First off, I’d like to say that I’m really proud of Valerie Amponsah for making this concept a reality. Anyone who has ever wanted to speak out about something that is meaningful to them had gotten a chance to do so through this opportunity. It has been a pleasure contributing a piece to this brilliant anthology, and to have worked alongside Valerie as a social media coordinator for our Instagram page, @yptproject.
I was in summer school when I had first learned of this project. I was a member of Canadian University Press’ Facebook group in the Ontario region; at the time, they were constantly updating their page with opportunities for aspiring journalists, all of which I would get notifications for.
One of them just so happened to be a submissions call for the project, and this was after I had a class that concentrated on the perpetuating disregard for meaningful journalism within the context of corporate ideologies and economic law, and the potential harms that arise from such negligence.
Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I always knew that journalism would be a part of my life somehow. But this was the class in particular that cemented my motivation to pursue this dream and to speak to this growing issue in the industry. It was as if fate answered my prayers when this opportunity presented itself.
From the moment my submission was accepted, something that I had not anticipated seeing as I had missed the deadline by a day, I knew that this would be my stepping-stone to authorship. To get one of my pieces published in a book was something I could only dream of, and this project has given me the confidence to someday publish my own books.
From Valerie’s heartfelt preface to Philbert’s empowering poetry, this is an anthology that anyone can find relatable, whether the pieces speak to their own personal narratives or to the grand scheme of things. Young, Broke and Talented has brought together creative minds, insightful perspectives, and varying interpretations of what it means to have goals and to constantly be struggling in general. That, in and of itself, is remarkable.
What I like about this book is that it stays true to each author’s voice and intent. It accepts many forms of expression, and encourages topic diversity. You don’t have to be eloquent, but you’re also not limited to just writing accounts about your own experiences. Mine is an academically oriented essay about corporate journalism, for Goodness' sake! Many of the pieces, especially the poems, are largely open-ended, which I hope will lend themselves to discourse among the readership.
I, personally, have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s submissions. There were so many quotable lines that I had a hard time choosing my absolute favourites for the Instagram page! It is clear that much effort and soul had been put into these pieces, and I feel like I have learned a lot more about reality and others people’s truths through them. It was as if I was reading about characters in novels that were all going through their own arcs in their respective stories, and each is a reflection of how people see the world and why they do what they do.
If there is one thing I wish I could have seen, it is illustrations and designs, whether they are submissions or done by the creative team. I feel that having these would give more character and uniqueness to the pieces, especially the poems.
At the same time, however, I think that not having visuals allows readers to conjure up their own mental imagery, according to where and how they could see these stories taking place. While I would’ve liked to see some artwork, I can definitely see and accept the other side of the argument.
I wholeheartedly believe that this anthology should get a sequel, or perhaps even become a series. This is a project, after all, and I don’t see why it can't be an ongoing one. I’m sure that other people would find it inspiring and would want to share their own ideas.
I think it would help contribute to contemporary literature, which would invite anyone who has a story to tell to the discussion. Not only would it get people reading more, it would also give them hope that issues that they believe are only tormenting their minds are possibly already being talked about on a wider scale.