Two beasts, one throne...

Aaron Farrell

Briony Collins

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I was lucky enough to see myself in the pantheon of heroes I read and watched as a child. I’m a working-class white guy with glasses and an identity crisis. Spider-Man and Superman aren’t bad role models. But I want everyone (however you identify as this precise assortment of atoms) to honour what they feel represents them by becoming someone else’s hero. Don Quixote is my favourite novel because Cervantes captured the lunacy in us all to develop a complex through art that helps us navigate our own life-sized novel of villains, heroes and damsels who protest. And this world certainly needs more deconstructions of archetypes. That doesn’t mean standing atop buildings with a cape (‘No capes, darling’) dancing in the wind like a phallic flag (‘No nationalism, darling’). It means that you get to define you. We just hope that definition is as broad as the hips of Mother Earth as she wails ‘This is the end, my only friend, the end’ from the parricide some of her children are committing, whilst others (you) recite incantations of imagination. I could say: I roamed the world for 16 months; can jump-spinning back-kick a shit-eating grin from bigoted face; bust a steezy heelflip in one of every ten tries; 'I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe' and not just be quoting my favourite film; that I write poetry, prose, novels, CNF, screenplays, essays, film reviews and bios for passion projects, but I just have, so there’s probably even less of a need to say no one thing defines me. Oh, and I believe in violent expression. 

I was born in Leicester to a working-class household, in which our main source of entertainment came from our local library. I learned that, through books, I could explore all of time and space. My library card was my passport into alternate worlds where I met the ferocious Captain Nemo, journeyed through Billy Pilgrim’s confusing mind, and suffered from the same terror as the hobbled Paul Sheldon. As my love for reading strengthened, I was struck with an insatiable desire to create my own stories. How was it possible for a person to use nothing more than words to build up entire universes? How did an assortment of bizarre squiggles and symbols printed on paper come to life? How could it be that the right combination of ink on parchment could make me cry, laugh, or shake in fear? I had to master the sorcery of writing.

In late 2019, I was sifting through my old journals (an awful and cringe-inducing task, let me assure you), and I found the following entry, dated November 14th, 2013: I want to write poems and plays…I love all these things, but I cannot do them. I’m going to learn. Perhaps if I start doing the things I love, I will discover what I want to do with my life. I was 17 when I wrote that. I haven't mastered the sorcery of writing yet, but I’ve certainly grown a lot since then. From a novel prize to publications, producing my own play to signing with an agent, I am happy with where this journey is taking me. And now it has brought me here, to Cape.

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Aaron's Books

Briony's Books

(The Birds, The Rabbits, The Trees forthcoming, April 2023)