When we started Hansel back in 2003, we – John Cumming (artist and writer), Frances Pelly (artist / sculptor) and Christine De Luca (writer) – had no idea where it would take us. Almost twenty years on, we look back with pride at a wide range of projects, all not-for-profit, involving many writers and artists from Orkney and Shetland. The range of work produced – from innovative artwork and exhibitions to poetry pamphlets, anthologies, translations and storybooks for children, much in Shetland dialect – has been a great addition to the relatively small literature of the northern isles. Always we have tried to marry flair with quality. Our projects for children have spawned many trips to Shetland schools and libraries.
Over the years Fiona Cumming, John’s wife, became an indispensable member of the small team: type-setting, proofing, keeping track of our fragile finances and helping with all the tasks of marketing and distribution. It has been a joint effort.
Sadly now John and Fiona, and Frances, are stepping back from active work for Hansel though their valuable counsel will no doubt continue to be sought. The good news is that Christine will be joined by two excellent new members who have a track record not just in writing but in studying and supporting the work of other writers. We welcome Jim Mainland and Mark Ryan Smith. The idea is that Christine will gradually retire and Jim and Mark will find others to help develop Hansel.
You can read more about their contribution to Hansel in ‘Collaborators’.