CULL has hit 84% of total and is on a roll!
For those of you unsure about what this is all about, what the hell kind of novel it is and why on earth you should pledge and become part of this wonderful project, please allow me to shed some light!
CULL is my second novel, a literary fiction set in ‘another England’ where austerity has set the country’s teeth on edge. Hate crime is on the rise and the government has just passed The Protect and Care Bill as a cost- cutting method demanding the elderly and vulnerable, no longer able to afford care, are housed in huge residential centres for their ‘own good’.
Alex, a hard-bitten journalist, has fallen on hard times and is struggling to find enough work to pay her bills and keep her off the street. She is visually impaired and lives with her wonderful and compassionate canine companion, her guide dog Chris.
Whilst looking for potential stories, Alex and Chris stumble upon two things; one, the possibility that the newly opened Grassybanks Residential Home may be a front for state sponsored euthanasia of the disabled and vulnerable. Two, that their new found friends at the Ladies Defective Agency (LDA) may be undercover activists.
However, Alex and Chris’s snooping puts them directly in the line of danger. Who can they trust and what can they do to make things right?
CULL is an important novel, engaging readers from the very opening of the Dog’s Prologue to the final chapter. Its dark charm makes it more than just a thrilling read. CULL is a polished mirror reflecting back to us a cold truth about discrimination, about what happens when we let things slide and where that might just lead. This is a ground breaking, original novel with a bold new perspective and a razor-sharp take on what it feels to be a disabled person in the 21st Century; how insecure, fraught and disturbing life can be.
And why now? Why does CULL matter now?
There is still much work to be done to create genuine awareness and inclusion for those with a disability in Britain. Just last November a United Nations inquiry found that UK welfare reforms have led to “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights. Another recent report was published by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in April 2017 highlighting concerning trends, citing significant differences between the life chances and opportunities available to disabled and non-disabled people. For example, fewer than half of disabled people (47.6%) are in employment, compared with almost 80% of non-disabled adults. This gap has widened since 2010-11. Food poverty, access to healthcare and negative attitudes toward disabled people are prominent. Toxic language in the media is also suspected of being one of the many reasons that hate crime has risen against disabled people by 216% in the last year alone.
As a disabled woman, I have felt voiceless and afraid these last few years. As an author, thank God, I am able to stand and take action. It is not just that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members (M. Gandhi), although that is I believe a truth. More so, it is about how people are disabled by society. Most disabled people would NOT BE VULNERABLE, isolated or jobless with the right support and inclusion. We ARE the canary in the coal mine.
And CULL is the canary singing its heart out.
So now is your opportunity to get involved. Pick from the wonderful welter of pledges on the Unbound website and help us get this novel published and out there! The sooner you do, the sooner we can get more oxygen to that blinking canary!