To accompany the book, there is a podcast episode for each chapter of the book, produced by Craig Garrett and Shona Hawkes. Listen here to the latest episodes, or explore the full series below, and discover the stories of Not Quite Right For Us.

In this episode we hear ‘The Nod’ by Joshua Idehen ‘Prodigal’ by Maame Blue, and ‘Bodies’ by Shagufta Sharmeen Tania. Our guide is writer, curator and producer Amina Jama.   We take family for granted, don’t we? Even when they may be dysfunctional, there’s always the odd memory of some happy moments, at least. But family – whether blood or chosen – can be hard work too. Whether they give us protection – or not – or need protecting from harsh truths, our family histories and stories are intertwined, for better or worse. Find out how family can be ‘not quite right for us’ through the poetry and prose of Maame, Joshua and Shagufta.    Celebrating ten years of Speaking Volumes, Not Quite Right for Us is a singular collection of stories, essays and poems by a dynamic mix of established and surging voices alike; it’s a warning shot, an affirmation, an education …   In forty short stories, poems and essays — by turns wry, gentle, furious, humorous, passionate, analytical and elliptical — these forty writers, new and established, speak volumes, invoking their experiences of outsiderness and their defiance against it.   Not Quite Right for Us is a stellar new anthology which explores the many ways we’ve all been made to feel ‘not quite right’ at some time or another.   Recorded in collaboration with Speaking Volumes.The anthology is available at all good bookshops, or order from Flipped Eye Publishing.If you enjoyed this episode of NQRFU, try London by Lockdown: a podcast about falling in love with a new city in the middle of a pandemic; remaining curious and open; and about making it work. Available on all podcast platforms or our website.   InformationMusic composed by Dominique Le GendreNarration by Lucy HannahExtra music & SFX from Epidemic SoundEpisode Image Thijs Schouten on Unsplash
  1. Family
  2. Childhood
  3. Work
  4. YesterdayToday
  5. Friends

Love – listen to the episode here

Love touches us all at some point — from dependable familial bonds to the warm comfort of childhood pets, from the heady perfume of romance to the cherished appreciation of community, culture, country. The physical and emotional connections transcend barriers, cross generations and borders. And yet, love can sometimes be ‘not quite right’, taking where it should be giving, causing destruction — even as we still love. In this episode we’ll hear ‘The Pilgrimage’ by Amina Atiq; ’Knot’ by Leonie Ross; and ’The Apocrypha of O’ by Gaele Sobott. Listen to the episode here

Today/Tomorrow – listen to the episode here

Looking back at history and relating it to today helps us all reach for tomorrow. Although things may have been ‘not quite right’ at one time or another (or even now) there is always hope — and there are always things we can do to come together to make real change.

Today & Tomorrow collide as our three unflappable authors shake off the burdens of the present; examine and explore today’s unequal world with precision, instinct and guile; and re-imagine a different (better?) future. With expert guidance from Adelaide Ivanova, poems by Laniyuk and Francesca Beard, and memoir by Nazneen Khan-Østrem this podcast features new work from three acclaimed authors, who each dissect today’s problems, and in their own way argue for a more hopeful tomorrow. Listen to the episode here

Travel – listen to the episode here

The idea of travel brings with it the promise of exotic places filled with interesting people, and images of glittering beaches and crystal clear water, or adventure, relaxation, or even a family holiday. But that’s for those who are able to come and go as they please: one person’s exploration is another’s exploitation. For many, ‘travel’ has been ‘not quite right’ for centuries, bringing conquest and oppression, inequality and ecological disaster, prejudice, and at times walls to keep out ‘the other’. Listen to the episode here

Friends – listen to the episode here

Friends, the people we choose to let into our lives, can be a joy and give us the support we need … but they can also make us feel ‘not quite right’. From the bonds and ties of friendships that develop over years or decades, to relationships forged in a moment; from the middle of an ocean of people and places to the bosom of family; what happens in moments of disjuncture and what those moments can lead to — good and bad — is articulated in the friendships we continually re-negotiate through life’s twists and turns. Sometimes, we can’t say what we feel, sometimes we swallow the hurt, sometimes actions speak louder than words. Listen to the episode here

Yesterday/Today – listen to the episode here

In these days of restrictions, the quieter, slower pace of the world is a good time to reflect on how our yesterdays have created what we are today. From the personal trials of overcoming prejudice and creating ground-breaking, often lonely, paths, to the political decisions to stand up for equality and make visible that which has been hidden, these are stories of being ‘not quite right’ that need to be shared. Each piece gives us pause for thought as we learn just how much personal and public histories can teach us. Listen to the episode here

Work – listen to the episode here

When is a job ‘not quite right’? For Colin Grant it was when he encountered structural racism in the heart of the BBC establishment; for Johny Pitts, it was when he learned the hard lesson that the 1990s wasn’t a post-racial world; and for Fergal Harte’s narrator, it’s when an editor suggests only certain people can be ‘bad guys’.

Very few of us can avoid working but, even if we do manage to hook that ‘dream’ job, it doesn’t stay perfect for long. Sooner or later, we find we – or the job – is ‘not quite right’ in some way. From the whimsical or tyrannical boss (often the same person), to structural inequality in large institutions, there seems little escape from the workplace blues — even for superheroes. Listen to the memoirs of Colin Grant and Johny Pitts, and a new story by emerging writer Fergal Harte. Listen to the episode here

Childhood – listen to the episode here

Our early years should be carefree, stress-free, worry-free. Yet all too often we’re made to feel ‘not quite right’ in some way, whether that’s because of the way we dress, the music we like — or, more insidiously, because of the colour of our skin. School days bring their own issues of peer pressure too, teaching lessons way beyond the classroom. But what happens to our own memories of that time when we grow up, or when we become parents ourselves? And what do we do with the knowledge that formative years are experienced very differently across cultures — and that ‘childhood’ is, after all, just a sociological construct that changes with the times? These are just some of the complex, moving and, at times, humorous issues examined by award-winning authors Jay Bernard, afshan d’souza-lodhi and Catherine Johnson. Listen to the episode here

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