Author interview: Kathy Hoyle on the MAINSTREAM anthology

We were delighted to speak with Kathy Hoyle, one of the brilliant contributors to a new anthology: MAINSTREAM. She tells us how she got involved in the project, and why this anthology is such an important read.

Can you tell us a little more about what sparked the idea for MAINSTREAM, and why you’re excited to be involved?

The idea for MAINSTREAM is the brainchild of Justin David and Nathan Evans, both creative artists themselves, who had spent decades wrestling with gatekeepers and trying to convince producers, publishers and agents that their own work was relevant. They were well aware of the dearth of diversity and equality in mainstream publishing from the outset, so they set up Inkandescent, with the help of a small grant from the Arts Council.

They published their first book, Threads—a poetry and photography collaboration which was supposed to be a bit of fun. But they learned so much in doing that one project and felt so passionate about helping others, they decided to repeat the exercise for other underrepresented writers and artists. They wanted to do one project that would include lots of authors in the same volume and shine a light on some dazzling new and not so new talent. And so… MAINSTREAM was born. 

I first saw a callout for the project about six months ago and I knew immediately, it was something I wanted to be involved in. Growing up in a small, industrial North-East town during the height of the miner’s strike, becoming a writer was as alien to me as becoming a movie star or riding a magical unicorn. It’s only now, much later in my life, that I’ve started to believe that readers might actually want to hear my stories, that I’ve got something interesting to say, and it’s projects like MAINSTREAM that give me a platform from which to shout loud and proud! The fact that my story will appear alongside some brilliant authors such as Kit De Waal, Kerry Hudson, Paul McVeigh and Leone Ross is amazing to me, I’m still pinching myself!

Is there a theme for the stories involved in the project, or is there a mix of topics and sources of inspiration?

There are themes that have emerged as the book was put together but there wasn’t a set theme originally. The idea was to give writers the opportunity to speak their own truths and encourage original and interesting narratives that would represent every corner of society. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the story you’ve contributed to the anthology, and your background as a writer?

My story, Home Time, is a window into my own childhood, I guess. It’s set in a pit village during the miner’s strike and told through the eyes of a young protagonist. Although it’s not an outright memoir, it was written whilst I was studying for my MA at The University of Leicester, as an assignment focussing on memory and Life-Writing.

I was unsure, at first, how it might be received but was encouraged to send it out as I’d had some previous success writing in a similar vein – I was shortlisted for the Spread the Word Life-Writing Prize in 2018. Over the past year, my focus has primarily been on flash fiction, which I love writing, but having now come full circle thanks to MAINSTREAM, I’m starting to think once more about the North East and have begun work on a novel set on the North East coast.  

How can people find out more about MAINSTREAM and help bring this anthology to life in print? 

We’ve been delighted with the response so far! People seem really keen to be involved and I can tell you the stories are all wonderfully diverse and brilliantly written. It really is time to bring new voices in from the outside. 

For more information about the anthology and to pledge, you can go to  

Kathy Hoyle is a working-class writer whose work has appeared in various literary magazines including Spelk, Lunate, Cabinet of Heed, Virtualzine, Reflex Fiction, Secret Attic and Another North. She has been shortlisted for several competitions including The Eliipsiszine Flash Fiction Collection Competition, Flash 500, LISP, The Strands Flash Fiction Competition, Fish memoir Prize, The Exeter Short Story Prize and the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize. She holds a BA (hons) and an MA in Creative Writing. She is mainly fuelled by chocolate. You can often find her procrastinating on Twitter @Kathyhoyle1