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Showcase: Parahumanity + The Gift + A Reflection Of Superheroes + Saltburn Beach Houses + Saltburn Lift + Saltburn Pier + The Chapel + The Eagle

Edited by Hannah Rooney

Welcome to the second Showcase of April. I’m thrilled to be introducing you to some more brilliant pieces on the new Write On! theme of ‘Overcoming’. It’s been a pleasure to read the wide range of wonderful submissions, which each demonstrated skilled artistry and left an immense impression.

This week, I’d particularly like to explore how vulnerability often plays a large part in the process of overcoming. The pieces I’ve selected for this Showcase each evoke their own sense of vulnerability, delivered in ways that are uniquely beautiful. I hope you’ll find these pieces powerful and evocative.

To open the Showcase, I’d like to share two sections from Parahumanity, a science-fiction dystopia by Hannah Hoare. Parahumanity follows the story of a girl entering into a new and unusual society she’s been away from for the majority of her life. I was compelled by the skilled blend of emotions in Hoare’s writing, where the ideas of overcoming and hope are peppered with subtle hints of darkness.

Parahumanity (Excerpt 1)

“Bad now, better soon,” Father tries in his rasping, thick-tongued voice. He leans his cheek against your hair, his scent thick, breath warm. You uncurl. Gently, he takes the journal from your hands and holds it before you. Turns its pages, his thick fingers impossibly gentle.

“We’re going to get you off the Island,” Rawg says. “We have lots of time.”

“Years and years.” Father stops turning pages. The spread he lands on has been decorated with pictures. Around the edge of the strange text are tiny, beautiful flowers, leaves, little birds. Father’s big rough hand covers yours, and he moves it to trace the design, so intricate, so otherworldly. “Years and years. Have to keep going, girl. Have to keep going.”

© Hannah Hoare, 2022

Parahumanity (Excerpt 2)

I looked down into the pit. As I looked, the tanks heaved and lowed on either side of me, rhythmically, healthily.

I could hear Alexander’s voice behind me–soft, almost a whisper. “Amazing, isn’t it? It’s dividing so quickly! I mean, I’ve seen it happen before. My father used to show me bacterial samples multiplying, when this was his lab – and there were the photographs, diagrams in books, the video tapes… I’ve even been unfortunate enough to witness one of my own failed experiments divide once, then die. But nothing compares to this. To think, one of those cells could become part of a new arm, a heart, a brain. It’s alive, Katrina! We’ve done it. We’ve created a healthy life!”

© Hannah Hoare, 2022


Next, I’m sharing two excerpts from Recovery Voices, an extremely moving book edited by Helen Aitchison, in collaboration with Recovery Connections and published by Write-On-The-Tyne. Recovery Voices shares the writing of people who have struggled with addiction, particularly in North East England. The book helps demonstrate the power writing can have in the overcoming process. Firstly, I’d like to share a poem by Thomas Dale, exploring the power of perseverance in the midst of struggle.

The Gift

Not a flash car or a fancy home.
I give you recovery.
It is a seed encased in moist earth.
It promises hope,
Like the delicate flutter of a butterfly.


Its path will have you,
On the verge of despair,
Like a forsaken beacon,
On a turbulent night.
It will make you crave,
The erroneous security of your vice,
Solace in the intimate alliance once forged.
I am only being honest.
Not a false dream or fool’s gold.

I give you recovery.

Its flickering flame will guide your way,
Blazing and bright
As a phoenix,
Rerisen from the smouldering ash.

Take it.

It’s a gift that cannot be given,
At most, inspired.
Yours now.
A burden to carry,
I truthfully know.
It’ll lighten, I’m sure,
As you strengthen and grow.
Like the stubborn clutches,
Of darkness,
With the ensuing dawn.
Its change will guide others,

Lead them to life.

© Thomas Dale, 2023

(Extracted from Recovery Voices, published by Write-On-The-Tyne)

Visit their website to find our more: |


Now, I’d like to introduce you to another piece from Recovery Voices. This piece, by Terry Ridley, has a strong impact on the reader. I found it incredibly emotive and gentle.

A Reflection Of Superheroes

A little boy has a passion, just to kick a football and play like his heroes.
Always going home full of mud and bruised shins, but always happy.

Getting his new boots, he would put his kit on, look into the mirror and see his football hero.
With a big smile and hope in his eyes, he looked past his reflection and saw happiness and love.

He can just be…

Life changes quick for our little boy.
Now a young man, feeling afraid and alone.
He wears a uniform and when he looks at his reflection he sees the hero he is expected to be, but in his eyes is the little boy who just wants to be…

His uniform has been taken away and a whole new world has opened up for our young man. A villain, who was a hero to our young man, eventually showed his true side and tried to break him.

In his reflection he is battered and bruised with the fearful eyes of the little boy who

Just wants to be…

His reflection changes so much now, it’s like he’s watching 100 different movies, with him the bad guy in all of them. Now at rock bottom, body scared, heart broken, a real hero came along.

He looked him in the eyes, smiled and gave him a choice:

Come with me and we will support you. All I ask of you, is that you try.

Fast forward and life is good for our man.
He has a big smile, hope in his eyes, and love in his heart.
He is surrounded by heroes every day and that’s why he has a reflection of superheroes.

Now he can just be…

© Terry Ridley, 2023

(Extracted from Recovery Voices, published by Write-On-The-Tyne)

Connect: Website: |


As I’ve already suggested, the act of creating art can be very important in the experience of overcoming. Many writers, including myself, find writing to be a cathartic experience. I’d therefore like to close with a series of photographs from Grace Waite, a media student and a dear friend. For Grace, photography has both meaning and importance, acting as a form of empowerment. The photographs I’m sharing are ones she feels both extremely connected to and proud of. I found them very touching.

Saltburn Beach Houses

© Grace Waite, 2024

Saltburn Lift

© Grace Waite, 2024

Saltburn Pier

© Grace Waite, 2024

The Chapel

© Grace Waite, 2024

The Eagle

© Grace Waite, 2024

Connect with Grace on Instagram: @actsofgracee

Note from the photographer: “I use photography as a way of storytelling, but also to take photos of the world in all of its colours, bright and dull. Photography allows me to freeze any moment I want and encapsulate it forever. It enables me to take that moment and share it with others, allowing them to create their own story and interpretation of an image. They can decide what that image means to them.”


I’d like to thank everyone who submitted their work to Write On! and I hope you’ve all enjoyed this Showcase as much as I’ve enjoyed editing it. The pieces I’ve shared with you should hopefully inspire you with your own writing. Thank you for reading.


If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to:

Read Issue 20 online here or find it in libraries and other outlets. You can see previous editions of our magazines here

Hear extracts from Showcase in our podcast. Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo or find us on Spotify for Pocasters.


If you or someone you know has been affected by issues covered in our pages, please see the relevant link below for ​information, advice and support​:

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