Leaving the Line: Images & Words of War & Wondering is the result of a collaboration between military historian Jeremy Banning and Tania Hershman, a fiction writer and poet, for the Bristol 2014 project, as part of the Festival of Ideas. Jeremy and Tania worked together, each stepping into the other’s world, to create a set of 12 postcards (12 is the number of members of a Section in the army), combining an image with a 100-word short story or poem – 8 written by Tania and 4 by Jeremy – inspired in some way by the First World War – with particular focus on Bristol, women in the war, and Jewish soldiers. The images were either taken by Jeremy or Tania or are from archive material, and on the back of each postcard are a few lines explaining the facts that inspired the the poem or story.
The gorgeous postcards were designed by Paul Hewitt of Battlefield Design. 500 sets were printed, and they are here in electronic form. Please do leave a comment if you’re so moved, on the particular postcard’s blog post.
Jeremy and Tania met when a friend of Tania’s, poet, short story writer and novelist Vanessa Gebbie, organised the first writers’ trip to The Somme in 2012, organised and guided by Jeremy – something that is a major part of his work, he had taken Vanessa there before for her research. (You can read several of Vanessa’s blog posts about our trips – and hers – on her blog.) Jeremy, Tania and Vanessa will talk about this at a Festival of Ideas event for Bristol 2014 at the Watershed, Bristol, on Nov 15th. More details here >>>
Tania had not thought she wanted to go to the WW1 battlefields. She had no connection, she thought, to WW1. She spent 15 years living in Israel and didn’t want to hear about war. But the weekend was a deeply moving and powerful experience for her, which led her to join the group on the subsequent trips in Oct 2013 and Oct 2014 – and, of course, led to Tania and Jeremy being asked by Andrew Kelly, director of the Bristol Festival of Ideas, to undertake this arts collaboration, something neither of them had ever done.
Thanks to the following for supporting this project: