Our Books Editor, Henry Crabtree, reintroduces his section for The Tribe, and welcomes any and all contributions and readership for the magazine.


In all my life, I have never met two people who share the same favourite book; their go-to read on a sunny day in the garden, or when they’re feeling sad, or if they merely seek the home comforts that come from plunging head first into that time-worn, dog-eared, beautiful mess of a book. Call me sentimental, but I think that feeling is rather special, and unlike anything else. Yet this post isn’t merely a sappy ode to literature, but an introduction. My name is Henry Crabtree, an honours English student, and I have the honour to be the editor of the Books section of this wonderful magazine for this year. Simply put, I would like to hear your voice, read your words, and allow The Tribe‘s readership and your fellow students to recognise your talent and passion for writing about literature. In our manifesto, we promise to “hope/plan/will/do create a space to express YOUR truth”, and I hope to hear your truth and feelings about literature.


Like political elections and marmite, literature is a topic that everyone has opinions on. There will be books that seize your heart and never let go, and poems that discordantly irk you with every read: and this is the entire point. The subjectivity and passion that stems from talking about your favourite, your least favourite, not to mention every tome in-between is what I would like to hear about from you, anonymous Tribe reader. If you’ve ever wanted to write for a student magazine, to write about literature, or even just to write at all, I implore you to email me at books@thetribeonline.com or my personal student email, message me on Facebook and join the writers’ group for 2017-18, or stop me on the street and talk to me about your favourite book, poem, play or word. After all, words are merely noises and scribbles that we deign to give meaning – so why not take pleasure in them, their absolute absurdity and yet those strange, indelible feelings that they can cause in us all. I personally am a huge fan of 19th Century Russian literature, Bulgakov, Dostoevsky and Chekhov, despite its propensity for bleak, frightening realism, ridiculous page counts and dark humour. Equally, I enjoy the poetry of Keats, Donne, and Hopkins, and the achingly beautiful depictions of Romantic love and nature, whereas others may balk at the prospect. My point is that everyone likes something, and hates something, but it is in having the subjective opinion at all that the beauty of writing about literature resides.


The Tribe is both an online and print publication, run by and solely on contributions by students from the University of St Andrews, and we are unashamedly proud to boast that we’ve been providing students a platform for their voices to be heard since 2009. Last year, I was told about two students, Helena and Dominique, who had started their own book club called Read The World. Purely for the love of reading and discussing works of literature from around the globe, the group was a joy to behold, and I had a wonderful time attending their meetings that had such a smörgåsbord of literature, opinions, and happiness on offer. It is this joy, this showcase of passion for literature, that may not seem like much – but it is to hear your voices, read how you felt about something so silly and trifling as a collection of words on a page, that makes me so proud to be the Books Editor of The Tribe. Whether a topical review, an author interview, an opine on why Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’ is more of a snoozefest than exam season: I want to read it, and let your ideas be distributed and seen by other students (not to mention it can aid your CV and résumé – but it definitely will). If you have ever wanted to write, then write anything literature-related and send it to me; if your piece is a masterpiece, it may find its way into our periodical print-edition over the year.


If you’ve skipped to the bottom because you can’t bear to hear me ramble about literature any longer, I totally feel you, I astonish myself sometimes with my waxing lyrical. But know this: if you’d like to write about literature for The Tribe, or any of our other sections (I’m definitely not biased but the books section is the best), then we would love to hear from you. Email me at books@thetribeonline.com with any queries, pieces, or just general chit-chat, and without doubt, never stop writing. As Tom Stoppard once said, “words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”


So go on. Nudge the world a little.


Henry Crabtree

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