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Spotlight: SAY IT AGAIN

The call for submissions for our latest books, the Hipflask Series, is open until 25th October 2021. These are unusual titles, even by Sidekick standards, so we’ve put together a series of short posts, one for each of the four books, breaking down the ideas and influences behind the book and what we’re looking for from you. First up, we’re twisting words and queering quotations with …

Book cover for Say It Again, featuring a dictaphone merged with an octopus

What’s the big idea?

“All generalizations are false, including this one.” – Mark Twain

Say It Again is Sidekick’s take on the grand tradition of collating the pronouncements, sayings, maxims, pearls, barbs, aphorisms and witticisms of notable and influential people. We want to pack the book with quotes, sage or otherwise – but edited, rearranged, translated and monkeyed with, so as to create new wisdoms and venture alternative meanings.

Who and what gave us the idea for this book?

One influence was The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd – a collection of odd English place names, to which the authors attach amusing and useful definitions:

Sample: “Amersham (noun): The sneeze which tickles but never comes. (Thought to derive from the Metropolitan Line tube station of the same name where the rails always rattle but the train never arrives.)”

We also had in mind various books of sayings and guidance, including Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin, Mrs Beeton’s Guide To Household Management by Isabella Beeton and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

We did think at one point of trying to compile a book of gravestone humour and other, similar material, but we wanted to come up with something that left room for contributors to be creative and adventurous.

What are we looking for in submissions?

We want you to rejig and reimagine existing quotations. These might come from Cicero or Lizzo, statutes or songs, The Art of War or the Haynes Manual. Any text is fair game, so choose your sources thoughtfully and deliberately. Subvert, skew and swap elements until something very interesting emerges.

Alternatively, you can take a genuine quote and gift it to an entirely incorrect speaker. Or simply transplant the correct person saying the correct quote in time, space or context to change its meaning entirely.

Each misquotation/piece can be very short (the normal length of a quotation) and should be no longer than 200 words, 25 lines, or one page (see the submissions call for a page template). Send us up to 10 individual misquotations/pieces.

What are we not looking for?

Images, brand names, fleeting trends and adult content. We want the Hipflasks to be as enjoyable 20 years from now as they are today, and we want to take them to as large an audience as possible.

Where to look for inspiration?

• Nick Asbury’s Corpoetics would fall foul of our embargo on brand names, but the idea of completely remixing a corporate statement anagrammatically is one worth extending.

• Graham Rawle’s Lost Consonants wreak havoc through the removal of a single letter.

The Archive of Misheard Lyrics could serve as a good starting point if you’re interested in working with pop songs.

• Or you might like to kick off by automating the process with The Incorrect Quote Generator.

Any further questions?

Check the call for submissions in case your answer lies there. If not, email contact[at] or find us on Twitter @SidekickBooks.

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