First in the World Somewhere is the new memoir from writer, poet, spoken word artist and punk Penny Pepper. The book is a heartfelt and first hand account of her life living with a disability. First in the World Somewhere is being released by crowdfunding/publishing company Unbound and Penny is at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss the memoir with Edinburgh based poet and writer Ryan Van Winkle.
Penny begins by telling the audience that the genesis for the book was her decision to move to London at the age of 22. Seeing the Sex Pistols on television during their infamous interview with Bill Grundy was an inspiration moment. When witnessing the expressive nature of the band she decided to fully embrace the punk spirit and live an independent life, where the D.I.Y perspective would be her driving force. Penny notes that ‘Living independently wasn’t done by the likes of us‘. Here she describes owning her disability and not letting it hold her back.
Penny gives a reading from First in the World Somewhere and from her passionate words it is obvious that music played a big part in her life. In the extract she mentions Morrissey, Billy Mackenzie from The Associates and also Nick Drake. The conversation moves on from music and onto self publishing, zines and poetry cassettes. Penny is the kind of writer who likes to take control of her career and has not waited for publishers to catch up with her style of writing. Penny is not afraid to talk about sex as a person who lives with a disability. She mentions a pamphlet she wrote entitled Our Relationships, Our Sexuality and how the social construct of disability should not warp anybody’s view of sex. Penny takes openly about ‘crip-sex’ and enjoys tackling taboos head on through discussion and conversation. This approach makes her event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival an enjoyable one and First in the World Somewhere essential reading for anyone intrigued by new, passionate and diverse writing that has something worthwhile and interesting to say.