WE ARE MADE OF DIAMOND STUFF (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019)

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“Isabel Waidner will save the nation & save our souls.”

—Joanna Walsh


We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff evokes a topsy-turvy, highly animated world to explore a declining empire’s hopelessly fucked up inequities of class, race, queerness, and immigration status. At one point the narrator (who looks like Eleven from Stranger Things but who happens to be 36) blurts out, “Where’s reality, I want to change it.” This is one of the saddest lines I’ve ever read, perfectly rearticulating the “no there there” anxiety that Gertrude Stein attributed to modern life a century ago. In a world in which everything is stacked against them, Isabel Waidner’s resourceful characters survive, not just physically but spiritually as well. Despite their unflinching vision into virulent social practices, they never lose heart.”

—Dodie Bellamy


We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff is an innovative and critically British novel, taking issue with the dream of national belonging. Set on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England, it collides literary aesthetics with contemporary working class cultures and attitudes (B.S. Johnson and Reebok classics), works with themes of empire, embodiment and resistance, and interrogates autobiographical material including the queer migrant experience.



WE ARE MADE OF DIAMOND STUFF (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019)

Gaudy Bauble (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017)

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“I’m besotted with this beguiling, hilarious, rollocking, language-metamorphosing novel. The future of the queer avant-garde is safe with Isabel Waidner.” Olivia Laing


*Gaudy Bauble was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2018*


Gaudy Bauble stages a glittering world populated by GoldSeXUal StatuEttes, anti-drag kings, Gilbert&George-like lesbians, maverick detectives, a transgender army equipped with question-mark-shaped helmets, and birds who have dyke written all over them. Everyone interferes with the plot. No one is in control of the plot. Surprises happen as a matter of course: A faux research process produces actual results. Hundreds of lipstick marks reanimate a dying body. And the Deadwood-to-Dynamo Audience Prize goes to whoever turns deadestwood into dynamost. Gaudy Bauble stages what happens when the disenfranchised are calling the shots. Riff-raff are running the show and they are making a difference.

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Selected reviews:

Toothsome Prose: A round-up of experimental fiction” by Rosie Snajdr, The Times Literary Supplement

Vanguard Collectibles: Isabel Waidner’s Gaudy Bauble” by MH, 3:AM Magazine

Back to the literary future” by Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement

Published excerpts:


The Quietus

Minor Literature[s]


Swimmers’ Club


Writer Joanna Walsh chooses Gaudy Bauble as one of her three favourite current books. Listen here.

Gaudy Bauble (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017)

Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature (Waidner, 2018)

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“If there were a literary avant-garde that were relevant now, it would be what the queers and their allies are doing, at the intersections, across disciplines. This avant-garde would be inclusive, racially and culturally diverse, migrants galore, predominately but not exclusively working-class, transdisciplinary, (gender)queer and politically clued up (left).” Isabel Waidner


Liberating the Canon (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) is an anthology capturing the contemporary emergence of radically innovative and nonconforming literatures in the UK and beyond. Historically, sociopolitical marginalisation and avant-garde aesthetics have not come together in UK literature, counterintuitively divorcing outsider experience and formal innovation. Bringing together intersectional identity and literary innovation, LTC is designed as an intervention against the normativity of literary publishing contexts and the institution ‘Innovative Literature’ as such. More widely, if literature, any literature, can act as a mode of cultural resistance and help imagine a more progressive politics in Tory Britain and beyond, it is this.

Liberating the Canon is edited by Isabel Waidner, and includes contributors working at the intersections of prose, poetry, art, performance, indie publishing and various subcultural contexts: Mojisola Adebayo, Jess Arndt (US), Richard Brammer, Victoria Brown, SJ Fowler, Juliet Jacques, Sara Jaffe (US), Roz Kaveney, R. Zamora Linmark (US), Mira Mattar, Seabright D. Mortimer, Nat Raha, Nisha Ramayya, Rosie Snajdr, Timothy Thornton, Isabel Waidner, Joanna Walsh and Eley Williams.

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This is Publishing and Writing as Borderline Activism” — An Interview With Isabel Waidner by Thom Cuell, Minor Literature[s]

Liberating the Canon: Intersectionality and Innovation in Literature” — Introduction by Isabel Waidner, 3:AM Magazine

Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature (Waidner, 2018)

Gaudy Bauble & Not Here: Horse Hospital, London, 9th July 2017




Double book launch for Isabel Waidner’s queer avant-garde novel Gaudy Bauble (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017) and Richard Dodwell’s (ed.) Not Here, a queer anthology of loneliness (Pilot Press, 2017).

With readings by Richard Dodwell, Isabel Waidner, Eley Williams, Timothy Thornton, an improv Q&A, a pop up queer art gallery and a live DJ set by Chapter 10’s Charlie Porter.

Gaudy Bauble & Not Here: Horse Hospital, London, 9th July 2017

The Arrow Maker 2 (eds. Ruth Hoeflich & Isabel Waidner)

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The Arrow Maker 2 (8fold, 2017) is a literature/art journal co-edited by Ruth Hoeflich & Isabel Waidner. Featuring original work by Jen Calleja, Stefano Calligaro, Julia Calver, Prudence Chamberlain, Anna Gibbs, Allison Grimaldi-Donahue, Philipp Gufler, Ruth Hoeflich, Judith Kakon, Adam Knight, Sonya Lacey, Megan Plunkett, Scott Rogers, Mira Mattar, Suzanne Mooney, Isabel Waidner, Eley Williams, Bernadette Wolbring, & Sarah Wood. Published digitally. ISSN 2055 2211.

The Arrow Maker 2 (eds. Ruth Hoeflich & Isabel Waidner)