Erick Jackaman very kindly talked to us about his experience applying for the Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize and his fantastic collection ‘Read my Genders: A Trans for Trans Collection’. You can follow Erick on Instagram and Twitter @transingabout
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Erick Jackaman, a UCL alum. I was an MSc Digital Humanities student (2020/2021). I’m queer, trans, 23 and a Londoner. I’m passionate about trans representation and trans joy.
What collection did you submit?
I submitted my collection of transgender print materials, which I titled “Read My Genders: A Trans for Trans Collection”. At the time of submitting, it contained 69 items, ranging from fiction books to museum guides to event flyers to zines and more! In general, I prioritise self-published and limited edition print materials and I focus on work by trans people for a trans (and wider) audience.
How did you start collecting?
When I purchased my first trans book in 2013, I wasn’t conscious of starting a “collection”. At the time, there weren’t many trans works of fiction and I was really gripped by a book called Refuse by Elliott DeLine. I read the ebook (twice!) and then decided to purchase a physical copy so I could have it forever and lend it to other people in my life (which I did). After that, I just started accumulating ephemera from trans events I went to, like film festivals and panel discussions, and buying international publications, like FTM Magazine, online.
Do you have a favourite item in your collection?
It’s so hard to choose a favourite, but I really love the Museum of Transology exhibition guide. I had come across this guide twice before I acquired it while visiting the Museum of Transology in London and then in Brighton, but the guide belonged in the exhibition itself and wasn’t available for purchase. On my third visit to the collection, the curator, E-J Scott, was running around right before closing time and handed me a copy of the exhibition guide to keep. It was such a special moment!
Why did you apply for the book prize?
While reading about the prize, the phrase “print materials” really stood out to me because that’s exactly what a lot of my items are (rather than books). I thought it sounded like a really cool opportunity to actually take stock of my collection and present it to a wider audience. I honestly didn’t think I would win, but I thought – why not?
How did you find the application process?
I really enjoyed the application process because it made me actually write a list of all the items in my collection, which I hadn’t done before. I also loved spending so much time with my collection and thinking about the ways in which it could grow. That said, the application did take me many hours (mainly because I have so many items!)
Did the application process help you learn more about collecting?
The interview I had as part of the application (second round) was one of the most valuable chats I’ve ever had. I felt so lucky to have the attention of so many “book collecting professionals” and I learnt so much about how to store and preserve my collection. I feel very grateful for that!
How has your collection changed since applying?
Honestly, not much! I left the UK soon after applying and I am still travelling, so I haven’t been actively looking for new items. That said, I am currently in Singapore, which caused me to come across a beautiful and very meaningful book called Our Blood Runs Red Just Like Yours, which documents The T Project – “the first and only social service for the transgender community in Singapore”.
What advice would you give someone thinking about applying?
Go for it! If you already have that inkling that you have some sort of print material collection, do yourself the favour and spend time with your collection and submit an application! As for the application itself, even if you’re just starting out, demonstrate the clear “theme” of your collection and the direction you want it to grow – this part is important.