Throwaway Lines – or – How to turn litter into litterature

Look down! Comb the streets! There be unburied treasure. Leavings, losings, fallings from pockets. A painted sign. A scrap of paper, scrawled on, grimy – and beckoning. What does it say? What does it really say?

26 Throwaway Lines started life as a heap of litter in a gleaner’s den. Willing members of 26 were randomly paired with discarded dockets, missing memos, and rain-stained notes. Editors Andy Hayes (gleaner-leader of the project), John Simmons and Elise Valmorbida led the journey from litter to, er, litterature. (Did Elise coin a new litterary term here?) Then the stories, along with their scraps, took on an exciting new 3D form, thanks to the talents of design agency Alphabetical.

  • The 26 Throwaway Lines exhibition at the Free Word Centre ran from 29th October until 26th November, 2012.
  • The stories are online at
  • The project was so irresistible that more and more iterations followed…


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