Welcome

This is the site for Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) literary community group Writing Our Legacy. We run events across Sussex that showcase emerging and established Black* writers and provide professional development and networking opportunities. Our site aims to keep you informed about our year-round literature and spoken word programme, which is open to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. 

          

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*Writing Our Legacy employs Mosaic’s definition of Black to be ‘Black people’ and ‘mixed-parentage people’ including all those people whose ancestral origins are African, Asian, Caribbean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, North African, Romany, the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific islands, the American continents, Australia and New Zealand.

For Irene: a life remembered in poetry

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534316_10151477515532935_224105149_n Here at Writing Our Legacy, we’d like to take a moment to remember one of our members, Irene Mensah (1963-2013).

Irene was a well-loved Brighton artist, poet and dancer who sadly passed away a year ago today, just short of her 50th birthday.

Irene left behind many legacies. A strong tree, she had many deep roots and branches. Friends, family, art works and writing, not to mention beautiful memories shared by many.

The community she created has been indelibly enriched by her life and her legacy. There’s not a day that goes by when someone isn’t posting lovely images on Facebook of Irene or reminiscing about her spirit, fun times in the past.

Today we’d like to honour her poetry. Continue reading

Writeidea Prize launches today

First Prize: £500  |  Five finalists’ prizes:  £100 each
and Tower Hamlets Prize: £500      

The Writeidea Prize is a new national short story prize. The six finalists and local winner will be invited to read their stories alongside the judge, Alex Wheatle, at the Writeidea Festival on Sunday 16 November 2014 at 2:00pm.

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Judge: Alex Wheatle is the author of several novels including Brixton Rock and Brenton Brown. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008.  Here’s Alex talking about his work and the Writeidea Festival.

Length: Stories must be a maximum of 4,000 words (no minimum).

Closing date: 31 July 2014

Entry fee: £5.00

For more details visit writeideafestival.org/short-story-competition/
Twitter @writeideafest

How to start a career as a playwright

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Step one: write a play

Step two: send it out

Repeat as necessary.

Step one: write a play

No-one can do this for you.  There are books and websites you can look at for advice on technique, software to help with formatting, and courses you can go on.  You should definitely go to the theatre as much as possible.  You may even be able to get a grant to buy you time to write, or to pay for mentoring or dramaturgy.  But at the end of the day it’s down to:

You

Writing

It

Step two: send your play out

Get your script as good as you can get it before you start sending it out.  Get the story right, and all the scenes and characters fully realized.  Put the script into industry format (it’s not set in stone, but there are conventions).  If you’re dyslexic, or your spelling is in any way dodgy, get someone reliable to proofread.

Then send it out.  Some of the major new writing theatres offer a script reading service.  You could also try sending it to reputable competitions — Bruntwood, Verity Bargate, Theatre503.  See our resources list for details.

Don’t forget your regional theatres, and smaller companies that might be interested in your work — eg Rifco if you’re an Asian comedy writer.  Send your script to us too, at the Writing Our Legacy address.

When you’ve sent it off, wait.  If you haven’t heard anything for six months (or after the notification period indicated), it’s OK to send a polite email enquiry.

Repeat as necessary

You probably won’t hit the jackpot first time (or any time).  But if you keep writing and keep sending out then you will slowly build a career.

If you have a bit of talent and a bit of technique and a bit of tenacity and a bit of luck, you will start to get noticed in competitions and by literary managers. You might get professional rehearsed readings of your work or an offer to work with a dramaturg (though you might not be paid for any of this).  You might get commissioned or offered a full production.

There is not (usually) a lot of money in it though.  So unless there are other compelling indicators, you might want to hang onto the day job.

Where do you belong? Home by Umi Sinha

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re delighted to present Home, a new non-fiction work by Umi Sinha, commissioned by Writing Our Legacy. 

With creative writing, and especially for people from other countries or cultures, we write to understand, to feel at home in the world, to figure out where we belong. Writing is a great tool for exploring ourselves, other people and our past. 

One’s sense of belonging becomes more complex when you’re a mixed race person, with family from different countries, and perhaps you from neither of those – or you have several places to call home and none are where you live now.  Continue reading

Latin Voices Live! and Brighton Museum present: Dead Late 2013

Check out this awesome video of our evening event Dead Late as part of last year’s Latin Voices Live! The evening was captured and edited by Brighton photographer and filmmaker Bip Mistry from Transition Film.

Watch the film:

Dead Late took place on Thursday 7 November 2013 at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery as part of the Museum’s Late series, which aims to encourage a wider range of audiences coming into the museum after dark.

We had cocktails, face paint, DJ, costume, craft, performance, music, calaveras writing, and a special graveyard with skeletons and dancers. It was a fantastic night of fun and we can’t wait to do it again!

Supported by National Lottery funding through Arts Council England, Brighton & Hove City Council and Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums, Brighton & Hove.

Follow Latin Voices Live! on Facebook and Twitter

Film of Latin Voices Live! Family Day, 9 November 2013

We are delighted to get an edit of our Latin Voices Live! family day, which took place recently on Saturday 9 November. The event was bigger than ever, spanning across Brighton Dome, Brighton Museum and Jubilee Library, from 11am until 5pm.

The film captures a bit of everything from the day including:

  • Marta Scott Dance Company
  • Arts and crafts workshop with Linda White from Viva Mexico!
  • Cuban band Son Guarachando
  • James Burt reading Borges at Borges-a-thon
  • And lastly Chilean writer Luis Munoz reading from his memoir Being Luis and talking about his life as a torture victim and survivor.

The majority of the film focuses on the reading and talk from Luis, including a reading from the book when he and his younger brother were looked after when abandoned by their father by a criminal called Satan, who ruled the grocers markets, and later when Luis ran into his father on the eve of the military coup. An emotional reading and discussion is captured on this edit, in which audience members relate and probe the person Luis was and who he is now.

Jacob Ross fiction writing masterclass – he’s back in Brighton!

IMG_2256Don’t miss this rare opportunity to study fiction writing with Caribbean acclaimed writer Jacob Ross on Saturday 30 November!

As soon as we put the autumn programme online, tickets started to go quickly so there are only a few places on this one-day fiction writing workshop.

Following on from Jacob’s recent workshop in Brighton, in this next workshop Jacob will be build on the work he did to examine the building blocks of stories and narrative and give participants opportunities to produce strong memorable narratives with practical exercises in the class. Continue reading