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.

Free one-day workshops in Brighton, Crawley, Milton Keynes & Bristol – No Place Like Home

We are running free one-day workshops across the South East to help you to explore your childhood home – and bring it to life, in a new project called No Place Like Home.

Travel back in time to that house, town, neighbourhood or country where you grew up, with the help of writer Amy Zamarripa Solis and acclaimed visual artists Larry Achiapong and David Blandy.

You will explore a variety of mediums including oral history, film, drawing, writing, and other visual arts and literature.

Artist Aikaterini Gegisian will create a film about your life and memories.

You will have a chance to share your memories and stories at a sharing later as part of Black History Month. You will also have a chance to share your story on our project website.

Dates and locations

  • Brighton – Friday 25 September, Brighton Dome Founders Room – 10am-4pm
  • Milton Keynes – Friday 2 October, MK Gallery  – 10am-4pm
  • Crawley – TBC
  • Bristol – TBC

More information and to book 

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Maximum 20 places, first come first served.

To register your free place, contact Hannah Jarman on 01273 245584 or nospacelike@gmail.com.

While this workshop is primarily aimed at anyone from the diaspora communities, it is open to anyone who feels displaced from their childhood home. 

For more information about No Place Like Home, please see nowherelikehome.co.uk/. The project is also on Facebook and Twitter – get involved! 


Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Part of Brighton Digital Festival

Arts Council England support for two new projects

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Latin Voices Live! 2013 at Brighton Dome. Photo: Paul Jackson

We recently had some good news: our application to Arts Council’s Grants for the arts was successful!

This summer and autumn, we will be embarking on two new projects: La Llorona R&D and No Place Like Home (UK). Both projects will explore storytelling in the Black and ethnic minority and diaspora communities, examining cultural myths, legends and personal narratives.

We will also strengthen our organisation by creating an accessible community storage and resource of our decor and costumes, working with a community partner (school/venue); conduct participants and audience evaluation; and update our website.

In La Llorona R&D, five multi-cultural arts collaborators will create a new theatrical performance based on the Mexican myth La Llorona (Weeping Woman) over four-day intensive R&D residency.

As part of the team’s research, they will deliver a one-day participatory workshop with Brighton’s Latin-American communities, including children & families workshop.

Working together on this exciting new project are Mexican-British theatre director Rikki Tarascas, costume designer and carnival producer Hannah Barker, digital artist and sculpture Tom Hamilton, arts educator Linda White, and Mexican-American writer Amy Zamarripa Solis.

No Place Like Home comes to the UK in a special project in 2015 to help people from diaspora communities living in England remember and recreate their own childhood homes.

Amy Zamarripa Solis will be working with visual artists David Blandy and Larry Achiampong to deliver workshops in Milton Keynes, Bristol, Brighton and Crawley. Participants will learn how to use a range of digital skills including filming, sound recording, editing and writing to create and publish their stories in a range of mediums.

Artist and filmmaker Aikaterini Gegisian will create a film at each workshop, documenting participant’s lives. We will share these films and also the works created by participants in Autumn 2015.

The workshops are linked to No Place Like Home UK is linked to a wider project examining the loss of home and gentrification around the world, starting with the Mexican-American neighbourhoods of downtown Austin, Texas, where Amy Zamarripa Solis is

A special thanks to our partners on these two projects: Ujima 98FM Radio, MK GalleryArts GatewayMKCrawley Arts Development (Crawley Borough Council), BandBazi, and last but not least Mexican and Latin American Society at Sussex University (MEXSAS).

If you would like to take part in the La Llorona participatory workshop (date to be confirmed) or the No Place Like Home workshops

Writing Our Legacy Literature Tent at Brighton Black History Month Family Day

We are pleased to be running a literature tent this Sunday 9 November 1-7pm at this year’s Black History Month Family Day event at Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange in Brighton. We are part of an action-packed programme brimming with free arts and cultural activity for all ages and walks of life. Very exciting!

Writers of all levels of experience including beginners or non writers are welcome to our events, which range from readings from local Black and ethnic minority writers, to a book club to free taster writing workshops. We will also have badge making (Who is your hidden hero?), calaveras (skull writing) workshop and arts and craft.

Check back here for more detail!

Time slot (30 mins each) Activity
1-1.30pm Creative writing workshop: Akila
1.30-2pm Writing your life story: Colin Grant
2.15-2.45pm Asian Book Club
3-3.30pm Reading & talk: Rounke Coker
3.30-4.30pm Drop in: Badgemaking & calaveras workshop
4.30-5pm Reading & talk: Stephanie Lam
5.15-5.45pm  Open Mic – open to all
5.45-6.15pm   Open Mic – open to all

Latin Voices Live! celebrates with 2 special events in Brighton & Eastbourne

Latin Voices Live! 2012. Photo: Paul Jackson http://pauljacksonphotography.co.uk/

Latin Voices Live! 2012. Photo: Paul Jackson http://pauljacksonphotography.co.uk/

November brings the usual assortment of ghoulish treats, and what better way to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos than to join a traditional Latin celebration, with a modern twist?

This year, we are pleased to be involved with two events – MEXSAS’s Dia De Muertos on 30 October at Sussex University campus and Ghost Worlds on Friday 28 November at Eastbourne’s Towner.

Ghost Worlds
Friday 28 November 2014
Towner, Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4JJ

Latin DJ party, ghost stories, workshops, talks and films explore photography, cinema and the uncanny across 2 floors at Towner. With a nod to Dia de los Muertos and Halloween, the night will also bring to life ghost worlds through arts & craft, face painting and decor.

  • Spooky storytelling from Umi Sinha, Tara Gould & others in a candle-lit room
  • Latin DJ set from Portuguese DJ AndreiA (http://www.mixcloud.com/andreiabambo/)
  • Facepainting in Day of the Dead style or other Halloween ghouls
  • Plus a specially decorated Mexican ofrenda (altar) to honour the dead

Curated by Amy Zamarripa Solis (Grit Lit , Writing Our LegacyLatin Voices Live!) in partnership with Mexican Students Society at Sussex (MEXSAS)

Tickets now on sale £6/£5 conc./£4.50 members
BOOK NOW

Latin Voice Live! 2012. Photo by Paul Jackson

Latin Voice Live! 2012. Photo by Paul Jackson

MEXSAS Dia De Muertos
Thursday 30 October 2014
Sussex University, Mandella Hall (Falmer House)

Music, culture, dance, food, this Sussex University society party has it all. Performances will take place from Pollito Boogaloo, dance performance by Eduardo Santiago’s Atlachinolli Pre-hispanic Aztec Dance Group. Plus face painting, Latin readings and Mexican food including the traditional Pan de Muertos. Tickets will go on sale shortly.

MORE INFO

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.