Our Guest Editors, the Scottish BAME Writers Network, flag up some of the highlights of their programme.
The Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy group that aims to connect Scottish BAME writers with the wider literary sector in Scotland.
SBWN was co-founded by Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying in 2018, who were joined by Andrés Nicolás Ordorica and Jeda Pearl Lewis in 2019, and by Dean Atta and Bhavika Govil in 2020. Alycia, Jay and Jeda appeared at StAnza 2020 and Andrés and Nat Raha, another SBWN member, are on this year’s StAnza programme.
SBWN is made up of writers, poets, publishers, editors, journalists, booksellers, bibliophiles, and is open to anyone seeking community with other Black and POC creatives living and from Scotland. Partners include Scottish PEN, Literature Alliance Scotland, National Library of Scotland, and Books from Scotland to name a few.
Poetry and performance
Poetry and performance are vital components of much of SBWN’s programming. Below are just some of the few programmes we have led on which give a flavour of the diversity of our writers.
SBWN Spoken Word Night
In mid-February, we hosted our first public reading of 2021. SBWN Spoken Word Night was curated and hosted by Courtney Stoddart as part of a two-month long poetry and performance development programme. The performers included Nasim Rebecca Asl, Sabrina Latif, Clementine E. Burnley, Wendy Law, Kamala Santos, Bee Asha and Andrew ‘Ace’ Bamusi. The event is still available to watch on YouTube.
For those interested in poetry, we also recommend exploring our ‘2020 Mixtape: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology’, which launched in late 2020 to celebrate the work produced within the Writers of Colour Writing Group, led by Hannah Lavery. This audio anthology was the second anthology produced by the network.
This group began in February 2019 as a monthly writers group for Black writers and writers of colour. During 2020 Hannah ran it online weekly as a response to global events, including the Covid-19 pandemic and heightened awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement.
For those interested in reading more work by members of our community, you can purchase ‘Ceremony’ published by Tapsalteerie Press. Produced in 2019, this anthology of poetry and prose is the result of many in-person workshops where writers of colour met to develop their craft as a community.
Due to Covid-19, SBWN has pivoted all of our programming online. This includes workshops, masterclasses, and live events. In addition to writer development opportunities, we also manage an ongoing blog series. Guest bloggers are invited to pitch ideas three times a year to feature on our dynamic blog which shares experiences, thoughts, and musings about a writer’s life in Scotland.
In celebration of LGBT History Month 2021, we commissioned Sanjay Lago, Mae Diansangu, Etzali Hernández, Sarya Wu, and Clementine E Burnley to share reflections on their personal histories and experiences as part of the LGBTQ+ community. The result is a stunning array of poetry, song, and experimental essays. These reflections are offered as both text and audio pieces which can be accessed here on our blog.
SBWN hosts numerous online writing workshops throughout the year. Recent workshops explored ‘Decolonizing Style’ by Jessie Widner and writing diverse characters with empathy by Kritika Narula. We will announce our spring and summer programming in mid to late March.
During Black History Month 2020, we launched the Scottish Black Writers Group, facilitated by writer Dean Atta in association with Scottish PEN. It is a monthly meetup open to writers across the UK and Ireland who are Black/from the African diaspora, including people of mixed heritage.
Scottish Black Writers Group is a space to meet, chat, network and talk about the writing life. Writers both published and unpublished are welcome to join the group. The next meeting will feature Patrice Lawrence in conversation with the group on March 18th – booking information can be found here.
You can find out more information about our programming by exploring our website or by signing up to our monthly newsletter.