Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development group for writers who identify as BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic), mixed-race or POC (people of colour) with a connection to Scotland.
SBWN was co-founded in 2018 by Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying in 2018, and aims to connect Scottish BAME/POC writers with the wider literary sector in Scotland and beyond. Weaving together collaborative literary partnerships, cross-arts co-creation and an intersectional approach to inclusive and participatory programming, SBWN is a sector change-maker, facilitating necessary conversations around inclusive programming in an effort to address and overcome systemic barriers.
Professional development programming includes publishing and performance opportunities, workshops, masterclasses, curatorial roles, training and seminars, industry panels and partnerships, feedback and mentoring.
Run by writers of colour for writers of colour, and informed by member surveys, consultation and feedback, SBWN uplifts, validates and provides safer spaces for marginalised voices, nurturing and promoting the current and next generation of Black and POC writers based in Scotland.
SBWN Operational Core Team
The Core Team run SBWN on a day-to-day basis. Please note that all staff currently work part-time.
Co-founder and Advisor
Alycia Pirmohamed received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she studied poetry written by second-generation immigrants. She is the author of two pamphlets: Faces that Fled the Wind (BOAAT Press) and Hinge (ignitionpress). Her poetry has been published widely and won several awards, including the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award (2020). In 2019, Alycia curated and edited Ceremony, an anthology of Scottish BAME Writing (Tapsalteerie 2019).
Co-director (Festivals, Partnerships and Editorial)
Dean Atta was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. His debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His Young Adult novel in verse, The Black Flamingo, won the 2020 Stonewall Book Award, and was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, YA Book Prize and Jhalak Prize.
Jeda Pearl Lewis
Co-director (Writer Development, Access and Communications)
Jeda Pearl Lewis is a disabled Scottish-Jamaican writer and poet. In 2019, she was awarded Cove Park’s Scottish Emerging Writer Residency and shortlisted for the Moniack Mhor Bridge Awards. Jeda has performed at StAnza, Event Horizon, Inky Fingers and Hidden Door. She has been commissioned by the British Council’s Momentum program and Rhubaba gallery. Her poems and short stories are published by Black Lives Matter Mural Trail, New Writing Scotland, Open Book, Not Going Back to Normal, TSS Publishing, Tapsalteerie and Shoreline of Infinity.
Programme Manager (Community and Events)
Mae Diansangu is a Black queer spoken word artist, writer and performer from Aberdeen. She is co-founder of Hysteria, an arts platform that showcases women, non-binary and gender marginalised creatives. Her work has been published by 404 ink Magazine and she has been awarded commissions from the National Library of Scotland and StAnza. Mae is part of a network of Black community activists organising under BLM Scotland, and her work often centres on social justice themes.
Programme Manager (Community and Events)
Titilayo Farukuoye is an Austrian-Nigerian writer, organiser and anti-racist educator based in Glasgow. Striving to dismantle oppressive structures, Titilayo interrogates race and gender constructs and explores climate justice and community care. Titilayo curated Our (In)visible Strengths (2018), a visual exhibition celebrating Scottish African and Afro-Caribbean community. Their poetry featured at Fringe of Colour Films and 2020 Mixtape: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology. Media4Change and Future News Worldwide have recognised Titilayo’s journalistic work.
Admin and Media Support
Kelly Kanayama is a pop culture and comics critic with a PhD in comics research. Born and raised in Hawaii but now living in Dundee, she has written for The Independent, Media Diversified, Bitch Media, and Nerdist, among others. She has also spoken on panels at comic conventions in New York, Glasgow, and London. Her poetry has been published in various print and online outlets including Lighthouse Literary Journal, Room Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Gists and Piths.
Partner Team Members
Writers of Colour Group Facilitator
Hannah Lavery is an award-winning poet, playwright, performer and experienced workshop facilitator. Her poetry has been published widely and her poem, Scotland, you’re no mine, was selected by Roseanne Watt as one of the Best Scottish Poems 2019. The Drift, her autobiographical play, toured Scotland as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Season 2019. In 2020, she was awarded a New Playwrights’ Award by the Playwrights Studio Scotland and selected by Owen Sheers’ as one of his Ten Writers Asking Questions That Will Shape Our Future for the International Literature Showcase, a project from the National Writing Centre and the British Council. In 2020, she was also selected as one of the Scottish Voices for BBC Writers’ Room. Hannah is one of Imaginate’s Accelerator Artists and an Associate Artist with the National Theatre of Scotland. In November 2020, her highly acclaimed play Lament for Sheku Bayoh was directed by Hannah in a co-production with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival. She has recently been selected for the Adopt a Playwright Award by offwestend.com and is under commission by Pitlochry Festival Theatre to adapt Jekyll and Hyde for their upcoming Summer Season. Hannah received a Creative Edinburgh Award in 2020 for her work with the Writers of Colour group and with Fringe of Colour.
Martha Adonai Williams
Metaphors for a Black Future Programme Curator
Martha Adonai Williams is a writer, facilitator, producer, community organiser, black feminist and friend. Her practice departs to and returns from black feminist world-making, always, with regular layovers in front of trash tv or at the allotment. Her work considers the wilderness and margins as sites of resistance, refusal and homecoming. She works with writing and storytelling as therapeutic tools and as methods for community building. Her recent work has been shown as part of Fringe of Colour films and published in MAP magazine. She runs call&response black feminist writing community, programmes for Glasgow Zine Library and curates SBWN’s annual Metaphors for a Black Future programme.
Former Team Members
We extend our thanks to our former Operational Team Members:
Jay G. Ying, is our Co-Founder of SBWN and worked with us from 2018 to Summer 2020 – visit Jay’s website.
Andrés N Ordorica, was our Community and Events Manager from Summer 2019 – March 2021- visit Andrés’ website.
Bhavika Govil, was our Admin & Media support from Summer 2020 – March 2021- visit Bhavika’s website.
In 2019, SBWN received funding from The Royal Society of Literature and was awarded the Creative Edinburgh Awards (Social Category). SBWN has since received support from Creative Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust through their Book Week Scotland and Live Literature programmes. Current and previous partners include: Literature Alliance Scotland, Inky Fingers, Gutter Magazine, Tapsalteerie, Golden Hare Books, Extra Teeth Magazine, Lighthouse Books, BooksFromScotland, Bella Caledonia, MAP Magazine, Equality Network, EDI Scotland, Children’s Books North, National Library of Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival.