News Release: Creative Scotland Award 2021 Announcement + ‘Staying Connected’

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Scottish BAME Writers Network has been awarded funding from Creative Scotland to continue their advocacy work and professional development for BAME writers living in and connected to Scotland.

The Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) is very honoured to have been awarded Creative Scotland funding for their 2021 ‘Staying Connected’ programme. The network was founded as an advocacy group to engage, validate and connect BAME writers living in and from Scotland, prioritising writers of colour who have historically been underrepresented. Since its inception in 2018, and with the help of several volunteers and partner organisations, SBWN has facilitated necessary conversations around inclusive publishing and promoted diverse voices within Scotland’s literary sector. 

As of 2020, the SBWN team has included Dean Atta, Jeda Pearl Lewis, Andrés N Ordorica, and Bhavika Govil. The organisation was founded in 2018 by Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying. Together the SBWN programmes writing workshops, festival panels, networking events and readings as well as produces an online blog. 

“We are grateful to Creative Scotland for funding SBWN at a time when much is uncertain for our sector. Like many organisations, we were quick to build our online offering in 2020. This has and will allow Scottish BAME writers to stay connected and supported by us and each other, as well as to create connections and opportunities UK-wide and worldwide.” – Dean Atta, Co-Director.

2021 looks to be a promising year for the SBWN. It will feature continued partnerships with Scottish PEN, Literature Alliance Scotland, and programming such as the Scottish Black Writers Group and Metaphors for a Black Future. The ‘Staying Connected’ programme will also introduce new collaborations with the National Library of Scotland and Books From Scotland to name a few. 

“We are excited to build upon our writer development initiatives through our own programming strands and collaborations with publishers, festivals and literary organisations. In my new role as Co-Director, I can’t wait to continue championing the incredible writers we have in our community and integrate more accessibility into our events and activities. Taking a nuanced, inclusive and intersectional approach to our advocacy work and writer development will continue to be at the heart of our organisation.” – Jeda Pearl Lewis, Co-Director.

“2020 was a year for real organisational growth and we hope to expand on our diverse programme of activities in 2021. We look forward to continuing to foster our online community and engaging with partner organisations to create meaningful opportunities for developing and sharing work.” – Andrés N Ordorica, Programme Manager (Community & Events). 

“Seeing the access and community that our online events in 2020 extended to writers living beyond Edinburgh and Glasgow was very affirming, especially during isolating periods such as a lockdown. It will be fantastic to see more mentorship schemes, workshops and the third leg of the SBWN Networking Conference in 2021 as well, with its focus on industry 1:1s between writers, editors and agents.” – Bhavika Govil, Admin and Social Media Support.

This year, SBWN will incorporate Hannah Lavery’s Writer of Colours Group as part of their funded programming. Hannah has been instrumental in cultivating an online community during the lockdown period of 2020 for writers of colour with links to Scotland. SBWN is honoured to be working with her in this newly formalised partnership. 

SBWN began as an informal space for writers of colour to find one another. As we grow, we hope to continue to keep this close community aspect at our core while we work toward accessible opportunities for all writers of colour, at all stages of their writing careers.– Alycia Pirmohamed, Co-founder and Advisor.

“The Scottish BAME Writers Network is building strong relationships and bringing a constructive, necessary voice to challenge the Scottish literary sector. This year’s ambitious online programming is continuing to lift up and celebrate talented writers, as well as extending greater reach into communities with their welcoming and accessible approach.” – Viccy Adams, Literature Officer, Creative Scotland.

SBWN is very grateful for the opportunity to continue its work advocating on behalf of BAME writers living in and from Scotland. This funding award from Creative Scotland will help to ensure important programmes can continue on throughout 2021.

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Notes to the Editors

About the Scottish BAME Writers Network

Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) provides advocacy, literary events and development opportunities for BAME writers based in or from Scotland. Run by Black and PoC (people of colour) writers, SBWN was co-founded by poets Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying in 2018. In 2019, the Network received funding from The Royal Society of Literature to host a series of visiting writer workshops and won the 2019 Creative Edinburgh Awards (Social Category). SBWN has since received funding from Creative Scotland for their 2020 pilot year and their 2021 ‘Staying Connected’ programme. Guest writers, facilitators and curators have included Leila Aboulela, Chitra Ramaswamy, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Raman Mundair, Maisie Chan, Martha Adonai Williams, Mary Jean Chan, Courtney Stoddart, and Hannah Lavery, who facilitates the Writers of Colour writing group. Partners include Literature Alliance Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, Scottish PEN, National Library of Scotland, Lighthouse Bookshop, Golden Hare Books, Gutter Magazine, Tapsalteerie, MAP Magazine, Extra Teeth, HarperCollins, Inky Fingers and Edinburgh International Book Festival

For more information and upcoming events, refer to their website: https://scottishbamewritersnetwork.org/ 

Find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ScotBAMEwriters.

Team bios

Dean Atta, Co-Director 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 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 Mohr Emerging Writer Bridge Awards. She has performed at Stanza, Event Horizon, Inky Fingers and Hidden Door. Her poems and short stories appear or are upcoming in anthologies published by New Writing Scotland, TSS Publishing, Tapsalteerie and Shoreline of Infinity. 

Andrés N. Ordorica, Programme Manager (Community & Events) is a queer Latinx writer and educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He creates worlds filled with characters who are from neither here nor there (ni de aquí, ni de allá). His fiction and poetry have been featured in Confluence Medway, Silk + Smoke, The Acentos Review, and Gutter. He has been anthologised in We Were Always Here, The Centenary Collection, and The Colour of Madness. In 2020, he was awarded The Second Life grant through the Edwin Morgan Trust to produce a poetry film of new work.

Bhavika Govil, Admin and Meda Support is a writer from New Delhi, India with a master’s in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh. Her stories are published or forthcoming in Vogue, Extra Teeth, Gutter, Outlook Traveller. She won the Bound Short Story Prize in 2019, was longlisted for the Toto Awards for Creative Writing (English) 2021 and mentioned as a Notable Contender for the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize. Her novel-in-progress has been chosen for the DHA New Writers’ Open Week 2021.

Alycia Pirmohamed, Co-Founder and Advisor 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).

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