EDI Scotland Survey for BAME People Engaged in Scotland’s Literary Sector

BAME perceptions and experience of Scotland’s literary sector – complete the survey by 13th March 2020 here: https://forms.gle/1UJcXgcvZ3VsPeNk7

The Scottish BAME Writers Network and EDI Scotland have co-produced a survey to capture the perceptions and experiences of BAME people who are engaged, or wish to engage, in Scotland’s literary sector.

Data collected from this survey will empower the Network to:

+ Assess gaps, absences and barriers to participation in the Network
+ Guide events and Network programming
+ Evaluate the impact of the Network’s work
+ Provide an insight into BAME people’s perceptions and experiences of Scotland’s literary sector

As this research is interested in the perceptions and experiences of BAME people, it should not be completed by respondents who identify as White Scottish. We particularly wish to hear from people of colour.

This survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and asks questions about:

+ The Scottish BAME Writers Network
+ Your experiences
+ Scotland’s literary sector

There are no right or wrong answers – we would like to hear your opinions and experiences.

Follow the link below to complete the survey:
https://forms.gle/1UJcXgcvZ3VsPeNk7

The deadline is 13 March 2020

To find out more about this research read the News Release or email ScotBAMEWriters@gmail.com

Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance

Page updated: 14th March 2020.

Your health and safety are our top priority. Due to concerns and guidance around Coronavirus (Covid-19), events may be cancelled or postponed at short notice.

We are carefully monitoring the situation daily and will announce updates on Twitter, here on Facebook and in our Facebook Group, as well as here on this page.

We will aim to update event listings as frequently as possible. Please note our team all work part-time.

Please refer to event organisers and venues for news and refunds.

Please also refer to the latest guidance from the NHS and Scottish & UK Government (links below) and continue to take all precautions, especially hand washing.

Thanks for your patience and understanding – Alycia, Jay, Andres and Jeda.


Coronavirus (Covid-19) latest NHS and government advice and information:

NHShttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Scottish Governmenthttps://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

UK Governmenthttps://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

UK and Scottish Governments are publishing data daily at 2pm and continue to issue news, reviews and update their latest advice daily.

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Image description: 5 images of hand washing technique: use soap, wash between fingers, rub nails in palms, wash thumbs, rinse. Text on image reads: Coronavirus, Covid-19. Please remember to wash your hands. Follow the correct hand washing procedure.

News Release: Creative Scotland Award Announcement and Landmark BAME Writers Survey Launch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Scottish BAME Writers Network has been awarded funding from Creative Scotland towards a year-long pilot program and announces a landmark survey for BAME writers in and from Scotland.

The Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) is very honoured to have been awarded Creative Scotland funding for their 2020 pilot 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, the SBWN has facilitated necessary conversations around inclusive publishing and promoted diverse voices within Scotland’s literary sector. Today, the Scottish BAME Writers Network is excited to announce a landmark survey to gather the perceptions and experiences of BAME writers in and from Scotland. The survey will assess gaps, absences and barriers to participation in the SWBN and Scotland’s literary sector and it will help the team plan inclusive programming in the coming months.

As of 2019, the SBWN team has included Alycia Pirmohamed, Jay G Ying, Andrés N Ordorica and Jeda Pearl Lewis. Together the SBWN hosts writing workshops, networking events and readings. 

“We seek to bring BAME writers together, intersecting those in various locations and from various practices. Our purpose is to engage with BAME writers and partner with literary organisations to create real change that challenges systemic barriers, working toward authentic and sustainable inclusive programming.” – Jay G Ying, Programme Manager (Festivals & Partnerships).

2020 looks to be a promising year for the SBWN. It will feature collaborations with Gutter, Inky Fingers, Paisley Book Festival, and The Scottish Poetry Library to name a few. 

“This year we will continue to prioritise BAME-led spaces by programming Visiting Writer workshops and a Visiting Writer reading series featuring inspirational emerging and established literary voices from the BAME community.” – Andrés N Ordorica, Programme Manager (Community Development & Events). 

“Additionally, we will programme discussion panels to engage with members of the literary and publishing communities so that we can continue to help our Network members create new work, develop professionally and help demystify the publishing process.” – Jeda Pearl Lewis, Programme Manager (Writer Development & Communications).

“We thank Creative Scotland for this opportunity, and we look forward to continuing to advocate, network and promote writers of colour living in and from Scotland.” – Alycia Pirmohamed, Director.

Survey link: http://bit.ly/SBWNsurvey

About the Scottish BAME Writers Network

The Scottish BAME Writers Network provides advocacy, literary events and development opportunities for BAME writers based in or from Scotland. Run by BAME writers, the Network was co-founded by poets Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying in 2018, who were joined in 2019 by writers Andrés Nicolás Ordorica and Jeda Pearl Lewis. Partners and supporters include The Scottish Poetry Library, Literature Alliance Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust, independent bookshops such as The Lighthouse and Golden Hare Books, and Gutter Magazine. In 2019, the Network received funding from The Royal Society of Literature to host a series of Visiting Writer Workshops with Raman Mundair, Nadine Aisha Jassat and Leila Aboulela and won the 2019 Creative Edinburgh Awards (Social Category).

For more information, refer to their website, where you can read the Mission Statement and Values, find out more about the team and what events are upcoming: https://scottishbamewritersnetwork.wordpress.com/

Find them on Facebook and Twitter @ScotBAMEwriters.

Team bios

Alycia Pirmohamed is the 2019 winner of the 92Y/Discovery Poetry Contest, PhD student at Edinburgh University and co-founder of the Scottish BAME Writers Network. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Paris Review Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, Best Canadian Poetry and others. Her pamphlets are Faces that Fled the Wind (BOAAT Press 2019 & Chapbook Prize 2018) and Hinge, forthcoming with ignitionpress in 2020. @a_pirmohamed alycia-pirmohamed.com

Jay G Ying is a writer based in Edinburgh. He is the author of two poetry pamphlets: Wedding Beasts (2019) and Katabasis (2020). He is the co-founder of the Scottish BAME Writers Network, Contributing Editor at The White Review and Assistant Poetry Editor at Asymptote. @jaygying jaygying.com

Andrés N. Ordorica is a queer Latinx writer and educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland and Programmer Manager for the Scottish BAME Writers Network. His fiction has been featured in Confluence Medway, The Acentos Review, 404 ink Magazine and Gutter. His work has been anthologised in Ceremony, We Were Always Here, and The Colour of Madness. @AndresNOrdorica andresordorica.com

Jeda Pearl Lewis is a Scottish writer & poet and a Programme Manager for the Scottish BAME Writers Network. In 2019, she was awarded Cove Park’s Emerging Writer Residency and shortlisted for the Bridge Awards. Her writing is published by TSS Publishing, Momaya Press, Tapsalteerie and Shoreline of Infinity. @jedapearl @jedapearl.com 

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February and March 2020 Events & News

February Events


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BAME Writing Masterclass with Nikesh Shukla – Paisley Book Festival

23rd February 2020

Paisley Arts Centre (Studio GA), 15 New St, Paisley PA1 1EZ (Google Maps)

2:30pm – 4:30pm

This event is sold out.

In this workshop for writers of colour, Nikesh shares his writing tips and leads some exercises to get the creative juices flowing. Designed in partnership with the BAME Scottish Writers Network.

Nikesh Shukla is the author of books including The One Who Wrote Destiny, Meatspace, Run, Riot, and The Boxer, as well as editor of the critically acclaimed essay collection The Good Immigrant.


In conversation with Nikesh Shukla

23rd February 2020

Paisley Arts Centre (Theatre GA), 15 New St, Paisley PA1 1EZ (Google Maps)

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

£10/£6 + booking fee – book tickets here

Join Nikesh in conversation with Lisa Williams, founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association. Some of the workshop participants will also be performing in this event.

Nikesh Shukla is the author of books including The One Who Wrote Destiny, Meatspace, Run, Riot, and The Boxer, as well as editor of the critically acclaimed essay collection The Good Immigrant.


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The inaugural Paisley Book Festival runs from 20 – 29th February 2020.

‘Radical Voices & Rebel Stories’. The festival takes inspiration from the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals as it reflects their spirit with a programme of grassroots activism, new ideas and political conversation.

Events include panels, workshops, open mics and performances for children, young adults and adults (free, drop-in, priced and ticketed). BAME/POC writers, panelists and performers include:

See the full programme, get accessibility info and book tickets on the Paisley Book Festival website.


Job Opportunities

We’re excited to announce new paid opportunities… We’re looking for:

Deadline: 29.02.20

We’re committed to promoting diverse, equal & inclusive spaces and we welcome all backgrounds, all ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions and beliefs. We particularly encourage underrepresented communities to apply, including but not limited to people from BAME/BIPOC, LGBTQ+, &/or disabled communities, women, ‘working class’ &/or non-binary people.

If you know someone who would be interested in one of these positions, please share this page, or share this Twitter post.


BAME Writers Survey

We’re thrilled to announce the Scottish BAME Writers Network has been awarded funding from Creative Scotland towards a year-long pilot program! To kick things off, we’re launching a landmark survey for BAME writers in and from Scotland. The survey was co-produced with EDI Scotland and will gather the perceptions and experiences of BAME writers and BAME people in Scotland’s literary sector as well as help us plan inclusive programming in the coming months. It takes just 15 – 20 minutes. Open until 13th March 2020. Please share it with your networks: http://bit.ly/SBWNsurvey

March Events

Inky Fingers x Scottish BAME Writers Network presents an Open Mic Residency
Inky Fingers x Scottish BAME Writers Network: Open Mic Residency

We’re collaborating with Inky Fingers and the Lighthouse bookshop on a 3-month Open Mic Residency. Each Inky Fingers Open Mic features a headline performer and an open mic with a welcoming atmosphere.

The night is free to attend (donations on the night) and takes place on the first Tuesday of the month, from 7:30-10pm at the Lighthouse, Edinburgh Radical Bookshop. Our collaboration runs from February to April 2020.

3rd March 2020 headliner: Etzali Hernández

7:30 – 9:45 pm

Free/donation

Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop
43-45 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB (Google Maps)

Accessibility for Lighthouse Bookshop found here. If you have any particular requirements please get in touch with them.

Etzali Hernández is a non binary latinx queer fierce femme poet, coder, DJ, no borders organiser and social justice trainer. Their work has been published in Ascend magazine, We Were Always Here: A Queer Words Anthology, and more recently in Ceremony.

Places for the Inky Fingers Open Mic always fill up fast – please contact Inky Fingers to request a slot: email inkyfingersedinburgh@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in featuring BAME writers in our open mic.

More details on the Facebook event page.


Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance

Your health and safety are our top priority. Due to concerns and guidance around Coronavirus (Covid-19), events may be cancelled or postponed at short notice – more info here.


Gutter Magazine Spring Issue

Gutter is an award-winning print journal for fiction and poetry from writers born or living in Scotland and featuring literature from around the world. Issue 21 (Spring 2020) will include featured work by BAME writers in Scotland. Guest-edited by Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying. Find out more, buy or subscribe.

❗CANCELLED❗ Aye Write festival in Glasgow on 15th March

Cancelled due to concerns around COVID-19. We hope to programme a celebration launch in Glasgow at a later date.

Aye Write has since decided to cancel the whole festival and plan to issue ticket refunds. For more info, contact Aye Write.

❗CANCELLED❗ Lighthouse Books, Edinburgh, 17th March

Cancelled due to concerns around COVID-19. Ticket holders will be contacted directly by the bookshop.

However, you can still directly purchase copies of Gutter 21 from Lighthouse Books in person or over the phone/email.

“Send title/ author books@lighthousebookshop.com, we send payment link, we post!” – Mairi and the team.

Alternatively, you can purchase direct from Gutter: https://www.guttermag.co.uk/getgutter.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): please refer to Lighthouse’s updated events guidance.


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Writers of Colour Writing Group

Hosted and led by Hannah Lavery monthly on a Saturday or Sunday.

Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT.

Next session TBC.

Free but ticketed – book on the Scottish Poetry Library website.

Places are limited and tickets often sell out. Please contact the Scottish Poetry Library on 0131 227 2876 or via email to be added to the waiting list.


Previous events + publications

Publications

Pamphlet Ceremony

Scottish BAME Writers Group pamphlet launch – Ceremony, published by Tapsalteerie – buy here

Our Writers of Colour Group recently launched Ceremony, a pamphlet of poetry and prose at the Scottish Poetry Library. The audience enjoyed performances by Pauline Jérémie, Bibi June, Archie Goyal, Etzali Hernández, Shehzar Doja, Nasim Rebecca Asl, Katalina Watt, Lisa Williams, and Nadine Aisha Jassat. Ceremony features poetry and prose from 15 writers, including the above readers plus Raman Mundair, Andrés N Ordorica, Jeda Pearl, Ning Cai, Hannah Lavery and Alycia Pirmohamed. 

Launched Tuesday 15 October 2019, at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Buy Ceremony (£5)

The Writers of Colour group was started by Hannah Lavery and Alycia Pirmohamed. Find out when the next Writers of Colour group session is.


Previous Events

Courtney Stoddart was the first headliner for our Inky Fingers Residency, 04.02.20.

She is a singer, poet and performer and is passionate about dismantling hierarchy in all its forms. She intertwines elements of political, social and historical discussion into rhythm and rhyme, covering topics such as racism, colonialism, womanhood and growing up in Scotland.

Inky Fingers hold a monthly Open Mic in Edinburgh open to all styles of spoken word. Find out more and sign up to read on their website.


BAME Writers Networking Event (Book Week Scotland)
Saturday 23 November 2019, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL

In November 2019, the Scottish BAME Writers Network hosted its first networking event as part of Book Week Scotland 2019!

Approximately 50 people attended, with BAME/POC writers connecting with one another and with publishers, agents and booksellers. The event opened with the film poem Mother, written by Nadine Aisha Jassat and directed by Jinling Wu with music by Hannah Lee. Raman Mundair delivered an empowering Keynote address and we heard poetry from Murid L Keshtmand and Arun Sood, plus fiction from Lisa Williams.

The event included a ‘meet & greet’ for BAME-identifying persons only, followed by our readers presenting their work and a networking reception, where we aimed to bring together the literary community and work toward inclusive programming. We’d like to thank our readers, sponsors and volunteers and, of course, participants.

Sponsors and partners included the Scottish Book Trust, The Royal Society of Literature, Paisley Book Festival, Literature Alliance Scotland, the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh, Inky Fingers, Golden Hare Books, Extra Teeth, Shoreline of Infinity and Gutter.


BAME Writers in Scotland Panel (with croissants + coffee!)

In celebration of the BAME Writers’ Group pamphlet, Ceremony (Tapsalteerie Press), contributors Nadine Aisha Jassat, Andrés Nicolás Ordorica and Jeda Pearl each read a selection of their work and discussed being writers of colour in Scotland, chaired by Alycia Pirmohamed.

Friday 18 October 2019, 11:00 am – 12:00 noon.

St Vincent’s Chapel: Scottish Episcopal Church, Saint Vincent Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6SW