class="post-53945 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-anthology category-network-knowledge"Read the City of Stories Home Anthologythe front cover of the City of Stories Home Anthology

City of Stories Home celebrates libraries as places to make and share stories, engaging writers and readers from across the capital and the importance of libraries as places of community and connection. This powerful collection of diverse stories on the theme of home is the culmination of that work, representing a snapshot of the great writing that the project inspired.

The anthology brings you those winning and highly commended stories, alongside new writing by our commissioned writers Natasha Brown, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Amer Anwar and Jarred McGinnis and our emerging writers Iqbal Hussain, S. Niroshini, Ruth Goldmsith and Lizzie Damilola Blackburn.

The anthology takes you on a journey across London – starting in the North, moving through Central and the East then South and finishing in West London. The stories reveal a multiplicity of voices and responses to the theme of home – as vibrant, complex and energetic as London is itself.

The Anthology features stories by competition winners, and the City of Stories Home commissioned writers, each representing their home London borough. All stories are © the authors.

Read and download: 

Download the Anthology here (PDF). 


The City of Stories Home Authors:

Barnet: Ruthie Raphael and Shereen Pandit

Enfield: Pamela Kandekore and Lisa Hardy

Haringey: Aisha Phoenix and Terri-Ceres de Roche-Puckerin

Camden: Emily Gaywood-James and Tina Sang

City of London: Sue Zhao and Verity Greaves

Kensington and Chelsea: Alison Catchpole and Stan Moorcroft

Islington: Hazel Beevers and Ashley Pegg

Lambeth: Tracey Hammett, Khadija Badri and Caleb Azumah Nelson

Southwark: Emma Robertson, Jennifer McGowan and Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Westminster: Loretta Ramkissoon

Barking and Dagenham: Shahema Tafader Donna Thomson

Bexley: Toyah Demi Panton and Robert Butler

Greenwich: S M Smith and Maureen Stapleton

Hackney: Erin Niimi Longhurst, Noah Birksted-Breen and  Jarred McGinnis

Havering: Shupaula Mistry and  Amanda Wynne

Lewisham: Ruth Bradshaw and Harriet Acland

Newham:  Mx Jay A Gee and Marjorie Browne

Redbridge: Anneliese Amoah and Jenny Gibson

Tower Hamlets: Rosaleen Lynch, Tom O’Brien and Natasha Brown

Waltham Forest: Sam Burt, Christina Carè, Iqbal Hussain, Ruth Goldsmith

Bromley: Alice Tarleton and Elaine Wedlock

Croydon: Elizabeth Uter and Sayyara Nurmahomed

Kingston upon Thames: Chris Williams and Heather Mathew

Merton: Lui Sit and Steven Moe

Sutton: Miranda Lewis and Becky Bone

Wandsworth: Rizwan Piracha and Helena Michalacopoulos

Brent: Kate Elliott and Amer Anwar

Ealing: Rebecca Dyer and Sofia A Koutlaki

Hammersmith and Fulham: Sandra Anlin and Susan Lord

Harrow: Joan Pollack

Richmond upon Thames: Roly Grant and Ana Santi

Hillingdon: Rekha Wadhwani and David O’Sullivan

Hounslow: Megan McIntyre and Joanna Samuels

 

Published 4 July 2022

class="post-53924 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news"Spread the Word announce the appointment of four new Trusteesfour square images in a collage of Gita Ralleigh, Della Hill, Sam Dodd and Joe Sedgwick

Spread the Word is delighted to announce the appointment of four new Trustees to its Board – Gita Ralleigh, Della Hill, Sam Dodd and Joe Sedgwick. They will be supporting the organisation to achieve its ambitions to transform the range of stories by London writers we get to read.

Chair of the board Rishi Dastidar says: “In  Gita Ralleigh, Della Hill, Sam Dodd and Joe Sedgwick, we’re fortunate to have added four trustees with a deep care and concern for stories and literature, the role that they can play in people’s lives, and a desire to open up the worlds of creative writing and publishing to those currently marginalised or excluded from them.” 

Director Ruth Harrison adds: “I am delighted to be welcoming our new Trustees to Spread the Word. They bring a wealth and breadth of experience, knowledge and expertise and I’m looking forward to working with them to deliver on our ambitions to open up access to writing and reading to people from across our communities.”

New Trustees include NHS Doctor and Poet Gita Ralleigh, who says:
“I am thrilled to become a trustee of Spread the Word, an organisation which has done so much to promote new voices and advocate for equity and excellence in literature.” 

New Board member Della Hill, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Chwarae Teg, Wales’ leading gender equality charity, and a Consultant and Speaker at people make it work, says: “It’s a real privilege to join the Board at Spread the Word and help support the organisation as they embark on an exciting period of growth and development. I’m looking forward to contributing to the journey ahead as the organisation continues to make such a fantastic and positive impact on London’s writers, readers and audiences.”   

Joe Sedgwick, Head of Writing Services at The Literary Consultancy, says: “I am absolutely thrilled to be invited onto the Board at Spread the Word, and can’t wait to get started helping this wonderful organisation continue the invaluable work they do in London and beyond… I’ve long been an admirer of the way they foster talented writers and support those at all stages of their development. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness first-hand the way they support low-income and marginalised writers in the capital, as they’ve been a long-time and valued partner of TLC’s Arts Council-funded Free Reads scheme. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m looking forward to being a champion of Spread the Word’s important work.” 

Sam Dodd, writing mentor, editor, and Co-Founder/Project Manager at CityLife Stories, an intergenerational community engagement life writing project, says: “As someone working both within the literature sector and directly with underrepresented communities, and as an underrepresented writer myself, I have long admired how Spread the Word thinks deeply and widely about opportunities for all writers, no matter their background. I am really looking forward to joining them on the next stage of their journey.” 

The New Board members join current Trustees including Aimee Feloné of Knights Of, Sandeep Mahal MBE of RSC and people make it work, Katie Roden publishing and marketing Consultant and current Chair of Trustees, Rishi Dastidar.

You can read more about our new Trustees on: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/about-us/#Board

Published 28 June 2022

class="post-53795 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities"Nature Nurtures: Free opportunities for 16 – 25 year old Londonersan image of two people sitting on a bench in a wooded area looking at small plants.

Through Summer 2022, Spread the Word and London Wildlife Trust are running three free taster workshops for 16 – 25 year olds in London, as part of Nature Nurtures. The project will include a whole host of exciting opportunities for young people that link nature with creative arts to get more young people volunteering and taking action for nature.

The workshops offer exciting opportunities that link nature with creative arts to get more young people volunteering and taking action for nature. Workshops are free! No experience is necessary. There’s even a buddying opportunity  – if you’re feeling nervous about attending on your own, you can connect with one of the team in advance of coming along!

Who are the workshops for? 

London Wildlife Trust and partners will work to inspire young people from underrepresented communities in the nature conservation sector, to get involved in the protection and promotion of London’s natural heritage with the overall aim of making nature more inclusive, accessible, and relevant to them.

Specifically, this project will focus on young people from Black, Asian, and Minoritised Ethnic heritage, young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and those who live in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of London.

More info and how to book 

1. Nature Nurtures: Explore Nature & Poetry Writing

Saturday 9 July 2022, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Camley Street Natural Park, Kings Cross

FREE

Morning: Get ACTIVE in Nature: Explore Camley Street Natural Park, learn about its wildlife & get stuck in with seasonal nature conservation tasks on the nature reserve.

Afternoon: Afternoon – Get CREATIVE with Nature: Poetry writing with poet and writer, Theresa Lola, former Young People’s Laureate for London.

More info and book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nature-nurtures-explore-nature-poetry-writing-tickets-362161674317

2. Nature Nurtures: Practical Conservation & Drawing from Nature

Saturday 30 July, 10.30am – 3.30pm
Camley Street Natural Park, Kings Cross

FREE

Morning: Get ACTIVE in Nature: Explore Camley Street Natural Park, learn about its wildlife & get stuck in with seasonal nature conservation tasks on the nature reserve.

Afternoon: Get CREATIVE with Nature: Drawing in Nature Illustrator Woodrow Phoenix will help you get your eyes and hands in sync with some simple steps for drawing what you see.

More info and book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nature-nurtures-practical-conservation-drawing-from-nature-tickets-366795062907

3. Nature Nurtures: Explore Nature, Conservation & Photography

Saturday 27 August, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Walthamstow Wetlands

FREE

Morning:  Get ACTIVE in Nature: Explore Walthamstow Wetlands, learn about its wildlife & get stuck in with seasonal nature conservation tasks on the nature reserve.

Afternoon: Get CREATIVE with Nature: Led by photographer and travel content creator Melissa Legarda (@illumelation), this creative 2-hour workshop will explore nature through photography and dive deeper into our human relationship with the world around us.

More info and book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nature-nurtures-explore-nature-conservation-photography-tickets-366820589257

 

Nature Nurtures is supported by funds awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, via the Volunteering Futures Fund distributed by Arts Council England.

Photo by Eleanor Church

Published 21 June 2022

class="post-53777 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news"Nature Nurtures: New opportunities for 16 – 25 year old Londoners to explore nature and creative artstwo people looking up at the sky in a forest. One wears an orange headscarf and the other is pointing upwards

Spread the Word is pleased to be part of Nature Nurtures, a new cross-sector project led by London Wildlife Trust in partnership with Black Girls Hike CIC, London Youth and us at Spread the Word. The project will be a whole host of exciting opportunities for young people aged 16 – 25 from communities underrepresented in the nature conservation sector, that link natural heritage with creative arts to get more young people volunteering and taking action for nature. Nature Nurtures will also be an opportunity to explore themes of wellbeing, identity & cultural heritage within the environmental sector.

What’s on offer?

Over the next two years, Nature Nurtures will offer:

  • Practical nature conservation training and volunteering for young people on London Wildlife Trust nature reserves across the capital;

  • Creative writing and media workshops (including photography, spoken word poetry, art and creative writing) with Spread the Word’s guest artists;

  • Wild Wellbeing Walks – including guided walks, mentoring and walk leader guidance for young people led by Black Girls Hike CIC;

  • Training and skills development opportunities such as OCN accredited training in Youth Leadership, led by London Youth and Volunteer management training led by London Wildlife Trust.

Who is the project for?

London Wildlife Trust and partners will work to inspire young people from underrepresented communities in the nature conservation sector, to get involved in the protection and promotion of London’s natural heritage with the overall aim of making nature more inclusive, accessible, and relevant to them.

Specifically, this project will focus on young people from Black, Asian, and Minoritised Ethnic heritage, young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and those who live in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of London.

Nature Nurtures is supported by funds awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, via the Volunteering Futures Fund distributed by Arts Council England.

Upcoming Opportunities

Throughout Summer 2022, Spread the Word and London Wildlife Trust are running three free taster workshops for 16 – 25 year olds that offer exciting opportunities that link nature with creative arts to get more young people volunteering and taking action for nature. Workshops are free! No experience is necessary. There’s even a buddying opportunity  – if you’re feeling nervous about attending on your own, you can connect with one of the team in advance of coming along!

1. Nature Nurtures: Explore Nature & Poetry Writing

Saturday 9 July 2022, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Camley Street Natural Park, Kings Cross

FREE

Morning: Get ACTIVE in Nature: Explore Camley Street Natural Park, learn about its wildlife & get stuck in with seasonal nature conservation tasks on the nature reserve.

Afternoon: Afternoon – Get CREATIVE with Nature: Poetry writing with poet and writer,Theresa Lola, former Young People’s Laureate for London.

More info and book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nature-nurtures-explore-nature-poetry-writing-tickets-362161674317

2. Nature Nurtures: Practical Conservation & Drawing from Nature

Saturday 30 July, 10.30am – 3.30pm
Camley Street Natural Park, Kings Cross

FREE

Morning: Get ACTIVE in Nature: Explore Camley Street Natural Park, learn about its wildlife & get stuck in with seasonal nature conservation tasks on the nature reserve.

Afternoon: Get CREATIVE with Nature: Drawing in Nature Illustrator Woodrow Phoenix will help you get your eyes and hands in sync with some simple steps for drawing what you see.

More info and book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nature-nurtures-practical-conservation-drawing-from-nature-tickets-366795062907

3. Nature Nurtures: Explore Nature, Conservation & Photography

Saturday 27 August, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Walthamstow Wetlands

FREE

Morning:  Get ACTIVE in Nature: Explore Walthamstow Wetlands, learn about its wildlife & get stuck in with seasonal nature conservation tasks on the nature reserve.

Afternoon: Get CREATIVE with Nature: Led by photographer and travel content creator Melissa Legarda (@illumelation), this creative 2-hour workshop will explore nature through photography and dive deeper into our human relationship with the world around us.

More info and book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nature-nurtures-explore-nature-conservation-photography-tickets-366820589257


Nature Nurtures is supported by funds awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, via the Volunteering Futures Fund distributed by Arts Council England. For more information please visit: www.wildlondon.org.uk/nature-nurtures

 

Image by Eleanor Church

Published 20 June 2022

class="post-53788 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-blogs category-network-knowledge"Salons: They Ain’t Just for Hair
by Shannon YeeAn image of a woman's head and shoulders standing sideways against a mural background

In this blog, writer and artist Shannon Yee shares her thoughts and experiences of CRIPtic x Spread the Word Writers’ Salons for d/Deaf and disabled writers.

Back in 2020, when the world was in lockdown and creative practice for many artists, (including myself) was the least of our worries, disabled artist Jamie Hale partnered with Ruth Harrison at Spread the Word to run a virtual writing retreat for d/Deaf and disabled writers. This inaugural week-long retreat, entitled Experimental! An Online Writers’ Retreat for D/deaf and Disabled Writers, was exactly the sustenance for the creative soul and supportive community we all were in desperate need of, and it identified both the need for and interest in more opportunities like it in the future. Throughout my professional career, I’ve attended and organised a multitude of these kinds of gatherings, and there was nothing that even came close to the gold standard of artistic inspiration, inclusivity, generosity of spirit and accessibility that was at this retreat.

In 2021, the CRIPtic x Spread the Word Salons began to continue that unique and creative space, to ‘support, develop and empower d/Deaf and disabled writers’. Having been at both the online retreat and a 2021 salon, when Jamie asked me to step in for them to guest host the April ’22 session with fellow Experimental! alumnae Inigo Purcell, my response was as immediate and natural as my next breath, ‘Oh, yes please! I’d love to!’

Inigo focused the session on character development in fiction with clear instruction and prompt questions to support attendees to consider new viewpoints when shaping their characters in their writing. During the workshop, the chat was alight with positive feedback and a generosity of connection I’ve not experienced anywhere else in my 20+ years of being a professional artist.

Inigo’s workshop was followed by a break, then a reading by poet Betty Doyle from her new collection (as well as a chance to get an exclusive signed copy!), a Q&A with Betty, and an Open Mic where participant Babs read one of her short fiction pieces, which was celebrated by generous feedback from Inigo, Betty and the other attendees.

I love the tone of the creative spaces that CRIPTic x Spread the Word create together – you never feel you have to apologise or ask for your access needs to be met. There’s such an unspoken respect for people’s autonomy and independence in managing their individual needs. Salons are BSL-interpreted, captioned, and with multiple rest breaks and text-based supports for the spoken instruction. Prep materials and information ahead of the workshop are available to help anyone manage their anxiety or overwhelm. It’s so refreshing and assuring to be in a space where access needs aren’t presented as problematic, compared to what we are presented by mainstream society, particularly in these pseudo-‘post-Covid’ times where venues and festivals have stopped offering online options to their audiences.

Some feedback from the April ‘22 Salon participants included:

“This has been so useful, thank you!”

“I liked the pace.”

“I’ve got the beginning of a story written. I abandoned it during lockdown, but your prompts have made me go back to the main character and think again…”

Like an appointment at a good hair salon, a CRIPtic x Spread the Word Salon is tailored to your needs and you leave feeling just amazing, a more fully realised version of yourself. But unlike an appointment at a hair salon, these writing salons are free and come to you in the comfort of your own home.

Attending these salons truly helps you show up for you and your work, so don’t miss your chance to join this unique and long-lasting support network of d/Deaf and disabled writers, in a truly inclusive and artistically inspirational space. Being connected to this community of d/Deaf or disabled artists has been life-changing for me, personally and professionally, and this support is available to you (for free!)

Book your slot in the new 2022 Salon season here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/criptic-x-spread-the-word-salons-for-d-deaf-and-disabled-writers-new-season/


Shannon Yee (Sickels) is an award-winning writer and producer. Her perspectives as an immigrant, ethnic minority, queer artist-parent with a disability living in NI are deeply embedded in her work. Shannon has received a number of awards and grants, including the ACNI Major Individual Artist Award (2017). Her Reassembled, Slightly Askew sonically immerses audiences in her autobiographical experience of nearly dying and subsequent acquired brain injury (www.reassembled.co.uk) , touring locally, nationally and internationally in arts festivals and medical training settings since 2015. Shannon’s published short stories are ‘The Brightening Up Side’( Belfast Stories; Doire Press, 2019), and ‘Thumbnails’ (Queer Love: An Irish Anthology; Southward, 2020). www.s-yee.co.uk

 

Published 21 June 2022

class="post-53704 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-network-knowledge category-research category-toolkit"Being Hybrid – A Cheap and Easy Guide to Hybrid Events for the Literature SectorBeing Hybrid: A bright turquoise rectangle with the CRIPtic Arts and Spread the Word logos. The text reads Being Hybrid: a cheap and easy guide to hybrid events.

CRIPtic Arts and Spread the Word are pleased to announce the launch of the Being Hybrid Guide for festivals, literature organisations and publishers.

Written by Jamie Hale, Director of CRIPtic Arts in consultation with deaf and disabled writers, the Guide is designed to support time- and resource-limited organisations in working out what they need to do to offer the best hybrid programme possible.

With a full return to in-person events, more and more literature organisations are casting Zoom to the winds and reopening doors to welcome back the crowds. In doing this, they are closing the door to people who are more likely to be geographically dispersed, disabled, poorer, have caring responsibilities and who are likely to have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, where online programming was vital to people’s connection to the world.

The Guide has been developed as a toolkit for programmers of literature events, workshops and festivals and is available in five formats. 

Being Hybird – Full Guide (PDF): 
www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Being-Hybrid-Full-Guide-3.pdf

Being Hybrid – Short Guide (PDF): 
www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Being-Hybrid-Short-Guide-1.pdf

Being Hybrid – Plain English (PDF / text):
www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Being-Hybrid-Plain-English-Summary-Guide-1.pdf

Being Hybrid – Plain English (audio):

spreadthewordwriters · Being Hybrid A Plain English Summary Guide SD 480p

Being Hybrid – a BSL guide: 

Published 14 June 2022