Writing about leaving and finding home can be daunting. From the wealth of memories and experiences we hold, some of them painful, where do we start? This workshop will explore ways of planning and writing a piece of life writing on various facets of migrant experience. Part of the Developing Tutor workshop series.
Writing about our lives begins with sifting through our thoughts and intentions. Which moment, people and place do we want to capture? Are there striking words or sentences we have written down that must make their way into the piece?
In this workshop, we will learn to arrange fragments into a workable structure, and work on the opening of a cohesive, self-contained life writing project.
What will you do in the workshop?
There will be an overview of Life Writing in contemporary migrant literature.
There will be an exercise on structuring a piece of non-fiction writing that is based on personal experience. I have adapted the Message House, a communications tool for framing key messages. Instead of an outline, which is structured in a linear way, participants will use this device to organise the major elements of their life writing piece. Then there will be a writing exercise on crafting an opening. At the end of the workshop, participants will have a tool with which to plan a piece of life writing, and at least 300 words of new writing to begin a longer piece.
What can you expect?
Participants should pick one or two moments/experiences they intend to write about prior to the workshop. (No one will be compelled to share what they have written.)
Participants can also expect an introduction to life writing by acclaimed migrant writers in Britain and the US, including extracts from Ocean Vuong, Romalyn Ante and Xiaolu Guo.
Who is this workshop for?
This workshop is for migrants at any stage in their journey who are setting out or have just begun to write personal essays, memoir or other forms of non-fiction around the themes of home, past or present. Those whose first language is not English are especially encouraged to join.
This workshop is part of our Developing Tutors series.
What is Developing Tutors?
Developing Tutors is a series of free workshops delivered by London Writers Awards writers who are talented writers looking to grow their workshop delivery experience. We ask that you only book for one Developing Tutors workshop in this season.
A note about this being free
This workshop has a limited capacity and is free to you. We ask that you only book a space if you are committed to attending. By doing this, you are supporting Spread the Word to continue to offer free workshops.
If you require BSL interpretation to take part, please email us at [email protected] by Monday 14 November and we’ll try to secure BSL interpretation for you. Spread the Word will cover this cost.
We’ll send through any reading seven days in advance. We can create adapted handouts to writers attending our workshops and events by request.
If you have additional access needs or questions, please email us on [email protected]
Carla was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and is a first-generation immigrant in the United Kingdom. She has an MA in Political Communication from the University of Sheffield and has worked in politics and advocacy for most of her career, most recently in migrants’ and women’s rights.
She is a fellow for the London Library Emerging Writers programme 2022, and won a London Writers Award for narrative non-fiction in 2021. Her works have been shortlisted for the Specimen Prize in 2021 and Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize in 2020. She writes creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry and satire. She is working on a memoir about grief, family histories and her life as a migrant in a changing England over the last decade.