CRIPtic x Spread the Word are producing a new programme of activities including salons, a retreat and research for deaf and disabled writers
After the success of Experimental! the UK’s first online writers retreat for deaf and disabled writers, CRIPtic x Spread the Word are joining forces to offer a range of activities to support, develop and empower deaf and disabled writers.
The CRIPtic x Spread the Word Salon is an inclusive space facilitated and run by and for deaf and disabled writers, to create a community in which people can learn, have fun, and share their work.
The new season starts in June 2022 and runs through to December 2022. Each Salon has a workshop with an invited facilitator followed by a reading and Q&A from a guest writer and an opportunity for participants to take part in an open mic.
The Salon is open to deaf and disabled writers writing in any genre, new or more experienced, is hosted by Jamie Hale and free to attend.
There is more information about the Salon here: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/criptic-x-spread-the-word-salons-for-d-deaf-and-disabled-writers-new-season/
CRIPtic x Spread the Word Retreat took place online in July 2021.
Free to participate in, the Retreat encouraged UK based deaf and/ or disabled writers to experiment and broaden their writing practice, get insight into the industry and become part of a writing community.
The 2021 Retreat focussed on poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting. There were creative exercises, workshops, guest readings, industry insights, and a public sharing event.
Places on the Retreat were available by application, with 10 places being available.
CRIPtic x Spread the Word Research
Deaf and disabled writers, producers, and other literature creatives face significant barriers to access in the literature industries. There is a lack of understanding about the audience for accessible opportunities, and literature organisations lack knowledge about making their programmes accessible.
We are running research which will start to provide data and evidence to support change, the development of best practice and open up opportunities for deaf and disabled writers and audiences.
June Salon workshop leader and host
Jamie Hale is a writer, performer and director who works across poetry, essay, script, and stage exploring the interactions between the body, impairment, nature and environment. They curate CRIPtic, a d/Deaf and disabled creative programme, and have had work published in Rialto, Magma, the Guardian, and their own pamphlet, Shield (Verve Press, 2021). They won Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund Director/Theatremaker of the Year award for their solo show NOT DYING, and their work with CRIPtic, which will feature as a showcase of d/Deaf and disabled artists at the Barbican in Autumn 2021.
Jamie is leading the June Salon workshop.
June Salon reader
Antonia Jade King is one of the hosts of Boomerang Club, and a previous Hammer & Tongue finalist. She has featured at Poetry and Shaah and Heaux Noire and was part of Apples and Snakes Writing Room programme in 2018. She has performed at numerous events including Love Supreme festival and Rallying Cry at Battersea Arts Centre. She was also a Barbican Young Poet and her debut pamphlet ‘She Too Is a Sailor’ is out with Bad Betty Press.
August Salon workshop leader
Jenny is a Welsh based artist and writer who often engages with themes around identity, expression, politics, and equality. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to creating; Jenny often combines poetry and spoken word with movement, video, and installation.
Mainly writing poetry and short fiction, Jenny’s written work often engages with the everyday: using it as backdrop to comment on larger questions, thoughts, and contemporary political and societal issues.
Jenny has previously taught creative writing and holds a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.
August Salon reader
Hayleigh Barclay is a Scottish based writer and disability rights campaigner. She obtained a Doctorate of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow in 2019. Her thesis researched 19th century Gothic vampire literature and involved writing her debut novel, Girl of the Ashes which was published in 2020. She writes short stories for the online magazine Disability Horizons. The stories blend dark humour and disabled characters to reinforce that disability needn’t be a taboo subject.
During the pandemic she co-edited an anthology of stories/poems with proceeds going to The Ambulance Staff Charity. Avid scriptwriter. Teller of bad jokes!
October Salon workshop leader
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
October Salon reader
Tom is a writer, theatre maker and producer who focuses on changing who gets to imagine the future by revealing how the things we take for granted as fundamental in our lives, are actually just made up nonsense.
His work has been seen at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Shoreditch Town Hall, Camden People’s Theatre, Pleasance, Theatre503 and he is currently developing a digital piece as part of CRIPtic 2021 at The Barbican.
“Can You See Into a Black Hole?” is a solo show about his own experience of growing up with epilepsy. It was made in collaboration with his parents and follows the real story of his family. He wanted to be an astronaut but when he had his first seizure aged 8 and a black hole opened up inside his head – that had to change. Instead he goes on an epic adventure to understand the black hole in his brain. “Can You See Into a Black Hole?” is an imaginative attempt to remove epilepsy from the medical model and demonstrate that the thing that makes the condition difficult is not the seizures – but the way in which the world is built.
December Salon workshop leader
December Salon reader
Penny Pepper is an acclaimed wheelchair-using author, poet, performer & disabled activist. A genre-defying and versatile writer, her work focuses on the examination of difference, inequality and identity. She tells stories we haven’t heard, making others see life differently, always with humour and wisdom. Her champions include Jake Arnott, Margaret Drabble and Danuta Keene. Most recently she has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious international Hemingway Shorts 2021 Competition and her winning story will be published in their competition anthology.
Penny published her groundbreaking memoir, First in The World Somewhere with Unbound and a poetry collection, Come Home Alive, with Burning Eye Books. She is now signed to The Good Literary Agency where she is represented by Abi Fellows. She has also been widely published including Mslexia, The Guardian, Byline Times amongst others.
Image of Penny by Jonny Bosworth
February Salon workshop leader
Ayesha is a writer and multimedia artist who aims to use her artwork for political means, opening up safe spaces for conversation about difficult topics. Often her work draws on personal experience of disability. Her poetry has been shown in the ‘Song of Myself’ Poetry Jukebox at Belfast International Arts Festival, at ‘Mr W et al’, a celebratory event exploring art and disability in Hackney Wick, and in ‘Deaf Experience’, an online short film screening of films by deaf and hard-of-hearing creators, organised by The Film Bunch. She is currently writing her MA dissertation whilst working for Creative Estuary.
February Salon Reader
Sonny Nwachukwu is a writer, director, choreographer and performer based in London. His work is multi-disciplinary spanning across writing, poetry, dance, theatre and anything that lies beyond. His work primarily focuses on the African and Caribbean Diaspora.
Sonny is a storyteller that incorporates dance and literature making his work relevant, unique, vibrant and thought-provoking. His background in Psychology informs much of his work and he is keen to tackle issues seen as taboo or ‘different’.
April Salon workshop leader
Inigo Purcell is a graduate student and writer from London. He is currently studying a PhD about Arthurian legend at the University of Bristol and Macquarie University. He previously studied at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and Oxford Brookes University. In 2017 he was selected for the Moth magazine’s residency for writers under 30. His novel about the long term fallout of a political sex scandal, An Entirely Different Person, was recently selected for the Hachette Future Bookshelf scheme. He enjoys knitting, jigsaws, and getting very intensely interested in popular fiction from the mid twentieth century.
April Salon reader
Betty Doyle is a poet and student from Liverpool. Her poetry has been published in Cake, Brag, Smoke, Lunate, Re-Side, and Sink amongst others, and has been accepted for Agenda’s Young Poets series. She was longlisted for the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Prize 2018, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. From 2014-2016, she was poetry editor for Flash Journal Lancaster.
She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she is researching infertility poetry. She has a physical disability called Arthrogryposis.
Her debut poetry pamphlet, Girl Parts, will be published by Verve Poetry Press in March 2022. Twitter: betty_poet
June Salon workshop leader
Shahid Iqbal Khan is an Offie-nominated playwright. He has been part of BBC Writersroom, MacFest and Write To Play. His recent stage plays are Stardust (Belgrade Theatre) and 10 Nights (Bush Theatre). His radio work includes Bhavika, Night of the Living Flatpacks (both on community channels) and Sheltering (BBC Radio 4).
June Salon reader
Kathryn O’Driscoll is the 2021 U.K. Slam Champion and World Slam Finalist. A spoken word poet and activist from Bath, England, she talks openly about mental health, neurodivergency, disability, LGBTQIA+ issues and joys, and survival in her poetry.
She has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Bath Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Cheltenham Literary Festival, and on BBC Radio Bristol. She was also one of the featured poets on the (BAFTA winning) Sky Arts spoken word TV show Life and Rhymes. Her debut collection ‘Cliff Notes’ was released by Verve Poetry Press in February.
August Salon reader
Sahera Khan (she/her) is a Muslim, Deaf and BSL user, Writer/Creator, Artist/Actress, Filmmaker & YouTuber.
Sahera started writing to share her many creative stories with others. In 2010 she enrolled in a number of creative writing courses, then created her first blog for short pieces, before combining these into a book ‘My Creative Writing’ which she self published via Kindle. She has written nine ebooks. These covered a range of topics like children’s stories, fiction and nonfiction.
She has written several short screenplays for screen and theatre scripts, including a short film called ‘He Stood Me Up’ which was commissioned by BSL Zone in 2014 and a short play called ‘Hope for Ishq’, performed by Deafinitely Theatre in 2016.
Her poem is Why Together? published Together! 2020 Poetry Anthology 2020.
She wrote a short play No Words (2021) part of a research and development project which was funded by Deafinitely Theatre. The project is about a Deaf woman ‘Nice’, she was arrested and charged for ABH (Actual Bodily Harm). She was imprisoned for six months. She reveals the truth behind her journey in the justice system.
Her aim is to continuing writing ‘No Words’ to develop it into a full-length play and publish playtext.
At present she is writing and illustrating two new books: ‘Basic Islamic Signs with Illustrations’ and a series of short stories about deaf characters. This will be the first time she has published a book specifically with deaf characters.
Her first piece of journal published the book ‘Maternal Journal: A creative guide to journaling through pregnancy, birth and beyond’ by Laura Godfrey-Isaacs and Samantha McGowan, printed by Pinter & Martin (2021).
Also her poem ‘My Glow’ published What Meets the Eye? The Deaf Perspective book by Arachne Press (2021).
Last year's retreat for deaf and disabled writers showed me so much about the barriers people are facing, and made me realise that we needed an ongoing commitment to supporting, developing, and showcasing deaf and disabled writers, which CRIPtic and I are proud to do alongside Spread the Word
Jamie Hale, CRIPtic Arts