T. Fairclough on Black Gay Ink
a new creative writing scheme for Black gay men

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We’re currently open for applications for Black Gay Ink. Running from October 2019 to March 2020, this scheme offers Black gay writers the opportunity to develop your writing and knowledge of the publishing industry.

It is curated and will be led by T. Fairclough, who has a background in playwriting; he has written, directed and produced his own plays. His first play won the Newham Out Award and had a 10 city tour of the UK. His work has been read at RADA, Soho Theatre, the Royal Court and the BBC. 

He was selected as a participant on Olumide Popoola’s Futures in the Making 2018 creative writing scheme for prose writers and this year he made his first short film starring the black gay actor Cyril Nri.

He has written a short blog below on why he is running the scheme, and why you should apply…

‘At this year’s American Emmy Awards, actor Billy Porter made history as the first openly gay, Black man to win the award for Best Actor in a drama, for his performance of Pray Tell, in the series ‘Pose’, which features the largest cast of transgender and LGBTQ actors in television history. Billy Porter used the moment in his acceptance speech to quote James Baldwin: “Many years it took of vomiting up filth that I had been taught about myself, and halfway believed, before I could walk around on this earth like I had a right to be here.”

These powerful words remind me of the powerful role that writers can have in terms of representation for those with double minority status, and where, how and when those stories are represented. Less than 2% of Black, Asian, and ethnic minority (BAME) writers are published in this country. For me, it is invaluable for BAME writers to have access to career development.

Black Gay Ink is a creative writing development scheme tailored for Black gay men whose stories and narratives are significantly under represented across all forms of writing. As Black gay men it is important that we document and celebrate our lives so that there are more three-dimensional narratives. The Black Gay Ink series of free workshops and master classes will be beneficial to black gay men who are seeking to develop their creative work and knowledge about the publishing industry while learning in a safe space along with their peers.

Workshops will consist of writing exercises, discussion and debate, and the key elements of writing – including plot, characterisation, and dialogue. They will also include masterclasses from published writers, and industry professionals who will share expertise, and offer their guidance and knowledge. The majority of the speakers will be Black professionals – sometimes until people see people like themselves doing well, it can be hard for them to believe that they can. This is incredibly important, especially for writers from backgrounds currently under-represented in publishing.

My hope is that the group will go on to write the stories that they want to write in the way that they want to write them. I have often been on a writing workshop/course or in session with a dramaturg where I haven’t felt entirely comfortable to completely be myself. I encourage writers to apply safe in the knowledge that they will be free from prejudice, being judged or pressured to churn out the usual stereotypes. We are living at a time of tremendous societal change for the LGBTQIA+ community, there has never been a better time to share your writing, your stories and your experiences – so please apply!’

The link to apply for Black Gay Ink is here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/black-gay-ink-is-open-for-applications/

Submissions close at 11:59pm on 11 October

Published 30 September 2019