Belonging: creative writing workshop with Marjorie Gill in association with Scottish Poetry Library

  • Dunbar Library, Bleachingfield Countess Crescent Dunbar, Scotland, EH42 United Kingdom

Description

The Belonging Project is a series of creative writing workshops and readings that considers journeys, what we carry with us (and what we leave behind), how we start anew and what it means to belong, alongside similar stories and experiences of refugees and migrants.

Marjorie Lotfi Gill will lead a Belonging workshop as part of CoastWord Festival to inspire you to remember and reconsider your own stories, from journeys as monumental as moving country to the daily act of leaving the house. The workshop will offer a series of writing prompts as well as allowing some time to read around and discuss the outcomes of the various prompts, with a view to attendees coming away with one or more pieces of writing.

Where have you come from today, and where do you belong?

Tickets are free but you will need to book your place.

The Belonging Project

What does it mean to belong? Where do you belong?  When do you belong?

As women who both fled home as children, we’ve spent many hours talking about our early experiences of flight, journey and assimilation. We’re interested in using those experiences to draw parallels between journeys like ours and the journeys we all take.

The Belonging Project is a series of creative writing workshops and readings that considers journeys, what we carry with us (and what we leave behind), how we start anew and what it means to belong, alongside similar stories and experiences of refugees and migrants.

Through The Belonging Project, we hope to inspire you to remember and reconsider your own stories, from journeys as monumental as moving country to the daily act of leaving the house. We want to know where, whether and when you’ve come to belong.

Marjorie Lofti Gill

I was born in New Orleans, spent my childhood in Tehran, and then lived in San Diego, Washington DC and New York before moving to London in 1999 and then Edinburgh in 2005. I have a BA in English Literature, a JD in law, and in 2015 received an MSc in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Edinburgh.

I often write in response to artwork, during my residencies at Jupiter Artland and Spring Fling, and my poems responding to images and artwork have won awards, been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and been included in a variety of journals and anthologies. Because I lived through part of the Iranian Revolution as a child, I often explore the effect of war in children in my work. I recently co-founded The Belonging Project, working with others on stories of journey and belonging (relating to refugees, but also to our everyday journeys, and looking at what all of our journeys have in common)

I am interested in a wide variety of creative projects, from traditional creative writing workshops to collaborations that include writing as one aspect of a larger project. I have experience working with writers of all ages (pre-school children, school children, including A-level students, young adults and adults right through to those in their 90s!), and writers from different backgrounds and circumstances (including children in care, vulnerable adults, prisoners, the elderly in care homes and those with dementia). I’m a regular performer and am happy both to read my work and work with others to perform theirs.

I’ve been involved with a number of projects that have involved writing inspired by art. As the Poet in Residence at Jupiter Artland, I’ve run many workshops to develop writing that begins with a sculpture or piece of artwork. As the Writer in Residence for Spring Fling, I also ran workshops in artist studios, using the artwork and artist’s practice as a starting place to develop new stories and poems. For these residencies, I collected the pieces written in the response to the art and presented them online, in a pamphlet and at a public reading (both at Jupiter Artland and the Wigtown Book Festival). I also run regular one-off creative writing workshops, most recently for senior school students at the Scottish Portrait Gallery for the National Galleries and the Scottish Poetry Library.

As a founder of The Belonging Project, I work with writers and those in the community to develop and produce writing considering the journeys we all take relative to the journeys of refugees. Because I grew up in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution, I’m interested in the way stories of flight, journey and assimilation intersect and parallel the stories of journey and belonging we all have, and how we can use those stories to remove barriers.