Watch this Space!

CoastWord is, with nae word of a lie, the best small literary festival I’ve ever had the joy to attend. The camaraderie of the team, the beautiful welcome to Dunbar, and the excellent discussions and performances I’ve seen at the festival would be hard to match elsewhere; it is the specific folks involved who make this festival truly special and I tip my hat to one and aw of them. It’s been excellent to watch CoastWord grow over the years to become a staple of the Scottish literary calendar.

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Sea and Harbour

I first got involved in Coastword a couple of years ago, hosting a Belonging Project workshop with The Writing Mums, a group of open, engaging and terrific women writers. What struck me then was how that group’s willingness to be true to themselves and their writing gave permission for everyone else in the room to feed off of that honesty, and feel supported along their own writing journey. I left that workshop wondering how I could become a (albeit long-distance) member of that writing community, and have been trying to find a way to get back there ever since.

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Captain James Kirk

It is good to keep an open mind, especially when it involves local history. This is cool, and something I have not done before; that is, a song ‘to order’, (and about religion and war, sort of…)

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Karen Dietz Comment
Writing songs and filming dancers

When I was first approached in the summer by Hannah Lavery to be an Artist in Residence with CoastWord, I was delighted and honoured. I had performed at CoastWord a couple of years ago with our band GOL and screened some of my short films. The evening had such a great atmosphere and I remember  how the audience danced with such wild abandon to the music, showing us the true spirit of Dunbar!

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Roxana Vilk Comment
Nourish Me, Sister

It was on Friday the 21st June in the beautiful Backlands Community Garden that we gathered with film maker Roxana Vilk and with much laughter and despite the rain and famous Dunbar wind made a film to celebrate our first anthology, Nourish Me, Sister.

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Hannah LaveryComment
Keeping Mum

Five Years ago from behind my double buggy, I rushed out a programme entry for an event for Dunbar’s Civic Week. ‘Keeping Mum’ a Writing Mums’ Workshop. I arranged a creche. Roped in my good friend, the poet Alice Mitchell, to help me run the workshop and a few weeks later in a room in Dunbar Library we waited, with pens and paper, writing exercises and cake, lots of cake.

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Hannah LaveryComment
Nourish Me, Sister

CoastWord Festival began as an idea at the school gates. As the festival has grown over the years, the innovative mothers who thought it would be grand to have a ‘Wee Festival of Words’ in Dunbar have developed their own writing in a group, called ‘Writing Mums’.

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CoastWord Residency Blog Post #2

How do you get to know a place without actually visiting it? Surely, it’s not possible. Because how could you possibly get the sense of an environment without first meeting the people that live and work there? Patrick Geddes was pretty succinct about that idea some time ago. 

So here’s another question - how can you possibly try to understand what a place was like in a time that is long gone? Because you can’t visit that. How do you get a sense of how people were feeling? How they were thinking? What was important to them? 

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Kirsty LawComment
'My CoastWord' by Lisa George

I wrote my first poem in 24 years at CoastWord, in Claire Askew’s ‘Introduction to Poetry’ workshop and I think it is a pretty good start. I almost didn’t make it along, I signed up to the workshop on a bit of a whim, but my childcare fell through when my sister was stranded in St Louis, and the doubts about my poetry writing talents sown by my second year English teacher were still enough that I was quite prepared to miss out. Until the lovely Lynn, my fellow writing mum and one of two possible future inlaws (if you believe my 5 year old daughter) stepped in and added another layer of madness to her already hectic day.

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Why is it so hard to get off the beaten track?

So the idea is to draw a circle on a map of Dunbar-maybe around the base of a wine glass- and follow the line as closely as possible in the real world,wandering along with no other aim than to stop every now and then to gaze about and hopefully see my surroundings in new ways; to find the stories that Dunbar wants to tell me.

Following the line will force me to leave my usual route and to get off the beaten track.

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Our Dunbar

CoastWord weekend kicks off with mince and tatties at the Ridge Café. I eat as I browse an East Lothian Courier and stumble upon a double-page spread about the festival:  ‘Stories poems and songs to hold center stage for 3 days’, alongside a photo of my own face gazing back at me.

An auspicious start.

 

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Reflecting on Dunbar

I grew up in a small seaside town in Northern Ireland. From my bedroom window, as a child, and then in another house as a teenager, but always with the same view, I could see the Irish Sea from my window. On clear days, the Isle of Man, and at night, the lights of Portpatrick.

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Rachel McCrumComment
The Monstruous Regiment of Women

Since my last blog in January, I've been thinking about a number of things, and wondering if the strands could be brought together during this residency. I think that they can. In fact, I'm excited to think that they can. Something is brewing. Something noisy, guttural, stomping, stamping and good. Anyone want to come and play?

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