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Creative Writing Workshops in London by Lindsey Collen


Last week novelist Lindsey Collen, also LALIT member, gave three workshops on Creative Writing to three different groups of women from Latin America, Africa and Europe. The workshops were held in Camden, London at the Maiden Lane Community Centre, where the Frauen Solidaritaet from Austria and the Central American Women's Network hosted a training program for women working in Community Radios. Two other trainers did workshops on radio program making. A wellknown woman activist from Nicaragua, Jamileth Chavarria Mendietta, gave three hands-on workshops on how to produce programs for Community Radio, relying on having set up a radio station in a remote area of Nicaragua and making use of the new facilities of the Community Centre for the teach-in. Marian Laragy, who works at the Community Centre in Camden, gave three workshops, again hands-on, on how to produce and upload podcasts. All the sessions involved women from all three continents, and this was made possible by the contribution of the interpreters present for the training.

LALIT member, Lindsey Collen, who was invited because she is a well-known novelist and also a women's movement activist, said that she encouraged everyone in her sessions to write in her own language, when doing creative writing, particularly in order to free her own creative energy. She said writers can always later translate their own work, or get it translated. Women from South Africa who were partipating in the program were keen that, in addition to themselves, other South African women could also be encouraged to write their life experiences in the form of creative writing. Women participants from Nicaragua, too, wanted to be able to both document their own lives and also to be able to write invented stories around their own experiences. Some women participants from Austria said they had never written in their own dialects before.

Everyone said they found the three workshops interesting, fun, and complementary to each other, and expressed wonder at the sensitivity and efficiency of the organization of this unique international women's event, in the form of a training program for radio.

Lindsey Collen will be holding a similar 3-hour Creative Writing workshop in Mauritius on 9 June. Anyone interested can phone LPT 208 5551 for all the details.