LGBT Youth Scotland and Scottish Pen celebrated their collaboration on the I Write, I Rise project with an evening of poetry reading by young people and special guests at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. Presenting work created during a series of workshops led by writer, Nat Raha, young people enthralled the audience with poetry ranging from the comedic to the deeply emotional. Eli Clare, celebrated writer and campaigner from Vermont, crossed the Atlantic to join the performers, delivering extracts from his work to the enthusiastic crowd.
I Write, I Rise is a strand of Scottish Pen’s Many Voices project, created to “amplify voices that are silenced and marginalised – not to speak on their behalf, but to empower them and provide a platform so their stories can reach a wider audience”. Over 5 months, Nat Raha worked closely with trans young people from LGBT Youth Scotland’s youth groups including Beyond Gender to develop their writing and explore the ways in which their gender identities manifest themselves in the work; a project she described as “one of the most fulfilling of my career”.
Eli Clare, a prolific writer/campaigner, has produced a significant body of work about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice:
“I believe in story as a way of both surviving and building community. I feel honoured to be invited into this workshop to share writing in community and across national borders. I’m hoping to explore Edinburgh, listen hard to the words of other writers, and sit in the trans community. I can’t imagine a better kind of trip to Scotland."
Many Voices will conclude next year with a performance that brings together all six strands of the project, funded by Creative Scotland, and run in partnership with six organisations; Apex Scotland, Fife College working at HMP and YOI Polmont, International Women’s Group Glasgow, LGBT Youth Scotland, Move On and Orkney Library & Archive.
More information can be found at http://scottishpen.org/many-voices/