A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

‘Here and Now’ International Residency open to Scottish & West African writers

Scottish and West African writers are being invited to collaborate in an exciting new cross-cultural residency programme that spans both Ghana, Lagos, and the Scottish Highlands.

Generously supported by The British Council, Here and Now 2023 is a collaborative residency and production programme delivered by Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, and LIPFest, the Lagos International Poetry Festival.

Six mid-career/established writers from Scotland and West Africa will spend one month at Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, situated in the hills above Loch Ness, and one month at LOATAD, the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora, in the heart of Accra.

As well as receiving the space and resources to create new work, participants will connect with local communities and build new audiences in both countries through a programme of workshops and events, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The six writers will also work together online between the residencies, developing a digital pamphlet of work around the theme of Here and Now. This cross-genre work will be launched at a performance event at LIPFest in October 2023.

Efe Paul-Azino, Director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Moniack Mhor and the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora (LOATAD) to deliver this two-month, two-city residency. In a time fraught with anxieties, creating spaces that allows writers and artists reflect, create, and connect has never been more crucial. As a festival we are enthusiastic about collaborations that expand space for the life of the mind and enrich professional practice and we are excited about the possibilities the Here and Now residency programme presents for deepening artistic consciousness and exploring convergences between Scottish and West African culture.’

Rachel Humphries, Centre Director at Moniack Mhor, said: ‘We are over the moon to be working with LIPFest again, building on the success of this year’s wonderful Connect and Collaborate international residency.  The shared time and space we can offer builds relationships and creative connections that enrich all the communities involved. We are excited to see what the Here and Now residency will bring.’

Submissions are open until 5pm (GMT+1) Friday 12 August 2022. Judging will take place throughout September and the successful writers will be announced by end of October 2022.

For more information on the Here and Now residency, including eligibility, full programme timescale, and how to apply, visit www.moniackmhor.org.uk/here-and-now

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Notes to Editors

Since 2015 the Lagos International Poetry Festival has brought poets, writers, and artists from across the world to Lagos for a week of performances, workshops, and conversations, establishing itself as one of the continent’s key cultural highlights.
Dreamed up over drinks and arguments on a forlorn park bench in the beauty and chaos of Lagos, LIPFest was imagined as a vehicle for enabling poets existing on the fringes create their own centers of gravity, with cultural force, vision, and daring. The festival is invested in sustaining an inclusive space for the unfettered expression of ideas and creative expression and attracts pioneering spirits and emerging voices, each defining new aesthetics and chronicling the beauty and terror of their times. We have a keen desire to discover and develop new creative writing and performance talent, and this is manifested in the festival’s series of workshops, masterclasses, and its newly established year-round schools programme.

Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre is situated in a beautiful rural location in the Scottish Highlands, Teavarran, Kiltarlity, 14 miles outside Inverness. Since 1993, Moniack Mhor has been working with the finest writers from the UK and beyond to deliver creative writing courses, retreats and other support for writers of all ages and abilities and from all walks of life.

Moniack Mhor is a registered charity and is supported by Creative Scotland as a Regularly Funded Organisation. It also offers courses, mentoring and a leadership programme for care experienced young people aged 14-26 in Scotland, via funding from Life Changes Trust.

The Centre also facilitates several writing awards as well as providing residential opportunities for professional, published artists to develop their work. It works closely with other key Scottish literature organisations and other UK and international partners, and runs a broad community programme. It also runs a wide programme of creative opportunities for care experienced young people in Scotland and provides writing tuition in Highland schools.

Moniack Mhor champions equality and aims to break down barriers to the creative process, including offering a bursary scheme to support fees where needed.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education, and the English language. Founded in 1934, they are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. They receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

The British Council creates global opportunities in arts and culture, education and the English language.

UK: For more information, please contact Kirsteen Bell, Projects Manager at Moniack Mhor, onkirsteen@moniackmhor.org.uk or +44 7824 040 165.

West Africa: For more information, please contact Efe Paul Azino, Festival Director on efe@lagospoetryfestival.comor +2348032815933

July 26, 2022

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