Bath Novel Award Winner, Joanna Barnard, Introduces The SO:Write Women Workshop


As part of this year’s So:To Speak Festival we will be holding two women’s writing workshops, on Thursday 19th October and Saturday 21st October.

So: Write Women has been running since January 2017 and the ethos of the group is to provide a safe, supportive space for women to express themselves and create new writing. If you’ve never been to one of the workshops before, here’s what you can expect:

We use guided free writing exercises to help unlock our creativity. What does this mean, exactly? Well, each workshop has a theme and we use all kinds of prompts – a photograph, an unusual (or indeed seemingly mundane) object, a word or phrase, or a time or place – to get us started, writing for a fixed amount of time wherever our imaginations choose to take us. We then hear from those who want to share what they’ve written, though there is absolutely no pressure to do this if you’re feeling a bit shy! Often we then develop the theme further.

This month we’ll be following the Festival theme of ‘Changing Times’ and I’m already really excited about where this will lead us. It’s such an evocative subject: how are we as individuals and as a community shaped by history, and our changing environment? What would a visitor from the past (or the future) make of how we are today? Are we changing for the better or for the worse, and who decides? These are just some of the questions we’ll be asking, and writing about.

Here are some of the things that women who already attend our workshops have said:

“As a direct result of taking part in So: Write Women I have performed my poems at West Quay shopping centre, Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s experiment night, and Riverfest. The experience from these events helped give me the confidence to take part in a Touch Network event as an inspirational speaker.”

“The last six months of So Write meetings have been an incredible experience for me. Joanna has made a supportive atmosphere that feels safe to be creative. I look forward to every meeting and it has given me the courage to admit that I am (she whispers) a writer.”

In the words of Bob Dylan: Come writers and critics / who prophesise with your pen / and keep your eyes wide / the chance won’t come again.

Hope to see lots of you there.

The first SO: Write Women workshop is on Thursday 19th October, 11am-1pm, at The Art House Cafe.
The second, on Saturday 21st October is at 10:15am-12:15pm at Central Library.

Both are free to attend but please do book in advance.

Register here for 19th October.

Register here for 21st October.

By Joanna Barnard.

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