Project Name:Telling Underrepresented Stories Through the Creative Essay & Short Story
Participants: Early Career Writers who identify as BAME, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, low-income or with disabilities
Lead Artists: Özgür Uyanık and Durre Shahwar
Digital Platforms: Literature Wales Website
11 Welsh or Wales-based early career writers (unpublished in print with their own full collection or novel) self-identifying as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, low-income or with disabilities took part in an hour-long webinar by Cardiff-based writers Özgür Uyanık and Durre Shahwar on the form and possibilities of the short story and the creative essay. Writers then expanded upon their original idea and received personalised editorial feedback to enable them to gain increased knowledge of the creative essay/ short story form and what is involved in the editorial process. The project aimed to provide the confidence and motivation to submit work to publishers and writing support schemes in the future.
Özgür is an author and screenwriter whose family emigrated from Turkey in 1980 to the United Kingdom. His debut novel “Conception” is to be published by Fairlight Books and he is a contributing co-editor of an anthology of creative essays from underrepresented writers to be published by Parthian, both in summer 2020. His feature film screenplays in development have been supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales, the BFI and through Creative Europe’s MEDIA programme. He is a Creative and Critical Writing PhD candidate at Cardiff University and has an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Durre Shahwar is a writer whose work explores South Asian identity through the themes of class, gender, migration and mental health. She is the founder of ‘Where I’m Coming From’, an open mic that platforms underrepresented writers in Wales. Durre has contributed to various anthologies including Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class (Dead Ink Books), We Shall Fight Until We Win (404 Ink), Homes For Heroes 100 (Bristol Festival of Ideas). Durre was part of the Hay Festival Writers at Work, as well as BBC Writersroom Wales. She is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing at Cardiff University and working towards her first book.