For the first time, SA Writers Centre have teamed up with the Big Issue in a community literary project that will benefit Big Issue vendors by presenting a series of creative writing workshops.
The workshops are led by SA Writers Centre’s Writing Development Manager, David Chapple, who joined the Centre in October, 2013.
David not only works with people in the broader community to make professional development and ongoing learning accessible to all writers but he utilises his unique teaching method to help bring out the best writing in people from all walks of life.
The project came about after David met with Big Issue staff and talked about how he was looking to support new literary voices through a project called ‘From the Margins.’
It’s now in its fourth week, with six weeks of workshops remaining in the project, followed by a couple of weeks of editing, designing and submitting. At the end of August, there will be an exhibition of works at the City Library.
The project gives a voice to people who don’t normally contribute to contemporary literature. Many people who experience homelessness also experience mental health issues, unstable family backgrounds and substance abuse. Commonly, in the homeless population, people may have had a very poor experience of school and formal education and thus have low literacy. Often they are brilliant storytellers and with support they can achieve really dynamic writing, which needs to be shared with the broader community.
The best part about the project is that every participant will be developed, even if that manifests as just a little more confidence or a wider social network. SA Writers Centre role is to ensure there has to be movement for everyone and for some we hope to support them to write publishable work.
Projects like this, no matter how infantile the project is, contributes to a more confident, motivated and literary community. SA Writers Centre gets to arm themselves with some new, challenging writers that may be future literature professionals.
‘Just a couple of weeks into the project and already the participants’ progress is highly visible and tangible. Retention is outstanding. They have been told to only come once a week but they totally ignore that and come all the time. And they are always early!
It’s a fascinating project because all of the participants standout in some way, particularly with their undiscovered and yet untold stories. Stories that staff, other vendors or even their friends didn’t know. Some mind blowing experiences and ideas,’ said Chapple.