Paper Nations launches new writing project to amplify the voices of writers around the UK

By Tempus | 19 Jun 2020 | Culture

The Great Margin campaign aims to champion isolated and marginalised writers from around the country

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Creative writing incubator Paper Nations has launched a new project to support and amplify the voices of unheard writers across the UK. The Great Margin is calling out to writing groups to join the new online platform supported by Paper Nations at Bath Spa University, which is inviting submissions on various themes – including ‘writers at home’ and ‘stories about change’. 

Aiming to amplify the writing of isolated and marginalised people, particularly those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, The Great Margin will support writers including hospital writing groups, community writing groups, nature writing groups, experimental writing groups, writing groups for elderly writers and writing groups for black writers. 

Paper Nations has also teamed up with BBC Upload to give writers the chance to record their work and get it aired on BBC Upload – selected new writing will also be recorded and preserved by The British Library.

“The UK has a strong culture of book clubs and a vibrant but less visible tradition of writing groups. The Great Margin aims to unite writing groups across the country and to draw attention to the importance of writing for creativity, well-being and for dialogue in times of crisis. It is hoped that, by working together, we can help more people to write and share their story,” says Bambo Soyinka, Professor of Story at Bath Spa University and founder of Paper Nations.

The Paper Nations team will be able to link writers to national and local writing groups, provide editing services and share prompts and challenges for participating creatives. The Great Margin blog will showcase the best writing submitted by the public and from affiliated writing groups, as well as publishing the best submissions from writing group leaders to showcase their initiatives and events. >>

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“We are reaching out to writing groups and projects that approach the theme of ‘diversity’ from a different angle. For example, members from your group might have a longer-term, deeper understanding of what it means to write from a position of marginalisation or isolation. They may want to share their stories about life under lockdown, about their experiences of disability, about what it’s like to be black and British or about returning to work after lockdown,” says Soyinka.

“We especially welcome writing that is purely creative, perhaps providing solace, satire or a sideways look at our current shared experiences of marginalisation. We also want to champion different types of writing, such as Spoken Word, sign language poetry, podcasts or writing for games.”

Paper Nations is a non-profit organisation that that aims to encourage creative writers in the UK, with a particular emphasis on under-represented groups across the country. The Great Margin is part of Paper Nations’ work to promote ‘Writing for All’, which is supported by authors including Kit De Waal, Nathan Filer and Aminatta Forna. 

Filer, who was a mental health nurse before becoming an author, believes the importance of producing creative work in times of crisis cannot be understated. “We write to reach through time and space, to have our thoughts exist in the minds of others, to be misunderstood in ever more interesting ways,” he says. 

Submissions to The Great Margin are now open and will close on Monday 3rd August 2020 at midday. Find out more here and submit your work here.