What’s Your Pride Story? was a ten-week creative writing initiative facilitated by Writing on the Wall, in partnership with Liverpool Pride. The project aimed to discover new writers from the LGBT+ community in Liverpool, providing a platform for their voice.
Thirteen people took part—aged fifteen to fifty—sharing their varied experiences through poetry and prose. It ran from May to July, 2016.
The initiative culminated in a publication of the participants work, alongside two events: Liverpool Pride and a book launch. Many of the participants performed at both events, telling their stories to world for the first time.
Author and compare Helen Sandler lead the course. I was her assistant. Together, we presented the group with varied tasks, designed to developing their creative writing and public speaking skills.
As her assistant, I supported Helen’s activities, advised the group, proof read their work and produced hand outs for the workshops. Those hand outs gave examples of literature from LGBT+ authors from around the world, as well as advice on public speaking and on writing in general.
During the course, I led two workshops. The first was an hour-long exercise that dealt with prose. It explored techniques for writing about place, memory and movement, through a series of interconnected prompts.
The workshop encouraged the class to write a short story about a place of personal import in Merseyside; a place that holds a key memory, either celebratory or difficult. Some of those beautiful and inspiring stories were later published in the book.
The second workshop focused on ways to project voice during a performance. I gave the group varied prompts and asked them to read extracts aloud in pairs. Those prompts included reading as though confiding a secret and as though challenging an aggressor. It was a fun quick-fire exercise that encouraged the class to think about reading aloud in terms of a performance.
The following comes from the book’s press statement:
“There are stories about partying, friendship, sadness and disaster; poems about everything from a flood in the library to trans pride. Where else will you read about an ostrich riding on a rainbow surfboard across the Mersey?”
You can buy What’s Your Pride Story? in Waterstones Liverpool and on Amazon.