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August Update

It's been a busy month. I got three amazing invitations - one to Zimbabwe to read from the NAWE publication on 5th October at the UZ, Theatre Department. If you actually live nearby, check it out! I also got an invitation to deliver a seminar at a Peace Education conference in Dresden. Unfortunately I can't attend either of them. I can't afford to go to Zimbabwe and the Dresden conference, although expenses paid, coincides with my friend's wedding. It wouldn't do to attend a Peace conference if the price was being a terrible friend! The third opportunity may yet happen - although the dates are still fuzzy, it's another Peace Art/Writing event - this time in Birmingham. I'll keep you posted.

I spent the first week of August working on the Picture Book Project with Coventry and Nova-Scotia Universities. What an amazing time! I loved every minute of it. The team was great - the amazing, Coventry based artist and writer Laura Nyahuye, our incredible interpreter and all the guys from the Universities, but the young people we worked with were a revelation. I've never met such a talented bunch. I delivered Storytelling sessions and Laura delivered art sessions then we all supported the young people (refugees from Syria / Iran) to create their own illustrated stories on the subject of home. The stories were so different from each other - some were autobiographical and told of harrowing journeys, some were fictional and some were based on real life passions. Some were mainly visual in their storytelling and some were mainly written. I have a photo of everyone - but we have to keep their identities confidential, so I've silhouetted them. There's me at the back.

The Peace Poets event that I advertised didn't happen in the end. For some reason I never found out - the venue didn't open up. People arrived, but there was no-where to go and typically, it was the first night of rain all summer - the one night we couldn't just do an impromptu show on the grass. I was disappointed - I'd been rehearsing accompanied by the drummer Mahendra Patel. However, we all ended up in a Tiki bar - as you do - so we had a fun evening regardless.

I have also been marrying my writing and my day job this month. You might have read that I delivered a songwriting workshop to young people from CYA - Coventry Youth Activitists - a group of young people determined to support and advocate for young people who have a learning disability. I saw one of the young people at an event the other day and asked her if they'd done anything with the rap we wrote. I honestly didn't think they'd have used it. When she told me that she sings it every night before she goes to sleep, I nearly cried. Wow. What an accolade. Inspired by that, I decided to run a poetry writing workshop as part of a women's group I run for adults who have a learning disability. It went really well. We all had a lot of fun and created some lovely poems.

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