Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Center, and the Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPFEST) has announced the 2023 recipients of its Cross-Cultural Residency Programme, Here and Now, supported by the British Council.
The recipients include: Edwige Renée Dro, writer, literary translator, and literary activist from Ivory Coast; Tolu Agbelusi, Nigerian British poet, playwright, artist and lawyer; Heather Parry, Scottish writer, editor, and publisher; Alycia Pirmohamed, award winning Canadian-born poet and author based in Scotland; Chika Jones, Nigerian born performance poet and writer; and Lucy Cash, Glasgow-based artist, filmmaker and writer.
According to a statement, the six mid-career/established writers from Scotland and West Africa, selected from a pool of over 100 applications, and following a rigorous selection process, will spend one month at Moniack Mhor in the Scottish Highlands in July/August 2023, and one month in September in the heart of Accra, at the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora (LOATAD).
“The residents, in addition to receiving space and resources to create new work and collaborate, will connect with local communities and build new audiences in both regions through a carefully curated programme including workshops, readings, and conversations, with features at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Lagos International Poetry Festival, in August and October respectively,” says the statement.
It adds that the selected writers and poets will also produce a multi-genre print and digital anthology on the theme Here and Now, in the course of the residency, to be launched in October 2023 at a public reading and hybrid event at the Lagos International Poetry Festival.
According to Rachel Humphries, Centre Director at Moniack Mhor: “This is our second residency partnership with the Lagos International Poetry Festival, supporting collaborations between West African and Scottish writers. It’s ambitious for writer and organisation alike, blending community engagement through workshops and readings and online creation sessions between residencies in Scotland and Ghana, whilst at all times putting the writers’ needs for time and space at its heart.
“By the time we celebrate at the festival in Lagos, we hope that new literature will be created that explores lived realities of the participating countries and that lifelong artistic relationships will be made. Moniack Mhor is having a special birthday this year – we’re turning 30 – and for our team, partners, and the writers involved this feels like an extraordinary gift.
“I think there are strong convergences in Scottish and West African literature we trust will be further explored in the course of the international residency, and we look forward to working with the writers to expand audiences for their work on both sides of the pond,” said Efe Paul Azino, poet, and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival.