“As one writer put it, the rapt attention of an audience is like a mirror in front of her,reassuring her that, after all the horror and degradation, she is still, powerfully and triumphantly, alive.”
[Sheila Hayman, Write to Life coordinator]
Freedom from Torture’s creative writing group Write to Life was set up by the playwright SonjaLinden eleven years ago. It began with just four writers and a couple of mentors and showed how writing can help survivors cope better with their pasts and with the present.
The group now comprises some 20 clients, all referred by counsellors who recognise that for somewriting can heal like no other form of therapy. Their work is truly ground-breaking. Write to Life ispossibly the only therapeutic writing group in the world dedicated specifically to survivors of torture.
Many of the writers are in what the group’s current coordinator, film maker and novelist SheilaHayman, describes as ‘a state of petrifaction’, unable to work, endlessly waiting to hear if their asylum application has been accepted. Writing is something they can do anywhere, at any time. “All it takes is a pen and paper and enough peace to be able to let the words come out.”
We are exceptionally privileged to be able to bring you a podcast that features performances from seven of Write to Life’s very talented poets.
You can read the text of five of these poems on our blog at http://quinnpublications.blogspot.com/2011/11/writing-to-live-again.html
I am alive*, by ‘Faith’ (Ethiopia)
I know*, by Tim (Congo)
What belongs to me*, by ‘Saber’
Drifting, by Stephen (Burundi)
I hear a voice, by ‘Uganda’
Glimpse*, by Stephanie (Cameroon)
My Hands*, by ‘Rocher’ (DRC)