About

Scottish BPOC Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development group for Scottish and Scotland-based writers and literary professionals who identify as BPOC (Black people, People of Colour).*
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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Community Membership

Community membership is free and open to any BPOC* writer or literary professional who is Scottish and/or based in Scotland and participates in our online or venue-based events or spaces, or publishing or literary opportunities.

  • Membership may be extended to BPOC writers or literary professionals based outwith Scotland on occasion.
  • Commissioned artists will typically be from the BPOC and/or SBWN communities.
  • SBWN may work with volunteers, partners and allies who identify as BPOC, or white, or another racial or ethnic identity.
  • Some events or activities may be open to the general public or the wider literary community.
  • We have adopted a Constitution.
  • We operate a Safer Spaces Policy during all events, projects and initiatives.

*Please see our Mission and Values page for who we are talking about when we say ‘Scottish BPOC writers.’

 

History

Formerly known as Scottish BAME Writers Network (2018-2021), SBWN was co-founded in 2018 by Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay Gao, and aims to connect Scottish BPOC writers with the wider literary sector in Scotland and beyond. Weaving together collaborative literary partnerships, cross-arts co-creation and an intersectional approach to inclusive and participatory programming, SBWN is a sector change-maker, facilitating necessary conversations around inclusive programming in an effort to address and overcome systemic barriers. 

Professional development programming includes publishing and performance opportunities, workshops, masterclasses, curatorial roles, training and seminars, industry panels and partnerships, feedback and mentoring.

Run by BPOC writers for BPOC writers, and informed by member surveys, consultation and feedback, SBWN uplifts, validates and provides safer spaces for marginalised voices, nurturing and promoting the current and next generation of Black and POC writers based in Scotland.

SBWN Operational Core Team Committee

The Core Team run SBWN on a day-to-day basis. Please note that all staff currently work part-time.

Jeda Pearl Lewis

Co-director

Pronouns: she/her

Photo of woman with light-brown skin, dark brown curly hair and eyes, smiling at the camera. She wears a patterned dress. Teal wall in the background.

Jeda Pearl Lewis is a disabled Scottish Jamaican writer and poet. In 2022 she was shortlisted for the Sky Arts RSL Writers Award and longlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize. Art installations include Windrush Legacy Creative Reflections (2023), Caledonian Biotech Library, 3033 (Scottish Storytelling Centre, 2022) and Acts of Observation (Collective, 2021). Her poems and short stories are published by New Writing Scotland, Open Book, Not Going Back to Normal, Shoreline of Infinity, Aesthetica, Tapsalteerie, and her debut poetry collection, Time Cleaves Itself, is published by Peepal Tree Press.

Jeda’s website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Titilayo Farukuoye

Co-Director
Pronouns: they/them
Titilayo smiles at the camera. They are a lightskinned Black person and are standing in a park, wearing a patterned jacket. Titi wears their hair in a big afro which is swaying in the wind.

Titilayo Farukuoye is an Austrian-Nigerian writer, organiser and anti-racist educator based in Glasgow. Striving to dismantle oppressive structures, Titilayo interrogates race and gender constructs and explores climate justice and community care. Titilayo curated Our (In)visible Strengths (2018), a visual exhibition celebrating Scottish African and Afro-Caribbean community. Their poetry featured at Fringe of Colour Films and 2020 Mixtape: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology. Media4Change and Future News Worldwide have recognised Titilayo’s journalistic work. Titilayo is a winner of the 2022 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and their debut pamphlet In Wolf’s Skin is published by Stewed Rhubarb Press.

Titilayo’s Twitter

Kelly Kanayama

Events and Editorial Manager
Pronouns: she/her
Kelly is smiling at the camera. She is an East Asian and Southeast Asian woman with glasses and black hair.

Kelly Kanayama is a pop culture and comics critic, editor and tutor with a PhD in comics research. Born and raised in Hawaii but now living in Dundee, she has written for The Independent, Media Diversified, Bitch Media, and Nerdist, among others. She has also spoken on panels at comic conventions in New York, Glasgow, and London. Her poetry has been published in various print and online outlets including Lighthouse Literary Journal, Room Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Gists and Piths. 

Kelly’s website | Facebook | Twitter

Nailah King

Admin and Communications Manager
Pronouns: she/her
Photo of a Black woman smiling and wearing a light lilac dress, leaning on a railing. Trees and another railing are in the background.

Nailah King is a Canadian writer now living in Scotland. She is also the founder of The Content Witches, a storytelling studio. Her work has been published in Feels Zine, GUTS Magazine, The Humber Literary Review, This Magazine, Transition Magazine and Carousel Magazine. 

Nailah’s website | Instagram

The Content Witches Instagram

Alycia Pirmohamed
Co-founder and Advisor

Pronouns: she/her

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet based in Scotland. She is the author of the poetry collection Another Way to Split Water. In 2023, she won the Nan Shepherd Prize for her nonfiction debut A Beautiful and Vital Placeforthcoming with Canongate. Her other works include pamphlets Hinge and Faces that Fled the Wind, and the collaborative essay Second Memory co-authored with Pratyusha. Alycia is co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics Program, and teaches on the Creative Writing master’s programme at the University of Cambridge. She has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and is the recipient of several awards, including the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. 

Alycia’s website | Twitter | Instagram

Curators

Hannah Lavery

Writers of Colour Group and Audio Anthology Co-Curator
Pronouns: she/her
A Black woman on a boat, with shoulder-length hair & glasses, looking slightly off-camera.

Hannah Lavery is an award-winning poet, playwright, performer, experienced workshop facilitator, and Edinburgh Makar 2021-2024. Her poetry has been published widely and her poem, Scotland, you’re no mine, was selected by Roseanne Watt as one of the Best Scottish Poems 2019. The Drift, her autobiographical play, toured Scotland as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Season 2019. In 2020, she was selected by Owen Sheers as one of his Ten Writers Asking Questions That Will Shape Our Future for the International Literature Showcase, a project from the National Writing Centre and the British Council. In 2020, she was also selected as one of the Scottish Voices for BBC Writers’ Room. Her second lyric play Lament for Sheku Bayoh premiered at Edinburgh International Festival in 2021. Hannah is an Associate Artist with the National Theatre of Scotland and one of the winners of the Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Award 2022. Her poetry collections, Salt, Blood, Spring and Unwritten: Women are published by Birlinn.

www.hannahlavery.com / @hanlavery

Marjorie Lotfi

Writers of Colour Group and Audio Anthology Co-Curator
Pronouns: she/her
A woman of Iranian descent with long hair and a red sleeveless top, smiling at the camera.

Marjorie Lotfi is an award-winning poet, seasoned performer and facilitator of creative writing, and the Development Director of Open Book. Her poems have been included in Best Scottish Poems, won competitions and been performed live across Scotland and on BBC Radio 4/Radio Scotland. They have also been widely published, including in Being Human and journals such as The Rialto, Gutter, Rattle, Ambit and Magma, and have been commissioned for a number of anthologies. Refuge, poems about her childhood in revolutionary Iran, is published by Tapsalteerie. She is a winner of the inaugural James Berry Prize, and her first collection, The Wrong Person to Ask, is published by Bloodaxe Books. 

@marjorielotfi on both Twitter and Instagram | marjorielotfi.com

Mae Diansangu

QTIPOC Writers Programme Curator
Pronouns: she/they
A photo of Mae Diansangu who is wearing gold hoop earrings. She smiles at the camera and she has curly hair.

Mae Diansangu is a Black queer spoken word artist, writer and performer from Aberdeen.  She is co-founder of Hysteria, an arts platform that showcases women, non-binary and gender marginalised creatives.  Her work has been published by 404 ink Magazine and she has been awarded commissions from the National Library of Scotland and StAnza. Mae is part of a network of Black community activists organising under BLM Scotland, and her work often centres on social justice themes. Mae writes in English and Doric.

Mae’s Facebook | Twitter

Martha Adonai Williams

Metaphors for a Black Future Programme Curator
Pronouns: she/her
A black and white image of Martha in conversation, seated and leaning forward. Martha is a light-skinned Black, mixed race woman with short afro hair and nose ring wearing a black t-shirt. In the background is a tall wooden fence with some trailing foliage. 

Martha Adonai Williams is a writer, facilitator, producer, community organiser, black feminist and friend. Her practice departs to and returns from black feminist world-making, always, with regular layovers in front of trash tv or at the allotment. Her work considers the wilderness and margins as sites of resistance, refusal and homecoming. She works with writing and storytelling as therapeutic tools and as methods for community building. Her recent work has been shown as part of Fringe of Colour films and published in MAP magazine. She runs call&response black feminist writing community, programmes for Glasgow Zine Library and curates SBWN’s annual Metaphors for a Black Future programme.

Former Team Members

We extend our thanks to our former Operational Team Members:

  • Jay Gao is our Co-Founder of SBWN and worked with us from 2018 to Summer 2020 – visit Jay’s website.

  • Andrés N Ordorica was our Community and Events Manager from Summer 2019 – March 2021- visit Andrés’ website.

  • Bhavika Govil was our Admin & Media support from Summer 2020 – March 2021- visit Bhavika’s website.

  • Dean Atta was our Co-Director from August 2020 to December 2021 – visit Dean’s website.

  • Nasim Rebecca Asl was our Community Manager from June 2022 to August 2023 – visit Nasim’s website.

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Get Involved

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Social media: connect with us on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter.

BPOC writers from, based in or with strong connections to Scotland can join our private Facebook Group.

Are you a literary or arts organisation that wants to connect with us? Contact us here.