Scottish BPOC Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development group for Scottish or Scotland-based writers and literary professionals who identify as BPOC (Black people, People of Colour).*
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.’
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
The Core Team run SBWN on a day-to-day basis. Please note that all staff currently work part-time.
Jeda Pearl Lewis
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. Poetry performances include StAnza, Push the Boat Out, and Edinburgh International Book Festival. She has been commissioned by Scottish Storytelling Centre, Collective and Rhubaba. Her poems and short stories are published by Black Lives Matter Mural Trail, New Writing Scotland, Open Book, Not Going Back to Normal, Tapsalteerie, Shoreline of Infinity, Aesthetica, and Peepal Tree Press
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.
Communications and Editorial Manager
Kelly Kanayama is a pop culture and comics critic 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.
Nasim Rebecca Asl
Nasim Rebecca Asl (she/her) is a Glasgow based poet and journalist. Her work has appeared in magazines including Gutter, The Dark Horse and Modern Poetry in Translation. In 2021 she was awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for Poetry, performed on BBC programme The Big Scottish Book Club and was a digital writer-in-residence for The Poetry Business. She is an alumnae of The Writing Squad, a member of the Scribblers Union and participated in the Poetry Translation Centre’s programme for young poets of mixed heritage, Undertow: Polylingual Poets Please.
Admin and Media Support
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.
Co-founder and Advisor
Alycia Pirmohamed received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she studied poetry written by second-generation immigrants. She is the author of two pamphlets: Faces that Fled the Wind (BOAAT Press) and Hinge (ignitionpress). Her poetry has been published widely and won several awards, including the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award (2020). In 2019, Alycia curated and edited Ceremony, an anthology of Scottish BAME Writing (Tapsalteerie 2019).
Partner Team Members
Writers of Colour Group and Audio Anthology Co-Curator
Hannah Lavery is an award-winning poet, playwright, performer and experienced workshop facilitator. 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. Hannah is one of Imaginate’s Accelerator Artists and an Associate Artist with the National Theatre of Scotland. Hannah received a Creative Edinburgh Award in 2020 for her work with the Writers of Colour group and with Fringe of Colour.
Writers of Colour Group and Audio Anthology Co-Curator
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. She is a winner of the inaugural James Berry Prize, and her first collection is forthcoming with Bloodaxe Books in 2023. Refuge, poems about her childhood in revolutionary Iran, is published by Tapsalteerie.
@marjorielotfi on both Twitter and Instagram | marjorielotfi.com
QTIPOC Writers Programme Curator
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.
Martha Adonai Williams
Metaphors for a Black Future Programme Curator
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.
In 2019, SBWN received funding from The Royal Society of Literature and was awarded the Creative Edinburgh Awards (Social Category). SBWN has since received support from Creative Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust through their Book Week Scotland and Live Literature programmes. Current and previous partners include: Literature Alliance Scotland, Floris Books, Inky Fingers, Gutter Magazine, Tapsalteerie, Golden Hare Books, Extra Teeth Magazine, Lighthouse Books, BooksFromScotland, Bella Caledonia, MAP Magazine, Equality Network, EDI Scotland, Children’s Books North, National Library of Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh International Book Festival.
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