Lagos International Poetry Festival and Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, have announced the 2023 recipients of its Cross-Cultural Residency Programme, Here and Now.
The Lagos International Poetry Festival has brought poets, writers, and artists from across the world to Lagos for a week of performances, workshops, and conversations since 2015. Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, situated in the Scottish Highlands, has been working with writers from the UK and beyond to deliver creative writing courses, retreats, and other support for writers of all ages and abilities.
The two came up with the Cross-Cultural Residency Programme, Here and Now which is supported by the British Council. In the program, mid-career/established writers from Scotland and West Africa would 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 recipients were selected from a pool of over 100 applications, and following a rigorous selection process they are;
- 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
- Lucy Cash, Glasgow-based artist, filmmaker and writer.
Efe Paul Azino, poet, and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival said, “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.”
Rachel Humphries, Moniack Mhor Centre Director said: “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.”
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.
The selected writers and poets will 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.