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Community Building in Wales’ Literature
Tuesday 20 July, 7.00 pm – 8.00 pm
Speakers: Marvin Thompson (Chair), Connor Allen, Durre Shahwar, Sadia Pineda Hameed
Virtual event held on Zoom Webinar – register for free here. Live captioning will be provided.

More focus than ever is being placed on diversity and representation within Wales’ literature and publishing sector. But who is leading this change? This event, hosted as part of Literature Wales’ Representing Wales: Developing Writers of Colour programme, spotlights the incredible work grassroots communities and individuals are doing to build literary communities in Wales. We will hear about pioneering projects that are transforming Wales’ literary culture, including  physical and virtual open mic nights in the community, to professional development schemes and independent publications that feature diverse voices.

Organised in partnership with Poetry Wales and the Ledbury Poetry Critics Scheme, we will take a look at what makes Wales’ literary community unique – and how we can work together to ensure change that reflects our country’s rich and diverse voices.


The Speakers

Marvin Thompson lives in Cwmbran, south Wales. With an MA in creative writing, he is a writer, teacher and filmmaker. He was shortlisted for the 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize and his debut poetry collection, Road Trip (Peepal Tree Press, 2020), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was selected by the Poetry Society as one of five Black Lives Matter Inspiration books in June 2020. Marvin’s ‘The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22)’ recently won the 2020 National Poetry Competition out of 18,000 poems entered. Marvin is part of Literature Wales’ Representing Wales: Developing Writer of Colour.


Durre Shahwar is a writer, speaker, and PhD Candidate. She is the co-founder of Where I’m Coming From, a community open mic collective that features writers of colour in Wales. Durre is part of Literature Wales’ Representing Wales: Developing Writer of Colour Cohort. In the past, she has also been part of Hay Festival’s Writers at Work programme, and BBC Writersroom Welsh Voices. Her work has been published in various magazines and anthologies, notably: Just So You Know (Parthian Books), Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class (Dead Ink Books), We Shall Fight Until We Win (404 Ink) and Homes for Heroes 100 (Bristol Festival of Ideas). Durre is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing at Cardiff University and writing her first book, a work of autofiction about race, trauma, and South Asian identities in Wales.


Since graduating from Trinity Saint David as an Actor, Connor Allen has worked with companies including The Torch Theatre, Sherman Theatre, Tin Shed Theatre and National Theatre Wales. He is a member of National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and was also the winner of Triforces Cardiff Monologue Slam, representing Wales at the London winners’ edition. As a writer he has written for Dirty Protest, Sherman and BBC Wales. He worked in Parc Prison running a creative writing and self-empowerment project called Prison Headz and received funding from Arts Council Wales for his debut play and a Literature Wales commission called 27. He’s also part of the BBC Wales Welsh Voices 19/20 and The Welsh Royal Court Writers Group. Earlier this year, Connor received an award from the Live Work Fund from Jerwood Arts – one of the only 33 artists across the UK to be successful in applying for the fund, from more than 1,200 applicants. He will use the award to run a new development programme for a group of artists of colour in Wales.


Sadia Pineda Hameed is a writer, artist and editor living in Cardiff. Her writing practice includes poetry and experiments in prose, as well as text-based film, installation and performance. Sadia has shown work with Bluecoat, MOSTYN, Artes Mundi, National Museum Wales, g39, Peak Cymru, Arcade/Campfa, SHIFT, Gentle/Radical, the Eisteddfod and HOAX, with a print-based performance forthcoming with Mosaic Rooms; and has been published with Zarf, Amberflora, Porridge, Wales Arts Review and LUMIN among others. She is currently writing her first long-form piece: a creative non-fiction novella, To Make Philippines, supported by the Literature Wales Bursary and Mentoring Scheme 2020. She was one of the Rising Stars Wales 2020. Sadia is also co-founder of LUMIN, a small press, curatorial collective and radio programme for experimental, radical and personal literature and art.



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