In 2013 the British Council was approached by CARE International to collaborate on the creative writing component of their YOUth CREATE project bid to the European Union for funding under the ‘Investing in People - Supporting culture as a vector of democracy and economic growth’ programme.
The Unbound Creative Writing project was designed and is managed by the British Council as a component of the YOUth CREATE Project with the main aim of developing creative writing skills in writing short stories while addressing themes around identities, diversity, reconciliation, democratisation and conflict resolution.
The project is working with English, Sinhala and Tamil language aspiring writers who take part in creative writing skills development workshops mentored by established creative writers, across districts. The best pieces of writing will be compiled and published as a book with translation in all 3 languages. In addition, all of the work which is produced as a result of this project will be published on a digital platform. Author readings of the publication at arts events for the public will be organised in various districts.
There are currently 86 aspiring writers across the 3 mediums engaged on this project.
The established writers who are mentors on this project are Lal Madewattegedara, Ameena Hussein, Delon Weerasinghe, Sunethra Rajakarunanayake, Piyaseeli Wijemanna, Nissanka Wijemanna, Ayathurai Santhan, K Sivakumaran and Sopa Pathmanathan.
The creative writing materials development workshop with the mentors was facilitated by UK creative writer Julia Paul in Colombo and the digital platforms used in the project were created by Udhara de Silva, creative digital media consultant.
The workshops cover the following sessions;
- What is a short story
- The principles of good writing
- Creating a character
- Point of view
- Writing with all the senses
- Giving feedback
- Treating everyone's work with respect
- Examples from local and international writing
- Practical experience in using digital tools like google docs, SLACK networking and WordPress platforms to create, communicate, network and promote ones work in the creative writing process.
‘WINGS’ a festival celebrating diversity, organised by the YOUth CREATE Project, will be held in November 2016 showcasing the creative writing and other YOUth CREATE cultural products.