Haringey Welcome designed and ran a schools poetry competition over two consecutive years (2018/2019), and facilitated and funded a further creative writing project, ‘Explore Your Story’, with migrant women who met during the first Covid lockdown and produced a beautiful book, Write On! 

We hope to support more writing projects in future!

The Haringey Welcome Schools Poetry Competition (2018)

 

The Competition was an invitation to Year 6 students across the borough to write a poem on the theme of ‘Welcome.’  To support this activity, we created a lesson plan that we shared with teachers and ran poetry workshops in some participating schools.  Students read the poem ‘The Mercy’, by American poet Philip Levine.  They reflected on how they would welcome the young girl in the poem – who is traveling alone by boat to the United States about 100 years ago – if she were to arrive in Haringey.

 

As you will see in this anthology, we have much to learn from Haringey’s young people of Year 6.  Through their eyes we see a different Haringey and new possibilities for how we can really welcome newcomers to our borough.

We received over 100 submissions from five schools.  The poems were judged by local poets Hannah Lowe and Raymond Antrobus.  This anthology includes the prize-winning poems and all the other submissions.  We have named the authors where permission was given, otherwise poems are published anonymously.

As you listen to these different voices we invite you, too, to imagine and create a different Haringey.

With grateful thanks to:

  • competition judges Hannah Lowe and Raymond Antrobus
  • The Big Green Bookshop, Wood Green, for their generous donation of the first prize
  • Haringey NUT, for a grant towards the remaining prizes and the publication of this book
  • Anna of Snug Art Cafe, Green Lanes, for hosting the prizegiving
  • the participating schools, their teachers, parents and carers, support staff; and of course…
  • the 106 talented and committed students who took part
Please contact HW if you would like a copy of the anthology and to make a donation toward the cost.
The poetry competition will run again this year with prize ceremony to be held during Refugee Week in June 2019.

 

Reflections from the Explore Your Story writing group (2022)

 

In 2019 a message was sent around a Life & Memoir writing group at the Collage Rooms in Haringey. A major local campaign group, Haringey Welcome, was looking for people interested in starting a community writing group for migrant and refugee writers. The aim was to eventually get some of the writing published. Together we set up ‘Explore Your Story’ in early 2020 and started meeting on Zoom just as Lockdown 1 began in March. This may explain why the group was successful straight off as we were all very focused on our weekly ‘Explore Your Story’ meetings, which gave us a creative and social lifeline out of our daily lockdown routines. 

A year later, the Write On! book resulted. We have been on a fantastic creative adventure together: all from different backgrounds, fuelled by a sense of inclusion, interest, and excitement about writing and about each other’s personal journeys.

We decided to present the writing in the same form as our meetings: pick a topic; do a warm-up exercise; then write! And we have printed it here just the way it came out with all the energy and enthusiasm that created it, and without worrying too much about apostrophes and schoolroom grammar.

We would now like to invite you, the reader, to get involved with ‘exploring your own stories’. You could read and follow the exercises in the book yourself, set up an ‘Explore Your Story’ group with friends, or form a community group.

For updates and downloadable editions of the book go to:

https://www.writeonharingey.com/