Writing for Activism:
with Toby Litt
Thursday 24 August, Zoom, 7pm
Tickets: £15 (places limited)
Activism requires commitment: it is motivated - like most good writing - by a feeling or belief that something important is at stake. This commitment can have direct consequences for the writer: in November 2022, Toby Litt and Natasha Walter were arrested together as part of an Extinction Rebellion action, Cut the Ties, to draw attention to companies and lobby groups promoting fossil fuels.
Writing for activism similarly requires commitment, and not just to the cause in question. As the poet Thom Gunn once said: 'Deep feeling doesn't make for good poetry. A way with language would be a bit of help.'' While stories where something or someone is in jeopardy are usually the most compelling, conveying that urgency in a way that engages and inspires requires an understanding of good writing as well as of noble causes.
Join us for a masterclass with Toby Litt where you can explore many of the questions that writing for activism raises. What can writing achieve and what are its limitations? What does activist writing need beyond passion and righteous emotion? What makes storytelling - whatever the form or genre - potent? Are your words raising awareness or calling to action? How does activist writing find an audience? What are the pitfalls and dangers to acknowledge and avoid?
About Toby Litt
Toby Litt has published novels, short story collections and poems. His most recent book, A Writer's Diary (Galley Beggar 2023), began as daily entries on Substack, where he continues to publish daily entries. His previous novel, Patience (Galley Beggar, 2019), presented at Lit Fest, was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. He was included in the Carcanet New Poetries 7 Anthology.
He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Southampton, having previously taught for many years at Birkbeck College. A member of English Pen and editor of the Writers Rebel website, he is developing research into contemporary writing as environmental activism. When he is not writing, he likes sitting doing nothing.
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