Between 19-22 August, Biskops Arnö hosted a four day long Creative Writing Seminar for writers working within different disciplines; fiction, poetry, lyrics. They come from Syria, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Turkey/Kurdistan, currently residing in Scandinavian cities in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
- Homeland is not only a place, it is also aspace where we can feel safe, free, creative, and important. This is what Biskops Arnö offered us, we who were forced to leave our original homelands, says Suzanne Ibrahim, ICORN writer in residence in Östersund.
Biskops Arnö Folk Highschool, famous for its writing school, is located on an island in Mälaren outside Stockholm in Sweden. The Folk Highschool offer courses in the Arts and has a special focus on the Nordic region.
The purpose of the seminar was to create a professional meeting place for the writers who participated. Based on their different experiences and backgrounds, they created a space for talking about and discussing their texts and their writing.
We can live in many places that are not lands: our names, cultures, languages, traditions and our stories as well, but the best place is love, and Biskops Arnö became a place of love. Stories and poems that we wrote in this new space become an asylum of our souls, Ibrahim continues.
The Seminars were led by the Biskop Arnö’s principal, Mats Lundborg, and teachers Kajsa Sundin and Anna Sanvaresa, both of authors and former students at Biskops Arnö. Biskops Arnö’s principal, Mats Lundborg, says
- The Foundation Biskops Arnö has a long tradition of organizing author seminars based on professional conversations between authors; about writing, text, criticism and literature. Inviting ICORN-writers to this type of seminar is important to be able to foster a proficient environment with a diversity of voices and authorships.
This summer’s seminar at Biskops Arnö was extremely successful based on what we wanted to achieve. The participating writers were provided a meeting place where they themselves created an ongoing conversation. The evenings were spent in the Bishop's Kitchen with snacks, talks and readings. We look forward to future collaborations.
The seminar included an afternoon with information from The Swedish Writers Union, the Swedish Authors, Swedish PEN, Writer Center Sweden and the Art to Participate, all support networks for writers in Sweden.
- It is fantastic how a small island could gather people from so many countries in its open heart. Open hearts and minds are what we need to spread equality, justice, and freedom, says Ibrahim