We Are Made of Stories

Tonight we are starting our new course, called “Writing, Myth and Tradition”, and we’re very excited to meet our new students, and to spend the next six weeks working together on exploring storytelling skills.

For this class, we’re exploring the stories that fashion us, that give us a sense of who we are and what our relationship is to the world – personal stories, family histories, national myths, religious traditions…

One thing that we have found in working with students over the years is that it is easy to overlook the richness of our own stores of story, to think that all the interesting tales belong to other people. So in this course, we’re going to be encouraging students to investigate their own resources and to develop compelling stories, as fiction, as non-fiction or in whatever other forms seem most fitting…

More Publication News

As well as our workshops and other projects, we’ve both been busy lately with writing and publishing. Hannah has had a story just published in the anthology High Spirits: A Round of Drinking Stories, edited by Karen Stevens (no relation!) and Jonathan Taylor, out now from excellent Valley Press. The collection is already attracting fantastic reviews. Meanwhile, her chapbook The Perseids is forthcoming from TSS Publishing in a few months’ time, and when not writing fiction, she is crafting some personal essays.

Meanwhile, Will has just had his forthcoming book Hello Stranger—a non-fiction book about strangers, migration, cross-cultural encounters, and how to build a more welcoming world—snapped up by Granta in the UK, and has also sold the audio rights. See the announcement in The Bookseller here. In December he started working as an occasional philosophy columnist for Aquila children’s magazine, and has recently been doing some work as content consultant on a new philosophy book from Dorling Kindersley. He’s also busy with a narrative non-fiction piece, due to be published in German early in the year.

There are other things in the incubator too, and we’ll post more about them when they have taken shape.

Image: A woman writing about memories of places visited. c. 1850. Library of Congress.

Writing, Myth and Tradition at the Parami Institute

Beginning in February, we’re running a new course at the Parami Institute. Our last course was more skills-based, looking at different aspects of short story writing. This course is taking a different approach, and is more thematic. We’re interested in the stories that make us, in the intimate details of personal and family histories, in local folklore traditions, and in the great myths that underlie whole cultures. This store of myth and tradition has always been a rich resource for writers. What we aim to do is to get participants to develop their ideas and produce their own unique body of work, whilst moving between genres — fiction, non-fiction, reportage and memoir — and honing their skills in developing, drafting and editing.

The course will be held on Monday evenings from 7-9pm, starting on February 11th.

Creative Writing Teacher Training in Hpa-An

Later this month, we’ll be in Hpa-An in Karen state, training teachers in creative writing teaching. Because our skills in Burmese are poor, and our Karen is non-existent, we’re excited to be sharing our experience of creative writing teaching with local teachers. We hope that this will enable participants to return to their classrooms ready to take their own creative approaches to inspiring new generations of writers, whatever the language. Continue reading

Work in Progress in Mon State

We’re currently in Mawlamyine, in Mon state, for a few days, and yesterday we met up with Ko Myint Than of the MYMA (Mon Youth Missionary Association), an educational organisation that works to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of Mon literature. Mon language is currently on UNESCO’s list of vulnerable languages, and so this is hugely important work. Mon, incidentally, is a fascinating language. It belongs to the Mon-Khmer group, so is not closely related to Burmese, although Burmese uses a modified version of Old Mon script. Alongside Mon language and literature, the MYMA also works on developing students’ skills in English and in Buddhist study. Continue reading

Short Stories at the Parami Institute

Our short story class at the Parami Institute in Yangon is now in full swing, and it has been a lot of fun. We have been working with a committed and talented group of Burmese writers, exploring a whole range of storytelling skills. The photo above comes from last night’s session on Aristotle’s Poetics and story structure. Into the New Year, we’re planning further courses at Parami as well as a range of projects elsewhere. We’ll keep you posted!

Working With Mote Oo

We’re delighted to be working over the coming months with the lovely people at Mote Oo, which runs projects on education and social justice. We’ll be consulting for them on their new coursebook on ethical leadership, as well as writing, and possibly piloting, the textbook.

We’re very excited by this, as it is a chance to think about ethics not as something bolted-on to the way that organisations work, but instead as something that runs through everything that they do. Later next week, we’re having some initial discussions up in Hpa-An, in Karen state, and then into the new year we’ll be getting to work on developing some content.

You can find out more about what Mote Oo does by visiting their website.

Wind&Bones Publishing Project 2019

We’re very excited to be launching a new project in the new year, publishing high-quality print and e-books. At the moment, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes flurry to get things set up for this, but in the first quarter of 2019, we’ll be ready to launch our first project.

By setting up a publishing arm of Wind&Bones, we hope to have a better platform for the voices from some of the work that we do. At the moment, we’re not taking submissions, as we’ve got our hands full (so please don’t send us anything). But if this changes, we’ll post here on the website.

In the mean-time, whilst we get ourselves organised, see our publishing page here.

Short Stories in Yangon

We’re now in Myanmar (Burma), where we’ll be for the coming months. We’ve got a number of projects in the works, but first up is a six week writing workshop at the Parami Institute of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in Yangon. Starting later in November, we’ll be teaching a course on the fundamentals of short story writing. We’ll be drawing on published stories from both Myanmar writers and writers elsewhere in the world, and will be looking at short stories in a cross-cultural and cross-linguistic context. It promises to be a lot of fun.

Talking Ethics in Ubud

Today we’re leaving Ubud after a hugely stimulating few days at the Writers and Readers Festival. Our final event yesterday was our workshop on writing and ethics. We had thirteen or fourteen participants – a nice mix of Indonesian and non-Indonesian writers – for a leisurely three hour exploration of how to get in and out of trouble with words. It was a massively stimulating afternoon, with a huge breadth of experience and insight around the table. Continue reading

A Surprise Portrait

We’re now in Indonesia, getting ready for our events at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. But we thought we’d just share this fabulous painting done by our hugely talented friend from Jakarta, Audhina Nur Afifah. Audhina is a proper Renaissance woman: a painter, a musician, a designer and a lover of literature. It has been a delight to get to know her, and we’re both hugely touched by this enormously generous gift.