Leith Library's My Favourite Place Workshop
Leith Library celebrated its 80th birthday in July. The building, an impressive example of interwar architecture, was devastated by an enemy parachute mine in World War II, and lovingly rebuilt in the postwar period. The library is cherished by generations of Leithers. I was delighted to be invited by Katie Swann, Team Leader, to run a creative writing workshop there as part of the celebrations week, on the theme of My Favourite Place.
The workshop ran on what turned out to be one of the wetter days of this wettest of summers. Staying at home would have been forgivable, so I'm especially grateful to the attendees for coming and contributing their work and their ideas.
Garry Miller, a local creative artist and poet, started the workshop by reading a piece about Newhaven Harbour, all salt spray and fish and chips. This creative reminiscence was a perfect start to the evening, personal in tone and appropriately set in North Edinburgh. I had available some photographs of the famous Newhaven fishwives (tough broads by any standards), which complemented Garry’s description of the harbour.
We followed this with a ten minute writing session. I was happy for the writers to interpret the theme of place in their own way, asking them first to take some time to imagine sensual details of a place in Scotland they had an attachment to. All of the writers were generous enough to share their writing and memories with the rest of the group.
Sally Fraser produced in this short time a polished piece which was effective all the more for not directly specifying the place itself (St. Mary's Cathedral, it turns out). Katherine Lyme, a blogger, began a personal piece of writing about her connection to Harris. And Lynsey May, who has a background in creative writing, produced a piece that the rest of the group liked for its feeling of familiarity and of "being there".
My thanks again to all for their support. Do look out for their submissions on the Scottish Book Trust website in the coming weeks.
Scott Duguid is a Community Volunteer with My Favourite Place.