Finding community through writing at the Lighthouse

Last Saturday, Eris Young hosted his first event as Lighthouse’s Writer in Residence. Writers living in Edinburgh came together to exchange ideas and life tips, but mostly to get to know each other. While the literary community is a thriving one in the Scottish capital, it is easy to feel isolated from fellow writers. However, Lighthouse provided the space for dialogue between established authors, aspiring science fiction writers, poets, students, and everything in between.

As the first Writer in Residence, Eris will contribute to the bookstore’s yearly programme, chair events, and offer feedback sessions and writing workshops. Their intention, both for this event but also for their tenure as Writer in Residence, is to bring the Edinburgh writing community together regardless of experience or background. The Community Mixer, which will hopefully be a recurring event, allowed for much more than just networking. The informal and fluid dynamic of the event gave space for the writers to express their insecurities about calling themselves “writers” and committing to everything that self-definition entails, but also to share their journeys, their current work, and their future aspirations.

Through various discussions on everything, from hunting for agents to high-school newspaper editing, attendees got to know each other and Eris and, most importantly, feel like part of a community. The folks attending represented a wide range of writing styles and genres, from screenwriting, poetry, and zines to speculative fiction, while simultaneously being in different stages of their lives. Edinburgh University students made up a respectable portion of the attendees, coming from both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Lighthouse is a favourite literary destination for many of us, no matter degree choice, and the Community Mixer was invaluable for those students who want to actively engage with writing.

In a city as vibrant as Edinburgh, one can feel like a tiny uncultured fish in an immense colourful pond. This event was a perfect first step away from that assumption of inferiority and towards becoming part of a conscious community of artists. For the insta-poets, fiction writers, zine creators, and political philosophers amongst us, the Edinburgh Writing Community Mixer is something that you want to keep an eye out for in the upcoming months!

Image: Stuart Butterfield via Flickr 

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