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WM College Creative Writing Tutor Supports Young Refugees in ‘Finding a Voice’

‘A Country to Call Home’ a book of short stories edited by WM College Creative Writing tutor, Lucy Popescu, selected for the Empathy Collection 2020.

It’s been an unsettling and uncertain year for most, but during these times we’ve seen great efforts in building community spirit and increased empathy for others. We’re so proud of our tutors, who have adapted to ensure learners needs have been met during this time whilst continuing to use their creativity to reach out and support the wider community.

Our very own Lucy Popescu, Creative Writing tutor, is no exception. We’re thrilled to celebrate a book of short stories Lucy contributed to and edited being selected for the Empathy Collection 2020. A Country to Call Home is an anthology on the experiences of young refugees and asylum seekers. Aimed at children and adult readers alike it features work from Michael Morpurgo, Eoin Colfer, Kit de Waal and Simon Armitage among many others.

Outside of teaching commitments Lucy mentors’ refugees and asylum seekers helping them to write about their experiences. Having lived through traumatic events, many of the people Lucy works with find it hard to communicate.

Lucy explains “Many refugees I’ve met have been so traumatised they’ve lost their voices. Some can only whisper, others become tongue-tied, finding it impossible to express their words. Several are just overwhelmed by grief. Writing helps them to regain trust, build their confidence, and find their voices again. It’s wonderful to see this happen.”

Seeing the positives that writing brought to people, enabling them to express their experiences, inspired Lucy to put pen to paper herself.

I wanted to explore this in A Country to Call Home. My contribution, ‘Finding a Voice’, is about a young Iranian refugee who struggles to communicate with her writing group. Words, the ability to articulate thoughts, to communicate with others is considered an integral part of daily life – we take it for granted. But what if, like my character Yara, you have lost your family, witnessed unspeakable horror, endured a terrifying journey in the search for a safe haven.”

Lucy likens the experiences everyone has faced in recent times to the same sense of alienation asylum seekers face – living alone, not allowed to travel or work, waiting to be released from a state of limbo. Her hopes as the world recovers from Coronavirus is that

“ we come out of this with more empathy and that the contributions to A Country to Call Home, will encourage readers to show their support for young refugees and asylum seekers, and extend the hand of friendship to all those struggling to find somewhere safe to call home.”

To read more from Lucy and her experiences of working with refugees and asylum seekers check out her blog post on the topic.

Supporting people from all walks of life to thrive and integrate into community is at the heart of WM College. Our creative and dedicated lecturers share genuine passion for their subjects, providing diverse and enriching lifelong learning for adults in Camden and the local areas.

Discover our wide range of short creative writing courses ranging from introductory level to mastering the writer’s craft. Courses range from 8 – 10 weeks, starting at £105. Invest in yourself and learn something new. 

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