Community News

Paper Nations to amplify voices of marginalised writers

June 19, 2020

Creative writing incubator Paper Nations has issued a call for writing groups across the UK to join a new online platform that aims to champion isolated and marginalised writers.

The project, known as The Great Margin, will help writing groups that support isolated members tap into more resources and reach bigger audiences, helping them on their journey to becoming published authors. Its aim is to highlight the importance of writing for creativity, wellbeing and for dialogue in times of crisis.

Writers or writing groups across the UK are being encouraged to visit The Great Margin on Twitter (@TheGreatMargin) and begin submitting their work.

Paper Nations has also teamed up with BBC Upload to give selected writers the chance to record their work and get it aired. BBC Upload has, in turn, teamed up with The British Library to record and save new writing for future generations.

The Great Margin is described as a fast-evolving project created by writers for writers. The organisers say: “It is about working together to amplify the voices of people writing from the margins of society. The Great Margin wants to hear from any type of writing group that supports isolated writers, including hospital writing groups, community writing groups, nature writing groups, experimental writing groups, writing groups for elderly writers and writing groups for black writers.”

The project will showcase content from affiliated groups across its social media channels, championing diverse writers and all forms of writing, from flash fiction through to spoken word and writing for games.

Bambo Soyinka, Professor of Story at Bath Spa University and founder of Paper Nations, said: “The UK has a strong culture of book clubs and a vibrant but less visible tradition of writing groups. The Great Margin aims to unite writing groups across the country and to draw attention to the importance of writing for creativity, wellbeing and for dialogue in times of crisis. It is hoped that, by working together, we can help more people to write and share their story.

“We are reaching out to writing groups and projects that approach the theme of ‘diversity’ from a different angle. For example, members from your group might have a longer-term, deeper understanding of what it means to write from a position of marginalisation or isolation. They may want to share their stories about life under lockdown, about their experiences of disability, about what it’s like to be black and British or about returning to work after lockdown.

“We especially welcome writing that is purely creative, perhaps providing solace, satire or a sideways look at our current shared experiences of marginalisation. We also want to champion different types of writing, such as spoken word, sign language poetry, podcasts or writing for games.”

Jasmine Richards is the founder of StoryMix, an inclusive fiction studio for children. Speaking of her affiliation with Paper Nations, she said: “Paper Nations has been incredibly supportive in the development of my work as both a writer and a producer. Its understanding of the ecosystem around writing has been very important in terms of matchmaking me with opportunities that provide paid work and helps develop my writing muscle in other fields, like digital storytelling. It has also been proactive in championing my work as a producer by providing access to space, networks and advice.”

There are several ways to get involved in the project, but the simplest way is to follow The Great Margin on Twitter (@TheGreatMargin) and start sharing your work.

To support the showcasing of longer form pieces, The Great Margin team has set up a blog to publish new writing. Individuals and writing group leaders can submit creative writing via their submission form. The Great Margin has established a new editorial team to offer creative advice to writers who submit their work to The Great Margin. This editorial team is happy to receive imaginative pieces of writing, reviews of books or writing projects and events people have experienced online.

The Paper Nations team will support writers by linking them to national and local writing groups, providing editing services and sharing prompts and challenges that will help writers feel more confident in their abilities. For those who haven’t put pen to paper in this capacity before and are nervous about writing, Paper Nations can interview participants to help them on their way.

The Great Margin blog will publish the best writing submitted by the public and from affiliated writing groups. It will also publish the best submissions from writing group leaders to showcase their projects, initiatives, workshops, events and the other ways it is helping writers in the community. If the editorial team is not able to publish someone’s work, it will point them in the right direction for further support. People can also get in touch with Paper Nations via email ( with ideas or questions.

Paper Nations exists to help everyone, especially those from under-represented groups, to enjoy and appreciate the art of writing. As part of the project, it has recently set up five new online writing support groups for 50 writers who are facing economic hardship, social deprivation or cultural barriers relating to disability, race, gender and/or caring duties.

The Great Margin is part of Paper Nations’ work to promote ‘Writing for All’, which several renowned authors support, including Kit De Waal, Nathan Filer and Aminatta Forna. Paper Nations is funded by Arts Council England and Bath Spa University.

Commenting on the importance of writing for self-expression in times of crisis, Bath Spa University alumnus and prize-winning author Nathan Filer said: “We write to reach through time and space, to have our thoughts exist in the minds of others, to be misunderstood in ever more interesting ways.”

Filer, who was a mental health nurse before he became a published author, understands more than most the importance of writing for well-being as well as for a specific purpose.

Submissions to The Great Margin are now open and will close on Monday 3rd August 2020 at midday.

To find out more about The Great Margin

Members of the public can submit their written work here

Community writing groups and magazines that want to partner with The Great Margin or submit multiple entries should