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Applications open for ‘Stories of Resilience’ (Ukraine)

Status: Closed

Organisation: English PEN and PEN Ukraine

Deadline: 31/01/2024

Location: Ukraine and London

English PEN and PEN Ukraine have opened applications for a writer currently resident in Ukraine to participate in a new research and writing project across Ukraine and London in 2024, titled ‘Stories of Resilience’.

The project is organised with the financial support of the UK/UA Creative Partnerships programme, designed by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute.

About the Project
The successful applicant, who can be a writer practising in any form (journalism, novels, poetry, children’s books etc.) will be expected to first undertake a period of research and development in Ukraine, collating the stories of people from different regions who use the written or spoken word as a form of resilience and cultural preservation. This could include other writers but also academics, translators, librarians, and people running creative initiatives within their community.

The writer will then be invited to undertake a month-long residency in London, where they will draw on their collated material to produce a text-based piece with support from a mentor working in or with a similar form. The end piece will meaningfully and creatively highlight both the stories of specific individuals and communities across Ukraine, but also the wider phenomenon of using art and culture as a means of personal and collective resilience and resistance. The hope is that it will give an insight into the varied and nuanced stories that make up life in Ukraine at this moment in time. The final piece will be printed as a pamphlet, to be distributed across Ukraine and in digital form in the UK.

As literature and free expression organisations, English PEN and PEN Ukraine are invested in art’s potential to both document and act as a form of resilience and cultural preservation. This application of creative literary practice, be it fiction writing, reportage, translation, or other forms of storytelling, are particularly significant to Ukraine during a time when its people, land, culture, and language are under attack.

The organisations are looking to work with a writer to capture and share the many ways in which both artists and communities use traditional and contemporary literary forms as a means of decolonising narrative and maintaining a country’s emotional resilience and identity during Russia’s war against Ukraine.

What will PEN provide?

  • 3 online consultations with the Guardian’s chief culture writer, Charlotte Higgins during the research and development period.
  • 2 in-person consultations with a UK-based mentor from a relevant creative background (e.g., a poet, a journalist, a creative non-fiction writer) during the residency.
  • Accommodation in London.
  • Per diem at £43/day for 30 days.
  • Cover of travel costs within London of up to £300 over 30 days.
  • London Library membership for period of residency.
  • Support and availability throughout the project period from English PEN and PEN Ukraine.
  • Invitation to events organised by English PEN and the partners during residency period.
  • Where appropriate, support with setting up meetings with relevant people from the network.

Criteria for the Writer in Residence

  • Must be able to demonstrate that they are the author of at least two published pieces of work. These can be full-length books or contributions to anthologies, online magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • Must currently be a resident of Ukraine.
  • Must be a minimum age of 18 years on 1 March 2024.
  • Must be able and available to carry out a period of research and development in Ukraine between 1 March and 31 May 2024.
  • Must be able and available to undertake an in-person residency in London, UK, over a continuous 30-day period between 1 June and 30 July 2024. This includes having an applicable valid visa and passport or the ability to apply for and receive one within the time frame necessary to travel to the UK for the start of the residency. English PEN is able to support the cost of applying for a visa.
  • Must be able to speak and comprehend English at a minimum of B2 Upper Intermediate level. Please note, the commission to be produced at the end of the residency does not need to be written in English as they can arrange for it to be translated.
  • Access to the resources required to undertake the research and development (eg a computer, internet access etc.)
  • They are not able to accommodate dependents during the residency in London. If you have any dependents, you will need to arrange the necessary support/care for them should your application be successful.

Learn how to apply here.

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