Published: 24 May 2023 at 16:30
ARU lecturer spearheads initiative mentoring elderly East Anglian writers
An anthology of written work has been published as part of a project to help combat loneliness amongst older adults.
A Life Written is an initiative run by the National Centre for Writing and Anglia Ruskin University. The scheme offers weekly creative writing workshops to support over-70s in crafting autobiographical prose, before English and BA Writing and English Literature students at Anglia Ruskin University pen responses.
The publication of the anthology marks the latest chapter in the history of A Life Written, which has now brought together dozens of older people to share their life stories and hone a new creative skill.
While producing high quality writing is the project’s primary goal, its broader social mission has evolved throughout. Many elderly participants in the scheme have not only had their micro-memoirs published but have also made good friends in the process.
Several have even formed a group (naming themselves the ‘Wrinkly Writers’) who meet regularly – independent of the project – to continue their literary development and provide company and support for one another.
Dr Tory Young, Associate Professor of English Literature at Anglia Ruskin University, who devised the scheme in 2020, said:
Events held at Norwich’s Dragon Hall, home to the National Centre for Writing, have given the budding authors opportunity to publicly read their work and meet the students who wrote responses to their memoirs.
A Life Written participant Leah said:
Shell, a student who took part in the project, said:
Discussions with potential funders are already under way to ensure the project is able to return for another instalment.