News from the ‘Letters Home’ launch

Barry reading a letter
Barry reading a letter

We launched Letters Home at Rochester Library on 10 November 2012 in a 2-hour event with readings, and songs, in several languages!

Sam and Barry  hosted the event which was attended by an enthusiastic and full audience. And Roy recorded the event and made a podcast from it.

Sam and Barry read letters from some of the letter writers who couldn’t attend – ably assisted by Steph Anderson, who read former Medway resident, Tara Moyle’s ‘A Letter Home’ in a faultless Southern accent.

‘Letters Home’ is a project from ME4Writers, which invited Medway residents to write a letter to the place they think of as home. The exhibition is being displayed by Medway Libraries in Rochester and Walderslade Village.

As well as letters, photographs from Medway photographer Nikki Price feature in the exhibition, alongside Medway artist Heather Haythornthwaite’s atmospheric local street scenes.

The idea for the exhibition grew as sometimes there’s a feeling that people just find themselves here. Kent has always been a place that displaced peoples end up in, and that has often been seen as a negative thing, but this exhibition celebrates Medway’s diverse population – as well as letters from writers who are born and bred in Kent, we have had letters from members of the other communities, who have all made their homes here.

Some of our lovely readers read their own letters. Amongst the bi-lingual highlights were Irina Fridman reading her letter in Russian, Sarah Jenkin and Sean Meaney reading poems and a letter in Gaelic and Sam reading the English translation to some letters from children learning Bulgarian. Other readers who read their letters were Sarah March D’angelo, Roy Smith, Jaye Nolan, Nigel Cuming, and Phil Kane, whose new collection of poetry about the Medway ‘Unauthorised Person’ is available to buy now from Cultured Llama.

We have had a brilliant local response to the project – which has included letters from children at the Bulgarian School of the Association of the Bulgarian Community in Rochester, and we are still receiving letters which will be added to our Letters Home blog, at the end of the exhibition.

Sam also ran a creative writing workshop for adults (and one will be run for children on 21 November,) and the responses received from the attendees were very moving. This seems to be a project which has really touched people deeply.

Thanks to those at Rochester library for letting us display our exhibition and hold the launch there! Also thanks to those at Walderslade Village, where our smaller satellite exhibition is running. Thanks also to Carlito Juanito whose houses feature on the bunting and postboxes.

Nikki has taken some photos from the event which will be posted soon.

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