To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Iceland, the Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature offered a workshop for women under the guidance of writer angela rawlings.

The first session was in January/February 2015. The final session was in May. In between, there was one-on-one guidance through email contact. 

The question, for politeness’ sake, requests a generic, positive response. It has become a go-to for Iceland-born citizens who meet people identified as foreign within the country – whether tourists, permanent residents, or naturalized citizens. It’s become a familiar question with anticipatable answers, but beyond the social game requested in the question lies the opportunity for significant intercultural engagement.

How might foreign-born Iceland-dwelling writers take up this question, stripped of its social-etiquette requisite? How might Iceland-born writers answer the same question?

Our workshop provided a space to work through multiple approaches to generate new writing, while exploring the collision and collusion of languages and cultures within Iceland.

It was open to both Iceland-born and foreign-born dwellers interested in expansive opportunity to generate new writing in a multilingual environment. Writers experimented with different styles of writing, and then committed to development of a longer-term work intended for completion by the end of the workshop.

Writers started from a place of memoir and new realism, bending and blending into other formats (script, prose, poetry).

The first sessions (January/February) was geared towards dispelling the myth of writer’s block, discussing strategies for writing between and within multiple languages, and identifying our self-censors. We worked with multiple styles of writing, and strategies for crafting new work. By the end of this first session, participants had initiated a new writing project to which they dedicated themselves from February to May, and which was the sharing focus for the rest of our working time together.

An intermediary period (February through April) focused the writers on developing first and second drafts; they needed time to gestate the work they’d begun and to navigate building a writing practice into their weekly lives. Depending on what they chose to write, they developed a short related-reading list and research material that helped them develop their written work. Consultation sessions with Angela offered support specific to the project they developed.

In the final in-person sessions (May), we worked specifically on strategies for revision, structural formatting of the work, and any accompanying adaptations that could be visual, digital, or performative. We aimed for the work to be publishing-ready by the conclusion of the workshop, with advice on how to seek publication.

2015 DATES:
First session – 2 weekends in January / February
Saturday, January 24 from 13:00-16:00
Sunday, January 25 from 13:00-16:00
Saturday, January 31 from 13:00-16:00
Sunday, February 1 from 13:00-16:00
Final Session – 2 weekends in May:
Saturday, May 2 from 13:00-16:00
Sunday, May 3 from 13:00-16:00
Saturday, May 9 from 13:00-16:00
Sunday, May 10 from 13:00-16:00