Other is a conversation in poetry exploring the experience of living as a mixed race person in Scotland. This conversation will develop with research time in the Edwin Morgan Archive at the Scottish Poetry Library, and will be realised in the form of a pamphlet, audio recording, and live performance.
Marjorie is Iranian-American, and has a childhood experience of displacement, though has now been settled in Scotland for almost 20 years. Hannah is mixed race with origins in Burma, Jamaica, Ireland, Scotland and England but has always lived in Scotland. In their individual practices, both Marjorie and Hannah write about being of mixed cultural heritage and not quite fitting into any community.
This project will see Hannah and Marjorie picking lines from one another’s poetry and responding, entering into a poetic conversation. The final work will help develop insight into how that marginalisation impacts on day-to-day life in Scotland and consider the personal historical legacies and inherited trauma that they carry and how national and often divisive conversations around the legacies of colonisation and refugees impact upon their sense of belonging. As well as tackling some of the ‘bigger’ issues and experiences of otherness, the conversation may also include exploration of the impact of racial ambiguity on more ordinary, day-to-day aspects of life (motherhood, work, faith, friendships etc).
Edwin Morgan often wrote openly and candidly about the experiences many others avoided. ‘Other’ will take inspiration from that bravery, to tackle some of the racialised experiences (often intensely emotional) with candour and honesty, and from Morgan’s refusal to be categorised.
Hannah Lavery is a poet, playwright and director. Her poetry pamphlet Finding Seaglass was published by Stewed Rhubarb and her debut collection, Blood Salt Spring, was published in 2022 by Polygon. The Drift, her highly acclaimed autobiographical lyric play toured Scotland as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Season 2019. Her play Lament for Sheku Bayoh premiered at Edinburgh International Festival in 2020 and she was appointed Edinburgh Makar in November 2021 for a three-year term. She is an associate artist with the National Theatre of Scotland and one of the winners of the Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Award 2022. She is also an experienced workshop facilitator and won an Leadership Award from Creative Edinburgh for her work with Writers of Colour and her curated film poetry series Sorry I am on Mute for Fringe of Colour.
Marjorie Lotfi is an Iranian-American who has lived in the UK for over 20 years. Her writing considers displacement, home and belonging in the context of the natural world. Marjorie writes with the 12 Collective of women writers and is regularly commissioned to create new work. Her poems have won competitions, been published and anthologized widely (including in Scotland’s Best Poems) and been performed on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 4. She is a Scottish Book Trust Ignite Fellow and a winner of the inaugural James Berry Prize. Her first collection will be published by Bloodaxe Books in 2023 and Refuge, poems about her childhood in revolutionary Iran, is published by Tapsalteerie Press.