(Image credit: Ian Hallmond)
In May I presented at the Ink of Light Festival, A Writing Festival to empower authors of Baha’i background; this was the first festival of its kind in Australia.
Bahai’s are from a rich diversity of cultural and spiritual backgrounds and this can be expressed in their writing through diverse genres, and approaches. Festival participants were from Queenslands’ Gympie, Byron Bay, Toowoomba, Redland, Moreton Bay, Brisbane as well as the Solomon Islands, and Wollongong, and Melbourne and Country Victoria.
Speakers focused on fiction with characters who are Baha’is (both detective fiction and junior youth), discussing the processes to creating well written and researched history books, spiritual education of youth, print on demand publishing for the Australian Bahai Publications future, poetry, as well as the art of photography and different kinds of creativity and how this can be combined with spiritual expression.
I spoke alongside presenters Boris Handal, Michael Day, Melanie Lotfali, Alan Manifold, Fazel Naghdy, Ian Hallmond, Linda Shallcross, Les Endrei, Peter Warner, Derek Bland, and Michael Cohen.
The day was MCd by Martha Golbarani.
There was some discussion of creative processes, both in workshops and panels as well as a creative exercise looking at and reflecting on photographs.
There was a display of books from presenters and attendees, and a big thank you to the Brisbane Baha’i Centre’s Bookshop and the Baha’is of Brisbane for allowing the use of the Baha’i Centre for the day.
My main focus was looking at the inspiration writing groups can have for individuals working on their craft and the fellowship they can provide.
There is much we can learn and contribute to the wider community of writers through not only what we write but the way we collaborate with others.
Writing can potentially be a bridge of understanding and connection between different cultures, religions and walks of life.
I shared some poems, as well as responses from readers of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds to a work in a progress, The Dreamers.
Mostly I encouraged writers at the festival to talk to, learn and support each other.
A big thank you to all the new friends and old friends I was able to connect with at this event, and especially to Ian Hallmond and all the other helpers and organisers such as Bizhan.
There are plans to hold the event again next year and keep developing it to explore other genres(such as perhaps song writing) and to expand workshops and performances.
Following images taken by June Perkins
Final image credit: from Ian Hallmond