On 26 May 2021, SHaME closed its Writer in Residence Programme with a special public panel and creative performance event featuring a distinguished panel of award-winning authors and researchers including poet Clare Shaw, SHaME academics Professor Joanna Bourke and Dr Ruth Beecher, and our Writer in Residence Winnie M Li.
Writing, Researching, and Surviving Sexual Trauma: A Creative Response was the final of three public events in the WiR Programme, a collaboration with survivor-centred arts organisation Clear Lines.
For this very special closing public event, we were joined by an audience of academics, activists, artists, practitioners and members of the public from all over the world. Professor Joanna Bourke chaired a panel discussion in which Clare, Winnie, Ruth and Joanna reflected on the many ways writing enables individuals, academics, and society at large to address the reality of sexual trauma. Clare, Winnie, and artist and activist Juanita Rea also performed new creative work generated during the residency, and finally, the event closed with Clare and Winnie launching My Story, My Words, a free online creative writing resource they developed through the grassroots arts organisation Clear Lines.
Clare Shaw, Winnie M Li, and Juanita Rea each debuted new creative work generated during the residency. You can watch their performances in the video above, and you can also read their work via the links below.
We are the reclaimed
Winnie M Li
Winnie M Li and Clare Shaw launched their new free online creative writing resource, My Story, My Words: A Practical Guide to Creative Writing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence.
My Story, My Words was developed through support from a Royal Society of Literature Literature Matters award and is freely available to view and download through the Clear Lines website.
The panellists also shared reading list recommendations and we encourage you to check them out!
Joanna Bourke, Rape: A History from 1860 to the Present (Virago, 2007).
Sara Maitland, A Book of Silence (Granta, 2009).
Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book (Japan, 1002)
Susan J Brison, Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self (Princeton University Press, 2001).
Shivanee Ramlochan, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2018).
Una, Becoming/Unbecoming (Myriad Editions, 2015).
Winnie M Li, Dark Chapter (Legend Press, 2017).
Clare Shaw has three poetry collections with Bloodaxe: her fourth will be published in 2022. Clare is also a mental health trainer and author, with a specific expertise in sexual abuse and self-injury. She believes in language as a media for activism and transformation: her poetry frequently addresses themes of trauma and survival, alongside wider issues of community and mutual support. As an Associate Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, Clare is responsible for establishing writing projects across the UK. She is co-director of the Kendal Poetry Festival; and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation.
Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the Principal Investigator of the SHaME project. She is the prize-winning author of fourteen books, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. Among others, she is the author of Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (2007), What it Means To Be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present (2011), and The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (2014). Princeton University Press will publish Sexual Violence: A Global History from the 1830s to #MeToo in late 2021. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. She is a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular correspondent for newspapers.
Ruth Beecher is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the SHaME project. She is a social and cultural historian with interests in the history of race, gender, children and families, and popular culture in the US and UK in the twentieth century. She is trained in both applied and historical research (University of Sheffield and Birkbeck). Prior to joining SHaME, she managed a range of family support services in London.
Winnie M Li is an author and activist, and Writer-in-Residence at SHaME. Her novel Dark Chapter is a fictional retelling of her real-life rape from victim and perpetrator perspectives. Translated into ten languages, it won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, and was nominated for an Edgar Award and the Best First Novel Award. A Harvard graduate, Winnie founded Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault and consent through the arts and discussion. Her ongoing PhD research at the London School of Economics explores media engagement by rape survivors as a form of activism. Winnie has appeared on the BBC, Sky News, Channel 4, The Guardian, The Times, The Mail on Sunday, BBC Woman’s Hour, and TEDx London. She has an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in recognition of her writing and activism, and her second novel, Complicit, will be published in April 2022.