Freedom from Torture - Write to Life

Write to Life

Write to Life is the creative writing and performance group of Freedom from Torture. It is the longest-running refugee-writing group in Britain, and the only one specifically for survivors of torture.

Sheila Hayman, Coordinator, explains more:

“Write to Life began as a small group, just writing for each other, in 1997 but has since grown to a thriving family of performers and writers who read all over the country, write for online and print publications, and star in both live theatre and film.

All the members are survivors of torture, both former and current clients of Freedom from Torture. They are the writers – a dedicated group who have a real passion for writing and more recently, activism through creative writing and performance.

Writing is not only a way to process past experiences, but also to develop a new voice for self-expression and confidence building, as well as to engage more fully in their new lives in the UK.

We meet for a group workshop every two weeks, and our members are offered private one to one mentoring with professional writers, who volunteer their time.

Our workshops can take many forms: it may be about writing technique, looking at the work of other great writers, or simply developing a subject we all share.The main objectives are to develop a love of writing and its possibilities, and to use it to enrich their lives.

Nevertheless, performing in public, in what may be your fourth or fifth language isn't easy – hence the master class in ‘no verbal performance’ with Tamasha Theatre which became Write to Life’s first film, Finding Voice.

Since then, the writers have built an impressive library of writing as well as performances in various settings and media have flourished in the galleries of Tate Britain, in their very own play Souvenirs, in the multimedia project based, the A-Z of Poverty, and more recently in the musical tale of journeys from around the world, Lost and Found (download the entire work and listen to it on your commute).

To find out more about Write to Life, follow us on twitter at #WritetoLife on Twitter @FreefromTorture or to join or invite Write to Life to an event, contact Sheila Hayman, at

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