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 of writers back in 2001 but has since grown to a thriving family of twenty or so, 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.

We meet for a group workshop every two weeks, and every member is offered private one to one mentoring. The mentors are all professional writers, who volunteer their time.

The main business of the workshop can take many forms: it may be about 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 have as much fun as possible.

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.

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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