Write to Life

Write to Life is the world's only long-running creative writing group for survivors of torture. Our members meet each week to explore stories and share ideas. 

Who we are

As part of Freedom from Torture, Write to Life has been working with survivors from around the world for over 25 years. We welcome writers at all levels of experience – or none. 

Some of our members were journalists whose writing was the reason they were tortured. Others discover creative writing for the first time in the group. 

Writing is communicating. When I started it was just to release my soul. But the group helped me to build confidence, to continue writing.

- Write to Life group member

What we do

Our weekly workshops involve activities and exercises to help writers express their ideas and develop their voice. We write everything from the very practical, such as CVs and letters, to poems and stories.

The workshops help us spread our creative wings as writers, find our voices in a new language and, when we’re ready, process painful thoughts or experiences from the past.

Every writer also has one-on-one sessions with one of our mentors, who are all professional writers.

We publish a digital collection of our work every three months, illustrated and co-edited by group members.

Read our zine

Our collaborators

As well as publishing our zine, we also do special projects: a powerful theatre piece called Souvenirs, a multimedia alphabet of poverty, a binaural soundscape about coming to London.

Our writers work with museums, galleries, theatre companies and world-class artists and performers. Past collaborators have included both Tate galleries, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, the Roundhouse, Jackson's Lane, ice&fire, and Universal Music.

By sharing our work with the wider world, we’ve shown that music, imagery, poetry and drama can open audiences up to difficult stories, giving them insights into the painful realities faced by those who have experienced torture.

We also share our stories and perspectives with the public directly through media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Metro and the Huffington Post.

When I first came to Write to Life, I started by writing other people’s stories. A year later I found my voice to write about my own story, at first allegorically... A few months ago I first read at a public event - and felt safe doing so. I was empowered to speak not just for myself, but as a voice for my people.

- Write to Life group member

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