Elaine O’Hara from Biromums reading at International Women’s Day event. Photo courtesy of Claire O’Hara.
Biromums NLWC participated with feeling and flair in an event co-organized by North Leitrim Women’s Centre and the Glens Centre and hosted by Manorhamilton Public Library, County Leitrim, on 8th March 2017.
Biromums facilitator, Anna Morvern, introduced the group by talking about the differences between expressive writing and creative writing. Anna recalled her own route into creating and facilitating expressive writing: hearing refugee stories as a human rights lawyer taking statements for court and wishing she could allow those stories more time and space, overcoming a traumatic past by using writing as a healing thread herself, and seeking to connect with others performing mothering roles to find means of self-expression and community as the single parent of two small children.
As Anna set the ball rolling with a poem of her own, there was a focus on women’s stories that can be hard to tell and the healing potential of sharing story.
A good-sized public audience was then able to listen to work that the group produced in autumn/winter 2016, read aloud by members of the group. Even though the writing around mothering had not been written primarily with such public sharing in mind and a lot of the group’s work was solely for private use, Biromums had been delighted to be given a platform at the event to showcase some of their creative pieces.
Every Biromum in the group was able to contribute, in one way or another: moving stories of unique lives told with creativity and soulful expression.
Assumpta Kelly-Schofield of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre, said:
“I was so proud to be able to say that the Women’s Centre were involved in supporting such a brilliant project and group of women. Their stories made me smile, laugh and cry and they were all brilliant reading their works and should be rightly proud of themselves.”
Thanks go to the organizations who came together to put on the event and to Orla Parkinson from the Library for welcoming Biromums and a host of local poets, singers, speakers, listeners and friends.