In the midst of a climate of racial tensions a project on Teesside has provided the chance for people of different cultural identities to work together on a remarkable book. A cross cultural creative writing and translation project for writers living in the Tees Valley is about to culminate in the launch of a bi-lingual anthology of poetry and short prose titled Ek Zuban: One Language.
The project was developed by Cleveland Arts, an arts development charity who make art happen on Teesside, and supported by Northern Arts, Stockton Borough Council, Cleveland Community Foundation, The Northern Rock Foundation and Middlesbrough Borough Council. It involved a core group of writers from English, Urdu and Hindi speaking backgrounds who worked together through day schools, workshops and seminars, exploring the various writing traditions, poetic forms and the difficulties of literary translation.
The book, containing work in English and Urdu, will be launched on Sunday 15th July at Middlesbrough Art Gallery between as part of celebrations for The Middlesbrough Mela. The event will include readings from the book by contributors and a performance by a Kathak dancer, using a mixture of words, movement, sound and posture in story telling and classical Indian dancing. Refreshments will be available and writers from the area of various cultural backgrounds will read their poems.