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Wild and Precious Life with Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert (Arts Weeks 2021)

Venue: Online

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Writers Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert discuss their creative practice with participants leading to a new anthology of recovery stories, and tell the story of its publication.

Writers Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert tell the fascinating story behind A Wild and Precious Life (Unbound, 2021), and introduce some of the writers in the volume. The book  is an anthology of recovery stories that evolved from a creative writing class at Hackney Recovery Service. Lily and Zoe led the class for people recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, and it was so successful that they were funded by the Arts Council to do a nationwide callout for recovery stories. They also worked with the publisher, Unbound, to use crowd-funding to publish the anthology, raising  £16,000 and making publication possible. Birkbeck writer Julia Bell will chair. 
Lily Dunn is an author and mentor. Her personal essays have appeared in Granta, Hinterland, Litro and The Real Story in the UK and she is a regular writer for the international Aeon magazine. She is co-editor of A Wild and Precious Life: Addiction, physical and mental illness and its aftermath: a collection of stories and poetry from writers in recovery (2021). Her memoir about the legacy of her father’s various addictions, written as part of her PhD at Birkbeck, will be published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in Spring 2022. She teaches creative writing at Bath Spa University, UK, and co-runs London Lit Lab with friend and author Zoe Gilbert. 
Zoe Gilbert is the author of two novels, Folk (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Mischief Acts (Bloomsbury, 2022). Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio, published internationally, and won prizes including the Costa Short Story Award. She is co-editor of A Wild and Precious Life: Addiction, physical and mental illness and its aftermath: a collection of stories and poetry from writers in recovery (2021). and the co-director of London Lit Lab, where she teaches and mentors creative writers. 
Michael Loveday is flash fiction writer and poet. He works as an editor and coach for writers and artists, and also as a visiting lecturer in Higher Education. His most recent publication is the hybrid novella-in-flash Three Men on the Edge (V. Press, 2018) which was shortlisted for the 2019 Saboteur Best Novella Award. His poetry pamphlet He Said / She Said was published by HappenStance Press in 2011. He is working on a second flash fiction manuscript and has a craft guide to the novella-in-flash form forthcoming from AdHoc Fiction later in 2021. 
Katie Watson, Katie has worked in the charitable sector with vulnerable and disadvantaged adults and is also a qualified teacher. In 2018, she was awarded a scholarship to train as a trauma-informed writing guide for Write Your Self, a global writing movement aimed at supporting women to reclaim their stories after experiencing trauma. She is the first guide based in the UK to be trained in the methodology. She is also a published writer, and in 2017, she was runner-up in Mslexia's prestigious women's international poetry competition. 

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