Welcome to this video which will tell
you about the Pen to Print project, which is a project of London borough of
Barking and Dagenham library services and funded by the Arts Council England Hi, Hi, Hi, Hi My name is Farzana Hakim, I’m Sue Burrows, I’m Veronica Byrne, I’m Patsy Middleton, I’m Claire Buss I’m a stay-at-home mum I’m from Barking I’m from Dagenham Mum, Wife and now published author And I am a published author and at the age of
71 I’m a published author! So today I want to share with you a very inspiring story, I hope, particularly how Pen to Print was born I came to work for
Barking & Dagenham Council as Group Manager for libraries and I’ve been
working here for the past eight years and when I first came here I wanted to
do something very interesting and very creative and about four years ago we
started the Reading Festival that we called it ReadFest the idea was to
bring in famous authors, local authors to talk about how they publish their books
and inspire the local community to write and part of that I attended one session
run by Alison Owens from The Writers and Artists Yearbook, Alison Owens ran a workshop
about how to get published and I was in that workshop and there was about 30
local residents and that’s where I got the idea for Pen to Print and the
success has been amazing it’s been really exciting thing to be involved
with we have a programme of competitions creative writing classes, poetry classes,
everything for people taking part is free and that’s our philosophy we wanted to make it as accessible as possible to a wider group of people, so we now have
five people already getting books published through New Generation and
we’ve also got this year another eight people that have finished writing a book so fingers crossed we’ve got some more books in the pipeline. I decided to enter
the Pen to Print competition on a whim really, I walked past the library and
saw a poster for Writers Workshop and thought ‘yeah, I’d like to do that,
that’ll be great’ something I used to do like to get back
into it and I got in touch with Lena and it was full, so I thought, ‘oh okay,
never mind’, then about a week later she sent me an email to say ‘Oh, we were gonna run another class because it’s been so popular, are you
still interested?’ I could not answer that email quick enough, Yes, yes, yes. Came along and we were given these leaflets about the competition. So I didn’t really
know there was a writing competition to start with, got through to the final eight, which was amazing! Somehow managed to write a book in the space of
about three months. And then obviously came through, second place with the
competition which was amazing! I had a passion for writing ever since I was
little and with the children getting married young having the
children I never got around to following my dreams and the competition gave me
the, you know, the motivation and the inspiration to do that I went uni years ago and I thought why don’t I go college to learn some tricks of
creative writing so it was at my college where my teacher, she realized that I’ve
actually got a knack for this type of thing so she took me to the launch of
pen to print and introduced me to a few people there and that’s how I got writing. I enrolled at Ian’s Ayris’ workshop and he was amazing he said
to me ‘Farzana you write with freedom and courage and those words have stuck with
me since. In the process of Pen to Print I’ve gained a lot more confidence in my
writing we entered two and a half thousand words and then there was the horrible time when you’re waiting to see if you get an email with anything
positive and it’s the first time that I’ve actually achieved anything with my
writing. It’s always basically me writing at home. I had been submitting to
agents,another book which wasn’t actually going anywhere and it
was the first thing that came back at me that someone thought my writing was good
which was great. And writing is a very difficult thing to get into to actually
make some sort of success so you have to enter as many things as you can and
with Pen to Print it’s the only local one I’ve ever seen and I’ve got friends
living all over the country and they are so jealous they’ve not had
anything like this at all so it’s it’s a great thing to do We were also coming to
creative writing classes that Pen to Print had laid on and I just listened just learnt so much from from those classes we were then having
master classes from published authors that were current, that were coming into
the library to give talks on how they wrote their books it was something I always wanted to do and this was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss we had
a mentor for the competition and my mentor Ian ayris was brilliant because
he spent the first two or three mentor sessions just calming me down really we
didn’t do any editing we just drank coffee and talked about books because I
was so nervous makes me feel passionate about something again, which I think when you are when you were a mum, a stay-at-home mum
sometimes you don’t have a lot of passion in your life apart from your
children of course but it’s good it’s good to have something else that’s mine Pen to Print has changed my life
significantly. For starters I never would
have imagined myself sitting down in my house having coffee and tea with to me
they’re celebrities like Barbara Nadel and I’ve met Martina Cole and she’s
kissed me on both my cheeks and she’s pulled me aside and said I want you to
contact my agent because I love your book cause I was born on Ilford Lane as well. Surreal. It weren’t gonna happen unless I joined Pen to Print When I was looking up my ancestry I found my father and I found that he died
in 1982 but also I found he’d been divorced five times including my mum
and I also discovered that he had one son called Tom and he lives in Tennessee
and I actually managed to find his telephone number one day and I phoned him
up in America and we were talking for a whole hour he was crying I was crying he
had a deep south American accent it was fantastic. Finding my brother was
one way that was like that it changed my life through Pen to Print but the other
way was I started writing and writing and writing and I’ve got 11 books now
being in a wheelchair now I never go out I never meet anybody but I meet all the
people in the poetry groups it’s brilliant I’ve got a social life
again so thank you Pen to Print you really have changed my life. As you can
see Pen to Print is such a brilliant opportunity and it brings so much
enrichment to people’s lives and opens up so many opportunities that you would
never have thought of so if you want to get involved in the future contact us
and tell us what you want to tell your story about I think one of the big
issues or big problem for all of us as individuals is our mind is one of the
biggest barriers to success so whenever we want to do something new, something
different, the mind always says it’s impossible to do. Ordinary people who
have taken part in pen to print the winner Farzana, to Claire, to Patsy – to all
the others, to Hugh. All of those people that you will see and meet today
they are ordinary local people. Maybe they for two years ago, three years ago, a year ago, that they could never write a book but they have shown you they have
written a book so it’s all about challenge in your mind and I would
encourage people to take part in the competition to start writing. Once you
start writing you will get there and that’s the message not just for you, it’s
for me as well because eventually I want to write a book as well

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