Black Writers on Democracy Commissions – Blog & Call for Entries

Black Writers on Democracy Commissions –   Blog & Call for Entries

  • 5 mini-commissions to raise new and reflective voices.

Like many, we knew it was important for us to respond to the social and political wave of events in a meaningful way. But choosing what to focus on has required patience…in watching events unfold and observing our own reactions to them. The different mode of creativity demanded in this particular time of austerity has also been a voice in the conversation, urging us to do what we can, where we can, how we can –  and all without too much self-judgement!

How do we navigate these tensions and intentions to ‘observe’ and to ‘do?’ / to plan and to respond? In part, intuitively. The call for solidarity and protest from black friends, colleagues and loved-ones around the world struck such a chord that we wanted to use the framework and values of the company to ‘do’ something in the way we know how and, by that rationale, effectively.

We are interested in the potential of creative life-writing to unlock powerful, authentic voices in ways that may be new to audiences. With that in mind, we invite submissions of:

creative life-writing on the theme ‘Democracy in my Lifetime’ from all black people across the age and gender spectrum.

This is an opportunity to write something personal and political as a form of peaceful activism, to be filmed and shared across the website and channels of Stream-Lyric and our partners from the arts, charity and corporate sectors. 5 mini-commissions of £120 will be awarded following a selection process, which will be undertaken by the SL team and two Guest Judges: Jan Kofi-Tsekpo & Yomi Sode. *See info’ on Guest Judges below.

Submissions can take the form of: essay, poetry, dramatic monologue or speech. The word limit is 1, 500 and we welcome writing that is: rich in ideas, clear and persuasive, and uses life-writing in communicative ways. Please send your work to: with a short email including: the title of the piece, your preferred contact details and a line or two about your desire to write it. Please do not put any personal identifiers on the submission itself. The Deadline is midnight on Sunday August 9th.

Work can be sent in a language other than English. Where possible, we would appreciate an English translation to accompany it. However, we have the capacity to read French and Arabic and will endeavour to acquire a translation if the language skills are not within the immediate team. We are also more than happy to support carers or support workers in working with an individual to get their important words on paper/screen. Please drop an email to for more info’ about this. 


*Our Guest Judges:

Jan Kofi-Tsekpo is Arts Council England’s Relationship Manager for Literature in the South East. Publications include Yellow Iris (University of Nebraska/Akashic Books) and work in various anthologies and journals, including Poetry Review, PN Review and Wasafiri, New Poetries V (Carcanet), The Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt), Ten: New Poets (Bloodaxe) and Red (Peepal Tree). She was originally published in Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry edited by Karen McCarthy (Women’s Press), and was winner of the Zeena Ralph Memorial Prize at SOAS for ‘Healing the Wounds: Interpretations of African Identity and ‘Race’.’

Yomi Sode is a Nigerian British writer, performer, and facilitator. He is a recipient of the Jerwood Compton Poetry fellowship 2019. He has read his poems internationally at various festivals, as well as performed his debut solo show (COAT) to sold-out audiences. Yomi has been published in Rialto Magazine, The Poetry Review, Bare lit and 10: Poets of the New Generation, Bare Lit Anthology as well an essay contribution in SAFE: On Black British Men reclaiming space.


For general questions, we are responsive on:

Tw / fb / Insta

We are excited to hear from you and wish you and yours the very best in this time of adjustment.


Tamsin & the SL team x

  • Pauline

    Brilliant, this is eveidence that some organisations are really getting on with the work. submitting some words today.

    Thank you

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