The power of storytelling: interviews with Commonwealth Writers storytellers

In April 2018, the Foundation carried out semi-structured interviews with selected programme partners attending the Commonwealth People’s Forum 2018 (CPF). CPF brings together civil society from around the world, including the Foundation’s programme partners, every two years. The interviews were designed to learn about partners’ experience working with the Foundation, its impact on their work and to explore other opportunities to improve programme outcomes.

This short report highlights the key findings from interviews with storytellers based on their personal opinions and who have been involved with the Commonwealth Writers programme over the last 7 years. In addition to finding out about the impact of the Writers programme on their work, the interviews aimed to explore the ways in which less-heard voices can influence governance and decision-making and to paint a picture of the socio-political environment in their individual countries – how this affects the craft of storytelling and where Commonwealth Writers may be able to enhance its programme support.

The interviewees included: Demere Kitunga, a Tanzanian writer; Erato Iannou, a Cypriot writer; Gabrielle Hossein, a Trinidadian writer; Gloria Kiconco, a Ugandan poet and writer; Kendel Hippolyte, a St. Lucian poet and playwright; Lisa Harewood, a Bajan filmmaker; and Tracy Assing, a Trinidadian writer and filmmaker. See Annex 1 for biographies of each of the storytellers and background at Annex 2 about what storytellers in each of their countries/regions are writing about as gathered from the interviews.

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