Creative Writing Workshops
Paul Abdul Wadud Sutherland runs a wide variety of creative writing workshops to which he brings his vast experience.
He works with a full range of abilities, ages and ethnicities in such places as community centres, libraries, schools, art centres, museums with writing groups or with individual writers on a one to one basis. He inspires and encourages beginners or experienced writers alike.
Types of workshops offered:
1. World Poetry Workshops. With children, adolescents or adults, Paul explores various
poetic forms in translation from varied cultures, (e.g. haiku, rubai, renga, Sufi poetry) and
then encourages participants to undertake experimenting in these styles to see what they
discover and produce. World poetry may not only challenge technique but subject matter.
2. Generic Creative Writing. In such sessions Paul inspires participants through various
exercises to write ‘creatively’ and express themselves. Initial results often mix poetry and
prose. Automatic or free writing is one prompt used. A strong therapeutic element exists
to help participants gain confidence through guided self-expression. Paul employs this
style of workshop to explore, discuss and gain a response on a wide range of themes.
3. Story-based (art) workshops. Participants tend to be children. Through a story being
read and performed, acted out (less reading the better) children are stimulated to write
poems and/or do paintings from one or two specific episodes. They transform the story’s
emphasis into poems and art of their own with Paul’s careful, patient, energetic lead.
4. Creative Writing Walks. These sessions teach/encourage direct observation of nature
for example. Paul enhances the participants experience through his prepared knowledge
of the location and through his own observational skills as a poet. He often writes along
with the participants, pointing out features of the environment which attract his attention.
5. Spiritual Writing. Paul helps participants’ explore personal beliefs through the vehicle
of spiritual writing, across cultures and eras. In these often full-day workshops he calmly
provokes much conversation and realisation. High quality debate and dialogue leads to
better writing. Paul’s role is to facilitate and enable, almost to take a back seat.
6. Group or ‘One to one’ sessions with Participants with Learning Difficulties. To
overcome their limited communication skills requires Paul’s specially creative and
sensitive leadership. After he asks considered questions using props, he senses and
reveals ‘the poetry’ in even the shortest responses. He gently probes to find out what
‘engages’ an individual, prompting them to speak. Highly imaginative forms of story-
telling can emerge which in time the participant can identify and value as their words.
7. Master Classes in Poetry. Paul uses his skills as a poet and editor to help other writers
write better. These workshops are formal with participants given specific lengths of time
to present their writing for his reactions and suggestions. It is often considered better to
have in advance the writing to be discussed. After very close reading of a particular piece
of work, Paul offers a critique engaging in one to one discussion with the poet. Such
classes can be extended and Paul can take on the role of writer in resident or as mentor.
Paul is extremely adaptable. He can consult with participants and help them edit their work to produce an attractive anthology. Or he can assist them in performing; guiding them to recognise and use the skills of reading poems out loud in a public space for an audience’s enjoyment and appreciation. He can collaborate with other art form specialists to create a larger, more complex and sensitive visual-audio outcome to the project. He has experience in helping organisations, schools or groups, etc achieve these aspirations.