Coronavirus: LGBT writers' group sees demand surge

Out on the page
Image caption Before coronavirus, the group was limited to much smaller meetings like this

A writers' group for LGBT people has seen a surge in demand for its services after it moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Out On The Page said the number of writers it had engaged with had tripled to about 300 since March.

The group would have run a series of face-to-face workshops had the pandemic not happened.

"The challenge now is to harness that momentum," said organiser Paul Bradley-Cong.

He believes demand has shot up because writers find it easier to join in online.

"We were operating across the country before, but that only meant writers in big cities could get involved."

'Too elite'

York-based author Jade Mutyora Richards was "desperate" to find a writing community, but health problems and childcare commitments made it impossible to attend regular events.

"Writers' retreats are expensive - it's a rich man's game - and often London-centric.

"It also felt like they were too elite and not for me, so finding these people online has been great.

"I feel like I've learned more about writing in the last few months than I ever did before."

Image copyright Jade Mutyora
Image caption Jade struggled to access writing events before the pandemic hit

Others have joined up to encourage more positive depictions of LGBT people in writing.

Lena Warwood, 32, from Exeter, said: "I'd like people to see trans stories from inside.

"A lot of trans narratives are written in a fetishised way.

"It's nice to break that down in my writing and have a trans protagonist who is just there."

Image caption Lena wants to change the way trans narratives are portrayed in fiction

Mr Bradley-Cong plans to run online events until at least September.

"Going out to a writers' retreat with people you don't know is a different ball game, and some people find that difficult.

"Now it's about us and keeping up with demand."

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