Bountiful harvest from a Langham writers’ workshop

18 February 2019 |

It can take many years to see fruit from writers’ workshops. They bring together a small group of Christian leaders who want to write books for their own communities. The workshops provide time to write and reflect on the universal principles that writers need to bear in mind as they shape a book.

Isobel Stevenson, Senior Editor for Langham Partnership, leading a writers’ workshop in Sri Lanka in 2017.

The writers also receive guidance on publishing options and get one-to-one feedback on their work. The goal is not to have a finished manuscript at the end of the week, but to have a clear idea of how to achieve a finished manuscript. Advice is also given on publishing that manuscript (whether by Langham, indigenous press or self-publishing).

Langham Literature is committed to developing Majority World authors through these workshops.

The remarkable impact of one workshop in 2011 has already been recognised. Isobel Stevenson, Senior Editor for Langham Partnership, co-led the event in Kuala Lumpur. It was organised by the Asia Theological Association (ATA) and 16 people attended. She noted the impact:

Published books

“Three of the participants since contributed to Langham Literature’s South Asian Bible Commentary (published in 2015). At least seven books written by the attendees have also been published since the initial workshop.

“These include Mona Bias’ A Shawl Over Me and Finding God in the Scriptures. Both were published in the Philippines.

“‘Shawl’ was a set of studies on the book of Ruth, co-written by the students who were taking Mona’s course on Ruth at the seminary where she teaches. Mona is committed to nurturing the next generation of writers in the Philippines.

A writers’ workshop took place in Sri Lanka in 2017 at the request of one of the attendees of the workshop in 2011.

“Langham Scholar Rico Villanueva also attended the workshop in 2011. He has since written three books (all published by Langham Global Library) – It’s OK to be Not OK: The Message of the Lament Psalms; Psalms 1-72: A Pastoral and Contextual Commentary; and Lamentations: A Pastoral and Contextual Commentary.

“He was also appointed as the head of ATA publishing, which now operates in association with Langham. This has strengthened both organisations and allowed for wider distribution of ATA resources.

Arranged own workshops

“Some participants found the experience so useful that they arranged other workshops themselves.

“For example, in 2017 I led a workshop in Sri Lanka, at the request of Earnest Nadeem, who had attended the 2011 workshop. I also led a workshop for the ATA in Thailand in 2015 at Rico’s request.

“I know that another attendee has also been organising other workshops in South Asia.

“There is an ongoing writing group in the Philippines that meets at least twice a year to encourage and critique each other’s writing. This group was formed by three participants at the original workshop in 2011.

Please pray

Langham Scholar Rico Villanueva holds a book he wrote since attending Isobel Stevenson’s workshop in 2011 (published by Langham Global Library).

“Rico and Mona are all currently working on new books. Rico would appreciate prayer as he works on a book on depression for the Asian church. Earnest Nadeem is also hoping to work on a book this year.

“There are two writers’ workshops this year in Nigeria in July, plus two editors’ workshop in in Nigeria and Cameroon. We need indigenous editors to work with the writers to ensure that the books they write are well edited too. There will also be a writers’ workshop in Asia in July.

“Please pray for these workshops, which are intense to run. Moreover, the editing workshop is to be offered in French, working with translators (as my French is poor!). Claire Moore, who works in the Carlisle HQ and is French, will be coming with me.

“Please pray for health, strength, visas, and especially peace in Nigeria where elections are due to take place very soon. And of course, pray that the right people will attend and that these too will bear much fruit across Africa.”

If you are interested in developing Majority World authors through these workshops, please prayerfully consider donating towards this vital work.

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