One of the ways that we can be recognised as writers is to be employed as such. If we are paid as writers, this acknowledgement helps our own self-image and confidence to develop our work. In 2018 Kultivera, Tranås municipality, Region Jönköping and the Piraten Society supported the employment of two young writers as they spent a three-week residency in Tranås. They were mentored by experienced writers from Sweden and Wales employed to respond to the work of Fritiof Nilsson and create other work.
The project continued in Tranås, and with support from the region six young people from Jönköping and Gnosjö kommuns were selected to be platsen författare or writers of place for three weeks this summer. Mel Perry spent a day in June with each of these two new groups.
The young writers from Jönköping focussed on detail in images and feelings that are evoked.
To fit in with a writing project about water they also went on a walk around the local lake, Munksjön, to observe creatures and plants in the wild.
The young people in Gnosjö were exploring the local spirit of entrepreneurship and collaboration that characterises this community in “Gnosjöandan”. Writing in response to domestic objects, some of which were made in Gnosjö, proved stimulating for these young writers and gave them some ideas and techniques to add to their research about the people of kommun.
“I’ll tell you what I am, I am the separator, the instrument that scoops out the good stuff. Put me in a jar of olives and I’ll give you what you search for in the green cold marinade; put me in a jar of tomatoes, and I will find the red treasure on the turbid bottom. Put me in your brain, and we will sweep around until we find something really good. We will pick it up, feast on it like a delicate olive or tomato”
“I am a simple thing. I wait in the drawer for someone to come and pick me up to do my job. My job is also simple. You put the tea in me, and put me in hot water. Once the tea has given its flavour to the water you take me out and dump the leaves. Sometimes I hear things, parts of conversations. They may be curious, I admit, but I am happy not knowing. I have a purpose I do it well and in the process, I might just make someone’s day better”
With thanks to Peter Nyberg, Region Jönköpings län, Camilla Mollung, Litteraturhuset Jönköping and Kristina Gernes, Gnosjöfolkbibliotek for their invitation our YWL team to support and encourage purposeful employment for young writers.
“It was special, we got to work with something that we never thought that we would write about, and have to create something from nothing”
“I enjoyed looking at an object like it has a soul, and imagining its journey here”