My City My Home

Launched in September 2020, My City My Home was a creative writing competition open to women from, or with a connection to, Birmingham, Bangladesh or Pakistan.

“We want to give women and girls the chance to tell their story. We need to hear it from them.”

Piali Ray, Director of Sampad

The identity and role of women is as diverse across the cities and countries as is 21st century society. Our cities are a melting pot of cosmopolitan cultures. Yet, there is distinctiveness and roots that connect to the past.

The aim of the project was to give women the chance to tell their own story, in their own voice. We wanted to hear about what made people feel that they belonged, and what made their city their home – from its people, buildings and arts, to their memories, journeys and emotions.

We encouraged participants to think about the following questions when writing:

  • Who is telling my story?
  • Where is home?
  • Where do I belong?
  • What are my memories?
  • What are my dreams?
  • Is this city mine? Why?
  • Do I love my city?
  • Have I made a home?
  • What memories can we make for the future?
  • Who are the faces of our cities?
  • Where is the soul of the cities – people? Music? Arts? Money? Buildings?
  • What are we learning from each other – who is in the dialogue ?
  • What do we want to celebrate?

Participants submitted written pieces of up to 1000 words, written in English, Urdu or Bengali. Writing could take the form of poetry, prose, a short story, a letter, a diary entry, anything they liked – we encouraged people to be as creative as possible. The prize was £200.00 for each winner, along with publication of their work, both in print and online.

The competition closed on Wednesday 30 December 2020. Winners are due to be notified in March 2021, and the publication of winning entries and further selected pieces will be launched in Birmingham, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in Summer 2021.

Publication and Launch Update

My City My Home is one of our most exciting projects and we are really keen to ensure that the final publication will be of a quality that makes all the writers proud!

Due to the challenges in pulling together three different languages in one book (hand written words, alphabets and specific characteristics of Bangla and Urdu languages) we are facing many more revisions and corrections, as well as unexpected technical issues with digitising some works to ensure they are correct for publishing.

This was not something we could have pre-empted and sadly we are now facing unavoidable delays in the final stages of the project. We are now aiming to launch My City My Home in Autumn 2021. Like you, we are really looking forward to seeing the final printed publication!

15 July 2021

My City My Home is part of Transforming Narratives, a ground-breaking three- year project to establish Birmingham as a global centre for contemporary arts from Pakistan and Bangladesh

My City My Home is also part of Sampad’s Sakshi (meaning “Witness” in Hindi) strand, which launched in 2018. Running until 2022, Sakshi will deliver a series of projects which focus on girls and women, to involve them in creative projects and to get their voices heard through the arts.

This project was supported by: