Multi-talented and Versatile – Laura Turnbull Fyfe
Laura jokes that she has a low boredom threshold. Ten years ago, she went part-time as a teacher and since then has honed plate-spinning to a fine art. A mother to five-year old Riley, she also fits in part-time teaching, facilitation of writing communities and leads writing workshops – all around writing her own novels and poetry.
Her passion for supporting writers of all ages came to the fore in 2020. Laura knew that making time for writing would be a challenge for people during lockdown, so she shared her writing sessions free online. Each day she provided a video with a writing prompt and tips on how to use the Wellspring method she developed in her Figment workshops, in order to help people overcome writer’s block. There are now 100 of these available on YouTube and on her website: www.figmentcreativity.com.
In November, she went on to provide several marathon ‘Just Write’ sessions over Zoom. These helped many produce new writing, but also helped them find social connection virtually while in isolation. Laura’s workshops have now reached hundreds of thousands of people across the world and are still used by those who need a little help to get started with their writing.
Providing these workshops was just one in a string of writing successes for Laura these last few years. She won the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s writing award in 2017 and has since published two writing guides: Wellspring and Magpie Mind, which help writers defeat procrastination and boost their creativity. While her poetry appeared in a variety of anthologies and literary magazines last year, the highlight of her poetry successes was having her poem, Cat Call, published in the internationally acclaimed Butcher’s Dog.
Laura provides publishing and learning opportunities for other writers through her roles as Director of the Scottish Writers Centre and through her role on the board of the Scottish Poetry Library. One such example is having designed, edited and published the first two (so far) in the series of five Scottish Writers’ Centre chapbooks under her imprint, Figment Books. Laura has now, most recently, received funding from Scene Stirling to commission a team of writers who’ll provide a series of writing workshops online to Stirling writers, beginning in January 2021.
As a Buddhist writer, Laura is currently working on her novel about a young woman who visits a meditation retreat which changes her life. Laura’s poetry spans the humorous to the zen, the political to the nostalgic, and can be found at www.lauraswriting.online
Laura drove over from Stirling on a cold, miserable night in November 2019 (B.V.) to be our Open Mic headliner. All present enjoyed a real performance. Not only did Laura read a selection of her poetry she engaged the audience. We experienced being part of her presentation and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
A picture of the shore was evoked in ‘North Shore’ (Nairn). I particularly was moved by the poignancy of ‘Remembrance Bridge. Passion was displayed in ‘Geese. Her last poem was a Tom Leonard tribute and the accompanying anecdote caused laughter. In-between the readings Laura proffered advice such as periods of six minute writings on random subjects. It was also interesting to hear explanations of how the poems took life, the inspiration behind them
Multi-talented, versatile, Laura provided a relaxed, interesting, enjoyable end to the evening.
Mary Irvine, January, 2021.
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