Outsiders Welcome with Elise Valmorbida

We love having Elise Valmorbida at our lit fests, as she always brings something new and dynamic to the festival. The Outsiders Welcome creative writing workshop is no exception. Margate Bookie chat with her about The Happy Writing Book and her upcoming event with us.

Grab your tickets quickly, it’s sure to be a sell-out.


What’s Outsiders Welcome all about?

There are various chapters in The Happy Writing Book—my new guide to creative writing and wellbeing—that highlight positive ways of being a stranger. One chapter is entitled ‘Foreigners Welcome’ and it’s all about the way migrants lean towards metaphor without even thinking about it, the way our different ‘places’ can be geographical, cultural, but sometimes entirely notional. So it’s about transition and change—which fuel storytelling. It’s also about being different. Even when difference appears to be disadvantageous, it can be a source of strength for the creative writer.


Where did the idea for Outsiders Welcome come about?

I am twice foreign. I grew up Italian in Australia. I learned ways of thinking and behaving that were sometimes alien to the majority culture. And my head was full of migrant stories; people and places that seemed exotic and yet were utterly familiar—part of me, like my Italian face and surname. A scholarship brought me to England to study, but my temporary stay ended up being a migration (I’ve been here for most of my life). Over time, I became intrigued by the idea of migration stories. I devised and taught my first ‘Suitcase Stories’ workshops ten years ago. This new workshop for Margate Bookie connects that creative writing/teaching experience with elements of practical philosophy.

Elise Valmorbida









What have you got in store for us?

You can look forward to a brand new creative writing workshop where we’ll explore the positive power of ‘outsiderness’. We’ll do thinking and writing exercises, so please bring pen, paper and an open mind!


Where and when can we see you at the litfest?

This creative writing workshop will be at the Turner Gallery, 11am on Sunday 5 June. I’ll be around afterwards too, signing books. Looking forward to seeing you there!


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