Suffering chronic pain? University project seeks short pieces of creative writing for online anthology

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A university project is inviting those suffering chronic pain to submit what is termed as “ ‘flash’ illness writing” - short-form creative writing, from five to 150 words, which can be poetry or prose, autobiography, fiction, or a blend. The Lancaster University project, Translating Chronic Pain, which is led by Sara Wasson, says such works will form part of a public, online anthology.

The organisers say: “Chronic pain affects nearly 28 million people in the UK alone and globally affects about 20% of the adult population. People living with chronic pain repeatedly report being marginalised and stigmatised by healthcare practitioners, their personal networks, and the wider public. This invisibility is partly because chronic pain can be hard to turn into story, thanks to its jagged unpredictability, and its resistance to clear causality and cure … our project focuses on representing fragments of chronic pain experience.”

They add: “The brevity of the works produced by our network and their public availability will also make the resource immediately usable by a range of groups: pain charities can use the material in outreach and patient support, medical educators can use the material to enhance student engagement alongside clinical work, people working in healthcare policy can draw on the resource to give rich, humanising detail, and carers and members of the public can draw on the resource to help in understanding the experience of people living with chronic pain.”

The project’s “creative manifesto” seeks work which “expresses a moment or fragment of experience of persistent pain; which takes either the perspective of a person experiencing the pain or the perspective of a witness (carer or healthcare professional); which captures any dimension of experience – physical, emotional, social, economic, institutional, medical, spiritual, or creative;  which communicates in any emotional register, positive or negative; and which can be shared and used by others to try and communicate the vivid, contradictory, and diverse realities of living with chronic pain.”

You can find out more details about the project, and how to submit to it here




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