Our First Citizen Trainee Writers in Residence: Hannah Ekekwe and Lintong Zhang

Since 2019, we have appointed Writers in Residence to work with community partners and local people on our long-term creative project, Citizen. In this latest edition of  On the Road blog, we thought we’d introduce you to our first ever Citizen Trainee Writers in Residence…

Pictured above: Lintong Zhang (left) and Hannah Ekekwe (right).

Hannah Ekekwe and Lintong Zhang have been appointed as our first Citizen Trainee Writers-in Residence. This brand new training programme supports early career writers to develop their creative practice in socially-engaged settings through our year-round Communities programme.  

Citizen is a long-term creative programme working in partnership with organisations in and around Edinburgh, listening to people’s views about the communities in which they live. Led by Scottish-based Writers-in-Residence Eleanor Thom and Ryan Van Winkle, Citizen provides a platform for communities to explore their connection to each other and their relationship to their local area, looking at how local conversations are heard or echoed on a national or global level. 

Noëlle Cobden, Communities Programme Director at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said “We are really excited to have Lintong and Hannah joining us as our first Trainee Writers in Residence for Citizen. They are talented emerging artists and we can’t wait to feed their creative ideas into our work in schools and local communities. We hope that working on our long-established Citizen programme will offer them both the opportunity to develop their creative practice in a range of settings, through a bespoke and supportive traineeship.” 

Hannah Ekekwe, an award-winning writer of young adult and children’s fiction from Glasgow, will work with Citizen Communities Writer in Residence Eleanor Thom. Hannah will assist in the facilitation of sessions with our Citizen Adults Writing Group, engaging with local communities across the city and online to learn what stories they have to tell, if and how they relate to ideas of place and neighbourhood, and to support them to share these stories as they choose.  

As a writer and blogger, Hannah is passionate about sharing the stories of minority and diaspora communities and her work often explores themes of identity and belonging among people of colour. She has spent the last few years embarking on mentorships (All Stories Mentorship and the University of Glasgow Scottish Book Trust Childrens and YA Mentorship), chairing events at Aberdeen’s Granite Noir Book Festival and delivering writing workshops in community settings.  

Hannah said “I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in with the Citizen project. I believe that storytelling is a community endeavour and I’m really excited to be involved. There’s a wealth of creative talent in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas and it’s going to be a real pleasure to work with Ellie and the writing groups to create some beautiful work.” 

Lintong Zhang, a China-born, Scotland-based playwright and producer, will work with Citizen Schools Writer in Residence Ryan Van Winkle. Lintong will assist in the facilitation and delivery of the Scotland 2049 project, exploring ways to intertwine creative writing with an array of other creative mediums, enabling the participating young people to have their voices heard and their creative work nurtured and valued. 

As an emerging playwright, Lintong was part of the Scottish Youth Theatre textLAB 2022 and the Traverse Young Writers Group 2023. With a profound interest in pushing boundaries, she actively experiments with blending Chinese traditions and post-dramatic styles. Her distinctive black comedies tackle modern politics and supernatural fiction with a quirky and acerbic sensibility. 

Lintong is a committed advocate for diversity in the arts. She joined the feminist theatre company Stellar Quines as a Board Pioneer and co-founded Play Full Theatre, working to uplift underrepresented voices, especially within the LGBTQ+ and Global Majority communities. She is a recipient of the Sanctuary Queer Arts Artist Development Fund and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s Emerging Producer Development Programme. In addition to her professional pursuits, Lintong is also training to become a DJ and electronic music producer, exploring the power of storytelling through various creative outlets. 

Lintong said “I’m thrilled to join the team as a Trainee Writer in Residence. In this role, I look forward to encouraging and inspiring underrepresented communities to find and share their authentic voices through the power of storytelling. I am sure the traineeship will be challenging but rewarding.” 

If you are lucky enough, you’ll get to meet Hannah and Lintong at Citizen workshops and activities over the next few months, or on-site at the Edinburgh International Book Festival at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, 10-25 August 2024. 

Citizen is part of Edinburgh International Book Festival Communities Programme, a series of events and activities around Scotland throughout the year, and is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland). 


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