Sign up to The Citizen Collective summer sessions

We are now recruiting for our next term of The Citizen Collective. If you're aged 16-18, live in or close to Edinburgh and are passionate about writing, read on for more details and to find out how to sign up.

What is The Citizen Collective?

The Citizen Collective began in Autumn 2020 is an online writing group, made up of creatives between 16-18 years old from across Edinburgh and Musselburgh.

Sessions are facilitated by Leyla Josephine, an award-winning theatre-maker, poet, screenwriter, performer and educator from Glasgow, and supported by a member of Book Festival staff.

If you have a keen interest in creative writing, whether that’s spoken word, poetry, rap, fiction, non-fiction or journalism, then we would love to welcome you to be part of The Citizen Collective for our summer sessions, starting on Thursday 13 May.

What happens in the sessions?

The Collective is a nurturing and fun environment for participants to build their writing skills, find their voice, explore self-expression and learn about different creative writing tools and techniques. Members receive feedback on their work, explore themes of citizenship and build connections with a community of local young writers. The project is part of the Book Festival’s funded Communities Programme, so there is no cost to any of the participants involved.

Each term, The Citizen Collective has worked towards a final goal to showcase their work. So far, this has included an online sharing to family and friends, a performance in the Book Festival’s Citizen Winter Warmer (video above), and a pamphlet of selected writings and illustrations, working in collaboration with Poet, Illustrator and Performer Iona Lee.

The Citizen Collective will be presenting their work at a special live event during the Book Festival in August, one of the largest celebrations of the written word in the world.

How do I join?

The group takes place on Zoom, and will be meeting on Thursdays at 4.30-6pm for 8 weeks, beginning on Thursday 13 May and finishing on Thursday 1 July 2021.

If you think this might be of interest, please email and one of the Book Festival team will be in touch. We are asking people to express their interest by Tuesday 11 May.

If you would like to find out more, two of our current members have written about The Citizen Collective on our blog. Hollie’s piece reflects on what it’s been like to experience the pandemic as a teenager, while Lucy has written about her experience of making connections online just months before heading off to university.


This project is part of Citizen, the Book Festival’s long-term creative programme working with schools, community groups and local organisations. It is funded by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the PLACE Programme administered by Creative Scotland.

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