Why write in French?

Et pourquoi pas?

Pourquoi ne pas se laisser guider par les mots, ceux des autres d’abord, ceux des écrivains, des écrivaines, ceux qui sont imprimés dans les livres et dans nos têtes? Et pourquoi ne pas oser à notre tour, écouter leurs rythmes, leurs sonorités? Avec hésitation, peut-être, puis, au contact des autres, dans la dynamique de l’atelier, prendre confiance, expérimenter, essayer, écouter, exprimer.

Oser écrire dans une autre langue.

Writing in another language, an-other’s language, a foreign language.

In 2017 we set up the module ‘Creative writing in French’ at the University of St Andrews, with the belief that writing in a foreign language gives an opportunity to better know and use that language, to discover its literary history and traditions, to explore different genres and voices, to experiment with constraints, to expand one’s own language, to create a space for imagination.

Through weekly workshops, students on this course experiment with different genres – poetry, fiction, non-fiction -, and with various writing techniques – writing from photographs, paintings, from memories, from the observation of daily life, reading and performing their texts, and engaging in collaborative writing. They have been rewriting fairy tales, developing their language skills by crafting sonnets, inventing characters and stories, developing their own projects and creative voices. They have commented on the challenges and benefits of writing in a second language, the dynamics of writing workshops and giving feedback to other participants, and the process of finding inspiration within constraints.

Students speak here about why they took the course ‘Creative writing in French’:

Why creative writing from University of St Andrews on Vimeo.