Letter to the People of Birmingham

Dear Strangers

We may meet, or we may never meet. I am an artist, debtor and the keeper of The Book of Debts,  which is currently touring the UK.  One Volume per location, it is filling with human stories of debt – past and present, online and in public places. Its stories then form a public performance unique to that place. They are recited aloud before being burned – in an act of symbolic debt relief – followed by a celebratory ‘wake’.

 The Book of Debts is now in Birmingham until March 15th and I invite you to get involved in any of the free events coming up, or you can read or contribute to The Book of Debts online and I will only know you through your words. The book is only as powerful as the contributions it contains…

 

So, what do you think about when you think about debt?  Money, time, love, attention, gratitude? Shame, denial, regret, anger, injustice? Love, community, compassion, forgiveness? Who owes what to whom?  Do all debts have to be repaid?  How responsible are we for what family, our community, nation or we owe?  Is there a story you would like to see an end to?  From priests to market traders, activists to office workers, students to bankers, The Book of Debts is open to anyone who finds it, whether debtor or creditor – past or present. The debt can be owed by you or to you. Or it may be owed to or by a third party – individual or institution.  It may be financial, social, emotional, ecological or spiritual – or all of the above. All entries are anonymous and you can add as many as you like.

I was at the Library of Birmingham, gathering stories this winter – take a look.  Here are the next opportunities:

  • March 4, 5.30-7.30pm, I will be at the Old Joint Stock theatre, introducing the project as part of a free, informal creative writing session, hosted with writer and storyteller Gavin Young and open to all.
  •  March 5, (Ash Wednesday) I’ll be visiting the End Hunger Fast campaign in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral in the morning, followed by further workshops for young writers at University of Birmingham, hosted by Writers Bloc.
  • Friday March 14, promenade in the afternoon – around Colmore Row, in search of further contributions.
  • Saturday March 15, 2.30 – 4.30pm Final Event, hosted in and around Birmingham Cathedral. Details here.

Please share –facebook event here or @burningthebooks. All events are free. To contact us mail: books@burningthebooks.co.uk, call Elizabeth on 0787 353232 – or just welcome me with an open mind when you see me with my Book..

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Yours truly

Alinah Azadeh

 

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