Dancing Pencils

Purpose: This project was established by Felicity Keats-Morrison who has a grand vision of building literacy in sub-Saharan Africa. There is an enormous need for literacy in Africa and a lack of suitable material in indigenous languages for children to read. This literacy project is comprised of writing clubs. The aim is to encourage creative writing world wide through skills transfer & the sustainability of writing clubs

The Dancing Pencils Writing Clubs:  Clubs are being established comprising of people that are passionate about writing. These writers are coached by a mentor, who has been personally trained by Felicity in her unique right-brain method of creative writing. Mentors run clubs in their areas.  Stories are written, shared and the best ones are selected for publishing by umSinsi Press, which is a niche publishing house owned by Felicity. These writing clubs allow people to develop their craft, to share life experiences, and express their feelings in a nurturing environment. Annually they have a book launch which is exciting for the children.

The Benefits: The club system allows for peer evaluation of work and the selection of publication material to remain in the hands of communities. We capture (often for posterity) stories of people from all walks of life for example, stories written by children, which are read by other children.  The children writing the books are given the opportunity to be “heard” and recognised, and the children reading them have the opportunity to read about other peoples’ life experiences.

Right-Brained Writing

The brain’s activity: Our brains have two halves and these two parts function in different ways. The left brain side of the brain is rational, perfectionistic and logical. The right side of the brain is imaginative,   intuitive, creative and lateral. Creative writing entails accessing the right side of the brain.

How: To encourage the right brain, attention is given to freeing the imagination. The inner critic, with its need to “get things right”, is cast aside.  Permission is given to ”just writing.” There is no judging and criticizing of content, handwriting, spelling and punctuation. This frees the individual from the blockages of “ought to’s” and surprising material is expressed. People are also encouraged to illustrate their own stories. The right brain has different knowledge from the left brain, and is healing and therapeutic.

The Benefits: People learn how to use their whole brain, and realise the importance of not judging themselves. Many children are the more right-brain types that have difficulty doing regular left-brain, rote- learning school activity. This method affirms and nurtures the potential of the natural artist – it enhances the development of song writers, play writers, poets, artists and authors. It also builds self-esteem and confidence in the aspiring writer. The right brain also has problem solving abilities and is a happy, positive side of a person.

UmSinsi Press

History: umSinsi Press was founded by Felicity Keats- Morrison in 1995. At the time she was teaching private creative writing courses and established umSinsi in order to give her students a platform from which to be “heard”.

Function:  umSinsi Press cc is a niche publisher, and does not accept manuscripts from the public. Dancing Pencils unearths, nurtures and grows talent in a writer. Umsinsi Press is the vehicle for printing the works of students and the selected products of the Dancing Pencils’ Literacy Project.  Stories are sent to Umsinsi, which have been edited, typed and are on CD, along with the handwritten original. Here they are type-set, including illustrations, and published. A short resume about the author and photo appears on the back cover. All books are given an official “launch”. Authors often get exposure in newspaper articles, and on radio and television. Official, teachers, friends and parents all come to recognise and affirm the authors.

Finance: Print runs of books are sponsored by funders, clubs themselves and umSinsi Press itself. The entire operation of Dancing Pencils is dependent on these sponsorships.

Royalties: After signing their contracts, cnce a year, depending on the number of books sold, authors receive “royalties”. (Monies paid to them). This is tremendously exciting and motivating to get youngsters writing! Royalties are often very little but it is nonetheless exciting for authors!

A Life Changing Mentor Training

An Initiative of The Dancing Pencils Writing Clubs

TOPIC: Unlocking Creativity through RIGHT BRAIN techniques with Felicity Keats

Outcome:  Dancing Pencils Mentor Training with the possibilities of Publication of books

When:  one full day as arranged with a group, large or small

Time: 8.30 am until 3.00 pm

Where: as negotiated by the group, or in Durban (Felicity’s home town)

Cost: R2 500 per delegate, includes morning tea and lunch, asset of three training manuals that give help from grade R to adulthood and some books for your club with big discounts for large groups.

Who: People who are passionate about writing and want to make a difference with reading and writing; there is also the possibility of publication for them and their learners (conditions apply.)

Why:
1. to unlock your own talent and ability to write
2. to enable you to unlock talent and ability of anyone, children or adults of any culture and     language to write publishable work
3. To discuss the procedures to publication

What:
unlock your lateral abilities of the right brain; journalism, short story writing, novel writing and publication. Transfer of skills. You learn what to say to shift your learns into the right brain, and how to support the skills of people in a group or class using nonjudgmental and non critical methods.

Benefits: Unearthing your talents gives a great sense of joy and self worth. You may teach anywhere or run clubs. There are no fees to pay for doing this. Publication is also a possibility.
Certificates will be presented.

This course is also available over the internet in a series of 12 lessons that do include voice and music.

Another excellent choice is for teachers to train and then on the second day, to bring along 5 learners who get the same training. This means the instant start of a Dancing Pencils Writing Club in a school.

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