Proud Words was described in the mission statement as a creative writing festival by LGBT people for LGBT people. Some writers were nervous about coming to begin with but its reputation built year on year and many writers both big and small said that they felt safe and validated as writers when appearing at the festival.  The festival ran for 10 years from 1998.  

The Full Recordings

Lisa Matthews is a poet, writing scholar and Content Designer; she co-founded ProudWords and was on the management committee for 8 years.

In this interview Lisa explains how Proudwords wasn’t designed to sell books. Lisa said that though the commercial side was part of it, it was never the main aim. And in terms of hosting events, they were free as they didn’t want the barrier of money at a cultural event.   Lisa is interviewed by Richard Bliss.

Mary Lowe was the first paid member of staff for Proudwords.  In this interview Mary talks about all the aspects of running the festival, from marketing in the days before the internet, through to working with first time published writers to famous names such as Jackie Kay.  Mary is interviewed by Alex Medesan.