Lilian Kennedy Brzoska: director and performer at heart of Fife's creative scene

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The best ideas can begin with a wee natter in a room. Kirkcaldy Galleries is embedded within my creative DNA. As a 1980s bairn, I would visit the ‘big library’ with my dad on a Saturday filled with free books, art, and imagination.

Fast forward to 2019, I’m attending a Create in Fife meeting chatting to fellow creatives about forming a writing group. From these conversations, Fife Writes was born providing opportunities for local creatives to improve their writing and perform their work at open mic sessions and workshops before becoming a registered charity in 2020.

It was at one of these open mics that I meet current chair of Fife Writes, Lilian Kennedy Brzoska, a theatre director, performer and musician and it is with great nostalgia we met in, you guessed it, the café at the Galleries for a catch up.

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Born in Stirling, Lilian has lived in Kirkcaldy for 12 years and remembers family holidays up the Fife coast with her mum and dad visiting the Polish Club for celebrations. Lilian permanently moved to Kirkcaldy after a sojourn to France via Edinburgh and Glasgow working as a lecturer with Fife Shed, an inclusive theatre run out of Fife College and with the YMCA for their community-based drama workshops before retirement and Fife Writes beckoned.

Lilian Kennedy Brzoska and(right) with Fife writes at the Kings Live Lounge (Pics: Submitted)Lilian Kennedy Brzoska and(right) with Fife writes at the Kings Live Lounge (Pics: Submitted)
Lilian Kennedy Brzoska and(right) with Fife writes at the Kings Live Lounge (Pics: Submitted)

Along with founders George Sinclair, and David McDonald, who has now sadly passed away, Lilian fostered a unique space, working these days with fellow members George McDermid, Lesley Walker, Denise Chapman to offer a haven for creativity.

For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure, open mic sessions, free to attend, with Fife Writes are a joy to behold. Imagine a bunch of creatives let loose in a room filled with prose, music, and poetry. It’s one of the best and zaniest entertainment offerings you’ll find locally, for now at the King’s Theatre, for a donation.

Lilian describes Kirkcaldy as having a community where she has found some “beautiful, connecting and creative people, who’s company I value,” with Fife possessing a “pictish quality with a “community of survivors” of the Miner’s strikes who look out for each other.

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As for how the Fife community can help, Lilian encourages creatives all over Fife to join the 48 paying members, at £12 a year, and 312 e-mail subscribers to start their own story by letting the group know of any creatives who could do with encouragement and offer guest and venue suggestions. Future events include workshops during Book Week Scotland in November and the 10th anniversary of the group in January.

As I chat to Lilian, a regal, warm and kind member of the Kirkcaldy community, I keep thinking of peer support.

From the encouragement she had as a child to express herself creatively, her work in theatre, poetry and music, co-counselling and co-facilitation of The Theological Society in Fife. I cannot help thinking how much Fifers have benefited from the stewardship and way of being offered by this unique group. Fife Writes has gifted me kinship and confidence and the little girl inside me excited by books has come alive within these gatherings.

Let us continue these wee natters. See you at Fife Writes. You can find out more here:

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> Kirkcaldy Guardians profiles and celebrates the work and impact of people at the heart of our community - many of whom go unrecognised. To nominate someone to be profiled, simply email[email protected]

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