‘I will keep finding my voice through writing’

You are probably expecting to read an insightful overview of the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Lecture 2019.

Spoiler alert: You will be actually reading how the volunteering opportunity made a positive-impact in me and the lessons learnt from the event.

This is my side of the story as a volunteer for the event, but before I start, spare me few seconds to explain the deep connection between Nottingham and I.

You’re probably thinking, the writer is tricking me to read the entire post.

Hang in there, hopefully you get to see the silver lining at the end.

Nottingham was the city I choose to further my education. You may ask, why? The answer is my love for literature. Researching and realising Nottingham is one of the UNESCO Cities of Literature was the most significant factor in my decision making. I came to Nottingham to explore its literature, people, culture, heritage and history. My hope is for the city to answer all my curious questions. Finally, the opportunity came to volunteer at a huge event they were putting on: The Nottingham UNESCO City of literature Annual Lecture, as part of Nottwich.

Let’s begin with the guests at the event, It was amazing to see the diversity: people pulled together from different backgrounds through their shared love of literature. Before, the lecture began, guests had the chance to mingle. I kept on watching for at that moment it occurred to me that diversity is the freedom to accept who I am, the freedom to accept who you are, the freedom to accept who we are.

Where do we go from here in terms of diversity? You are the reader, do answer.

Robert Macfarlane was the lecture speaker for the event and he said “hope is the fuel in the tank of change”. I remain hopeful you embrace people for their unique differences rather than similarities, you accept that every race matters, have equal rights and values.

I have one last thing to say, a few more minutes of your time.

My name is Aisha, literature lover and I often stutter when I speak. I confess to being nervous volunteering but refuse to let nerves and stuttering hold me back. I admit to initially stuttering while welcoming the first five guests into the venue but it got better after that. Not 100% perfect but better and I am okay with better. Guests kept arriving. There I was performing my designated duties till the very end. Yes, I did it, faced up to my insecurity and stayed until the end. I accept stuttering is a part of me but I will keep finding my voice through writing. I dare you to pursue your goals, take chances, persevere, overcome your obstacles, reach your maximum potential and live a life worth living.

Thank you, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature office, for given me this amazing opportunity. It was just not about volunteering for the event but also the impact the event had on me.

Aisha Mohammed Audu is a student at Nottingham Trent University, studying MSc. Management and International Business. Originally from Nigeria, she is a computer scientist who enjoys volunteering, reading books from different authors, writing and traveling.