If you are a writer or are interested in literature events and activities and live in the north of England then you've found a great regional resource.

News from New Writing North: 10 February 2012

New Writing North news

Help us map the literary North
We’ve teamed up with NALD, the National Association for Literature Development, to create a literary map of northern England. Over the coming months, we’ll be helping staff at NALD collate information and contact details of every person and organisation in the North East, North West and Yorkshire who’s involved in literature development, publishing or book events.

This is the first time that all literature activity in the North region, whether it’s funded or unfunded, will be recorded. If you think you or your organisation should be included, please send contact details and a brief description of your literature activity to mapnorth@nald.org.

Last shout for young writers’ workshops
The mini-workshops for young writers we’ll be holding at South Shields Museum tomorrow (11 February) that we mentioned in the last newsletter are booking well but there are still a few places left, so if you or anyone you know might be interested, don’t miss out. The day will comprise four 45-minute sessions, covering everything from vampire fiction to journalism. The sessions will run between 11am-4pm; young people aged between 11-18 can come along for the full day or drop in for a single workshop. All sessions are free to attend.

11.10am-12pm: Flash Fiction (very short stories) with Amy Mackelden
12.10am-1pm: Poetry and Performance with Degna Stone
2pm-2.50pm: Journalism with Lizzie Whyman
3pm-3.50pm: Urban Gothic Fiction with Gavin Williams

To book a place, email laura@newwritingnorth.com or phone 0191 233 3852.


Sean Burn’s Next Swan… heads for Newcastle
Sean Burn brings his new play, Next Swan Down the River Might be Black, to the region as a culmination of a national tour. Shortlisted for the BBC’s Alfred Bradley awards 2011, the play will be performed at the Theatre Royal Studio on 28 and 29 March. Next Swan… is a poetic and personal response following the author’s own ‘sectioning’ and provides a rare insight into detention under the mental health act. For more information on the tour, see www.swanblack.info.

Next instalment of regional romance trilogy coming soon
Hexham author Prue Phillipson’s sequel to her historical novel Vengeance Thwarted is to be published by Knox Robinson Publishing on 1 March. Entitled Hearts Restored, the novel takes the Horden family into the period of the restoration of Charles II. Expect romance, tragedy and spectacle as naval battles, the plague and the Great Fire of London keep the young lovers apart. The trilogy will be completed with a third novel, which is in preparation now.

Bowling success for Simon Van der Velde
We were delighted to hear that North East writer Simon Van der Velde’s novel The Benjamin Exhibition has been shortlisted for the 2012 Harry Bowling Prize. The awards ceremony will be held in London on 5 March, and we wish Simon the best of luck.

Jenny Brown adds one
Scottish literary agency Jenny Brown Associates has announced that Bob McDevitt is joining the company. Bob is one of Scotland’s best-known publishers and will be representing commercial fiction, crime writing and non-fiction. Bob joins the agency as it develops new opportunities in the north of England with the establishment of an office over the border. Stan (Mark Stanton) is now based in Northumberland, where his wife has taken over Corbridge’s independent book shop, Forum Books. Jenny Brown Associates already represents a number of writers in the region, including Paul Torday, Danielle Ramsay and their latest signing, Robert Douglas. Find out more about them at www.jennybrownassociates.com.

In the North East

Writer’s Café launches at the Settledown
If you’re finding it hard to write working at home, the new Writer’s Café at the Settledown might be just the thing. Set up by writer Maria Lightman and friends, the Writer’s Café is a new initiative for writers who are keen to find a place to work co-operatively. On the first Wednesday of each month (beginning in March) writers can gather at the Settledown Café to work together in the mornings. Just bring a laptop or a notebook and get to work with a good coffee.

The project is being launched from 6pm-8pm on Thursday 29 March at the café. Any writer interested can come along and find out how to get involved. The Settledown Café can be found near the Tyne Theatre and Opera House at 61-62 Thornton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4AW. (Click here for map.)

Public Lending Right scheme calls for authors
Have you authored, illustrated, edited or translated a book that is available in public libraries? PLR is your legal right to payment from government funds, based on the estimated number of times your books are borrowed. Based in Stockton-on-Tees, the Public Lending Right team celebrated a great milestone recently when the 50,000th author registered, while UK children’s writers continue to dominate PLR’s most borrowed authors list for 2010-2011. There are no joining or membership fees, so to ensure that you receive your dividends register at www.plr.uk.com or call 01642 604699.

ArtWorks North East seeking emerging creative talent
ArtWorks is a national initiative, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to review and improve the opportunities for career progression for artists working in participatory settings. They are currently calling for emerging artists/producers/art makers/academics/practitioners to make a valuable contribution to important contemporary research. For more information, see www.sunderland.ac.uk. Deadline for applications: Friday 17 February 2012.

Take part in One Million Years with AV Festival
AV Festival is co-curating a new project with BALTIC, and is looking for people to participate in creating a monumental work of art. On Kawara’s One Million Years is an ongoing epic work conceived by the artist in 1969, documenting the passage of time. This 20-volume text is a typewritten record of one million years, both past and future. Each volume contains 2,068 pages, with Past dedicated to “all those who have lived and died” and Future “for the last one”. For the exhibition at BALTIC, AV Festival is looking for people to read in 90-minute slots together; each day four time slots are available, for the duration of the two-month exhibition. You can participate in one session, or even come back regularly to continue reading. For more information, visit www.avfestival.co.uk.

Call for collaborators in North East Book Artist Network
Local book artist Yvette Hawkins is looking for fellow creatives interested in establishing a North East Book Artist Network. Yvette currently runs a project called Book Apothecary: The Travelling Museum of Artists Books, and proposes that a network would provide a space to discuss and share current projects, form collaborations, share skills or visit book art fairs and exhibitions, as well as being an opportunity to socialise and meet new people. An introductory meeting will be held on Wednesday 15 February at the Lit & Phil at 5.30pm and all are welcome. Email yvettehawkins@gmail.com for more information.

National opportunities

TLC conference tackles writing in the digital age
Hari Kunzru and Kate Mosse join leading agents, publishers and developers in the UK’s first digital conference aimed directly at writers. The Literary Consultancy (TLC), the UK’s leading manuscript assessment service, has launched a new conference programme aimed at writers practising at all levels. Other speakers include Nicola Morgan, Linda Grant and Guardian literary editor Claire Armistead, and there will also be a masterclass on successful self-publishing strategies. The conference will be held over Friday 8-Saturday 9 June at the Free Word Centre, London. Prices for the conference are £390 and £240 (concessions). For more information, see www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk/events, or email info@literaryconsultancy.co.uk.

Submissions sought for Michael Marks Awards
The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets are designed to raise the profile of poetry pamphlets. There are two awards: The Michael Marks Poetry Award recognises an outstanding work of poetry published in pamphlet form in the UK during 2011, while The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award recognises an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form, based on their publishing programme in 2010. Both awards are worth £5,000 to the winner, plus the poet of the winning pamphlet will also become Harvard University’s Michael Marks poet in residence at its summer school in Greece. The awards are open for submissions from 17 February-21 March. Entry forms and further information are available at www.wordsworth.org.uk/poetry or from a.forster@wordsworth.org.uk or 015394 35544.

Capital Theatre Festival seeking new plays
Capital Theatre Festival is looking for writers to submit new scripts for one-hour performances in May. There are three places available and successful applicants will be offered a £1,000 bursary to self-produce their shows. Capital is an independent theatre festival which aims to celebrate the work of writers and theatre-makers across the West Midlands and beyond and held from 24-27 May. Applications are welcomed from playwrights, devisers, writer-performers and theatre-makers of any designation working with the spoken and written word. The deadline for submission is Monday 5 March, 12pm. For more information, email writers@capitalplays.co.uk or visit http://capitalplays.co.uk.

National Black Writers & Publishers Conference
The sixth National Black Writers Conference takes place this year on Saturday 24 March at Zion Arts Centre, Manchester. Hosted by writing development agency Cultureword, the conference is open to anyone with an interest in Black and Asian writing and publishing. This informative event will provide panels drawing on published writers and industry professionals from the UK’s most innovatory publishers and agents, including Peepal Tree Press, Frances Lincoln Press, Penguin/Cultureword and Tamarind Press. For more information, go to www.cultureword.org.uk/6th-cultureword-national-black-writers-conference.

Vamps, Vixens and Feminists… in the North!
At Vamps, Vixens and Feminists, Tony Panayiotou, director of diversity at Arts Council England, will give the key note speech outlining The Creative Case: ACE’s new approach to Equality and Diversity. In the afternoon, small workshops will focus on writing women’s roles, and breakout sessions will be chaired by Janys Chambers, Penelope Skinner and Sally Wainwright, among others. The conference will be held on 2 March at West Yorkshire Playhouse. For more information, visit www.sphinxtheatre.co.uk.


Fiction writer in residence at University of Sheffield
Applications are welcomed for the position of fiction writer in residence at the University of Sheffield. The successful candidate will teach modules at undergraduate and Master of Arts (MA) level, help supervise PhD students and help run the MA in creative writing. The School of English aims to recruit an established novelist with proven skills and experience in the above areas, with a strong record of published works, and preferably with experience of public engagement. Deadline for applications: Friday 17 February. For further information, go to www.shef.ac.uk/english.

The Listening Post

Kathleen Jamie: The Recovery of Beauty
Senate Suite, University College, Durham: 27 February, 6.15pm

Poetry reading by Kathleen Jamie as part of The Recovery of Beauty public lecture series. For more information, email enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk.

Workshops and courses

Live Writers Group
Live Theatre, Newcastle: 28 March-23 May

Applications for Live Writers Group are now open. A prerequisite for joining LWG is a sound grasp of the basic principles of playwriting and a commitment to work towards the completion of a one-act play. Places are limited to 15 and the sessions run from 7pm-9pm. The course fee is £80/£60. For information on how to apply, contact degna@live.org.uk or visit www.live.org.uk/newwriting/courses.php. Deadline for applications: Friday 16 March.

David Almond: Crossover Fiction masterclass
Lit & Phil: Saturday 26 May

As part of the 2012 Royal Society of Literature/Man Booker masterclass series, David Almond will be holding a three-hour masterclass on Crossover Fiction. There are 14 places available in each class, six of which will be reserved for fellows and members of the RSL. The remaining places are available to everyone from experienced writers to absolute beginners: booking closes at 6pm on Friday 2 March, after which selection of the six will be made by ballot. Classes cost £30. Applications should be made to Rachel Page at rachel@rslit.org or call 020 7845 4677.

Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) is the first step for anyone wishing to be a teacher, lecturer, tutor or instructor in the post-compulsory education and training sector (PCET). Whether you intend to make teaching a career, or just want a taste of what’s involved, this course will provide you with the skills to get started in the profession. Castle Education & Training Ltd is offering both full-time and part-time courses in Newcastle: the next full-time course is from 12-16 March, while the part-time course runs over five Saturdays, from 14 April-12 May. The course costs £299 pounds per person. 10% discount is available for group bookings of 10 people or over. For more information, see http://castleeducationptlls.eventbrite.co.uk.

Peter Broderick: distribution keynote and workshop
Northern Film & Media, Newcastle: Tuesday 21 February, 1pm-5pm

With his extensive experience in film and publishing, Peter Broderick’s presentation and workshop is designed to enable filmmakers, TV producers, publishers, musicians and digital creatives to take advantage of the very latest finance, distribution and marketing opportunities afforded by the web. Earlybird tickets are available until Sunday 12 February: North East delegates £10 and delegates from the rest of the UK £20. Tickets bought later will be £15 for North East delegates and £25 for the rest of the UK. For more information, visit www.northernmedia.org/news/us-distribution-pioneer-to-address-nfm-event.

Intracultural training initiative for playwrights
Pioneering London-based theatre company Tamasha is launching a training initiative for eight emerging writers, interested in intracultural theatre practice, who are keen to pursue a career in theatre. This intensive two-week course seeks to develop the uniquely subjective voices of the participants. The course is held at Graeae’s Bradbury Studios, London, from Monday 19-Friday 30 March. Course fee is £175 per person, and participants from outside Greater London can apply for relocation expenses of £105 per week. For more information and to apply, go to www.tamasha.org.uk/tamasha-new-writing.

Arvon launches 2012 programme
Arvon, internationally renowned for its residential creative writing courses, has launched its 2012 programme. Five-day courses at rural writing centres in Devon, Shropshire, Yorkshire and Inverness-shire include its celebrated starting to write course, and courses in fiction, short stories and poetry. You can focus on creating scripts with writing for theatre, radio and television or screenwriting, or on writing for children. Authors Mark Haddon, Julia Donaldson and Andrew Miller, and poets Simon Armitage, Liz Lochhead and Don Paterson are just a few of the leading writers offering practical tuition and encouragement, and you will also receive great support and a sense of a community from fellow writers on the course. Grants are available for those on a low income. For more information and online booking, see www.arvonfoundation.org/courses.

Deadline for the next newsletter

If you have news that you would like to submit for inclusion in the newsletter please contact olivia@newwritingnorth.com. The deadline for receipt of information for the next newsletter is 20 February. The edition of The Listening Post covering March’s literature events will go out in late February. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion, you will need to send information by 21 February to olivia@newwritingnorth.com.

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is correct at the time of going to press, things do change, frequently at the last minute and very often without our knowledge.