North East literary history
In our publication Fix this Moment – edited by New Writing North director Claire Malcolm and poet Stevie Ronnie – some of the key writers and publishers who have played a recent part in this history have been asked to reflect on their own experiences and on distinctive parts of this story. In this collection are accounts of women’s writing on Tyneside, the literary identity of Teesside, the remarkable influence of independent literary magazines and presses, the importance of the live poetry scene in Newcastle and Durham in the 1960s and 1970s, and both poetic and academic essays which capture the meaning and mood of the North East’s fine literary heritage. Contributors to the book are: David Almond, Neil Astley, Michael Chaplin, Andy Croft, Nolan Dalrymple, Jackie Litherland, Peter Mortimer, Ellen Phethean and Stevie Ronnie. Fix this Moment was the outcome of a Collaborative Innovation Partnerships (CIP) between New Writing North and Newcastle University. You can buy the book in the shop on this website.
We also worked with Threshold Theatre and Northern Stage to publish Looking for Githa, the first biography of Tyneside playwright Githa Sowerby. When Sowerby’s first play, Rutherford & Son, made its debut in London’s West End in 1912, critics hailed her as a talent to compare with Ibsen. At a time when women were commonly believed to be put on this earth to bear children and run the home, she broke the mould. And yet within her own lifetime this unique playwright – the grand-daughter of the founder of Gateshead’s world-famous Sowerby’s Ellison Glass Works – faded from public view. Published to coincide with the first ever Tyneside production of Rutherford & Son, this long overdue biography is the first ever to examine Githa Sowerby’s life and works. You can buy the book in the shop on this website.
Throughout much of our programmed events and activities we explore the history and current profile of writing in the North East as we believe that doing so adds to the wider understanding of the contribution that North East authors and writing from this region has played to the national literary culture. We also commissioned Richard Kelly to write about the North East for our Annual Review in 2009. You can read his essay, North East State of Mind, here.