Saturday, 30 March 2013

Last post before Easter blog break

Okay guys, this will be my last blog post for a fortnight as I am taking a blogging, twitter and facebook break.  Please find below details of some events I have been forwarded from New Writing North:

With a guaranteed full production on the professional London stage at one of London’s most acclaimed new writing venues as well as publication by one of the UK’s leading theatre publishers for the winner, the fifth Papatango New Writing Prize is now open to submissions. The winner will receive a full four-week run at the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre in November 2013, and the script of the play will be published by Nick Hern Books. Deadline for submissions: 31 May. Entrance criteria, submissions guidelines and literary policy are at

Harrogate Festival Fringe asking for literature events details
Harrogate International Festivals has announced that the 2013 Festival Fringe will be taking place between 27 May-16 June and submissions are now open. The Festival Fringe is part of a year-round portfolio of work creating distinctive cultural experiences in the north of England and provides an opportunity for artists and organisations in and around Harrogate to come together and celebrate the wealth of local artistic talent. If you have a literature event taking place in Harrogate or the surrounding area between 27 May-16 June, you can submit the details online for consideration at Closing date for submissions: 31 March.

Writing workshop with Rachel Cochrane
Berwick Library: Thursday 11 April, 9.45am-12noon & Alnwick Library: Friday 12 April, 9.45am-12noon
A special workshop to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. This is a free workshop with tea and coffee provided. To book your place at Berwick Library, call 01289 334051 or email To book your place at Alnwick Library, call 01668 602689 or email

Colpitts Northern Poetry Workshop
Alington House, Durham: Friday 12 April, 8pm
The Colpitts poets will be focusing on their own collections following the autumn celebration of the anthology In Your Own Time. With Alistair Elliot, Helen Farish, Joan Johnston, Michael McCarthy and Tony Williams. Admission £5/£3. For more details, call 0191 384 9406

Colette Bryce: Poetry Surgery
Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle: Saturday 13 April, 10am-3pm
This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss your poetry on a one-to-one basis with poet and tutor Colette Bryce. Each session takes place on a Saturday and lasts one hour. Colette is holding sessions at 10am, 11.15am, 12.45pm and 2pm. £70 for Poetry Society members, £80 for non-members. To book, go to

Linda France: Being Here writing workshop
Shepherd’s Dene retreat, Riding Mill: Sunday 14 April, 10am-4pm
A workshop responding to the environment of Shepherd’s Dene. The group will explore the poetic possibilities of paying attention, direct observation, and deepening our connection to the natural world. The emphasis will be on authentic experimentation and refreshing our relationship with language so this day of writing is open to all, beginners and more experienced alike. Cost of workshop is £45 per person (£35 concs), including coffee, tea and lunch. To book, contact Julie Oliver on 01434 682212 or

I will be back blogging in a fortnight.  

Friday, 29 March 2013

Easter Blog Break and Creative England National Crew & Facilities Database

This will be my penultimate post before my Easter blog break.  I am going to take two weeks away from blogging to spend time with my family and on my editing.  Tomorrow will be the last post before the break.

Nicky Ball of Creative England has sent me the following details that she wanted disseminated as widely as possible:


Creative England has launched a national crew & facilities database covering all the English regions and searchable by job grade, facility type, location and skills which now lists over 2500 regional crew, facility and production companies.

We would like to offer you the chance to join and become part of this dedicated new database for the English regions.

Sign up today get your name, skills and availability in front of productions shooting outside London.

Joining is FREE and takes just 5 minutes.

And this is what we can offer you: 

  • We are working with the various guilds, unions and associations
  • We join up the crew database with our national crew nights to increase opportunities for those registered
  • We cover the English regions outside London
  • It’s a joined up service with the production and location team
  • It’s not a faceless service, you can talk to us direct about your crewing needs and we can offer bespoke crew calls to your target group

·         We will post out jobs via the site on behalf of production companies we are working with

Just go to:  to register

You can also sign up for our newsletter or follow us on twitter @CEnglandprodn

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Flashtag Writing Competition

The third-annual #Flashtag writing contest for Chorlton Arts Festival is now open for entries.
This year we have a theme – Past, Present, Future.
This year we have lowered the word limit to 400 words. We are like literary limbo instructors, making you work harder and harder. Maybe you will concentrate on the past, or set your story in the future, or maybe you will have a really clever idea for a story that incorporates past, present and future. As long as it is 400 words or less, and it blows our minds, we will be happy.
Send your stories to
Please put “#Flashtag Writing Competition 2013 – (name of your story)” as the subject header. In the body of the email we will need your name, and the name of your story.
This year we will be giving away a big goodie bag full of goodies to the winner, and slightly lots smaller goodie bags to the writers of the second and third place stories. As part of their goodie bag, the winner will also receive a collection of postcards with messages and writing tips from a host of our favourite authors. We’ll top it up with books and pamphlets and words and love.
This year the awards ceremony will be at the Nook & Cranny, Chorlton, on Wednesday the 22nd of May. Keep the evening free. We’ll be announcing more details soon. You can check the rules of the competition here.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hexham Book Festival 22 April - 2 May 2013

Just received the details of the Hexham Book Festival, from the New Writing North newsletter, that I thought would interest my followers:

Hexham Book Festival
Hexham, Northumberland: Monday 22 April-Thursday 2 May
Hexham Book Festival, the jewel in the literary crown of Northumberland, once again plays host to a fabulous mix of authors including Claire Tomalin, Ed Stourton, John Hegley, Joe Simpson and Edwina Currie. This year’s programme features thought-provoking events on themes including the environment and climate change to crime and punishment, complemented by a range of lighter-hearted events for all ages and tastes.
For tickets and details of all events, go to or call 01434 652 477.
Iron Press’ Root anthology launch
Tea & Tipple Cafe, Market Place, Corbridge: Wednesday 3 April, 7pm
Forum Books and Iron Press present a launch event for the Root anthology with readings by Costa Short Story Award winner Avril Joy and Northumberland poet Beda Higgins. Free entry, no booking required. For full details about Root and further readings across the region, see
Meet Julia Donaldson
Seven Stories, Newcastle: Thursday 4 April, 12pm
Meet Julia Donaldson, current Children’s Laureate and award-winning author of Room on the Broom, Squash and a Squeeze and The Gruffalo. Join Julia for an hour of storytelling and a whole lot of fun. Followed by a free public book signing at 1.45pm. Tickets: £3 per person in addition to admission fee from
Jazz Words: Larkin’s Jazz and Christine Tobin’s Sailing to Byzantium
The Sage Gateshead: Sunday 7 April, 2pm
A two-part show hosted by Alyn Shipton with Ian Smith and Christine Tobin, plus special guest Sean O’Brien as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2013. The event will look at the long established relationship between jazz and poetry and how this is expressed through interpretations of works originally by two great poets, Philip Larkin and WB Yeats. Tickets: £13.50 with Jazz Festival Pass from
Catherine Graham & Sheree Mack
Morden Tower, Newcastle: Tuesday 9 April, 7.30pm
Tyneside poet Catherine Graham reads from her first full collection Things I Will Put In My Mother’s Pocket (Indigo Dreams Publishing), while Sheree will read from her most recent collections. Free event, no booking required.
Radikal Words
Northern Stage, Newcastle: Wednesday 10 April, 7.30pm
Radikal Words presents a night of the world’s best performance poets. Join poets Jean Binta Breeze, Tony Walsh, Andy Croft and Jenni Pascoe with music from Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, all hosted by Jeff Price. Tickets £7.50 on the door.
Mari Hannah book tour
Across the North East from 11 April
Northumberland crime writer Mari Hannah sees her third novel in the Kate Daniels series, Deadly Deceit, published on 11 April, and will be doing readings and signings across the North East throughout the month, including in Newcastle, Stockton, Hexham and South Shields. She’s also appearing at Hexham Book Festival on 28 April. You can get full details of where you can catch Mari and get a copy of the new book at
Heartwood: A Feast of Poetry with Linda France
Shepherds Dene, Riding Mill, Northumberland: Saturday 13 April, 6.30pm
Join poet Linda France for dinner and a poetry reading. Linda will read a selection of poems from Heartwood, created in collaboration with artist Kim Lewis. She will also give a taste of her work in progress, looking at botanic gardens in this country and abroad. Tickets: £20 from 01434 682212 or
Bob Beagrie: workshop and reading
NeST Gallery, Barnard Castle: Sunday 14 April, 4pm (workshop) & 5pm (reading)
Teesside poet Bob Beagrie leads a workshop on poetry, and performs a selection of his work. Workshop: £5, reading: free. Workshop places are limited and must be booked in advance on or call 01833 695172.
Degna Stone & Ric Hool
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Wednesday 17 April, 7pm
Red Squirrel Press invites you to the joint launch of Degna Stone’s latest pamphlet, Record and Play, and Cullercoats-born Ric Hool’s collection, Selected Poems. Free event. To reserve a ticket, email
Read Regional: Michael Stewart & Cassandra Parkin
Bishop Auckland Town Hall: Wednesday 17 April, 2.30pm
Meet authors Michael Stewart, whose debut novel King Crow was a recommended read for World Book Night 2012, and Cassandra Parkin, whose short story collection New World Fairy Tales won the 2011 Scott Prize. Free event, no booking required. For more information, see
Read Regional: Mari Hannah & Russ Litten
Stockton Central Library: Wednesday 17 April, 6.30pm
Two North East writers talk about and read from their novels: The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah and Scream If You Want To Go Faster by Russ Litten. Tickets: £2. Contact Claire Pratt on 01642 528044 for more details. For more information, see
Tishani Doshi & Priscila Uppal
Culture Lab, Newcastle University: Monday 22 April, 7.15pm
Tishani Doshi is an award-winning poet and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent. Her second poetry collection, Everything Begins Elsewhere, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2012. She will be joined by Priscila Uppal, a Canadian poet and fiction writer. Her first UK poetry selection, Successful Tragedies: Poems 1998-2010, draws on six collections of poetry published in Canada. Tickets: £6/£4/£2. For more details and to book, see
World Book Night Celebration
Berwick Library: Tuesday 23 April, 7.30pm- 9pm
A celebration of the written word, with contributions from some of Northumberland’s local authors, with readings from poet Anne Ryland, and novelists Bea Davenport and Barbara Morris. The Berwick Youth Theatre Group will perform from their forthcoming production of His Dark Materials: part 2 by Phillip Pullman. Free event, all welcome. Contact Berwick Library on 01289 334051 or
World Book Night Celebration: Agatha Christie and Art Deco
Thornaby Central Library: Tuesday 23 April, 7.15pm
Join Stockton Library Service to celebrate World Book Night in style and be transported back in time to the 1930s with History Wardrobe. Free World Book Night book for all (while stocks last). Admission: £7. Contact Claire Pratt on 01642 528044 for more details.
Fickling Lecture on Developments in Children’s Literature
Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University: Thursday 25 April, 5.30pm
The title of this year’s lecture is A Promise to Malala: Children’s Literature and Education for All with Sarah Brown, writer and charity campaigner. Education for All strives to get the 61 million children who are missing out on an education into school, and to reach the 200+ million more in need of education and learning. This lecture will make children’s literature the starting point for the basis of good learning and personal development. Free event, no booking is required. All spaces allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bradford International Film Festival April 11-21st 2013

Not long before this kicks off now and I thought my followers may be interested to learn some of the people who are featuring this time:

Tom Courtenay will be honoured with the festival Lifetime Achievement Award and on Sunday 14 April, he will be at the 50th anniversary screening of Billy Liar.  Also on the 14th, Aidan Goatley will present the Ten Films with my Dad show which is fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012 and previewing a small section of his new show, Aidan Goatley is Feeling Better Now.

The cast and crew of Magpie will appear on Saturday 20 April, as will European Features Competition nominated director Olmo Omerzu to talk about his debut feature A Night Too Young.  Also on the 20th there is the Bradford After Dark screening of The ABCs of Death.

     For more information please visit:
        Box Office 0844 856 3797      

Monday, 25 March 2013

Writing Fiction course in Hebden Bridge, April 2013

Just been sent the following information by Louise Marr:

A new course in Writing Fiction, run by the Workers’ Educational Association and taught by local author Anna Turner will be starting in April in Hebden Bridge. Full details can be found at: -  you should be able to book online but it's not saying that at the moment. However, people can book by phoning Linda Croft on 01706 818103 or emailing 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Ilkley Literature Festival news

Just been sent the following information from the Ilkley Literature Festival via email about two forthcoming events:

Special Talk on The Colony Room Club
In a special event, Sophie Parkin, author of The Colony Room Club, discusses the legendary Dean Street establishment, frequented over several generations by denizens of the Soho art world.
Known locally as ‘Muriel’s’ – after the proprietor, Muriel Belcher, a ‘theatrical Portuguese Jewish lesbian’, The Colony became a home from home for Francis Bacon, Dylan Thomas, Louis MacNeice, Charles Laughton, E.M. Forster, Tallulah Bankhead, as well as artists Frank Auerbach,  and Colquohoun and Macbryde who, like Bacon are represented in the Leeds collection.
Sunday 14 April, 2.30pm at Leeds Art Gallery.
Admission is FREE but donations to the Leeds Art Fund are very welcome.
Please book in advance, phone: 0113 247 8256 or email:


Apply for the 2013 Festival Fringe!
Writers, poets and live literature performers of all kinds including playwrights, singer songwriters, comedians from, or with strong links to, the Yorkshire Region are invited to submit an application to present an event at the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe 2013.
If you would like to stage a Fringe event then find out more, download an application form and return the completed form to us by Monday 13 May 2013.


Saturday, 23 March 2013


Found the following competitions that are free to enter:

The National Express short story competition.  Stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme 'take us on a journey.'  Deadline 28 April and the winning story will be e-published along with Jenny Colgan's new novel which is due out in Summer 2013.  Full competition rules are here


Rules for Writers Competition.  Impress the judges with your rule for writers and it’ll appear with these in No Cheap Tricks: A Guide for Writers, a new book by Matt Shoard, introduced by Tim Dowling and published by Wrecking Ball Press in November 2013. You’ll also be invited to its launch events and win £100 cash.  The best line will be selected by No Cheap Tricks publisher Shane Rhodes, editor Matt Shoard and writer Tim Dowling.  Send up to three lines of advice, and a brief bio, to by midnight on July 31st 2013. Good luck!

The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting - Britain's biggest playwriting competiton - is now open for entries.  First prize: £16,000.  Deadline 5pm Monday 3 June 2013.  Enter your play at

Crocus Memoir/Autobiographical Writing Competition 2013
The search is on to find the best budding memoir or autobiography writer in the north of England. Organisers Commonword are looking for the best opening three chapters from a previously unpublished memoir or autobiography. The winner will get £150 and their own writing mentor to help them get their autobiography/memoir to publishable standard. Six other promising writers identified through the competition will be provided with significant assistance with their writing. Deadline for submissions: 30 June. For more information, see

Friday, 22 March 2013

Snow Day & Bollywood play competition

It is like a blizzard out there today.  Schools have been cancelled and when I walked down through the snow to the newsagents to buy my lottery ticket for the $80million jackpot tonight, I found that the machines were down.  Will just have to brave the element again later on, because I just know that if I don't put my line on, my numbers will come up!

To keep you feeling toasty on this snow day, I thought I would share this competition that Diane Green has sent me:

Fancy winning £1,000 in our playwriting competition?

To celebrate 100 years of Indian Cinema, Freedom Studios is looking for a script for a 10-minute play that recreates the magic of Bollywood to be performed live in the heart of Bradford.

That's where you come in. Weʼre looking for a talented writer to bring Bollywood to Bradford. Do you have what it takes to write a slice of Bollywood? Can you transport us into a world of excitement, escapism and entertainment?

One more thing, Bollywood is all about glitz and glamour so we're giving 82,585 rupees* tp the lucky winner or if you prefer


The theme is up to you. Love, loss, hate, comedy or tragedy. Anything goes as long as it has that Bollywood spirit.
The winning entry will be performed live in Bradford in either outdoor or indoor venues for family audiences to enjoy in August 2013. It's up to you what you write about and even what language it's in (as long as it entertains the audience).

Just a few rules to remember:

Make sure itʼs 10 minutes long with a maximum of 3 characters.
No sets, but costumes and music encouraged.
Only one script entry per person and remember itʼs for live performance rather than film.
All submitted scripts must be original and have not been previously performed professionally.
The lucky winner must be available for meetings in Bradford with the director to discuss the
script and be able to complete any rewrites required for performance.

The winner must be willing to take part in publicity events organised by Freedom Studios.
The winning script will be announced on the website by 18th June 2013.
For a full list of terms and conditions, see the website

Deadline is

31st May 2013. To enter, please complete an entry form, available from our website

and send together with your script to

Alternatively send the entry form and script in the post to Freedom Studios, The Design Exchange, 34 Peckover Street, Little Germany, Bradford, BD1 5BD. Please note scripts will not be returned unless a stamped self-addressed envelope is included.
Freedom Studios is committed to promoting intercultural theatre practice and welcomes applications from a diverse range of artists from all backgrounds.
So what are you waiting for? Bollywood needs you!

* Exchange rate current as at 3 March 2013. Prize money will be £1,000 in sterling currency.

Freedom Studios

Telephone: 01274 730077


Thursday, 21 March 2013

World Poetry Day & Kirklees Events

Happy World Poetry Day everyone.  Speaking of poetry, Diane Green, Reader Development Officer for Kirklees has sent me the following information on forthcoming events:

·         Tuesday 19th March, 7.30-9.00pm   Rod and George spin Yorkshire Yarns and humorous monologues. Lindley Library.  Tickets £2 from the library. 01484 222172 or from any Kirklees box office 01484 223200 or on line at


·         Wednesday 20th March:  Write Out Loud Open Mic Poetry.  At Marsden Library from 7.30-9.30pm  and then on the 3rd Wednesday of every month.  Cost £2  An open-floor poetry evening, open to all to read a poem, your own or a favourite. Also open to short story tellers, singer/songwriters, etc.
Beginners encouraged and all welcome. This is a friendly and supportive club



·         Thursday 21st March, 7.30-9.30pm  Goosewing;  In 2011 Christine McMahon was commissioned to produce an original work of storytelling.  Goosewing is her resulting creation.  Told with Christine’s characteristic wit and warmth, Goosewing is a bittersweet tale of loss, hope and redemption.  And there are mice involved….You may even discover what use is a goose!  Storytelling from Christine McMahon with Paul Roberts on the violin at Holmfirth Civic Tickets £3/£2 from Holmfirth Library, Holmfirth Tourist Information Centre, from any Kirklees box office 01484 223200 or on line at



·         Wednesday 3rd April, 7.30-9.30pm   Jodi Picoult at Huddersfield Town Hall. A joint event from Kirklees libraries and Huddersfield Literature festival. Tickets £4/ £2 Kirklees Passports available online at, email to:, By phone: 01484 223200, or in person at Huddersfield Visitor Centre in the library.


·         Wednesday 3rd April, Storytailors; a friendly storytelling club for all

 at Marsden Library. 7.30-9.30pm and the 1st Wed of every month

Join us for STORY TAILORS,
Come tell a tale,
Sing a song,

Play a tune….

Or just come along and listen.

£2 including refreshments  For further information email


·      Wednesday 10th April meet author Judith Barrow at Slaithwaite library from 7.30-9.00pm.  Judith has written 2 books Pattern of Shadows and Changing Patterns. Two books set in Oldham during and after the 2nd World  War.  Pattern of Shadows: Mary is a nurse at a Lancashire prison camp for German POWs. Work is difficult but fulfilling, home just difficult. The only light on her horizon is a friendship with one of the German doctors  Changing Patterns: The war is over but Mary still has to keep her relationship with Peter, a German ex-POW, secret. Sister Ellen & best friend Jean expect Mary to fix their troubles too. A vivid story of austerity  Tickets £2, including refreshments, available soon from Slaithwaite library 01484 222500 or from Kirklees Booking Offices on 01484 223200 or on-line



·         Saturday Author Events 13th April  Alison Lock launches her new book of short stories Above the Parapet  11-12  Huddersfield Library.  Look beyond the every day and invoke the magic of the imagination with characters balanced at the edges of life. Enter the slipstream where ordinary events become unusual happenings. Tickets 50p include refreshments. From Huddersfield Visitor Centre in the library  and any box office. 01484 223200/222444 or on line at


·         Saturday Author Events  11th May at Huddersfield Library from 11-12  Gavin Extence author of The Universe versus Alex Woods which tracks wilful teenager Alex, who has a fascination with science and astronomy came about after he was put into a coma by a falling meteorite. When he breaks a window in next door's greenhouse, his mother insists that he offers to help out his elderly neighbour. A remarkable friendship develops the youngster and the reclusive Mr Peterson, Vietnam veteran, amputee, dope smoker and dedicated fan of Kurt Vonnegut.  Tickets 50p include refreshments. From Huddersfield Visitor Centre in the library  and any box office. 01484 223200/222444 or on line at


·         Tuesday 21st May watch out for Mandasue Heller  at a venue and time to be arranged.



Kirklees libraries are taking part in an exciting national initiative called ‘Reading Regional’ which promotes the work of northern writers.

Several local libraries are holding events where audiences will have the opportunity to listen to the author reading from and talking about their books, discuss the books with their authors, buy books and have them signed.


The project is in its third year and is organised by ‘New Writing North’ who are funded by the Arts Council.  Kirklees library service receives 100 books, reading guides and marketing material for taking part.


The first of many planned sessions took place at Marsden Library on Peel Street on Wednesday March 6, at 6.30pm with Cassandra Parkin, author of ‘New World Fairy Tales’ and Susanna Meese storyteller.


Further planned events include:


Mirfield Library, Easthorpe Lodge, Mirfield Wednesday April 24, 7.30pm

Featuring Annabel Pitcher a local author from Holmfirth and creator of ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece ’ which deals with the tragedy of a family torn apart by a terrorist attack.


Huddersfield Library, Alexandra Walk, Huddersfield, Thursday May 2, 7.30pm to 9pm

Pauline Plummer published her first collection of poetry in 1992 and since then other collections, readings, broadcasts, residencies and publications have followed.


Shepley Library, Marsh Lane, Shepley, Huddersfield, Thursday May 9, 7.30pm to 9pm

Alison Gangel is guest author and will be talking about her memoir ‘The Sun hasn’t fallen from the Sky’ which depicts skilfully, and without being sentimental or bleak, the dysfunctional family life into which she was born.   Tickets £2 at the library, or from Kirklees booking office (Huddersfield Library foyer) or by contacting 01484 223200 or visiting the website at



And from Batley Writers; we have a Poetry in the Park at Crow Nest Park, Dewsbury on Saturday, April 13th at 1.30. The theme is Love, Life and Leisure.

This event will be followed up later when Batley Writers theme the seasons on Saturday, May 18th (1.30),  Saturday, July 13th (1.30), and Saturday, October 5th (1.30).