Friday, 8 November 2013

New Writing North newsletter

How are you all doing with NaNoWriMo, still on track to complete the challenge I hope.  I am currently at 13,337 words.  How about you?

I thought my followers may be interested in seeing the latest newsletter from New Writing North:

25 October 2013
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
Get on air with Verb New Voices
Do you have something to say? Can you say it in verse – blank or free? Verb New Voices is looking for three talented artists (two between 18-30 and one of any age) from the north of England to create and perform a piece of new work for The Verb on Radio 3. The project – created by Arts Council England and supported by the BBC and organisations across the North, including New Writing North – aims to generate vibrant new writing that reflects something unique about Northern culture.
All you have to do to apply is write a statement of why you want to take part in the project, a professional biography and an outline of the piece you want to perform. Then record yourself – a mobile phone video uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo is fine – performing any piece of work (it doesn’t have to be the piece you want to develop).
Selected artists will receive a bursary of £2,500 and a package of in-kind support that includes professional development, working with voice coaches and a fully-funded place on an Arvon residential creative writing course. Deadline for entries: Friday 13 December. To find out more or to enter, see
Free Thinking about Another England
Michael Smith and Neil Bianco will be appearing at Sage Gateshead tomorrow Saturday 26 October at the Free Thinking Festival. They will be appearing at a live recording of The Verb, Radio 3’s ‘cabaret of the spoken word and new writing’, to talk to host and poet Ian McMillan about Another England, their sequence of films about the North commissioned by and premiered at the Durham Book Festival. The recording will be broadcast on Radio 3 on Friday 1 November.
Benjamin Myers wins Gordon Burn Prize
New Writing North is delighted to announce that Benjamin Myers was named winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize for his book Pig Iron (Bluemoose Books) at a special event at Durham Book Festival. Durham-born Ben will receive a £5,000 award and the opportunity to undertake a three-month writing retreat at Gordon’s cottage in Berwickshire. For the full story, see
If you weren't able to be there on the night and would to hear what you missed, a recording of the prize-giving event, with readings from four of the five shortlisted writers, is now on our SoundCloud stream at
Curtain falls on Durham Book Festival for another year
The chairs have been stacked in the corners, the books have been packed up, and the guests have gone home. There’s one last event to wrap up the festival – with festival laureate and award-winning poet Paul Muldoon premiering his festival commission – but essentially the Durham Book Festival is over for another year.
It has been a great festival, with a second full weekend of events and readings with compelling, fascinating speakers such as Lucy Worsley, Lynda La Plante, Lord Adonis, Chris Mullin and more. There has been politics, crime, speculative fiction, writing workshops and even a film screening. But the best programme in the world doesn’t matter without an audience, so thank you to everyone who attended events or bought books or even just passed on an email to someone you knew would be interested. And also to our marvellous team of hard-working and hard-worked volunteers, who helped us keep everything running smoothly. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.
In the meantime, if you attended any events, why not let us know what you thought of the festival by filling in our quick, online feedback form at
Senior project manager job reminder
There’s still time to apply to join New Writing North as a senior project manager, working with schools, teachers and young people alongside our young people’s programme manager. See for full information on the job and for how to apply. Deadline for applications: Friday 8 November.
November set to be Mari’s month
November is shaping up to be a pretty good month for writer Mari Hannah. Her novel Monument to Murder, the fourth instalment in the Kate Daniels series, will be published by Pan Macmillan on 21 November in the UK. But that’s not all, with Kate Daniels about to visit America, with The Murder Wall and Settled Blood both cued up for publication in the States. Can a US TV remake be far behind? If you want to catch Mari before she heads to Hollywood, she’ll be signing books in Waterstones, Sunderland, at 12pm-2pm on 23 November.
George’s poem selected for new human rights poetry anthology
Congratulations to Tyneside native George Currie whose poem A Potato is included in the human rights anthology In Protest. Drawn from over 600 submissions, In Protest consists of 150 poems exploring themes of human rights and social justice by poets such as Carol Anne Duffy and Douglas Dunne. To buy a copy of the anthology, go to
New collection from Sean Burn
Sean Burn’s third volume of poetry, is that a bruise or a tattoo?, has just been published by Shearsman Press. Order the book or download a pdf sampler of Sean’s work from You can also experience him reading aloud a number of poems from the book at
In the North
Fahrenheit Books turns up the heat in Teesside
A new used bookshop has opened in Middlesborough. Called Fahrenheit Books, the shop will be run by the Local Workers Coop and Teeside University students should take note that the shop will be focusing on non-fiction, academic and specialist interest books. So the Forbes Building on 309-321 Linthorpe Road might just be the place to find that one textbook that has been eluding you!
Carnival comes to Durham
The English Touring Opera are bringing Venice to Durham in November with a season of three operas written for Carnival: The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi; Agrippina by Handel and finally, Jason by Cavalli. Tickets: £25/£23.50. To find out more go or call the box office on 03000 266 600.
Red Squirrel Press Annual James Kirkup Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2013
This annual competition was established in 2009, in honour of the recently deceased poet and translator James Kirkup. The prize is publication of a 28 page poetry pamphlet. Email entries to as Word attachment or post to Pamphlet Competition, Red Squirrel Press, Briery Hill Cottage, Stannington, Morpeth, NE61 6ES. Entrance fee: £10. For full rules go to
Redeem the Limerick with IRON Press
IRON Press wants to rescue the reputation of the limerick. Submissions are invited from poets living in the UK or The Republic of Ireland for Limerick Nation, a new anthology co-edited by Peter Mortimer and Eileen Jones to be published in autumn 2014. Each limerick must feature a place name – which must be part of the poet’s current home address – as the last word of the first line. Submit a maximum of six limericks by post and including an SAE to ‘Limerick Nation’, IRON Press, 5 Marden Terrace, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 4PD. Closing date: 1 March 2014. Poets will receive two free copies of the anthology. More details at
BFI Film Academy screenwriting residential
A wonderful opportunity for young screenwriters (16-19) to take part in a BFI residential programme in January and February next year at Tyneside Cinema. The course aims to teach the craft skills necessary to succeed as a screenwriter, gain an exclusive insider’s view of how to break into the film business, and network with leading industry professionals including Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Tony Grisoni (Red Riding quartet) and script editor Kate Leys. Details of how to apply can be found at Deadline: 25 November.
The National Poetry Competion
Since it was first launched in 1978, the National Poetry Competition has been an important milestone for many poets, with past winners including Carol Ann Duffy, Philip Gross and Jo Shapcott. Now the 2013 National Poetry Competition is open for entries. This year’s judges are Julia Copus, Matthew Sweeney and Jane Yeh, and will be giving out prizes to top three winners and commendations to seven other writers. Deadline for submissions: 31 October. To find out more about the competition and to enter go to
Shakespeare Week: Call for proposals
In partnership with Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire libraries would like to commission two new performances inspired by Shakespeare (one for adults and one for children) to take place in Warwickshire libraries in 2014. Deadline for submissions: Friday 8 November. For more information, see
The Playwright’s Progress
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain is inviting emerging and established UK writers to take part in an inspiring new script development project. The project will give eight writers the opportunity to progress their career paths. Four writers will attend a three-day intensive workshop to develop their work in progress; the other four will be selected for the ‘potential’ of their draft plays. All eight writers’ work will be show to an audience of literary managers and theatre professionals. Deadline for submissions: Wednesday 11 December. To find out more, go to
Harrogate International Festivals: Literary festivals co-ordinator
Harrogate International Festivals are looking for a flexible, responsible co-ordinator who will support the literary festivals manager on the preparation and delivery of a varied portfolio of annual literature events. This role will also involve work across the wider organisation, encompassing the full portfolio of year-round events as needed. For more information and to apply, see Deadline for applications: Friday 8 November.
Impromptu Publishing: Subscription manager & administration
This role is responsible for the management and renewals of magazine subscribers, customer service enquires, liaising with clients, and office upkeep. For more information or to apply go to the Direct Gov website at
Swaledale Festival: Festival administrator
This role is responsible for securing funding, dealing with local businesses, musicians and volunteers and keeping the festival running smoothly. Deadline for applications: 8 November. For more information or to apply see
Civic Arts Theatre, Oswaldtwistle: Events and theatre management
This role is responsible for increasing community events at the Centre and for bringing in additional professional touring companies. Deadline for applications: Monday 11 November. For more information or to apply go to the Civic Arts Centre website at
Courses and workshops
Cloud Nine theatre workshops
Linskill Centre, North Shields: Date TBA
Cloud Nine Theatre artistic director Peter Mortimer is running a series of six two-hour playwriting workshops at the Linskill Centre in North Shields for eight selected writers. As well as giving the authors general playwriting skills, the workshops aim to develop one or more scripts specifically for performance at The Low Lights Tavern in North Shields. Interested writers are asked to submit, via email or post, their basic synopsis/idea for a play plus one sample page of dialogue (if sending by post, include an SAE). The workshops will begin after Christmas and each session costs £7, a total or £42 for the six weeks. Submissions close at the end of November. Contact Cloud Nine for more information at or call 0291 253 1901.
Curdella Forbes: Write with Your Ear masterclass
Newcastle City Library: Saturday 23 November
This Inscribe Masterclass with acclaimed Caribbean writer Curdella Forbes will explore the art of fiction. It will look in a general way at how writers ‘write down the bones’—plot, point of view, characterisation, etc, but will focus specifically on characterisation and dialogue. Cost: £15/£12. For more information and to book, go to
Script surgeries for theatre makers
Waterside Arts Centre: 19 November, 11am-5pm
Creative Industries Trafford and 24:7 Theatre Festival are joining forces at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, to offer 45-minute script or production surgeries with a script editor, a dramaturg and a technical producer. There are a total of 18 slots available throughout the day, six with each of the three experts, and sessions will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or to book a place on the workshop go to

Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Friday 1 November, 7.30pm
A poetic social history of electricity which highlights how our incremental understanding of its potency has allowed us to harness it for our own ends. In giving electricity a voice, which is both visceral and disturbing, Professor Graham Mort demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, who is really in charge of our universe. Tickets: £7/£5. To book and for more information, see

Kevin Cadwallender: Making Buildings out of Gods and Glue

Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Monday 4 November, 7pm
Red Squirrel Press invites you to the launch of Kevin Cadwallender’s new poetry collection, Making Buildings out of Gods and Glue. Free admission, everyone welcome. For more information email Sheila Wakefield at or see

Gothic fiction with Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan

Seven Stories, Newcastle: Wednesday 6 November, 6pm
Holly Black is the US author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books, including The Spiderwick Chronicles, and her new book, The Coldest Girl in Cold Town. Sarah Rees Brennan is the Irish author of Unspoken, Untold, and the bestselling Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. Come along to hear all about their books, writing and inspirations – and find out their top tips on how to write a book of your own. Entry: £3 (no additional admission fee). Suitable for ages 11+. For more information and to book visit

Vivienne Toon: Geordie Land to No Man’s Land

Waterstones, Newcastle: Sunday 10 November, 12pm
Author Vivienne Toon signs copies of From Geordie Land to No Man’s Land, a chronicle of a Geordie at war in the trenches, in Waterstones ahead of Remembrance Sunday. Free event. For further details call 0843 290 8503.

Tomboys and Good Sports: Diversity and Stereotypes in Children’s Literature

Seven Stories, Newcastle: Sunday 10 November, 1.30pm
Award-winning author Helen Limon and children’s book consultant Jake Hope explore diversity and stereotypes in children’s literature, beginning with Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five. Head down to the Seven Stories Café after the event and enjoy tea and cake with Helen and take the chance to chat about your favourite characters. Tickets: £5/£3. For more information and to book, see

Steve Chambers: Gladio: We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny

Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Monday 11 November, 7pm
Steve Chambers reads from his new novel, Gladio: We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny, an explosive political thriller set in Yorkshire in 1984 and 20 years later in mainland Europe. Based on real events, it tells the story of an ambitious young journalist who uncovers a murderous right wing conspiracy during the miners’ strike and takes it on. There will also be an opportunity to get your books signed after the reading. Free event. To book or for more information visit

Lecture: Art About Aids

Newcastle City Library: Wednesday 13 November, 5pm
Author Dr Paul Attinello talks about how, during the past three decades, many artworks in all media have been created in response to AIDS and its impact on people’s lives. In this talk he takes a look at some of the trends those works have represented, including examples of stories, poetry, music, theatre, film, and the visual arts. Admission free. For more information go to

Gervase Phinn: The School Inspector Calls

Waterstones, Darlington: Thursday 14 November, 12.30pm
Local author Gervase Phinn signs copies of his new novel, The School Inspector Calls, the third in the Barton-in-the-Dale series, at Waterstones. For further details call 01325 465 666.

Lit & Phil Book Sale

Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Friday 15 (10am-4pm), Saturday 16 (10am-4pm) & Sunday 17 November (12 noon-4pm)
Always some great bargains to be had – fill your bags at this legendary annual event. Admission: £1. For more information, see

Mari Hannah and David Jackson: Duelling crime writers

Bedlington Community Centre: Saturday 16 November, 7pm
Join two Pan Macmillan authors to discover what crime writers really want to know about each other, cross-examine them about the tricks of the trade, and discover their most closely guarded writing secrets. Tickets: £5. To find out more or to book visit

Tommy Donbavand: Dr Who is only 50, or is he?

Newcastle City Library: Saturday 16 November, 2pm
Join Tommy Donbavand, author of Dr Who novel The Shroud of Sorrow, to celebrate Dr Who’s 50th birthday. Guaranteed hilarity and lots of fun! Presented by Reading Activists Newcastle. Free event. For more information or to book visit

Jim Smith: I Am Not a Loser

Seven Stories, Newcastle: Sunday 17 November, 2pm
Find out how Jim Smith, author of the hugely popular Barry Loser series, creates his off-the-wall stories, read Barry’s hilarious notebooks where he documents his life at home and school in a desperate attempt to prove that he is NOT a loser. Admission: £3 plus admission fee or get a ticket to this event free if you buy a copy of I Am So Over Being a Loser from the Seven Stories online store. To book or for more information visit

Radikal Words

Northern Stage, Newcastle: Wednesday 20 November, 7.30pm
This eclectic spoken word night, hosted by Jeff Price, brings you the finest poets from around the UK and the North East. This month, headliner Maxwell Golden shares the bill with Kate Fox, local favourites Scott Tyrell and Ann Porro, and writer, musician, poet and director of York Literature Festival Miles Salter. Tickets: £8.50. For more information or to book call 0191 230 5151.

Michael Connelly: The Gods of Guilt

Waterstones, York: Monday 25 November, 12.30pm
Join best-selling crime author Michael Connelly for a lunchtime signing of his new book, The Gods of Guilt. Copies of the book can be reserved by anyone unable to attend the event if they call the store. Free event. For further details call 01904 628 740.

Vane Women Winter Sparkle

Conservatory Bar, Darlington Civic Theatre: Monday 25 November, 7.30pm
The Vane Women’s writers’ collective invite audiences to come along to an evening of poems, prose and puns that are guaranteed to warm the cockles on a cold winter’s night. Spoken word authors are also welcome to bring along a piece of their own for the open mic. Tickets: £5/£3. Call  01325 486 555 for more information.

Motion and Bunting: An Evening of Poetry

Queen’s Hall, Hexham: Friday 29 November, 7pm
A special evening of poetry with the winners of this year’s Basil Bunting poetry competition, followed by a public reading of his poetry by the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, who is also judging this year’s awards. Sir Andrew will read from his latest acclaimed collection, The Customs House. Tickets: £12/£10. For more information or to book go to or call 01434 652 477.

Books On Tyne

Newcastle City Library and Lit & Phil: Thursday 28 November-Sunday 1 December
Books on Tyne, presented by the Lit & Phil and Newcastle City Library, celebrates a sense of place with a fantastic range of speakers who have something to say about the North. Guests include master storyteller David Almond, journalist Kate Adie, crime writers Ann Cleeves and Mari Hannah, poets Jean Sprackland and Katrina Porteous, Radio 4 sound magician Sarah Blunt, sportswriter Harry Pearson, Newcastle 1980s expert Chris Phipps, Gail-Nina Anderson, Michael Chaplin, and many more, plus book art exhibition by Theresa Easton, and a festival bookshop. Ticket prices: from £2-£8, with many events free. To find out more information or to book visit or phone City Library on 0191 277 4100, or the Lit and Phil on 0191 232 0192.

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