Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Writing North newsletter December 2014

Thought my followers would be interested in the latest New Writing North newsletter:

20 December 2013
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
Northern Writers’ Award win takes Zaffar Kunial from Hallmark to Wordsworth
New Writing North was delighted to learn that Northern Writers’ Award winner Zaffar Kunial, who also won third prize in the National Poetry Competition in 2011, has been announced as the Wordsworth Trust’s 2014 poet in residence. Already a full-time writer at Hallmark Cards, the West Yorkshire poet was awarded a Northern Writers’ Award of £5,000 by New Writing North in 2013 to buy him time to write his debut poetry collection.

‘I don’t have a pamphlet or a collection to my name, and haven’t been submitting to magazines,’ he said. ‘So winning a top Northern Writers’ Award (for a portfolio of 25 poems) gave me the confidence to at least apply for the Wordsworth Trust residency.’

For further information, please see https://wordsworth.org.uk/poetry/zaffarkunial.html.

We are currently accepting submissions for this year's Northern Writers’ Awards. For more information and to apply, go to www.northernwritersawards.com. The deadline is 17 January.
Happy holidays
The New Writing North office will be closed from Friday 20 December to Monday 6 January. We would like to wish all our readers a merry Christmas and a happy new year and hope the festive season treats you all well.
Legend picks up Bea’s crime novel
Legend Press has announced the acquisition of a second novel by Berwick-based author Barbara Henderson, who writes as Bea Davenport. This Little Piggy is a dark crime novel set in 1984, against the background of the miners’ strike. This Little Piggy will be published in October 2014 and is one of Legend’s lead titles for next autumn. It will be a busy year for Bea, whose debut children’s novel, The Serpent House, will be published by Curious Fox in June 2014.
New comedy magazine seeks writers
Stand & Deliver is a new magazine for alternative comedy, based in Newcastle upon Tyne and founded by a graduate of Northumbria University. The magazine, which celebrates the subject of comedy, is looking for like-minded writers to contribute who have an interest and passion for the subject. Stand & Deliver, which will contain a mix of articles, features, storytelling, poetry, photography, illustration and design, will focus on celebrating comedy by getting under its skin. If you are a writer and interested in contributing to a new and exciting project, email danielle@standanddelivermag.com.
Popshot Magazine open for submissions
Popshot Magazine is looking for literary submissions for its eleventh issue, on the theme of ‘Journeys’. They are looking for original, thought-provoking writing that addresses the theme and captures the imagination of the readers. The full submissions guidelines can be found on the submit page at http://popshotpopshot.com/submit.
2014 Papatango New Writing Prize
Papatango’s commitment to staging new work and their anonymous entry criterion means that anyone, anywhere can break through with them – all they need is a brilliant new play. The winner will receive a full four-week production at the Finborough Theatre, publication by Nick Hern Books, and a cash award. Deadline for submissions: 31 March. See http://papatango.co.uk/the-2014-prize/ for more information and submission guidelines.
Spotlight First Novel Competition
Can you write a winning synopsis? If you are writing a novel, you might need a little help to attract the attention of agents and publishers. The Spotlight First Novel Competition offers one lucky winner a showcase, along with input and support. Fee: £16. Deadline: 14 February. For full details go to www.adventuresinfiction.co.uk/news-spot.html.
The Listening Post
Hannah Silva: Spoken word workshops
ARC Stockton: 9 January, 6.30pm
Live Theatre, Newcastle: 10 January, 5pm

Birmingham-based poet and theatre practitioner Hannah Silva is one of the most distinctive and experimental voices working in spoken word today. In January, artists and audiences have three chances to experience her distinctive style, as Apples and Snakes team up with ARC and Live Theatre. Hannah will be taking New Approaches to Spoken Word at ARC Stockton on 9 January, before heading to Live Theatre, where she’ll be Playing with Words on Friday 10 January and then performing live with Beccy Owen at 8pm. Ticket prices available from venues.
Phantoms at the Phil
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Monday 6 January, 7pm
Seasonal, but tinsel-free, experience at the Lit & Phil, that is guaranteed to give you chills that have nothing to do with the weather. In what is now a spooky tradition, Phantoms royalty Gail-Nina Anderson and Sean O’Brien welcome Margaret Wilkinson as a guest-writer for an evening of ghostly stories in a literary setting. Tickets: £5/£3. For more information, go to
Stevie Ronnie and Susannah Pickering
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Monday 20 January, 7pm
Stevie Ronnie and Susannah Pickering, who have previous collaborated on the Bibliotech and Dear Angel installations, are back. This time the multi-disciplinary artists are launching a poetry collection. Free event. For more information, see
Ann Cleeves: Harbour Street
Gateshead Central Library: 30 January, 7pm
Join acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves in Gateshead, where she will be talking about her characters, her writing and the sixth novel starring Vera Stanhope, Harbour Street. Tickets: £3 (free to members of Gateshead Library Reading Group). To book in advance call 0191 433 8420.

Martin Daws @ Trashed Organ
Bridge Hotel, Newcastle: 30 January, 8pm
Trashed Organ have teamed up with Apples and Snakes to programme January’s event featuring spoken word artist Martin Daws. This North East-based live literature and music collective create exciting events that mix poetry, music and theatre. Tickets: £4/£3. For more information go to
www.trashedorgan.co.uk or see www.martindaws.com.
Writing groups and workshops
Writing fiction with Bernardine Evaristo
Leeds (venue TBC): Saturday 8 February, 11am-5pm
This Inscribe Masterclass with Bernardine Evaristo will cover some of the basic techniques involved in writing fiction. It is suitable for those already writing short stories and novels and who want to develop their craft or refresh their skills. Bernardine will explore plot, structure and subject matter; characterisation, point of view and setting; and language, style and originality. The workshop will involve discussion and practical exercises. Fee: £15/£12 concs. (incl. Inscribers). For more information contact
info.inscribe@peepaltreepress.com. To book go to http://inscribefiction-bevaristo-feb.eventbrite.co.uk/.
Deadline for the next newsletter
If you have news that you would like to submit for inclusion in the newsletter please contact tammy@newwritingnorth.com. The deadline for receipt of information for the next newsletter is 13 January. The next edition of The Listening Post, covering February’s literature events, will go out in late January. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion for this you will need to send information by 20 January to tammy@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.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Good Housekeeping Novel competition, deadline 28 February 2014

good housekeeping

Thanks to my fellow blogger Blog About Writing for the following competition information:
If you buy the January 2014 edition of Good Housekeeping (UK only, the one with the new, slimline Clare Balding on the cover), you'll see there's an entry form on page 71 for their latest novel-writing competition.

They're asking entrants to send in: the entry form (so you have to buy the magazine); a full synopsis of your story in 2 pages at the most; 5000 words of the novel and a 100 word 'mini biography' of yourself .

You can't be considered if you've already had a novel published and/or if you've got an agent.

First prize is publication, an advance of £25,000, plus advice from a literary agent and the editorial team at Orion. But even if you're not a winner, there's a day of workshops for the 10 shortlisted writers and laptops for 3 runners-up.

You've got until 28th Feb 2014 to submit your work.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

BBC Radio Drama Reading Unit Opening Lines submissions 6 Jan - 14 Feb 2014

Thanks to my fellow blogger Sally Jenkins for the following competition information:

Submission guidelines

The BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit welcomes submissions from writers new to radio* for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

The next window for sending in material is January 6th – February 14th 2014. We are unable to respond to unsolicited stories submitted outside this time-frame.

As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories we publish transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period on the Opening Lines programme pages. The three successful writers will be invited to London for an afternoon in Broadcasting House and the chance to see their stories recorded.

*Writers who have previously had a story/stories broadcast on network radio or have substantial writing credits in other areas of radio (e.g. comedy and drama) are not eligible for this series.

We are looking for original short stories which work being read out loud i.e. with a strong emphasis on narrative and avoiding too much dialogue, character description and digression. Pay particular attention to how the story opens and closes. We’ll be looking to see whether the beginning of a story successfully links to how it ends.

We are interested in seeing stories which cover a broad range of subject-matter but material which explores particularly dark, harrowing themes is not best suited to Opening Lines. We recommend visiting the Opening Lines programme pages to read transcripts of stories which have featured in recent series (bbc.in/r4openinglines).

Stories must not contain defamatory, obscene or any other unsuitable material which is likely to cause offence to a wide audience of all ages.

The time allotted for each story is up to 14 minutes, which means submissions must be between 1,900 and 2,000 words in length. We are unable to consider stories which fall outside these parameters.

When submitting your work, you must include a brief covering letter giving your name, e-mail address (if applicable), the story’s title, word count and details of writing track record. Please could you also tell us how you heard about the creative window and Opening Lines. Stories can be submitted either electronically or typed and double-spaced on A4 paper. We regret that we can only accept one submission per writer. Please send us a copy of your story, not your original work as we are unable to return submissions.

We will read all eligible submissions and get in touch with those writers whose stories have been shortlisted for the 2014 series of Opening Lines by Friday 16th May, 2014. We regret that we are unable to respond to those writers whose stories haven’t been selected.

If you would like to submit work to the London office you can e-mail your story to us at OpeningLines@bbc.co.uk or you can send it to BBC Radio Drama Readings, Room 8015, Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Short Story YA fiction competition, deadline 3 March 2014

Mardibooks are offering up to 30 IdeasTap members the chance to have their work published in a young adult fiction IdeasTap/Mardibooks e-book anthology sold on Amazon.


The Mardibooks team
The judges are looking for an original idea, well devised, with an interesting story and developed characterisation. It should be cogent and with an intriguing use of imagery, setting and atmosphere. There should be an interesting use of language and considered and appropriate structural devices.


03/03/14 05:00 PM
days to go


Are you the new JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins? Well we’ve got just the opportunity for you...
Our pals at Mardibooks are offering up to 30 IdeasTap members the chance to have their work published in a young adult fiction IdeasTap/Mardibooks e-book anthology sold on Amazon.
Young adult fiction is usually prose written for readers aged 16 to 25, and so the tone and construction of your short story will need to fit this demographic.

The Mardibooks team is looking for an original idea, well devised, with an interesting story and developed characterisation. Your stories need to show an interesting use of language and considered and appropriate structural devices. Submissions should be from 1,200 to 5,000 words in length.
About Mardibooks

Mardibooks was set up by writers Martin Godleman and Belinda Hunt in 2011 to publish and promote writers with talent, but with no access to the publishing world.

Mardibooks primarily give their time to writers providing advice, editing, proof reading and preparing texts for publication as ebook and/hard copy. They then manage the publishing and distribution including showing writers how best to promote themselves.

This brief closes on Monday 3 March 2014 at 5pm and is open to IdeasTap members aged 16 and over. If you have any technical queries, visit the help centre. Late entries will not be accepted under any circumstances, including technical issues – so make sure you don’t leave your application to the last minute.

Image used under Creative Commons from Christchurch City Libraries.

Follow this brief to download the application form

How to apply

To apply, first click the Follow this brief button. A link to download the application form will then appear - download it and fill it out thoroughly.

Once you've saved your application form, click Apply now – and then just follow the instructions on the page.

Please upload supporting material to your IdeasTap portfolio – the judges will look at this when evaluating your application.

And make sure that you have a photo on your profile. As with all IdeasTap briefs, you have to have a profile photo or image to be eligible. It doesn't have to be a headshot, and you won't be judged on the quality of the image.

This brief closes on Monday 3 March 2014 at 5pm and is open to IdeasTap members aged 16 and over. If you have any technical queries, visit the help centre. Late entries will not be accepted under any circumstances, including technical issues – so make sure you don’t leave your application to the last minute.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Mumsnet/Gransnet/Walkers Writing Competition and Writers Bureau Monthly Competition

Thanks to my fellow blogger Blog About Writing for the following competition information:

Mumsnet/Gransnet/Walkers Writing Competition (c/d 6th Jan 2014)

Mumsnet/Gransnet and Walker books have just announced details of another free-to-enter children’s story competition. The ten chosen stories (which have to have an ‘animal’ theme), will be published in a new book and will earn their authors a lovely £500.

All the details are here and you haven’t got long, as the closing date is 6th January 2014.

Writers Bureau Monthly Competition (c/d 31st Dec 2013)

But if writing for children’s not your thing (or you’re not eligible to enter), then don’t despair. The Writers Bureau have announced the winner of last month’s competition and published the details of their new December competition – which is a treasure hunt!
From past experience, these are tricky but if you want to get your hands on a Comprehensive Writing Course, just in time for the New Year, then here are all the details. It’s free to enter and open to anyone, anywhere.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Time of the Doctor Christmas Special review

Doctor Who's Christmas outing takes over Twitter

As a family of Whovians, we were very much looking forward to the Dr Who Christmas Special this year, though with sadness too as Matt Smith makes his exit.  We have come to really love Matt's incarnation of the Dr, though for us David Tennant will always be our favourite.  Matt Smith is a very close second though, ably helped by excellent storylines and better villains.

It was a little bit of a shock to see the Dr naked though :)

Smith gets naked in Who Christmas special

For those of you that missed it:

Matt Smith in Doctor WHo

And who would have thought that the church of the future would mean you have to go nude.  Well, I suppose it is one way to get bums on pews.

Seriously though, with most of the enemies of the Dr gathered at Trenzalore, including our personal favourites the Daleks, Cybermen, Silence and Weeping Angels, we knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary trip.  Once Clara (Jenna Coleman of Captain America: The First Avenger, Emmerdale) was whisked away from her Christmas family dinner (with a lovely surprise treat of Benidorm's Madge, Sheila Reid (Brazil, The Dresser) as her Grandma) the last thing she was thinking of was what they must have thought to her new 'Swedish' boyfriend.

The 'head psycho space nun' Orla Brady (Wuthering Heights, Fringe) sends him down to protect a planet, where he has to keep saving the town of Christmas over and over again from constant attacks from all of his enemies.

Doctor Who (2005)

It was so lovely to see a cameo from Karen Gillan (Not Another Happy Ending, Outcast) as Amy Pond saying goodbye to her raggedy man.

Doctor Who Amy Pond Raggedy Man

With nods to River Song (loved that he 'went and married her' and that he 'wouldn't be where he was now if it wasn't for River Song'), other Drs ('the tenth Dr had vanity issues' and 'let's not forget Mr Grump') and to the omnipotent Time Lords, it had pretty much everything a Whovian could wish for on Christmas Day.  When it came to the regeneration (as established in the Deadly Assassin, the Dr can only regenerate 12 times or 13 incarnations of the Dr in total), those pesky Time Lords came in handy as they passed power onto the Dr they loved (thanks Impossible Girl) to enable him to regenerate once more.

For me, I did wonder about Matt's last line 'I will always remember when the Dr was me' if it was referring to how Matt felt about this star-making role or if it was a nod to the Dr now no longer being the Dr.  When this was followed up by Peter Capaldi (World War Z, The Thick of It) asking Clara how to fly the Tardis, I thought it was less a nod to Capaldi's age in the role (Alzheimers setting in now he is over 900 years old) but rather to the possibility of him now being an amalgamation of the remaining Time Lords (this would be one way to get into a world being protected by The Time Lord and attacked by all of the worst species in the Universe).  What does anyone else think?

We were so sad to see Matt go but are interested to see what Capaldi does with the Dr now.

The moment Peter Capaldi made his Doctor Who debut


#MattSmith  #TheTimeOfTheDr  #DrWho

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Merry Christmas to all my followers:

Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas with your loved ones x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug movie review

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) Poster

Went to see this movie yesterday and apart from the spiders, I really enjoyed it.

IMDB says: The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

Peter Jackson's film is very dark and epic, as it should be and there has been a lot added to this movie that was not there in the book.

Ian McKellan (Stardust, X-Men) stars as Gandalf once more and Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Love Actually) as Bilbo Baggins.  Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger, Robin Hood) stars as Thorin the rightful King of the Dwarves wanting to reclaim his homeland and he has his faithful comrades Balin (Ken Stott of Shallow Grave, King Arthur), Dwalin (Graham McTavish of Columbiana, Rambo), Bifor (William Kircher of Out of The Blue, Send a Gorilla), Bofur (James Nesbitt of Bloody Sunday, Murphy's Law), Bombur (Stephen Hunter of Ladies Night, All Saints), Fili (Dean O'Gorman of The Almighty, Young Hercules), Kili (Aidan Turner of Being Human, The Mortal Instruments: Coty of Bones), Oin (John Callen of The Man Who Lost His Head, Love Birds), Gloin (Peter Hambleton of The Last Tattoo, The Rainbow Warrior), Nori (Jed Brophy of District 9, The Warrior's Way), Dori (Mark Hadlow of Meet the Feebles, King Kong) and Ori (Adam Brown of Minimum, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).

Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabethtown) stars once more as Legolas and Evangeline Lily (Lost, Real Steel) as Tauriel.  Lee Pace (Lincoln, The Fall) stars as Thranduil, Legolas' father and Cate Blanchett (Hanna, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) appears briefly as Galadriel. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness) is unmistakable as the Necromancer/Smaug and the scenes with the dragon are exceptional.

Sylvester McCoy (Dr Who, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) reprises his role as Radagast and Luke Evans (Immortals, The Raven) plays Bard/Girion.

All in all a very good movie and we can't wait for the finale.

Tagline: Beyond darkness... beyond desolation... lies the greatest danger of all.                   9/10

#WhatHaveIDone  #TheHobbit

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Bookseller essay competition, deadline 10 January 2014

Thanks to my fellow blogger Displacement Activity for the following competition information:

From The Bookseller: "Last month The Bookseller launched an essay competition that looked at the future of the publishing business. The winner was published here


The next subject, for publication in The Bookseller of 24th January 2014, is the future of 'the book'. What will it look like? How will it be produced/imagined? How will readers use it? Will it be commercially viable? Should we ever stop re-imaging it? Over what time-frame will this change occur?


Essays up to 1,000 words in length should be submitted by 10th January 2014 to: philip.jones@thebookseller.com


The winning essay will be published in The Bookseller, with the writer invited to join the roster of judges for the following month's competition."


More details and the original article that this was summarised from may be found here: http://www.futurebook.net/content/future-book-part-654

Sunday, 22 December 2013

New Writing North newsletter December 2013

Thought my followers may be interested in viewing the latest New Writing North newsletter:

    December 2013
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
Cuckoo Press free with NARC
Have you got hold your copy of Cuckoo Press yet? Distributed free with regional music and culture magazine NARC. and packed full of the best fiction, poetry and cultural journalism by young people under 23, including Cuckoo regulars such as Hannah Morpeth, Daniella Watson and Jacob Armstrong, it really is the place to go for brilliant new writing and cultural comment from a young person's perspective.
Something for everyone at Northern Writers’ Awards
Whether you are a poet, a young person between 12-18, a woman over 43 writing her first book, or just in need of some time to write, there’s something for you at www.northernwritersawards.com
New writers have found that winning a Northern Writers’ Award helps to get them noticed by agents and publishers and lifts them onto the first rung of the ladder towards publication. For more established writers, awards can buy precious time to undertake a new project or to support work in progress that has not yet been commissioned. 
The deadline for applications for this year's awards is 17 January.
Ian Duhig opens TS Eliot Prize event
As part of his role as a judge of this year’s TS Eliot Prize, poet Ian Duhig, who won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2013, will be opening the TS Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings event at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 12 January by reading a poem by TS Eliot. The evening is one of the biggest, and best attended, poetry events in the UK, and will, as usual, be hosted by Ian McMillan, who was himself a Northern Writers’ Award judge in 2013. To book, go to www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/ts-eliot-prize-readings-2014-79223 or call 0844 875 0073.
Congratulations to Bud Craig and Claire Moss, a Darlington father and daughter with literary ambitions and a November publication date in common. Bud’s crime novel, Tackling Death, was published by Not So Noble Books on 3 November, while Claire’s second book, modern romance Who Do You Think You Are?, was published by Carina UK on 29 November. Not So Noble Books is also publishing gritty North East crime thriller Ten Steps Short by Thomas Henry Richardson.
New book from Ben Myers
Benjamin Myers, winner of the 2013 Gordon Burn Prize and a judge for the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize, has a new book out this week. Snorri & Frosti is a limited edition paperback via 3AM Press. Described variously as a short novel, a long short story, and a poem, the book is definitely about two elderly brothers in a snowbound cabin somewhere in Northern Europe. It might also, Ben suggests, make a good Christmas present. The book is priced £10 and can be bought from Galley Beggar Press or as an ebook.
Butcher’s Dog 3 open for submissions
Butcher’s Dog, the biannual poetry magazine founded by a group of poets who all won Northern Promise Awards from New Writing North, is open for submissions for issue 3, to be published in spring 2014. Based in the north of England, Butcher’s Dog is eager to receive work from writers who – by birth, domicile or inclination – feel a connection to the region, while still welcoming submissions from anywhere in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Deadline for submissions: 10 February. For more information go to www.butchersdogmagazine.com/2012/05/submissions.html.
Mslexia Short Story Competition
The competition run by the magazine for women who write is open now for unpublished stories of up to 2,200 words. Mslexia accepts work on all subjects, so write about anything and everything you fancy. The winning stories will be published in Mslexia as well as receiving cash prizes. For more information and to enter the competition go to www.mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/scomp_active.php.
The International Anthony Burgess Foundation: Archivist
An archivist is required to catalogue and make available to the public The International Anthony Burgess Foundation’s extensive and unusual collection of books, music, manuscripts, photographs, audio recordings, films and papers relating to Anthony Burgess and his contemporaries. The successful candidate will be responsible for creating an online catalogue, commissioning essential conservation work, devising a digitisation strategy for the collections and for delivering public events and activities. The deadline for applications is 6 January 2014. For more information and to apply see www.anthonyburgess.org/collections/job-opportunity-archivist.
Be a Costa judge and vote for your favourite short story
Last year Bishop Auckland author Avril Joy won the inaugural 2012 Costa Short Story Awards with her story, Millie and the Bird. So how do this year’s short stories stack up against her work? Go to the Costa Short Story Awards website to find out, and vote for this year’s winner.
Mslexia Writer’s Diary 2014: five copies to give away
The Mslexia Writer's Diary 2014 is now available to order! Or you can win one from New Writing North by commenting on @newwritingnorth with the answer to this question: Who is the editorial director of Mslexia?
This year the diary is about a writer's creative journey. Whatever their starting point, the diary provides a motivational map to guide them through the year ahead. And every month, like signposts along the way, it provides insights from classic and contemporary writing guides by some of the wisest and wittiest women authors of the last 100 years – along with exercises to help the writer apply that advice to their own work.