Sunday, 24 August 2014

New Writing North newsletter

Here is the latest New Writing North newsletter that I thought my followers would be interested in viewing:

August 2014
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
Durham Book Festival programme revealed
Booking is now open for this year’s Durham Book Festival, which takes place from 6-18 October in venues around Durham. We’re thrilled with this year’s line-up, which includes many household names from literature, politics and broadcasting, including Kate Adie, John Carey, Laura Bates, Kirsty Wark, Jung Chang, Sheila Hancock and Kate Tempest.
There are several new commissions for this year, including a new poem from Festival Laureate, poet Paul Farley. We sent writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie to explore the Durham Dales and report back about his experiences, while Economist journalist Anne McElvoy has been visiting Easington Colliery, where she met some of those photographed by Keith Pattison in his seminal images of the Miners’ Strike.
We’re also celebrating North East writers, with events featuring Debbie Taylor, Lauren Owen, Dan Vyleta, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Bryan and Mary Talbot, Andy Croft, Bill Herbert, Linda France and Ben Myers.
See the full programme of events and book online at the new festival website at
Durham Book Festival for Schools
Teachers! Don’t forget to book your events at Durham Book Festival for Schools, which takes place on 6 and 7 October. Join authors Meg Rosoff, Mick Manning and Brita Granström, Helen Stephens, and Daljit Nagra for two days of special events at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School. There is also a special twilight session with Daljit Nagra, who will lead a poetry writing workshop for teachers. To find out more go to
Gordon Burn Prize shortlist announced
We’re delighted to announce the shortlist of the second Gordon Burn Prize, which is run in partnership by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, and was conceived to pay tribute to the legacy of the late author.
The prize seeks to recognise writers whose work follows in the fearless footsteps of Newcastle-born Burn. This year’s judges are the comedian, actor and musician Julian Barratt, poet John Burnside, artist Sarah Lucas, and novelist Benjamin Myers, winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize in 2013.
The winner will be announced on 10 October at a special event to open Durham Book Festival. Lee Brackstone, Gordon Burn’s editor at Faber & Faber and one of the prize’s founders said, ‘This year’s prize threw up a shortlist which is embarrassingly rich and strong in literary qualities that Gordon, we hope, would have found attractive. Gordon’s literary intelligence was quixotic, egalitarian, and always questing for new experience to be presented in a novel fashion… We hope you will feel compelled to read each of the books on the shortlist and reach back into Gordon’s extensive backlist to see thematically and stylistically these books correspond to the work of one of the great English literary writers of the late 20th century.’
The shortlist The Valley, Richard Benson (Bloomsbury) The Kills, Richard House (Picador) The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound) The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, Olivia Laing (Canongate) American Interior, Gruff Rhys (Hamish Hamilton) The Free, Willy Vlautin (Faber & Faber)
The Worst Princess
Following the success of last year’s My Granny is a Pirate, we’re hard at work on The Worst Princess, our brand new children’s show for under 7s. Adapted by Carina Rodney from the gorgeous picture book written by Anna Kemp and illustrated by Newcastle-based Sara Ogilvie, the production will be touring 40 community venues in County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, as well as festivals in Sheffield and Manchester this autumn.
With original live music, an amazing picture book-inspired set, and North East actors alongside musicians from Sage Gateshead, the show promises to be a wild and fun-filled adventure into a world of princesses, princes and dragons, where characters defy expectations and learn to be themselves. The show opens on 29 September at Gateshead Old Town Hall and a list of all dates and venues is available at Book soon because many dates sold out last year!
The Worst Princess is produced by New Writing North in association with Sage Gateshead and support from bait for Durham Book Festival.
NEW for September: Cuckoo Young Writers groups in Sunderland, Newcastle and Cramlington
Cuckoo Young Writers are now recruiting young people aged 12-19 years for our fortnightly Young Writers sessions starting from Saturday 13 September. Focusing on various styles of writing, sessions are drop in, free and run from 11am-1pm. If you are an aspiring writer, or know someone who is, drop Nick Malyan a line at or call him on 0191 204 8852 for more information.
Cramlington Cuckoo group leader wanted
We’re seeking a creative person with an interest in working with young people to take on a new role as part of our Cuckoo Young Writers programme. Working alongside a professional writer, the candidate would run weekly sessions supporting young writers with creative projects. Sessions take place on Saturday mornings from 11am-1pm in Cramlington and are paid at a rate of £25p/h. Trained Arts Award Advisor preferred. For more details download the job description here.
To express an interest in this opportunity please write to Nick Malyan explaining why your experience and ambition would make you a good candidate for this post. Email Nick at or for an informal discussion, call 0191 204 8852.
Join the Moth Publishing crime family
Penned a brilliant crime story? There is still time to dust off your manuscript and enter our Northern Crime Competition, which is open to both novelists and – for the first time – short story writers based in the North of England. Winning short stories will be published in a crime fiction anthology, while winning novels will be published in print and as ebooks. Find out more at, but don’t delay – the competition closes on 29 August.
Socially engaged artist wanted for Leeds residency
Artist House 45 is a unique opportunity to be involved in a new project pushing the boundaries of socially engaged practice and community activity. East Street Arts is looking for an artist or collective of two, who have an established, socially engaged practice. Artist House 45 will create opportunities, encourage sustainable projects and house an artist. Local residents will be encouraged to become co-producers of the artist’s projects with an opportunity to unlock and share experiences, learning, resources and relationships.

East Street Arts has secured a traditional two-bedroom, back-to-back in the residential area of Beeston, Leeds. The house is offered at Leeds City Council rates and a bursary of £14,100 will be given to support the artist/s to work three days a week responding to the local area and communities. Closing date: 28 August. For more information, see
Homeless: the SASH Writing Competition
Yorkshire homelessness prevention charity SASH is offering a new competition to writers over 16 and based in the UK, to write on the theme ‘Homeless’. Entries may be in any genre and of a maximum of 3,000 words. Award-winning author Ross Raisin (God’s Own Country, Waterline) will judge the competition, the first prize of which is a five-day residential writing course, courtesy of Arvon. Closing date: 10 October. For more information, go to
The Cultural Spring: Evaluator
The Cultural Spring is looking to appoint an experienced evaluator (or team of evaluators) to undertake the evaluation of its Creative People and Places project in Sunderland and South Tyneside from October 2014-January 2017. See for the evaluation brief. Deadline for proposals: 8 September, 5pm.
Durham Cathedral: Documentation officer and exhibition officer
Durham Cathedral has secured support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver Open Treasure, a £10 million project which aims to transform the experience of visitors to the cathedral by creating high quality gallery spaces in which to deliver a rolling programme of exhibitions, featuring the cathedral’s own extensive collections and items on short-term loan from other prestigious institutions. They are looking for a documentation officer and an exhibition officer to help deliver the project. Closing date: 27 August. Download an application pack at
The Listening Post
North East Rising
Arts Centre Washington: 4 September, 7.30pm
Rowan McCabe and Arts Centre Washington present a new one-person show, North East Rising, which blends performance poetry, theatre and stand-up, and in which Rowan searches for the true heart of the region’s culture. Expect hallucinatory tales, humorous satire and some pause for thought as Rowan meets eccentric characters, writes a gangster rap about stotties and goes on a journey that seeks to shake apart Northern stereotypes. Suitable for ages 14+. For more information, see
Chris Ryan:Hunter-Killer
Queen’s Hall, Hexham: Saturday 13 September, 7.30pm
Former SAS officer and author of Strike Back Chris Ryan returns to Hexham to talk about his new book, Hunter-Killer, which is described as ‘the law of the jungle, London style’. Book your tickets online at or call the box office on 01434 652477.
Workshops and classes
Writing workshops in Northumberland
Words Across Northumberland & Northumberland Arts Development are offering new writers the opportunity to join two short courses in Haltwhistle and Wooler libraries. Both courses cost £15 for all three sessions. Places are limited so sign up early to avoid disappointment.
In Haltwhistle, Valerie Laws, author of The Operator and The Rotting Spot, is leading a series of three workshops on aspects of crime writing to help you plot your murder mystery (Saturdays 6, 13 and 20 September, 10.30am-12.30pm, tel. 01434 322809 to book). For more information, see
In Wooler, former BBC journalist Barbara Henderson, who writes as Bea Davenport (In Too Deep, This Little Piggy)  will cover how to start a piece of historical fiction in her three-day course, Imagining the Past (Saturdays 8, 15, 22 November, 2pm-4pm, tel. 01668 282123 to book). Details are at
For more information, telephone the libraries above or email
Deadline for the next newsletter
If you have news that you would like to submit for inclusion in the newsletter please contact The deadline for receipt of information for the next newsletter is 25 August. The next edition of The Listening Post, covering September’s literature events, will go out in late August. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion for this you will need to send information by 21 August to
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.

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