Saturday, 27 September 2014

New Writing North newsletter

Here is the latest New Writing North newsletter, including workshops, competitions and job opportunities:

September 2014
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
News from the Writing Lab
Last night saw the concluding event of an innovative schools project between New Writing North and schools from the North East’s Catholic Schools Partnership. Students from Carmel in Darlington, St John’s in Bishop Auckland, St Anthony’s in Sunderland, and Our Lady & St Bede from Stockton all read work and talked about writing projects they’ve been working on for the past six months with funding from Bridge North East.
The Writing Lab project began in March with partnerships of pupils and teachers from eight schools invited to spend a day behind the scenes of the Discovery Museum trying out different styles of writing. Inspired by this experience, all eight schools from across the region applied for a small grant to run their own writing projects in their schools and communities. Projects on show last night included a creative writing club for Year 7s run by older pupils, a writing workshop at a local museum run by Year 10s for younger pupils, a creative writing website, and pupil-led writing workshops for young people just starting secondary school. In all young writers worked with over 250 younger pupils in their schools, and many of the projects are continuing in the individual schools.
Commissions at Durham Book Festival
When Durham Book Festival opens in ten days’ time it will see the culmination of several months of works by specially commissioned northern writers.
This year’s programme has a particularly strong North East theme. We took Anne McElvoy, the Durham-born public policy editor at The Economist, to Easington to revisit the town 40 years after the miners’ strike. Michael Chaplin followed in the footsteps of his father, Sid Chaplin, when he undertook six walks between Holy Island and Durham City. We also sent popular broadcaster Stuart Maconie out walking in the Durham Dales, and he will return to the Gala to talk about his experiences and the characters he met along the way.
War Correspondents is a topical piece of song theatre exploring the risks journalists take in reporting war. Created by composer Helen Chadwick and choreographer Steven Hoggett of Frantic Assembly, the production will be at Durham Cathedral for one night only on 15 October. Last, but by no means least, we are thrilled to have commissioned a series of poems on Heathcliff’s 'lost years' from Northern Writer’s Award 2013 winner Benjamin Myers. The poems will be on display in Durham Cathedral alongside Nick Small’s photographs on the moors. At a special event, Lives, Landscape and Literature, on 16 October, William Atkins, author of The Moor, will talk about his book, while a selection of Benjamin Myers’ poems will be read aloud. A chapbook of Heathcliff Adrift is being published by New Writing North.
Poetry Exchange opportunity for poets and performers
The Poetry Exchange is all about the concept of ‘a poem as a friend’. As part of the ongoing development of the project, we are running a workshop, What does it mean to give voice to a poem?, to provide a creative space for actors and poets to share their skills on working with the written and the spoken word. The workshop takes place at Northern Stage on Friday 24 October and will be led by Poetry Exchange founder and director Fiona Lesley Bennett. Places are free. It you are an actor or a writer, please apply by sending your CV to Beth Rutherford at by 17 October. To find out more about The Poetry Exchange, see
Creative writing session with Daljit Nagra
Acclaimed British poet Daljit Nagra, who was recently selected as one of the prestigious 20 Next Generation Poets, will lead a creative writing session at Durham Johnston School on 6 October at 5pm as part of Durham Book Festival. The session will be aimed at both teachers keen to enhance their creative writing skills and writers. It will focus on ways into writing poetry and explore participants' own creative writing skills. Limited places available. For more information and to book, go to
Durham Book Group leader vacancy
After six years, Jo Colley is stepping down as leader of Durham Book Group. The group is now looking for another leader to take on this voluntary position. If you are interested, please get in touch with Olivia Chapman at
Success for Simon
In our last newsletter, we told you that writer Simon van der Velde’s short story The Bearer had been shortlisted for the Wasifiri International New Writing Prize. Well, guess what? He’s only gone and won! The Bearer will feature in the spring issue of Wasifiri magazine.
Zaffar at the Southbank for National Poetry Day
Northern Writers’ Award winner Zaffar Kunial will be appearing alongside Denise Riley, Steve Ely and Warsan Shire in The Pity, a special National Poetry Day event at the Southbank Centre on 2 October. The four poets have been selected as some of the UK’s most exciting writers, and will be performing new work about the legacy of the First World War. Find out more at
Mari’s in the Library
Congratulations to Mari Hannah, who has made the longlist of the CWA Dagger in the Library. The prize is awarded to a crime writer for their body of work, rather than a single title. Mari toured throughout North East and Yorkshire libraries with us on Read Regional 2012-13, and we are delighted that she has clearly picked up a strong library readership. Well done, Mari!
NWA winner Marie-Claire signs with Conville and Walsh
Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez received a New Fiction Bursary at the Northern Writers’ Awards 2013 for her young adult fantasy novel, Without the Wild, a work inspired by her keen interest in biological sciences. After meeting with agents at our Northern Talent Summer Party, we were delighted to hear that Marie-Claire has recently signed with agent Sue Armstrong at Conville and Walsh.
New writer seeks assistance
Margaret Mowat, who is blind, is looking for help with editing the 200-page manuscript of her autobiography. If you can help, her email address is
Publishing news
Bloodaxe poets tipped for the top
The Poetry Book Society has released its once-in-a-decade list of 20 Next Generation Poets, tipping the future stars of the poetry world, and featuring Bloodaxe poets Jen Hadfield, Hannah Lowe and Heather Phillipson. For the full list and details of poetry events throughout the north, including at T-Junction (see below) see
Smokestack to publish John Berger
Teesside press Smokestack Books is to publish the collected poems of John Berger, the poet, art critic and essayist whom The Guardian called ‘one of the most influential intellectuals of our time’. The collection will be launched at the T-Junction festival in Middlesbrough, and will be the poet’s only UK appearance. The festival draws on a wealth of international talent at its four-day outing from 16 October. Find out more at
Inpress role change
Sophie O’Neill, managing director of Inpress Books, has headed off on maternity leave, with Jane Harris – formerly of Quercus Books – taking the helm until September 2015. We wish Sophie and Jane both all the best in their new roles.
Trilengua North East: Call for writers, translators and singer-songwriters
Trilengua is a reading series that promotes international literature and work in translation. The event was launched in Barcelona in 2009 and New York in 2012 and is now coming to the North East. They are particularly interested in featuring writers and poets working in any language or regional dialect; and literary translators and multimedia literature/translations (eg, film-poems). They are also looking for singer-songwriters to play before and after the readings. The first event will be held in Newcastle in November, with a second event planned for spring 2015. If you’re interested in participating or otherwise getting involved, please contact Jessica Rainey with a short bio by 10 October. For more details, see
New theatre submissions
The 42nd Theatre Company is a small professional theatre company committed to developing the highest quality of thought-provoking new writing. Based in London and led by Yorkshire-born artistic director Adam Bambrough, they aim to produce original work that is accessible and relatable to all, challenging audiences to think and feel. They welcome submissions of work from writers throughout the year. Submission guidelines and further information about the company, can be found at
WARMTH mobile sauna: Artist call out
Cargo Collective is building a mobile wood-fired sauna, which is to become a touring venue, creating an extraordinary space for conversation, storytelling, performance and installations. Expressions of interest are invited from live artists, performers/dancers, performance artists, writers, sound/light artists or installation artists to create a short piece of work within, or in response to the mobile wood-fired sauna, for a period of research and development and with public sharing in early 2015. For full details see
Baltic Artists’ Book Market
For two days only Baltic is once again playing host to a national Artists’ Book Market. Submissions are welcome from artists, bookmakers, small press publishers, artists’ groups, zine artists and bookbinders. Deadline for submission: Wednesday 1 October and selected applicants will be notified by 8 October. The exhibitors’ fee is £60 per table (90 x 180cm). For an application form see
2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize open for entry
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience. You don’t need an agent, just an internet connection to submit your unpublished story of 2,000-5,000 words. Each year, five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500. Entry is free. Closing date: 15 November. For details and to submit, see
New Writing North: Marketing and communications manager
Salary band £22,000-£27,000
We are looking for an energetic and accomplished marketing and communications professional to join our team in Newcastle upon Tyne to manage PR and marketing across our work.
From ensuring our day-to-day communications with writers, readers and stakeholders are informative to placing stories in the national press and media, New Writing North’s marketing and communications manager plays an important role in the organisation’s effectiveness.
Please see for full information on the job and how to apply. The deadline for applications is Monday 13 October and interviews will take place on Monday 27 October in Newcastle upon Tyne. The post will begin in December 2014.
Jobs round-up
New Writing North is recruiting right now, and so are many others. Here’s a brief rundown of the opportunities (some with very near deadlines):
Hull Truck Theatre is recruiting in the following roles: head of communications and business development, head of engagement and learning, engagement and learning facilitator, and youth theatre director. All vacancies close on Monday 29 September. For full details, see
Seven Stories is recruiting a learning and participation assistant (full-time) and a learning and participation facilitator (part-time) to work at the Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle. The assistant role closes on Monday 29 September, and the facilitator role on Monday 6 October. For full details, see
North East Artist Development Network is looking for a freelance PR specialist. Closes Monday 29 September. For the brief, see
Opera North, the national opera company for the north, based in Leeds, is recruiting a head of development. Closes on Tuesday 30 September. For full details, see
Queen’s Hall Arts in Hexham is looking for an engagement and development manager to fundraise for and deliver participatory and audience development projects. Closes on Friday 3 October. For full details, see
West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds has a vacancy for a part-time support officer to work on two major projects with older people, Heydays and Our Time. Closes on Monday 6 October. For full details, see
Tamasha is a leading theatre company producing new plays on global diversity. Based in London, they are seeking an administrator/producing assistant. Closes Monday 13 October. For full details, see
The Listening Post
Opera North comes to Newcastle
Newcastle Theatre Royal
The Opera North season of contrasts opens at Newcastle Theatre Royal on 11 November with
The Bartered Bride, a vibrant colourful comedy of true love overcoming parental and societal constraints and “one for all the family” per The Times. A brand new production of La traviata tells the tragic story of Parisian courtesan Violetta and her journey of passion, love and sacrifice (“Sensational,” says The Guardian). By contrast the dark tale of The Coronation of Poppea remains one of the most shocking, bloody and compelling stories on stage. Touring also to Leeds, Salford and Nottingham. Full details at Book Newcastle dates online at
Workshops and courses
Writing the First World War
South Shields Museum: Wednesday 8 October, 10.30am
Discovery Museum: Wednesday 12 November, 10.30am Segedunum Roman Fort: Wednesday 19 November, 10.30am

In conjunction with the Wor Life exhibitions across Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, writer Rachel Cochrane will be running three half-day creative writing workshops related to the exhibitions. Join Rachel for one or all three workshops. £9.50 per workshop. For full details, see
Next Steps for Filmmakers: A Coming Up showcase
Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle: Friday 3 October
A panel discussion event with executive producer Philip Trethowan (head, Touchpaper Wales), Surian Fletcher-Jones (head of development, drama, Channel 4) and director Tom Marshall, who will showcase the acclaimed Channel 4 talent strand, Coming Up, run with production company Touchpaper Television. Recently restructured to result in a feature-length drama, Coming Up offers one of the few opportunities for new writers and directors to make an original film with a guaranteed network broadcast. Primarily intended for directors, but also open to writers and producers, Next Steps for Filmmakers is aimed at those who have already made some short films and want to move on, especially into broadcast television drama. The event is free, but a refundable deposit of £4 applies. For full details, see
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 6 October. The next edition of The Listening Post, covering November’s literature events, will go out in late October. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion for this you will need to send information by 21 October 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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