Welcome to my writing projects page. Here you will find information about the writing projects I have or am currently working on, including writer-in-residence posts and any other project commissions.
Crossing the Tees Book Festival - Writer in Residence
Tees Valley June-September 2017
Crossing the Tees Book Festival is an established event on the North East's literary calendar, regularly attracting many big name authors and growing each year. From its initial inception as a Stockton-Middlesbrough inititive it now includes all the five authorities that comprise the Tees Valley - Stockton, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Hartlepool and Redcar/Cleveland. The festival is organised by the library services with each authority working together to develop a range of dynamic and diverse events that will appeal to both readers and writers. The festival is funded Arts Council England.
This year for the first time the festival is launching a short story competition. As well as receiving cash prizes for first, second and third placed entries, the winners and shortlisted entrants will be published in a festival anthology professionally produced by Billingham based independent publishers 6 Element. The competition is free to enter and open to anyone aged 16+. The theme is 'Crossing the Tees' - the Tees being the river that physically divides the Tees Valley. Although the theme is open to interpretation there should be a focus on the region within the story. The closing date is 30th September 2017 and there will be an awards ceremony in Novemeber/December 2017.
As the first ever Writer in Residence for Crossing the Tees my remit is to develop the short story competition. In this role I will design and deliver a series of workshops (repeated in each authority) that guide writers through the essentionals of writing an award-winning short story - see my EVENTS page for full details of these sessions. I will also be running mentoring sessions for writers to have the chance to receive personal feedback on their stories, helping them to craft their work to the highest standard before submitting it. In addition to this I also have an active role to play in promoting the competition both locally and nationally and through blogging about the process of writing a short story.
Silent Voices - Writer in Residence
Rievaulx Abbey, Helmsley, North Yorkshire March-April 2017
This creative writing project was part of a larger light and sound art installation at Rievaulix Abbey in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. The centre-piece of the project was Brocken Spectre, a fantastic light installation by Derbyshire artist Charles Monkhouse, that allows people to see their own halos via a lighting rig that re-creates the natural phenomemon of the Brocken Spectre.
My brief for the Silent Voices aspect of the project centred on working with pupils from Helmsley Community Primary School on the production of creative writing inspired by the nearby Rievaulx Abbey. Their work focused on the life of monks in the abbey at the height of the religious community there, with emphasis on nourishment and the dining rituals of the monks. Working with pupils from every year group of the school we produced a variety of pieces of creative writing - poetry, short stories, character monologues, scripts etc. - which were then read by the children and recorded by sound artist Andy Williams. The recording were installed at the abbey in April 2017 for members of the public to hear the work of the children in their own voices. This was an Arts Council England and English Heritage funded project.
Rape Crisis North Tyneside - Creative Writing Course Leader
Newcastle upon Tyne April-May 2019
Rape Crisis approached me directly, having found me online, with the idea of setting up a creative writing course for some of the women they work with. These women are all survivors of sexual violence and many had expressed interest in finding ways to tell their stories in order to break down the silence that surrounds sexual violence and help them personally to move on from the experience.
I designed a creative writing course programme that equipped the women with the writing skills that would help them tell their stories in the more effective ways possible while providing a safe space to open up abuot their experiences and find ways of recounting them. While this wasn't a writing for wellbeing project there was an aspect of it that helped the women with their journey to recovery from their terrible ordeals and hopefully, their being able to tell their stories in this way will support other sexual violence survivors open up about their trauma. The project culminated in pieces that Rape Crisis hope to publish in some form in the future.