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Newcastle Writing Conference 2019

Making Connections, Unlocking Talent

Saturday 18 May 2019

Live Theatre, Newcastle

 

New Writing North and Northumbria University have been joining forces to help writers achieve their creative ambitions since 2008. For our 2019 conference we’re bringing together some of the most inspiring people we know to help you ignite your writing career.

 

We know that the road to publication can be exhausting, but this is not a sit-back-and-listen conference. We’re looking to make change. The conference is aimed at everyone who has a desire to be published or to further their writing career, including those who feel they are not currently represented by the publishing industry.

At a glance

Meet your industry

We’re opening the door to the publishing industry, with representatives from some of the major publishers as well as literary agents. You’ll find out exactly what they look for in a manuscript, learn how to polish and pitch your work, and how to build a professional profile.

Map your journey

You’ll leave the day bursting with ideas, better equipped and more confident to take the next steps in your writing journey. From the art of keeping a journal to the business of planning your writing career, we’ll show you the way.

Build your network

Having a peer support network makes us all stronger. At Newcastle Writing Conference, we keep the capacity low (at 150 writers), to make sure you can meet with your writing peers and gain as much as possible out of each session.

 

One-to-one meetings

In addition to the full day programme, delegates at Newcastle Writing Conference can apply for a free one-to-one meeting with an industry expert. A variety of agents, publishers and other literary specialists will be available for ten-minute appointments to discuss your work. The link to apply for a one-to-tone will be available to you after purchase, in the confirmation email.

The deadline for applying for a one-to-one session is 30 April 2019 at 5pm. Applications made after this deadline will not be considered. We will notify successful applicants no later than 7 May 2019.

Please note that spaces are limited and we cannot guarantee an appointment.

 

Programme

10am Registration for a 10.30am start

10.30am Introduction

With Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North, and Michael Green, Professor in English and Creative Writing at Northumbria University

10.45am Keynote speech: Tony Walsh

Poet, writer and all-round inspiration Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) overcame childhood poverty and illness to work everyday jobs in the communities of his beloved home city of Manchester. Tony is a contributor to the new Unbound anthology Common People.

In recent years he has become one of the UK’s most widely recognised and most in-demand professional poets. His work was brought to an international audience after the poem ‘This Is The Place’ was broadcast globally from the vigil for victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Tony will talk about his own journey to becoming a writer, as well as offering advice to writers of all genres who are at the start of their careers.

11.15am Break-out Sessions 1 (see below, choose one)

12.15pm Tea and coffee break

12.30pm Breakout Sessions 2 (see below, choose one)

1.30-2.30pm Lunch break

Please bring your own packed lunch or visit one of the several cafes in the nearby area.

2.30-3.30pm Break out sessions 3 (see below, choose one)

3.30pm Tea and coffee break

3.45pm Closing panel: The publication story

In our final panel, the authors of two of 2019’s hottest debuts discuss their journeys to publication. The Familiars by Stacey Halls and The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins are both set to be huge fiction releases this year; join them as they talk about how their books came into being. Chaired by Orion editor Katie Brown, this inspiring panel is not to be missed!

4.45pm Closing remarks

from Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North

Break-out Session One (please choose one)

Breakout 1a: Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

with Ian Fenton

THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED

If you get tongue-tied when trying to describe your work, then you’re not alone. Writer and director Ian Fenton works closely with our Northern Writers’ Awards winners each year to prepare their pitches ahead of meeting agents and editors.

In this interactive session, Ian will guide you through the dos and don’ts of pitching your work, before (gently) putting you through your paces.

Participants in this session will have the opportunity to pitch to our publishing industry panel in Breakout 3a.

Breakout 1b: The Mighty Power of the Small Press

with Debbie Taylor, editor of Mslexia, and Sophie O’Neill, managing director of Inpress

Literary magazines and independent book publishers can help you to take the first steps in your writing career. In this session, Debbie Taylor and Sophie O’Neill will discuss the opportunities available, what editors are looking for, and how best to pitch to this thriving independent market.

 

Breakout 1c: Writing Reflectively

with Professor Michael Green and Dr Tony Williams, Northumbria University

THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED

Are you ready to improve the literary quality of your writing and gain a better understanding of the writing process?

Professor Michael Green and Dr Tony Williams, both of Northumbria University, are looking for a group of writers to take through a programme of critical self-reflection.

This will be the first session, with another session taking place (free of charge to participants) in central Newcastle on Saturday 8 June.

Breakout 1d: So, You’ve Been Rejected?

with writer Degna Stone, children’s books editor Ruth Alltimes (Hachette) and literary agents including Niki Chang (The Good Agency) and Rachel Conway (Georgina Capel Associates)

Rejection is a tough part of the writing game, but it’s something every writer has to face at some point.

In this session, Degna Stone will explore how to become more resilient as a writer, while industry insiders Ruth Alltimes and Niki Chang will talk through exactly what they are looking for, what you need to do to make your work stand out, and how to build success from rejection.

Break-out Session Two (please choose one)

Breakout 2a: The Novel Inside You

with author Paul Magrs

THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED

Paul Magrs has been a writing teacher since the early 1990s and a writer for much longer, writing in most genres and for every age group. He has also been a serious diarist all his life.

Paul says: “Journals are the books that we never have to show another person, unless we decide to do so. Our journals are where we have complete freedom – and that is the place true writing begins.”

In this workshop Paul will reveal the real writing practice of journals, the storytelling involved in teaching, and how putting stories together can seem like the most fantastic activity ever invented.

This session is repeated in Breakout 3c

Breakout 2b: Develop Your Professional Profile

with Indira Birnie and Rose Poole, Penguin Random House

THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED

It has never been more important to have an online profile as a writer, but where do you draw the line? From blogging to social media, we can all be more creative, savvy and strategic about building our professional profile, while protecting our own private lives.

Indira Birnie is a senior manager for Penguin Audiences, while Rose Poole is Senior Campaigns Manager. Together they will offer expert advice from the front-line of marketing, publicity and promotion.

Breakout 2c: Find Your Peer Support Network

with facilitator and writer Sophie Hall-Luke

Writing is often a solitary business, but a group of peers with similar goals can provide both support and motivation. With facilitator Sophie Hall-Luke of writing group The Table, we’ll look at how to find and form your own group, as well as providing peer networking within the session.

Breakout 2d: Where are all the working class writers?

with Lisa Blower and Anita Sethi, chaired by Dr Katy Shaw

Inspired by a shared concern that working class voices are increasingly absent from the pages of books and newspapers, author Kit de Waal came together with publishers Unbound and the regional writing development organisations, including New Writing North, to launch Common People, a collection of essays, poems and pieces of personal memoir. The anthology brings together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds including Lisa Blower, Anita Sethi and Tony Walsh, with an equal number of brand new as-yet-unpublished writers from all over the UK.

In this session, Lisa and Anita will discuss their own careers and what it means to be a working class writer today.

Break-out Session Three (please choose one)

Breakout 3a: Pitching in Practice

with industry representatives including Ian Fenton; Sonny Marr crime editor at Penguin Random House; and Katie Brown, Orion editor

THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED

A chance to pitch your work to the publishing industry. Each participant will deliver a 2-minute pitch on their proposed book or writing project, and receive feedback from a small panel.

This session is ideally suited to those who took part in Breakout 1a.

Breakout 3b: The Writer's Plan

with Carmen Marcus

The Writer’s Plan is a route map through the woods of the industry for underrepresented writers: from personal barriers like being afraid to ask for help, to practical barriers like finding our champions.

The plan is a hybrid of Carmen Marcus’s experience as a writer and in business development but it isn’t simply a goal-setting exercise, it’s about enabling you to ask yourself what you really want to make your writing happen, and how to get it.

Breakout 3c: The Novel Inside You

with author Paul Magrs

THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED

Paul Magrs has been a writing teacher since the early 1990s and a writer for much longer, writing in most genres and for every age group. He has also been a serious diarist all his life.

Paul says: “Journals are the books that we never have to show another person, unless we decide to do so. Our journals are where we have complete freedom – and that is the place true writing begins.”

In this workshop Paul will reveal the real writing practice of journals, the storytelling involved in teaching, and how putting stories together can seem like the most fantastic activity ever invented.

Please note, this is a repeat of Breakout 2a

Breakout 3d: How to Edit Your Work: Live

with Joe Sedgwick of The Literary Consultancy and literary agent Davinia Andrews-Lynch

Learn the art of editing your own work, as we take you through a live edit of a real draft manuscript. You’ll find out how literary agents and organisations like The Literary Consultancy assess, edit and polish a draft manuscript before submitting work to publishers, and what you can do to make your own work ready for submission.

Bursaries

Newcastle Writing Conference is intended for anyone who has a desire to be published or to further their writing career, regardless of their income or background. If you are unable to book a ticket for the conference without financial help, we encourage you to apply for one of our ten free bursary places.

Bursary places are based on financial need and will be selected at random from valid applicants.

Please note there is also a concessionary ticket price available for those who meet bursary requirements.

You are eligible for a bursary ticket if you are in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, Asylum Support, or Universal Credit.

Full time students are not eligible but can purchase concessionary tickets.

If none of the above applies but you feel that you are still eligible, please get in touch.

Apply

To apply for a bursary please email office@newwritingnorth.com with the subject line Newcastle Writing Conference Bursary, and briefly outline the way in which you are eligible for a free ticket. The deadline to apply for a bursary place is Monday 8 April, so please apply as soon as you can. Those successful will be contact by Tuesday 9 April.

Bursary places are competitive so please know that you may be asked to provide proof of your circumstances.

Speakers

Rachel Conway

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