On Wednesday it was announced that New Writing North is to join Arts Council England’s new National Portfolio of Organisations (NPO). Currently, we receive funding of £175,137 a year (2011/12 financial year) from Arts Council England, and will receive £300,137 a year from April 2012. We are delighted with this 64% increase in funding. The three-year plan that we submitted to Arts Council proposed projects which will enable us to work with more writers and readers across the North, to develop our work with young writers, and to work with more partner organisations. In the past, New Writing North would have applied to Grants for the Arts – the Arts Council’s Lottery-funded grants programme – for these projects; this strand of funding will however no longer be available to NPOs. Additionally, the uplift will stabilise our administration base and allow us to plan more long-term, which is very welcome.

Claire Malcolm, director of New Writing North since its inception, said:

“This is great news, not just for us as a company but for all of the people we work with: freelance writers, publishers, and librarians, and the theatre and film producers who depend on New Writing North to be an engine of talent development. This secured uplift in funding will allow us to move forward with a number of ambitious and exciting projects and plans.

“For literature as an art form we are delighted to see that nationally there has been increased support to many of the regional literature development agencies. This move by Arts Council England will create a dynamic network of organisations that can work further together to ensure that writers continue to thrive and we look forward to being part of it.”

Nationally, literature organisations within the portfolio will receive a total of £20.9m between 2012/15. This represents an increase in cash terms of 20.7% (9.9% in real terms) on the previous funding period, so overall literature did very well, with the welcome creation of 11 new literature NPOs around the country. We were however saddened to hear about some high profile literature casualties, which were the consequence of Government’s decision to saddle Arts Council with a 30% cut to their budget.