Young Writers’ Talent Fund

The Young Writers’ Talent Fund is New Writing North Young Writers’ talent development programme. This project seeks to support emerging and talented young writers aged 16-25 living in the North East.

The Fund provides development opportunities for young creatives working across a range of writing forms, aiming to make connections between aspiring writers and producers, and industry professionals. The Fund offers bespoke support, investment, mentoring and training opportunities to support talent and ideas.

The fund is currently closed.

What is it?

Young Writers’ Talent Fund is a project run by New Writing North to support talented and aspiring writers aged between 16-25. Formerly the Northern Rock Talent Development Fund, the programme is currently supported by legacy investment from the Northern Rock Foundation.

Who do we support?

The Talent Fund exists to support talented young creatives in the North East who are looking to develop their craft. If you have an idea you want to take forward, or you’re looking for help to develop your creative practice, then we want to hear from you! We work with writers and producers across a range of different writing disciplines including spoken word, poetry, prose, graphic novels, zines, script and game design (to name a few!).

How do I apply?

The Talent Fund for 2022/23 will be open for applications from Friday 29 April – Thursday 30 June 2022.

If you have any questions about applying, please email [email protected].

What our participants think

Eliza Clark

Before joining the programme I was really struggling to find time and opportunities to focus on my own writing, or gain experience in the arts sector. The programme has allowed me to gain invaluable experience as a facilitator, and the rare opportunity to meet up with a professional writer, and gain feedback on my work. The programme has also allowed me to drop a day at my day job, in order to spend more time on my writing. I want to work with the programme to hopefully put together a collection of shorts in the future, and continue to grow my facilitation skills, and see where the experience I have gained can take me.

Follow @fancyeliza

Maxine Davies

The funding which I received from the Young Writers’ Talent Fund enabled me to print the second issue of Maybe Later Press’ zine, Tell It Slant, and showcase the work of writers both locally and nationally. By alleviating the costs of printing, I have been able to set aside the money made from selling the zine to print the next issue, meaning printing costs are now self-sustaining. New Writing North’s assistance was also valuable when recording Maybe Later’s first (forthcoming) podcast, both through enabling me to purchase equipment, and through providing a physical space in which to record. I am incredibly grateful to have been a recipient of this funding and excited about continuing to build upon Maybe Later Press into 2018.

Keep up with @maybelaterpress

Lauren Vevers

It was a brilliant project to be involved in. We created a zine inspired by the work of Lydia Davies and had over 40 people attend our zine launch event and 7 at our participatory workshop. We commissioned 3 artists to perform at the launch and it was great to bring people into new spaces as part of Durham Book Festival. We’re thinking about doing something similar with a Newcastle venue and have been contacted by the ‘Women’s Artists of the North East Library’ to run a workshop there.

Follow @PapayaPress

Dani Watson

Before my placement with ISIS Arts writing was always something I did alone, so it was great to work on a project which involved collaborating with people from many different cultures and communities. In many ways, I feel the placement has helped my grow as a writer as it has pushed me to explore different styles of writing and has enabled me to meet a lot of interesting artists along the way. I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to work with ISIS Arts, who have been very supportive and encouraging of my writing and have greatly boosted my confidence in the process.

Read Dani’s blog here

Holly Stamp

I’ve been working with Zoe and New Writing North for the past four months or so, after the Proud Words programme took place in my school, which was a brilliant opportunity for people of varying ages to get together to explore and develop their writing. Although I have been writing for a long time, I really think I have improved greatly due to the work and encouragement I’ve received from everyone at New Writing North. I’ve even had one of my pieces published in a magazine which was amazing. In the future I hope to perform some of my poetry to the public, something I never would have had the confidence to even consider doing before working with Zoe.

Previous Recipients

  • Anna Ryder

    Anna is a freelance theatre director working predominantly in new writing and script development. She graduated from Northumbria university in 2014 and has worked with multiple artists and organisations including Live Theatre, Northern Stage, Paines Plough, and Manchester Royal Exchange. She recently directed a work-in progress sharing of Teddy by Tamsin Daisy Rees for Durham Book festival.

  • Sarah Gonnet

    Sarah is a multi-media artist and autodidact from the North-East. She is currently making work about women’s bodies; the boundaries between art and writing; and mental health. Her previous pieces include Womb- a film commissioned by Random Acts, and Word Salad a play written for Alphabetti Theatre. She runs The Female Gaze project, which promotes women in film.

    Picture © Matt Jamie

  • Carl Wylie

    Born in Belfast, bred in Newcastle, Carl is a writer, illustrator and theatre maker living in the north east.

    After graduating from Northumbria University he performed in a number of productions around the North and recently has turned from stage to page to begin writing a series of children’s stories, the first being MoonCat which follows the tale of the not so Luna Gato and her quest to find her parents who she believes are up in the sky!

    With the help and support of New Writing North and the Young Talent Fund Carl will perform MoonCat in venues across the North East.

  • Dani Watson

    The Young Writers’ Talent Fund supported poet Dani Watson to undertake a placement with Isis Arts. Dani was involved in New Writing North’s pre-EU referendum project ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ which encouraged young people to respond to the prospect of the Brexit referendum.  Dani wrote a poem during this project called ‘Leave Campaign Manifesto’ which caught the eye of one of Isis Arts, who invited Dani to work with them as a trainee writer in residence on one of their projects ‘Forage’. This was a project which connected migrant and refugee groups from the West End of Newcastle to heritage sites across the North East for ‘cultural foraging’ walks.  Dani wrote creative responses to those walks as part of her menteeship and continues to work with Isis Arts as a writer in residence.

  • Kay Greyson

    Kay Greyson is a twenty year old Hip Hop artist from the North East of England. Since releasing her debut mixtape Morning After Music in 2016, and debut EP, Love and Sauce in 2018, she has performed all across the north including supporting gigs for acts like Akala, KRS One and Pharoahe Monch. She takes strong inspiration from her influences Chance the rapper and Childish Gambino and she incorporates their fun and interactive performance style into her own. She has been described as having a ‘witty and energetic set that gets the room on board from the off.’

  • Miles Nelson

    Miles is an avid writer whose work is inspired by a love of natural history and the animal kingdom. He enjoys reading and collecting old books, with one of his favourites being Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. He also has a passion for teaching about the LGBT+ community along with the challenges they face, and hopes that his writing might one day be able to help young people through difficult times.

  • Hannah Morpeth

    Hannah Morpeth is a qualified mental health nurse who works in children and young people’s mental health. She is a scriptwriter (theatre/radio) and blogger. Hannah has experience in facilitating workshops and has previously curated a Human Library. She is interested in the power of creative writing in supporting and exploring emotional wellbeing, and has set up the project Create Healthy Minds to focus on this. Through Create Healthy Minds, Hannah hopes to run more workshops to explore creative writing as a tool to support wellbeing. She is passionate about empowering people to own their own stories and giving them the tools to tell them. Hannah is particularly interested in the representation of mental health in theatre as a way of increasing public understanding.

  • Maxine Davies

    Maxine is the co-founder of Maybe Later Press and applied to the Young Writers’ Talent Fund to support the costs of creating and printing her zine. New Writing North has also supported Maxine to record and produce a podcast to be released early 2018. Maxine also participated in Durham Book Festival 2018’s ‘What She Knew’ event, selling her zine and showcasing her work alongside Lauren Vevers, another member of the Northern Rock programme. Maxine’s creative work explores themes such as living with adult eczema and mental health, and is strongly rooted in the North-East.

  • Sarah Watson

    Sarah Watson is a playwright from Newcastle upon Tyne. Sarah has been working with the Young Writers’ Talent Fund on her play Zones, a piece exploring homelessness, addiction and the social system in Newcastle upon Tyne. New Writing North has paired Sarah with playwrights Carina Rodney and theatre director Ruth Johnson, who are helping her to develop her writing and have supported her to attend shows at Live Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Royal and most recently Northern Stage. New Writing North has supported Sarah to attend script-writing workshops with The Writing Squad in Manchester and shadow rehearsals with Amy Golding at Curious Monkey theatre company. Sarah has secured a rehearsed reading of her debut piece Zones at the Royalty Theatre Sunderland in May 2018 and has several pieces of work under-development for both stage and screen.

  • Lauren Vevers

    Lauren is an early career professional writer and facilitator and has worked with us for a number of years through our Young Writers programme. She has since founded Papaya Press: a small and exciting publication, which hosts events and workshops and exploring the intersection between art and literature. The Young Writers’ Talent Fund supported Lauren to curate ‘What She Knew’, a workshop and zine launch event at Empty Shop, Durham as part of the 2017 Durham Book Festival.

  • Kema Kay

    Kema started working with New Writing North in 2017. An early-career rapper and actor, having performed across the country and starred in critically acclaimed I, Daniel Blake, Kema was keen to work with young people to develop their rapping and performance skills, but identified a need to work on his own facilitation skills first.

    Through the Young Writers’ Talent Fund, Kema has attended Artswork facilitation training and been mentored by Young Poet Laureate for London Caleb Femi, who observed, supported and fed back on a session Kema delivered to young people.

    In December 2017 we supported Kema to apply for and attend Arvon’s Fire in the Flint programme, a writing and teaching skills development week.

    Kema is an alumni of Excelsior Academy in the West End of Newcastle, a partner school for our Young Writers’ City programme. Kema has used his newly acquired facilitation skills by leading rap, rhythm and poetry sessions at the academy for us on Young Writers’ City, where he has had a huge impact on the young people he has worked with.

  • Rhys Stone

    Rhys has been working with New Writing North for a number of years as a participant on our Young Writers’ City programme and is particularly interested in game design. The Young Writers’ Talent Fund has supported Rhys to work with writers Rachael Walsh and Bob Beagrie on a digital narrative for game. Rhys is working in collaboration with other Young Writers’ City participants, Yasmin and Jacob, to storyboard ideas for this project. From Spring 2018, the group will be continuing to work with web designer Steven Walker to produce their digital content and develop their project.

  • Holly Stamp

    Holly is a poet and writer from Newcastle who took part in New Writing North’s Proud Words project exploring and celebrating LGBTQ+ issues through reading and creative writing. Holly performed her poem ‘Queer Youth’ as part of a collective at Northern Stage for Curious Festival 2017 and has since been working with poet and playwright Zoe Murtagh. Zoe has been helping Holly explore poetry as a means of protest and working with her to develop her performance skills.

  • Eliza Clark

    Eliza has worked with the Young Writers’ Talent Fund  to support her writing and gain experience in arts facilitation. Eliza has had her work published by US podcast ‘Tales to Terrify’ and has a strong presence on social-media. Since January 2018 Eliza has been working with mentor Emily Wiseman: a professional writer and facilitator. Emily is supporting Eliza in the delivery and co-leadership of New Writing North’s Newcastle Young Writers group who have been using this term to explore dark fiction. Eliza’s work largely focuses on this genre and as such has been paired with Matt Wesolowski, a professional writer of crime and horror fiction. The Northern Rock to focus on compiling a collection of short stories.

  • Stephen Mack

    Stephen received funding from the Young Writers’ Talent Fund to support his play The Gestation Period. He worked with theatre director Tess Denman-Cleaver who supported him to develop his work dramaturgically. Stephen’s writing centres on ‘fear of the world outside and within’. A work in progress of The Gestation Period was performed as part of a scratch night at Gala Theatre, Durham in November 2016. Stephen is continuing to work with actors to workshop his piece and is working towards a full production.

  • Grace Middleton

    Grace Middleton first worked with New Writing North during her time at Newcastle Sixth Form Centre, where she became involved in a Young Writers’ City poetry project run by writer Stevie Ronnie. Upon completing the project, Grace received support from the Young Writers’ Talent Fund to progress her poetry further, and was mentored by Stevie who helped her develop her work. Grace entered the Cuckoo Young Writers’ Award as part of the 2017 Northern Writers’ Awards and received a ‘highly commended’ recommendation from judge Lisa Williamson.