New Narratives for the North East

angel of the north

Early in 2020, fifteen writers were commissioned to create new work about the North East in an ambitious project from New Writing North and the North East Culture Partnership.

We believe that in order to thrive we need strong narratives and stories, which help shape our collective imagination.  We believe that the North East needs new narratives to tell its story and to help shape its future.

In late 2019, we launched the call-out for New Narratives of the North East, a major commissioning strand for new work across genres.

The project was announced following massive political events for the region, including the Brexit vote and the 2019 General Election. The commissions were made during a global pandemic in which areas of the North East have been amongst the worst hit in Britain.

Yet, the 15 writers are asked to look beyond the flux and rhetoric of the current moment to capture something deeper and more lasting about the contemporary North East and its people.

The resulting work was presented in a variety of forms from autumn 2020, including as essays, podcast episodes, and as part of a special digitally-focused Durham Book Festival. Some of the work inspired wider projects, such as Lissette Auton’s Writing the Missing series. You can explore all of the New Narratives pieces, including the podcast episodes published by Durham Book Festival, below.

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Listen to the New Narratives for the North East Podcast

  • episode 1 image

    Episode One: Sing the North

    David Almond’s commission, ‘Sing the North’, takes centre stage, interwoven with the voices of other writers as we take a journey upon birdwing across the North East.

  • Episode 2 image

    Episode Two: This Edge

    Here we explore the North-East’s relationship with its borders, of land and sea, and how being on this edge informs its character, communities and perspectives.

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    Episode Three: The City is a Language

    Join us to explore the North-East’s distinctive urban spaces and explore how those on the inside read and think about our cities and towns.

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    Episode Four: About the Future

    This episode looks forwards, refiguring the North-East’s heritage, opening new ideas and exploring potential future narratives for the region as we look to the future.

  • Bonus Episode

    Special Episode: Writing Collaboratively

    A special round-table discussion where New Writing North’s Chief Executive, Claire Malcolm talks to writers Lisette Auton, Carmen Marcus and Mim Skinner about the approaches that they took to creating their pieces of work. All three writers chose to collaborate with other creatives and communities to make their work. The podcast explores how they did this and what writing collaboratively with others enables.

New Narratives for the North East is created by New Writing North for the North East Culture Partnership and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Durham Book Festival, and Arts Council England.