Verb New Voices

Verb New Voices is a writing development project, which ran from between 2012 and 2018. Through this platform, we discovered and commissioned exciting new writers from the North of England to make innovative work for BBC Radio 3 programme, The Verb.

Verb New Voices is a professional development opportunity for writers to make innovative new work for radio.

Verb New Voices ran for four years between 2012-2018 and supported writers from across the North to create and perform new work, and to go on to further commissions.

Verb New Voices 4 was a partnership between the BBC, The Writing Squad, Arvon, and New Writing North, who managed the project. Three writers each received a paid commission to write an 8-minute piece for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, which was also performed live at Contains Strong Language, a BBC poetry festival in Hull, and BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead.

The development package included a 2-day workshop with the BBC, a residential course at Arvon, and other support from partners as identified by the artist. The writers received a £2,000 bursary to support their involvement in Verb New Voices 4.

Some of the work produced in previous years can be seen below. Other work developed into larger projects. As the Cloud Takes its last Breath by Kamal Kaan (Verb New Voices 3) was commissioned for Durham Book Festival 2016, where audiences experienced the poetic soundscape on headphones in the atmospheric surroundings of St Chad’s Chapel, Durham University.

Carmen Marcus and Chanje Kunda (Verb New Voices 3) were both successfully supported to apply for Arts Council England funding to develop their work. Carmen Marcus’ full-length poetry show, The Book of Godless Verse, was commissioned by New Writing North for performance at Durham Book Festival 2016.

Physics by Chanje Kunda, Verb New Voices 3

Here We Are by Andy Craven Griffiths, Verb New Voices 3

Louise Fazackerley, Verb New Voices 2

Kamal Kaan, As The Cloud Takes Its Last Breath, Verb New Voices 3, 2015

I say this with no ounce of exaggeration, that Verb New Voices literally changed my writing career. I applied the year before and didn’t win the award which made me more determined to re-apply with a more fierce application. The beauty of the award was that it has lead to meeting the most amazing industry people who’ve each help to carve the proceeding successes. Meeting Tanya Ronder on the Arvon Foundation course (part of the prize) led to her sending my work off to the Bush Theatre in London and now I am developing a stage play as part of the Emerging Writers Group 2016. Working with BBC Radio 4 producer Charlotte Riches led to me being commissioned by Radio 4/BBC World Service to write a poetry-led creative documentary in the form of a radio ballad and to pitching for the Radio 4 Afternoon Drama slot. Thank you New Writing North – wouldn’t have done it without you.