Impact case study: Sam Lawrence
“Sky Writes has been transformational for my confidence in defining myself as a writer, perhaps most valuably in that I am now part of a network of other writers from similar backgrounds to myself with the benefit of ongoing support from New Writing North.”
Sky Writes was a talent development programme from Sky Studios and New Writing North, which ran in 2021. The programme sought to identify and nurture television writers from under-represented groups and under-served geographical areas in the North of England. Sky Writes took place in Blackpool, Gateshead and Rotherham and had a particular aim to support people of colour and those from LGBTQ+, disabled and lower socio-economic backgrounds. Sam Lawrence was a member of the Rotherham group which was led by Producer Stacey Sampson and Writer in Residence Afshan D’souza-Lodhi.
Through Sky Writes I found a network of writers from similar backgrounds
“In 2021, I was selected as a Rotherham writer on the Sky Writes initiative through New Writing North and Sky Studios, providing me with a 10-week programme of expert guidance in writing for TV. This has been transformational for my confidence in defining myself as a writer, perhaps most valuably in that I am now part of a network of other writers from similar backgrounds to myself with the benefit of ongoing support from New Writing North.
Before Sky Writes, I could count the friends and family who knew I write on one hand. I feared being ridiculed or not taken seriously. In the northern, working-class culture in which I grew up, creative writing can be viewed as effeminate hobby, not something which ‘people like us’ can do for a living. I certainly had never had a network of other writers to share experiences with.
My involvement with New Writing North has changed all of that. The recognition from respected organisations that Sky Writes gave meant I now had the confidence to shout loud about my writing – it’s no longer a guarded secret! Likewise, the encouraging feedback I received from industry professionals gave me the belief that I do have potential worth pursuing and has led to me making new connections in the scriptwriting world. Since Sky Writes, I’ve met with a number producers who have shown an interest in me, had a radio play broadcast as part of a BBC Writersroom-endorsed series and another radio play chosen to be produced as part of the INK Festival of new writing in April 2023.
The Sky Writes Rotherham writers stay have stayed together as a network, meeting monthly on Zoom. We maintain regular communication with New Writing North and with their help, have been able to invite several guest speakers from the film and TV industry to our meetings and are planning more in-person events which can showcase our work. The group has been invaluable in providing ongoing support from other writers facing the same challenges as myself in juggling commitments alongside our ambitions. We ‘get’ each other, which goes such a long way to motivate and inspire us to keep writing.”
Sam Lawrence, 2023
Sam Lawrence is a writer rooted in Yorkshire. He is inspired by his county’s variety of life to tell unheard stories which often mix authenticity and the surreal. He writes for radio and screen, not forgetting the odd short story.