New Writing North was the first regional writing development agency in the UK.
Set up in 1996 by our founding Chief Executive Claire Malcolm with little more than a telephone and a fax machine, the organisation was created to be a ‘DIY agency’ for writers.
New Writing North was created by Arts Council England, then operating as Northern Arts. Our founding patrons were novelist Pat Barker, poet Sean O’Brien and scriptwriter Peter Flannery.
The aim was simple: to create more opportunities for writers to work in the region and to grow audiences for their work.
From the beginning, New Writing North was tasked with working across writing forms from poetry and playwriting to film and fiction. This has given us a unique focus and positioned us well nationally to develop partnerships and new ways of working.
Since our establishment, our model of working has spread and we are now part of a national network of writing development agencies across the UK. Many of our peer organisations were modelled directly on New Writing North. Our role in leading the development of this sector has been widely acknowledged.
The ‘new’ in New Writing North is important and it has always been a point of reference for the organisation, forging the desire to work in new ways and to build new audiences.
Our work has evolved over the years and as well as our writing development work, we now run literary prizes, events and festivals, community and young people’s programmes, education and research projects.
Originally focusing on the North East, since 2012 we have worked across the North of England. Our work now encompasses several national and international prizes and projects, including international residencies and literature-in-translation.