Call out: create new work for radio

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Verb New Voices 4 is looking for three writers based in the North of England to make new work for BBC Radio.

Run by the BBC and New Writing North in partnership with Arvon and the Writing Squad, Verb New Voices 4 will support three writers to receive professional development support to create innovative work for radio. One of the writers selected will be aged between 18 and 25 years.

Each writer will receive a commission from the BBC to create an 8-minute piece, which they will perform for Radio 3’s The Verb. Your broadcast on The Verb may be a short piece or an excerpt from a longer project. Besides the opportunity for broadcast on Radio 3, Verb New Voices 4 writers will also feature at Contains Strong Language the BBC’s poetry festival, and BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2018. Writers may also have an opportunity to develop their work as a commission for Durham Book Festival.

The Package

Creative Development Workshop

Successful candidates must be available to come to Manchester on 20 & 21 April 2017 to take part in a creative development workshop over two days at BBC MediaCity in Salford. Sue Roberts (Editor Audio Drama North, The Verb Radio 3) will lead the workshop, and she along with other BBC staff will support the Verb New Voices 4 (VNV4) writers to develop their ideas.

On the afternoon of 21 April, VNV4 writers will be asked to make a presentation about their project for project partners: New Writing North, The Writing Squad, Arvon Foundation and the BBC. New Writing North will manage the project and will at this point start to discuss the possibility of developing the idea for further promotion.

Mentoring and creative collaboration

Between April and November 2017, VNV4 writers will work on their projects with their BBC Producer, and will keep NWN informed of the projects’ progress.

Arvon Course

The package includes an opportunity for each VNV4 writer to undertake a fully-funded residential creative writing course of their choice with Arvon (subject to availability).

Broadcast and other public platforms

In September 2017, the writers will be invited to take part in Contains Strong Language a four day poetry festival run by the BBC as part of Hull City of Culture 2017, and featuring across radio stations. The writers’ new commission may not be ready for performance at this event, if this is the case we would like to feature the writers at the event talking about the process they have undertaken.

Grants for the Arts

New Writing North will support writers on the programme to develop a Grants for the Arts bid, if they feel they have created something through the programme that they would like to develop.

Payment and expenses

Each writer will receive a bursary of £2000 to support their involvement in the Verb New Voices 4 programme. The BBC can provide up to £150 to help cover expenses for travel to MediaCity and Contains Strong Language. The project will also pay for an overnight stay in Manchester for the two-day workshop in April. Further expenses will be available for writers with additional access requirements. Besides this, the bursary must cover all other expenses accrued in undertaking the Verb New Voices 4 programme.

The deadline for submissions is 11.59pm on Tuesday 14 March 2017

For more information about The Verb go to the BBC website.

How to apply

Apply at our Submittable mini-site by clicking this link.

Please provide:

A proposal (of no more than 500 words) for the project you want to develop as part of Verb New Voices 4 (we are interested in what creative opportunities radio would offer you that you can’t find elsewhere)

An outline of your artistic experience to date (of no more than 500 words)

A sample of your writing (of up to 5 pages or 10 poems) and/or a link to a soundtrack or video of your work


The awards are open to submissions, written in World English by artists of any nationality or descent who at the time of entering are permanently resident in the North of England. The North of England is defined as the areas covered by Arts Council England in Yorkshire, North East and North West. We regret we are unable to accept submissions from outside these regions because this opportunity is devised to support new voices in the North. The Verb New Voices 4 steering group will make final decisions on eligibility.

We welcome applications from across a range of artistic approaches, when you send multimedia work as an example of a project you want to develop (and not a sample of your written text), please note one of the key assessment criteria will be the quality of the writing that is featured in your multi media work. (Please note: we do not want to receive ideas for radio drama for this particular scheme).

We welcome applications from all sections of the community. We particularly encourage applications from writers from under-represented groups, including BAME, LGBT+, disabled and working class writers. If you have access requirements we have a budget to cover these.

Applicants must not have previously had work broadcast by the BBC.

We must receive submissions to the project no later than midnight on Tuesday 14 March 2017. Submissions received after this date and time will not be eligible.

Conditions of entry

  • All entries must be submitted via the application form.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered or acknowledged.
  • The work that you enter must be your own original work.
  • You may be asked to prove your place of residence and identity in order to qualify for the bursary.
  • You must be 18 or over on 14 March 2017.
  • The Verb New Voices 4 Steering Group reserves the right to withdraw your right to participate in Verb New Voices 4 and to reclaim the financial value of the bursary if it is discovered that you have fabricated any information in your submission.
  • This opportunity is not open to employees of any of the partner organisation
  • Submissions received after the deadline will not be eligible for entry.
  • The Verb New Voices Steering 4 Group’s decision on selection is final and there will be no correspondence or discussion about the process.
  • If selected to take part in Verb New Voices you must be available to participate in media and PR for the project, at suitable times to be agreed, if required. Your name, hometown and county may be announced publicly.
  • If selected to appear on the BBC as part of Verb New Voices 4, the BBC will contract you as a contributor on its standard terms and conditions, for a standard radio contributor fee.
  • We reserve the right to modify, suspend or cancel the project and/or vary the rules and conditions of entry and to make any amendments to the published schedule as are deemed necessary.
  • We will acknowledge all applications within three working days of receiving them. If you do not receive acknowledgement of your entry please contact us at [email protected]
  • We will write to everyone whose work we have received and inform them of the outcome of their application once the selection process has concluded. All applicants will hear from us no later than the beginning of May 2017
  • We apologise in advance that we are unable to enter into individual correspondence with writers about their submissions after the closing date, or to give specific feedback on work.
  • The information that you provide will be collected by New Writing North who will share this information with the project partners and supporters for the purposes of managing your submission and participation in the project. Each of the Verb New Voices 4 partners and supporters may use this information to contact you with regards to your participation in the project. Your details will not be passed on to anyone else.

Please note:

By entering you are confirming to us that the work you are submitting is your own original work and that you have read and agree to the Conditions of Entry.

Please also note that the BBC reserves the right to refuse to broadcast any work that is produced as part of this project if it is deemed unsuitable for broadcast for any reason.

For more information

If you have any queries about eligibility or how to enter please contact: [email protected] in the first instance.