Discover our Autumn Season

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Our autumn programme is here – and it’s bigger than ever. There have never been more ways for readers and writers from the North to take part in our programme. Download a digital version of our brochure here and read on for some of the highlights…

Look out for our brand-new programmes for writers at all stages of their careers, including

  • The Writers’ Space: a vibrant new online network supporting writers, at all stages, to improve their craft, access to agents and influential professionals, and connect with peers. The Writers’ Space offers monthly digital seminars from authors and industry experts, one-to-one surgeries with New Writing North staff, discounted tickets for events, and an online networking space.
  • Sounds Good: From the Page to the Podcast is an innovative podcasting course designed especially for writers interested in developing their work for audio. Developed with podcaster and producer Lisa Mainwaring, the 7-week course combines online teaching workshops and professional studio time. The first iteration of the course begins on 19 September, with further dates planned soon.

A stellar line-up of leading authors for our literary events programme in Newcastle and online:

  • Francis Spufford in conversation (23 October, The Biscuit Factory) as the author of Golden Hill and Light Perpetual introduces his latest novel, Cahokia Jazz, a thrilling tale of murder and mystery in 1920s America.
  • The livestream of The Announcement of the David Cohen Prize for Literature (9 November), one of literature’s most prestigious honours, which is worth £40,000 and recognises a living writer from the UK or Republic of Ireland for a lifetime’s achievement in literature. Recent winners have included Tom Stoppard, Edna O’Brien, and Colm Tóibín.
  • An Evening with Mary Beard (14 November, Northern Stage), the leading historian whose latest book, Emperor of Rome, takes the reader into the corridors of power to share the secrets of those who ruled the Roman empire.
  • The PEN HG Wells Lecture with Monica Ali (29 November, The Common Room, Newcastle), in which the acclaimed novelist of Brick Lane and Love Marriage will explore the threat AI may pose to writers and creatives in the future. The annual lecture, hosted by human rights organisation English PEN, showcases visionary writing and new thinking in the spirit of former PEN president, HG Wells.

Durham Book Festival

Other top picks this Autumn include Durham Book Festival, which will take place 13-15 October in central Durham and be livestreamed. The Durham County Council festival is produced by New Writing North with support from Durham University and Arts Council England.

The full festival programme will be announced on 17 August, but revealed today are events including:

  • Grace Dent, with her latest book Comfort Eating, a celebration of the food we eat when no-one’s looking;
  • internationally bestselling author Jeanette Winterson, whose new book Night Side of the River is a collection of modern ghost stories;
  • broadcaster and writer Melanie Sykes, who offers an account of being a neurodivergent person in a neurotypical world in Illuminate: Autism and all the Things I’ve Left Unsaid; and
  • Durham University Festival Laureate: Zaffar Kunial – a special event in which the Faber poet, author of England’s Green, will read from new work commissioned for the festival.

Get writing!

Whether you are an experienced writer or just fancy trying something new, a great way to get creative and connect with likeminded people is by taking part in one of our 15 informal, community-led groups for writers and creatives across the North-East and online. There are groups for adults and young people:

  • Read Them Your Writes, a monthly scratch-night-cum-literary-salon hosted by writer Adam Sharp
  • World Writes, a creative writing group for adults who speak English as a second or other language
  • Brown Girls Write, a creative writing group for women of colour
  • First Edition, a group for 18–25-year-olds looking to develop their writing skills and careers in the arts, and
  • Young Writers groups across the North-East and online for young people aged 11-19.

Northern Writers’ Awards

The Northern Writers’ Awards are open to writers in the North of England and offer support, mentoring, placements, publication, and cash awards. They have year-round entry dates. The full suite of Awards is supported by Northumbria University and Arts Council England.

The Awards kick off with the NorthBound Book Award – supported by the University of York and in partnership with Saraband – which is open to writers of fiction or narrative non-fiction with a full-length manuscript. It offers publication with independent publisher, Saraband, and an advance against royalties of £5,000. New, emerging, or established writers may enter for this award now, which is open until 12 September.

Later in the Autumn (from 13 September), emerging writers can apply for the Prototype Development Programme, in partnership with Prototype Publishing, which offers six months of development with the publisher.

On 26 October, entries will open for the Hachette Children’s Novel Awards, supported by Hachette Children’s Group. Debut writers of middle-grade children’s and early teen fiction can apply. The awards offer a package of support including a cash award of £3,000 and mentoring and professional development sessions including with Hachette editors and a literary agent.

The flagship Northern Writers’ Awards, including a range of awards for all stages, will open later in November 2023.

Our Autumn programme is supported by vital partnerships with Northumbria University, Durham County Council, Durham University, the John S Cohen Foundation, Hachette Children’s Group, Channel 4, University of York, English PEN, and with funding from Arts Council England, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle Culture Investment Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the Kavli Foundation. Thank you to all of our partners and funders.