High Street Tales: opportunity for a writer-in-residence in North Shields

Posted by

We’re looking for a writer-in-residence to tell the stories of the high street in a national project with Historic England


England’s high streets have always been at the heart of our communities. They are our landmarks and points of reference; our meeting places and marketplaces. Despite this, high streets are struggling, and need to adapt to survive – never more so than in a post-Covid landscape.

Every high street in England, whether it is in a seaside town or a post-war city centre, has its own history that creates identity and a sense of place. We’re working with writers and agencies across the country to tell the stories of our high streets.

About the project

High Street Tales is part of the cultural programme of the High Street Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) project run by Historic England. Its aim is to create a set of stories to be broadcast and distributed online that celebrate the local high street, the people and communities who depend on them and centre their lives around theirs, and the roles they have played – and will continue to play – in our lives.

Led by New Writing North, England’s seven regional literature development agencies are working together on High Street Tales. They will commission stories for seven towns and cities across England exploring the communities who live there and the role that their high street plays for them. Each agency will commission one writer to create a story from one town.

Where it’s taking place

As New Writing North’s writer in residence you will create a story about North Shields. We are seeking a writer who either lives in North Shields, is from there, or who has a connection to the town that would inform and make richer this commission. To work within the restrictions of the pandemic we are also minded that the chosen writer should live in easy reach of North Shields. The story that you create will be recorded as a podcast, made into an audio book and e-book with the other stories from across England and you and your story will also feature in a documentary podcast that tells the story of the project as a whole.

Across the country our partners are seeking writers as follows: New Writing South will focus on Hastings, Writing West Midlands will focus on Wednesbury, Spread the Word will focus on Woolwich (Royal Borough of Greenwich), Writing East Midlands will focus on Leicester, Literature Works will focus on Weston Super-Mare and the National Centre for Writing (representing the East of England) on Great Yarmouth.

If you are not resident in the North, please click the links above to apply to your relevant agency. 

The writer

We’re looking for a socially-engaged writer, who is experienced at working with local communities and arts and culture organisations to make this exciting project happen. We are looking to work with a writer committed to co-creation and uncovering untold stories, who will create an inspiring, thought provoking and entertaining story from their research, consultation and documentation. The short story that you produce will be recorded as a podcast and along with the six other stories made into an audio book and e-book. You will also participate in a documentary podcast about the whole project which will be produced by Sonderbug Productions. Work from across the project will be celebrated as part of National Storytelling Week on the 25 January 2021.

 The fee

The fee for the project which includes the commissioned story and the delivery of two workshops, research time and documentation is £3,000. Please note that work on the story will need to be completed by the end of December 2020.

Timeline and Deadlines

The timeline for the project is tight! The application portal opens on 15 October and closes on Monday 2 November at 10am. We will notify the successful applicant by the 9 November and will expect that the writer can start work the following week.

How to apply

Please read the full brief before applying as this gives detail on the timeline and how we’re planning to work within COVID restrictions and to ensure that this project can be delivered safely. Please note that applications will only be accepted via our application portal. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Read the brief here 

Apply here


If after reading the brief you have any questions please email [email protected]. Please note that enquiries for this project will only be answered during weekdays.