New Writing North announces Autumn Programme

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New Writing North has unveiled its packed programme of literary events, community-led writing groups, and professional industry workshops this autumn.

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, New Writing North supports the development of professional skills for writers in the north, as well as encouraging writing and reading for pleasure and wellbeing.

Courses and workshops delivered by industry experts for aspiring writers this autumn include writing for children and young adults, a mindfulness for creativity workshop, writing crime fiction, and a course exploring the foundations of fiction.

Also, building on its work developing screenwriting opportunities in the north, industry leaders will gather for a dedicated weekend of talks, workshops, and networking in Newcastle. The Screenwriting Weekender (31 Jan–2 Feb) sponsored by North East Screen, will feature agents, production companies and commissioners. A limited number of early bird tickets are now available.

Anna Disley, Executive Director of Programme and Impact at New Writing North, said: “It’s a huge part of our work to help develop young talent, and to ensure those undeserved in our communities have access to creative opportunities. We’re proud to be uncovering, supporting, and providing career-making opportunities for writing talent at all stages, with thanks to the support from our partners.”

Autumn Programme highlights include a series of literary events at Waterstones Newcastle and Tyneside Cinema.

The former Guardian journalist and columnist for Vogue, Bella Mackie, will talk about her sharp and twisted new murder mystery, What a Way to Go. It follows her million copy #1 bestselling debut novel, How to Kill Your Family.

Louise Doughty, the Sunday Times bestselling author of Apple Tree Yard and Platform Seven, will discuss her latest novel, A Bird in Winter, with rising star Charlotte Vassell in a Faber Fiction event. Vassell’s The In Crowd is a bitingly witty and compulsive novel about the bad behaviour of the rich and powerful.

There will also be a panel discussing climate-themed poetry, Four Seasons in One Poem. Aboriginal writer Graham Akhurst joins the award-winning poet Yvette Henry Holt from the Bidjara, Yiman and Wakaman Nations of Queensland, alongside the British poet Linda France, who was Climate Writer in Residence for New Writing North and Newcastle University.

Other top picks this autumn include Durham Book Festival, which returns 11-13 October. The Durham County Council festival is produced by New Writing North with support from Durham University and Arts Council England.

The Autumn Programme previews four of its headline authors before the full festival line-up is announced on 14 August.

These are Rebecca F. Kuang, the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Yellowface, the Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. The Booker Prize winning author Alan Hollinghurst, who will be celebrating Our Evenings, his first novel in over a decade, and the former Makar of Scotland, Jackie Kay, who brings her long-awaited new poetry collection May Day to the festival. Also, bestselling American author Jodi Picoult will discuss her latest novel, By Any Other Name.

Anna added: “We’re thrilled to give a sneak preview into some of the incredible authors coming to this year’s Durham Book Festival. New Writing North’s mission is to bring inspiring events and activities to readers and writers, and be a catalyst for creativity.”

New Writing North host year-round informal, community-led groups for writers and creatives across the North-East, including creative workshops for older residents, creative drop-in sessions, and a multilingual creative writing group.

Autumn also sees the return of the flagship Northern Writers’ Awards, which are open from 26 November 2024 until 6 February 2025, with a wide range of awards, including categories for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young writers.

The awards are supported by a wide range of partners, including Northumbria University, Arts Council England, and Channel 4, and feature the Northern Debut Awards, which support as-yet unpublished writers with promising novels, collections, and memoirs.

This year also features the Hachette Children’s Novel Awards 2025 for debut manuscripts of middle-grade and early teen fiction, which are open from 22 October 2024 until 13 January 2025. These Awards will support two new writers through a bespoke development programme devised by New Writing North and Hachette. Each writer will receive a £3000 bursary to help develop their work towards being ready to submit for publication.

New Writing North works with a diverse range of partners across higher education, publishing, literature, media, healthcare, and local government to create opportunities across the region.

Download the Autumn 2024 programme (PDF)

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