Skip to main content

Spring Season: Talks and workshops for writers

New for Spring 2021, New Writing North presents a series of online creative writing talks and workshops, bringing the wisdom and experience of some of our best Northern writers to new and emerging writers at home.

These events are supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collection Society.

From advice on getting started as a writer from memoirist and novelist Cathy Rentzenbrink, to practical advice on crime writing from the award-winning Jacob Ross, we’ve got your writing needs covered.

Throughout April we’ll host a series of interactive talks aimed at new and aspiring writers. If you’re looking for ways to kick-start your writing practice and to better understand the genres you write in, these introductory sessions are for you.

In May we’ll be offering a series of smaller, more focussed workshops. If you are further along with your creative practice and are ready to start drafting and honing your manuscript, these sessions should appeal to you.

The talks and workshops will all take place on Zoom. You don’t need your own Zoom account to join us, just a computer, laptop or phone and an internet connection.

Start Writing with Cathy Rentzenbrink

Wednesday 14 April, 7pm-8pm, Tickets £5 + booking fee

This interactive talk is aimed at people just starting out on their writing journey and will be packed full of tips on how to kick-start your writing, both creatively and practically. From how to approach the dreaded blank page and find your authentic voice, to how to carve out time in your busy life to sit down and write. Cathy will answer your questions live and you’ll also have the opportunity to submit questions in advance, when you book.

Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love, A Manual for Heartache and Dear Reader. Her first novel is called Everyone is Still Alive and will published by Orion in July. Despite being shortlisted for various prizes, the only thing Cathy has ever won is the Snaith and District Ladies’ Darts Championship when she was 17. She is now sadly out of practice. 

Chaired by Rebecca Wilkie, New Writing North

Introduction to Life Writing with Richard Benson

Wednesday 21 April, 7pm-8pm, Tickets £5 + booking fee

Join Richard Benson for this interactive talk aimed at new writers who are considering writing about their own lives. Richard will share his own experiences as an acclaimed memoirist, suggest how you can start to approach your own work, as well as talking you through a few simple exercises to get your writing started (bring a pen and paper along to this session!). Richard will be ready to answer your questions and you’ll also have the opportunity to submit questions in advance, when you book.

Richard Benson’s memoir The Farm: The Story of One Family and the English Countryside, was the story of his family farm in Yorkshire and was shortlisted for the Guardian’s First Book Award and was chosen for Richard & Judy’s’ Book Club. His second, The Valley: 100 Years in the Life of a Family, won the James Tait Black Prize for Biography, and the Portico Prize, and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. His new memoir, The Meadow, will be published in 2021.

Chaired by Rebecca Wilkie, New Writing North

The Business of Being a Writer with Clare Alexander

Wednesday 28 April, 7pm-8pm, Tickets £5 + booking fee

This interactive talk aims to help new and emerging writers better understand the business of the writing industry. It will cover how to protect your copyright, the role of a literary agent, and highlight the funding and support opportunities are available to new writers. Leading literary agent Clare Alexander will be joined by ALCS’ legal expert Richard Combes in conversation with New Writing North’s Chief Executive, Claire Malcolm. All speakers will be ready to answer your questions and you’ll also have the opportunity to submit questions in advance, when you book.

Clare Alexander became a literary agent in 1998 after more than 20 years as a publisher, latterly as Publisher of Viking and Hamish Hamilton and Editor-in-chief of Macmillan. While at Viking she was the editor of the winners of the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize and the Whitbread prize, the first editor ever to achieve this hat trick. She is currently chair of Aitken Alexander Associates, a major literary agency based in London. 

Richard Combes joined the ALCS legal team in 2002, having previously worked in private practice, and became Head of Rights and Licensing in 2007. His work at ALCS focuses on the development of collective rights and licensing schemes in the UK and internationally, aimed at providing writers with fair remuneration for the re-use of their work.

Chaired by Claire Malcolm, New Writing North

Introduction to Short Fiction with Désirée Reynolds

Wednesday 5 May 7pm-8pm, Tickets £5 + booking fee

This interactive talk is aimed at new writers who are thinking about writing short stories or flash fiction. Writer, editor, journalist and broadcaster Désirée Reynolds will talk you through how to approach writing for this genre and answer any questions you may have. Questions can also be submitted in advance, when booking.

Désirée Reynolds is a Sheffield based writer, editor and creative writing workshop facilitator. She has written film scripts, short stories, poetry and flash fiction. Her stories are in various anthologies, both online and in print. Seduce, her first novel, was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2013 to much acclaim. Her short stories have been widely published in various publications and online.

Introduced by Grace Keane, New Writing North

Desiree Reynolds

Write a Crime Novel with Jacob Ross

Thursday 13 May, 7pm-9pm, Tickets £15 + booking fee

This workshop is aimed at writers who have begun working on their crime manuscript and are looking for ways to improve and revise it. This is an opportunity to have access to the experience and guidance of award-winning crime writer and editor Jacob Ross. The workshop will contain exercises that focus on how to structure your crime novel, how to approach procedure, and character development. You will be able to submit questions in advance relating to any particular areas you want to resolve in your work.

Jacob Ross is a Grenadian novelist based in Leeds. In 2006 Jacob Ross was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His ‘thrilling, visceral and meditative, and always cinematic’ crime novel The Bone Readers, the first in his Caribbean crime trilogy, won the Jhalak Prize in 2017.

Write a Novel with Yvonne Battle-Felton

Wednesday 19 May, 7pm-9pm, Tickets £15 + booking fee

There is no definitive way to write your novel. But one thing is certain, your novel won’t write itself—at least not without your help. In this workshop led by acclaimed novelist Yvonne Battle-Felton, we will write, reflect, and discuss a series of writing exercises designed to help you start a novel draft. Exercises will explore creating characters, generating ideas, developing setting, and exploring whose story you’re telling and what they want to say.

Yvonne Battle-Felton, author of Remembered, is an American writer living in Yorkshire. Her writing has been published in literary journals and anthologies. Remembered was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (2019) and shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2020). Yvonne has a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is a 2019 British Library Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow, and Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries at Sheffield Hallam University.

Develop your Script with Afshan D'Souza-Lodhi

Thursday 20 May, 7pm-9pm, Tickets £15 + booking fee

This workshop is aimed at early career writers who are working on a script for television. Writer Afshan D’Souza will introduce writers to writing for screen with a series of exercises taking them through character building, plot and dialogue, and giving participants the tools they need to be able to write the stories they want to see on the screen.

Afshan D’souza-Lodhi was born in Dubai and bred in Manchester. She is a writer of plays and poetry, and was recently commissioned to write and direct a short film for Channel 4 (An Act of Terror) and a radio play for BBC Sounds (Chop Chop).

Shape your Poetry Collection with Rommi Smith

Thursday 27 May, 7pm-9pm, Tickets £15 + booking fee

Join writer Rommi Smith for this workshop, which will be a mixture of writing and task-based exercises, followed by a Q&A session. Participants will need to bring along a selection of 5-10 poems which are at the core of their idea for their pamphlet or collection.

Rommi Smith is a Manchester-based award-winning poet, playwright and performer. She was the Inaugural Poet-in-Residence for British Parliament, Inaugural-Writer-in-Residence for Keats House and three-time BBC Writer in Residence. She is the recipient of the Northern Writers’ Award for Poetry and in 2021, Rommi is a poet-in-residence for the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.

Apply for a bursary

If you are unable to book a ticket for one of our workshops without financial help, we are offering 10% of tickets for each session as free bursary places. Bursary places are based on financial need and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis from valid applicants.

You are eligible for a bursary ticket if you are in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, Asylum Support, or Universal Credit.

If none of the above applies but you feel that you are still eligible, please get in touch.

To apply for a bursary please email with the subject line Writing Workshop Bursary, let us know the session you would like to attend and briefly outline the way in which you are eligible for a free ticket. Those successful will be contacted two weeks before their selected workshop takes place.
Bursary places are competitive so please know that you may be asked to provide proof of your circumstances.

These sessions are supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)

Find out how to join ALCS
Find out more about protecting your copyright
Find out about Copyright animation
Contracts and rights
Copyright basics for writers

Sign up to our newsletter ›
Back to top