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Verb New Voices

Verb New Voices is a writing development programme, which discovers and commissions exciting new writers from the North of England to make innovative work for BBC Radio 3 programme, The Verb.

At a glance


Verb New Voices 4 is a partnership between the BBC, The Writing Squad, Arvon, and New Writing North, who manage the project.

Commissioning new work

The writers each receive a paid commission to write an 8-minute piece for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, which will also be performed live at Contains Strong Language, a BBC poetry festival in Hull, and BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead.

Development package

The development package includes a 2-day workshop with the BBC, a residential course at Arvon, and other support from partners as identified by the artist. The writers receive a £2,000 bursary to support their involvement in Verb New Voices 4.

Verb New Voices is a professional development opportunity for writers to make innovative new work for radio.

Verb New Voices is now in its fourth year and has supported writers from across the North to create and perform new work, and to go on to further commissions.

Verb New Voices 4 will work with three writers from the North of England. One of the selected writers will be aged 18-25.

Some of the work produced in previous years can be seen below. Other work developed into larger projects. As the Cloud Takes its last Breath by Kamal Kaan (Verb New Voices 3) was commissioned for Durham Book Festival 2016, where audiences experienced the poetic soundscape on headphones in the atmospheric surroundings of St Chad’s Chapel, Durham University.

Carmen Marcus and Chanje Kunda (VNV3) were both successfully supported to apply for Arts Council England funding to develop their work. Carmen Marcus’ full-length poetry show, The Book of Godless Verse, was commissioned by New Writing North for performance at Durham Book Festival 2016.

Get involved

Enter for Verb New Voices 4

Application for Verb New Voices 4 are now closed.

Project partners

Find out more about The Writing Squad and Arvon.

Find out more about The Verb

The Verb is BBC Radio 3’s cabaret of the spoken word, featuring poetry, new writing and performance.

Physics by Chanje Kunda, Verb New Voices 3

Here We Are by Andy Craven Griffiths, Verb New Voices 3

Louise Fazackerley, Verb New Voices 2

Kamal Kaan, As The Cloud Takes Its Last Breath, Verb New Voices 3, 2015

I say this with no ounce of exaggeration, that Verb New Voices literally changed my writing career. I applied the year before and didn’t win the award which made me more determined to re-apply with a more fierce application. The beauty of the award was that it has lead to meeting the most amazing industry people who’ve each help to carve the proceeding successes. Meeting Tanya Ronder on the Arvon Foundation course (part of the prize) led to her sending my work off to the Bush Theatre in London and now I am developing a stage play as part of the Emerging Writers Group 2016. Working with BBC Radio 4 producer Charlotte Riches led to me being commissioned by Radio 4/BBC World Service to write a poetry-led creative documentary in the form of a radio ballad and to pitching for the Radio 4 Afternoon Drama slot. Thank you New Writing North – wouldn’t have done it without you.

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