The 2015 Newcastle Writing Conference: Do it Yourself

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Saturday 6 June, 10am-5.30pm


Limited early bird tickets available until 17 April

New Writing North and Northumbria University are delighted to present the Newcastle Writing Conference: Do it Yourself. Aimed at new and emerging writers of fiction, as well as more established writers wanting to embrace the digital age, the conference will explore trends in publishing, identify new markets for writing and support authors to make connections with each other and with industry experts.

In 2015, there are more opportunities and challenges for writers than ever before. The publishing industry is changing and the writers who get ahead are those who make the most of the possibilities available to them. Our Do it Yourself conference will show you how to navigate the new rules (while remembering that many of the old rules still apply). From using digital platforms to engage with readers, to exploring non-traditional publishing routes, to identifying what today’s editors look for, this conference is all about what you can do for yourself.

The Newcastle Writing Conference is a must-attend event for aspiring and early career writers looking to promote their work and understand more about the industry, and is also for more established writers who are interested in engaging with their readers through digital platforms.

If you’re studying creative writing at university the conference will also be a useful introduction to the industries of writing and publishing and a chance to learn from experts and writers.

Our last writing conference sold out, so don’t delay in buying your tickets, which are available here.

If you’re travelling to Newcastle for the conference please explore discounted accommodation options here.

Follow the link for more information on how to find Northumbria University’s City Campus East.

Newcastle Writing Conference 2015: Confirmed programme

10am-10.30am: Registration, tea and coffee

10.30am: Welcome from NWN and Northumbria University

10.35am-11am: Keynote address: Acclaimed novelist Meg Rosoff will talk about her journey to publication, which began in her forties. Since her first book was published in 2004, Meg Rosoff has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal as well as the Branford Boase Award and the Guardian Prize. Now on her sixth novel, Picture Me Gone, Rosoff’s debut novel, How I Live Now, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Fiction as well as the Whitbread Book Award.

11.05am-12pm: How to Stand Out in a Digital Age: This panel event will explore how digital media can enhance your writing career. Panelists will look at the influence of social media and blogging on the book-buying public as well as giving their perspective on the publishing industry today. Featuring Ben Willis, head of digital publicity at Transworld; Costa-shortlisted author and social media expert Nikesh Shukla; vlogger and Hotkey Books digital coordinator Sanne Vliegenthart, whose YouTube book vlog, Books and Quills, has over 124,000 subscribers; and blogger Simon Savidge, who runs the influential book blog, Savidge Reads.

12.15pm-12.30pm: Book-signing session with Meg Rosoff

12.30pm-1.30pm Break-out session (participants must select one, subject to availability)

Websites and Blogging: Leading book blogger Simon Savidge and digital designer Mel Ashby guide you through the process of creating a website or blog, from crafting your online persona to the technical side of making websites. Beginners welcome.

Meet the agent: An opportunity to ask a leading literary agent any questions you may have about how to pitch your work and the submissions process. With Mark Stanton, of Jenny Brown Associates. Stan is interested in a variety of genres including literary fiction, crime and thrillers and non-fiction – particularly in the areas of sport and popular culture.

How to pitch your work, with Steve Chambers, senior lecturer in creative writing at Northumbria University. This workshop will demystify the art of pitching your work and show you how to pitch to anyone professionally and with confidence.

How to edit your work: with acclaimed novelist and Northumbria University lecturer Fiona Shaw. Bring a page of your draft work to Fiona Shaw’s editing session and discover at first hand how best to take the red pen to your words. Please bring with you two printed copies of a piece of draft prose, double-spaced, up to 500 words.

Vlogging: Vlogs are video blogs, and the growing trend in the digital arena. Sanne Vliegenthart of the popular Books and Quills vlog offers a practical guide to getting started with vlogging, either to promote your own writing or to talk about other people’s.

1.30pm-2.30pm: Lunch

2.30pm-3.30pm: Break-out session (participants must select one, subject to availability)

Meet the agent: An opportunity to ask a leading literary agent any questions you may have about how to pitch your work and the submissions process. With Jo Unwin, of the Jo Unwin Literary Agency. Jo represents authors of literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, young adult fiction, and fiction for children aged 9+ but not younger.

Develop your online presence: Find out how to use social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote your work with Ben Willis from Transworld and author Nikesh Shukla.

Writing in the Academy: How creative writing postgraduate courses can help your work, with Northumbria University’s Professor Michael Green.

Non-traditional publishing routes: Join Rachael Kerr from crowdfunding publishers Unbound, whose recent successes include Letters of Note and the Booker-longlisted The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth; Debbie Young, a self-publishing expert from the Alliance of Independent Authors, and Jim Hinks from Comma Press, whose self-publishing platform for text and audio, MacGuffin, launches in June. 

3.30pm-3.45pm: Tea and coffee served

3.45pm-4.45pm: What’s Hot and What’s Not: This panel event will explore current trends in the publishing industry with industry experts. Francesca Main is the editorial director of Picador, who recently edited the best-selling The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; Rachael Kerr is the editor-at-large at Unbound; Anna James is book news and media editor of publishing industry bible The Bookseller and books editor of Elle magazine; and Jo Unwin is a literary agent whose clients include Nina Stibbe, Jenny Colgan and Charlie Brooker.

4.45pm-5.15pm: Questions from the floor

5.30pm: ENDS

Please note that lunch is included in the package.

Refreshments will also be served on arrival and during the afternoon break.

Tickets available here