The latest issue of the NAWE Magazine (No. 59), edited by Paul Munden, features articles all deriving from the NAWE 2012 Conference in York.
I was proud to be a part of NAWE’s 25th Anniversary Conference in York last year, especially as I have been involved with the Association in some form or another for the whole of those 25 years. What I realize, however, reading the articles deriving from the event, is just how strong a programme it was and how little I experienced, on a personal level – the organizer’s inevitable fate.
Editing this edition of Writing in Education has somewhat made up for that and given me a greater insight into the riches that were on offer. This is possibly the most diverse (yet related) set of articles that we have published to date, and they are complemented by some of the most satisfying news we have ever reported and a review (Martin Goodman’s analysis of James Lasdun’s recent book) of outstanding importance.
I’m particularly struck by the way the conference articles relate so much creative activity that went on at the conference itself: most ‘obvious’ was Curtis Tappenden’s sketching of our conference guests, but there was also the production of war poems, greguerías – and a creative reflection between one session and another.
Having taken stock of delegates’ very useful feedback, we have decided to hold this year’s conference in the same venue, though making use of a more central and compact section of the hotel, which has undergone further refurbishment. We have real confidence in delivering an event that will be even better tailored to our members’ needs.
The intervening months have been extraordinary. Just before Christmas the news came through that the AQA Creative Writing A Level had finally been accredited. None of our NAWE?news over the 25 years has made me rejoice so much. Work with AQA (and other awarding bodies) will continue, and we believe that an exciting new era of Creative Writing in schools has dawned – yes, at the most unlikely of times.
Shortly after the A Level announcement, NAWE was invited to be involved in the new Poetry by Heart initiative, masterminded by the Poetry Archive. Having been quick to criticize the government’s insistence on primary school pupils learning poetry by heart without any apparent rationale, we were impressed by the thoughtfulness that had been applied to this initiative from the start, and the scope for engaging in a deep debate about the nature of poetry and its place in education. NAWE?organized 6 events for teachers, around the country, and I will be writing a reflective report on the extraordinary range of work that took place.
Running the Poetry by Heart events, I was unable to attend the AWP?Conference in Boston, but the NAWE?presence was well positioned and 750 booklets promoting UK?Creative Writing programmes were distributed. We will no doubt repeat the venture in Seattle next year and details will be circulated shortly. There are now a record number of HE?courses in the UK, as listed on our website (at an intriguing discrepancy with UCAS?statistics as reported in the article on page 62) and I am currently working on a new report on Creative Writing in HE, commissioned by the HE?Academy.
There has, of course, been less edifying news. Our Stage 3 Complaint against the Arts Council’s funding process was addressed by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and has, unsurprisingly, failed to revoke the actual decision. We were however pleased that certain aspects of our complaint were fully recognized, and that ACE?were obliged to issue us with an apology. Further detail is published on page 3.
We have operated now for a whole year without ACE?funding, and we’re pleased to report that the financial outlook is entirely healthy, with our reserves remaining at the same level as before.
Meanwhile, hundreds of you have been registering on the new cutalongstory website, and submitting short stories to be sold as downloads for e-readers. I’m delighted that NAWE?is a partner is this venture, and that members stand to benefit in very real terms. Such a major online service is inevitably taking time to perfect, and with writers’ interests its prime concern, no corners are being cut. All those who have registered will be kept fully informed of progress. A further opportunity for members to sell their work is announced here on page 3.
Finally, I’m somewhat relieved to say that the next two editions of Writing in Education will be guest edited: the Summer edition by Elisabeth Charis and Garrie Fletcher and the Autumn edition by John Killick. Submission details and deadlines will be circulated soon.
The printed version of the magazine will be mailed to Professional Members and Institutions during the week beginning 8 April 2013. Any other members - including e-members - may purchase printed copies by following the link below.
Associate/Student Members and those benefiting from Institutional Membership can opt to have the printed magazine sent automatically by upgrading. If you would like to do this, please contact Clare Mallorie
For a full list of contents, click on the image or the link below. NAWE members logged into the site can read the full articles. You can also browse the complete back catalogue of previous issues