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The Writing Squad
A development programme for writers aged 16-21 living, working or studying in the north of England
Project History:

The first year of the Writing Squad programme consists of four one-day workshops led by guest tutors in Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester, focussing on prose, poetry, scriptwriting and a genre chosen by Squad members. In the second year we work in cross-regional Squads, grouping writers according to their specialisms.

Squad days are complemented by at least eight one-to-one sessions focussing on the writer’s own writing. In these sessions, we create and review individual plans for developing the writer’s work, and how they manage and promote themselves as writers. The one-to-ones take place across the north, wherever our writers feel comfortable meeting.


We create specialist support for our writers alongside the core programme.  For example we teamed up with Peter Sansom, Director of the Poetry Business to offer Tritorials, our poets meeting in groups of three to close edit their work, talk about their reading of contemporary poetry and share their writing experience with each other. Read the results in PUSH2. Helen Mort has also been working with our poets on how to assemble and edit a first pamphlet or collection.


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Project Quote:
"At first it was about football. We used to run into each other at literary events all over the north and after business retire to a pub somewhere and talk about how wonderful David Beckham and Paul Scholes were. You didn’t have to support Manchester United to realise a youth academy had produced a core of footballers that provided the backbone of the Premiership’s most successful team. And anyway, other teams were producing fresh young British talent through similar schemes: Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, Rio Ferdinand at the West Ham academy and the rest. It was all about spotting talent young and nurturing it into adulthood."
Writers Involved:
Laura Attridge, Chris Bush, Jess Drew, Katherine Horrex, Wes Brown, Charlotte Wetton, Yuan Yang, Ruth Yates, Gav Hudson, Mwewa Sumbwanyambe, Jessica Brown, Carrie Holroyd, Nick Payne, Leo Topp, Amy Christmas, Katie Smith, Ellen Osborne, Penny Andrews, Joe Shrewsbury, Tom Donnelly
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