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Write On Leeds
The North! Where we do what we want. Two years ago, watching David Peace’s Red Riding Trilogy on Channel 4 was crucial for me.

I was writing my debut novel, Shark, with a balance of anxiousness and ambition. Seeing David Peace’s example, and the excellent article in the Guardian TV listings describing Peace’s influences like John Braine and Stan Barstow, helped me learn about a tradition of Yorkshire writers I was simply unaware of.

What I loved about Peace was the was how he coalesced this tradition with the edge of James Ellroy and the crisis wisdom of Don DeLillo.

Leeds suddenly become a place to write about. The effect was liberating. At the time, I was editor of The Cadaverine, a Leeds-based magazine for young writers and learning of some of the other writers active in the city, the live literature nights and the festivals like Headingley and Morley.

When Shark was published by Armley-based Dog Horn Publishing, Tom Palmer put Kester Aspden in touch.

Kester is the author of The Hounding of David Oluwale a powerful account of police brutality written with forensic detail and a novelist’s eye for character.

He invited me to read at “Real Leeds” at Waterstone’s alongside the poet, Ian Duhig, and the author of Promised Land, Anthony Clavane.

At the event I met Mick McCann, an Armley-based writer and the man behind the How Leeds Changed The World.

Having been appointed as the NAWE Young Writers’ Coordinator and working for NALD, I had a window in to more activity in Leeds like Leeds Young Authors or Red Ladder theatre group and it seemed that exciting things were happening across the city: across class the divide, across ethnicity, genre and locality.

Anthony came up with an idea for a new anthology of Leeds writing and a website to showcase what was going on in Leeds. After numerous meetings and input from other writers, it was decided that this project would be called Write On Leeds and be a web-based magazine for Leeds-based writers.

The site is currently in development and will include news, reviews, profiles, event listings and will effectively and effortlessly help writers find readers and share news and opportunities.

In the meantime, we have a Facebook page where people are posting links and generating interest before we launch the site and source work for the anthology.

Writers have long bemoaned the linen-suited London publishing “cartel”. Roamed around with a chip on their shoulder. But that doesn’t have to be the case. With Write On Leeds, we can move forward, self-confidently. With generosity and innovation, we can really do what we want to do in the North.

Wes Brown is a 25 year-old novelist and Young Writers’ Coordinator for NAWE.

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