Tue 25 June 2019
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Friday 9 November

11am - 11.30 Registration

11.30 - 12.30    Choice of:

i) HE & PhD Network Meetings (North Ridings) Led by NAWE's Higher Education Committee 

An opportunity to meet and learn from writers involved in studying and teaching creative writing.

ii) Making the Most of Your Writing Career with Society of Authors Bryony Hall, Daniel Blythe  (Regatta)

Join representatives from the Society of Authors to talk about how to make the most of your writing career. Daniel Blythe, author and committee member of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group, will give his top tips for school visits, and will outline the Society of Authors’ campaigns to support literacy and Reading for Pleasure and how you can get involved. Contracts Advisor Bryony Hall will be on hand to discuss the key points and pitfalls to watch out for in publishing contracts.

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Opening remarks (Henley)

14.00 Choice of: 

A1: i) The Poetry Society: Celebrating 20 years of Foyle Young Poets Judith Palmer

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of The Poetry Society’s competition for 11 – 17 year olds, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.  The award has helped shape the current poetry landscape with a prestigious raft of winners including the likes of Helen Mort, Caroline Bird, Sarah Howe, Richard Osmond and Jay Bernard. This session looks at both the wealth of writing by young people the competition has generated and the schools’ resources, inspired by this writing, created by our Teacher Trailblazers programme.

ii) First Story: National Writing Day, the Story So Far – Nicki Shore, Dave Windass

As part of the Arts Council England’s Creative Writing in Schools Strategic fund, First Story along with national partners – including fellow grant recipient Paper Nations – launched National Writing Day in 2017. This initiative focused on working collectively to highlight the benefits of creative writing, particularly emphasising the pleasure and power that writing can give. We will discuss some key lessons learned, the greatest opportunities and challenges of collective action, as well as other inspiring work in the sector that has influenced this advocacy project. We will also touch on ways to get involved, for lone practitioners, schools and arts organisations. 

iii) Paper Nations and Creative Writing Education Lynne Taylor

This presentation will describe the findings from Paper Nations' co-production projects with writing tutors, schools and communities. It will answer the question, 'What have we learned about the needs of schools, writers, teachers and the children and young people we wanted to reach?'

B1: iAnemotions: How Writing Short Films Helps Children Talk About How They Feel Jessica Randall (Ministry of Stories), Place 2 Be

Join this project showcase and workshop to find out about what happens when children collaborate with animators to create short films. Primary children were partnered with professional animators to write films to encourage children to talk about their emotions. In partnership with national children’s mental health charity, the Place2Be, the Ministry of Stories will present some of the films, and workshop ways in which we can explore writing about emotions with children.

ii) God Save the Teen: Creative Writing and Social Inclusion for Young People Andrew Graves

Using his experiences of growing up in an old mining town and as a creative practitioner and mentor for over 10 years, Andrew Graves will offer guidance, tips and motivational insights into how others can improve their practice or develop their skills (and sensitivity) in working effectively with young people from a variety of different backgrounds. God Save the Teen: Creative Writing and Social Inclusion for Young People, will take the form of a 45 minute presentation including Q & A. 

C1: Image and Word: Ekphrastic Writing, Teaching and Thinking 

i) Listen… Joanne Reardon

This paper will explore how visual images can shape and illuminate prose in unconventional and experimental ways. It will consider how writing can ‘listen’ to an image, responding not only to the visual stimuli but also by engaging with the ‘sound’ of the work. Drawing on my past practice of working with artists, Iain Andrews, Richard Kenton Webb and on a current project with Natalie Sirett on the landscapes of fairy tales, I will explore what image does in a narrative if used in this way – can it disrupt as well as illuminate a text and, if so, how does the writer respond to this.

ii) Seeing like a Martian: Ekphrasis with Evenly-Hovering Attention Patrick Wright

Traditionally, the practice of ekphrasis for both creative writers and educators tends to involve a set of assumptions about where to look and what is to be considered important. Both are usually likely to impose knowledge onto their viewing experience (derived from art history for instance), such as where figure and ground are located/distinguished. This workshop will examine looking flatly, inspired by Sigmund Freud’s idea of evenly-hovering attention, as a means of yielding new kinds of ekphrastic writing and a different approach to image analysis. Opportunities for written exercises in response to artworks will be included.   

iii) Ekphrastic Faces: Seeing and Writing Derek Neale

Faces are mixed up – perfectly private, your own, yet offering a public front to the world, showing you as you are but giving you a mask. All interesting for writer and reader alike, along with those scars, creases, curled nose and asymmetrical eyes. Faces can be used as writing prompts, and as expositional ciphers to characters’ histories, sorrows and attitudes.  This session will focus on how immersive observational techniques – linked to Art History and Bhuddism – can produce ekphrastic meditations, de-familiarising routes into character and creative nonfiction. It will refer to teaching possibilities, along with the presenters own face and writing.

iv) Evidence of Lives Nicky Harlow

Nicky Harlow will explore ekphrastic insights into the contemporary relationship between evidence and narrative, image and text, as seen through the inclusion of digital images - mocked up documents, paintings and photographs - in her thriller novel, When I am Laid in Earth.

D1: This Is What It Feels Like For Me: Three Explorations of Writing and Wellbeing 

i) Nature Writing and Wellbeing Jessica Wortley

Nature writing is an increasingly popular literary genre. I will discuss preliminary findings from my PhD research, looking at how writing about nature can be beneficial. I will highlight the key emerging themes, including: belonging, adversity, and making meaning (Asquith, 2014; Oliver, 2016; Solnitt, 2006; Winton, 2012, 2017). Drawing on previous research into the benefits of writing, and of spending time outdoors (Hunt, 2013; Mabey, 2005), I will use these as a starting point to discuss my methods for writing about nature. The audience will also be invited to consider their own appreciation of nature.

ii) Into the rock pool: Working with Metaphors of Water in Fiction Hilary Jenkins

If metaphors are our ‘most powerful, immediately available tools for projecting possible worlds’, allowing us to project from what is to what may be or may not be (Pope, 2000:191), they are also deeply treacherous. They can refresh and enliven our perception, but can also be over familiar, deaden the senses and dull the mind. How can we help our students use living metaphors? Drawing on my experience of writing a novel inspired by a family seaweed album, and working with students, I will suggest some short exercises to help us think about how we use metaphors of nature in fiction.

iii) Writing as Container: Putting Our Selves into Words Sophie Nicholls

This presentation explores the ‘thinginess’ of words and writing as a kind of playful making in which we shape ‘word-things’ (Kristeva, 1996: 247) or objects for our felt experiences. With particular reference to the work of Kovesces on the universal language of the metaphor of emotion (2000) and the BODY AS CONTAINER image schema, I investigate writing as a process towards coherence. I introduce a playful exercise to show how words can help us to find the right form for our selves and to craft and control the emotional force systems that sometimes threaten to ‘unmake’ us.

E1: i) Magic Realism: The Fiction of Dreams Alan Bilton

As a style of writing, Magic Realism attempts to marry the impossible and the believable, constructing dream worlds capable of taking the reader's weight. The workshop looks at the roots of Magic Realism, exploring the Surrealist love of dreams and the 'marvellous', while touching upon Freudian notions of daydream, anxiety, and the unconscious. The session explores what happens when realistic fiction is invaded by the strange and uncanny, creating feelings of disquiet, dread, or awe. In this manner, the workshop explores ways in which mystery and the absurd can be incorporated into one's own writing and creative imagination.

ii) Measuring the Muddle: Applying Meaningful Creative Processes with Assessable Outcomes in Literacy in Education Judy Waite

Creativity evolves through something that, to an outsider, may seem like a messy muddle of approaches. It is this lack of clear process that arguably stunts creativity within education. How can you measure a muddle? In teaching creative writing within an educational framework, there is a need to identify process in terms of ‘active and ‘action’ methodologies, embedding these within aims, objectives and outcomes. This session draws from research and the application of creative approaches that recognise the intuitive alongside the editorial.  Through example and discussion, innovative ways to ‘measure the muddle’ will be explored.

F1: i) Permission to Speak: Navigating ‘Authority’ During the Writing Process Maria Thomas

In light of current debates surrounding cultural and other forms of appropriation, the twin questions of entitlement and authority in storytelling have never been more pressing. How do writers consider and navigate these questions while creating, and what affect does this kind of political awareness have on what we make? In what ways can teachers of creative writing support developing writers in making creative choices that are sensitive to these important questions? In this presentation, I offer my personal attempts to embrace these challenges within my PhD novel, and my classrooms.

ii) Noirstalgia: A presentation exploring characterisation in a feminist crime noir transmedia storyworld Helen Jacey

Drawing on a series of character case studies, Helen Jacey will explore the creative interplay between platform convention and character function in developing a crime transmedia storyworld. Noirstalgia encompasses fiction, theatre, poetry, digital art and television drama scriptwriting, and emerges from a ‘post-nostalgic’ approach, where the past is re-envisioned and re-injected with contemporary concerns and presents a challenge to the patriarchal white norms of a 1940s LA noir landscape. The presentation will also share recent positive outcomes of introducing transmedia storytelling principles into the creative writing curriculum at Bournemouth University, encouraging students’ creative and critical skills through an innovative framework for contextual reflection about their creative writing.

iii) Look who’s talking Enrique Valladares

Probably, one of the most skillful challenges for a writer’s artistry is the so-called voice. Students, even the advanced ones, tend to find this expertise particularly difficult. This presentation intends to provide a guide for creative writing students to enhance the fine-tuning of their own voices and to raise consciousness around the vocal possibilities of their narrators (the main elements of voice, the variety and potentialities of points of view and other technical considerations.)

15.30–16.00 Tea/Coffee Break

16.00–17.30 Choice of:

A2: Funding for Writers & Writing Projects Jonathan Davidson, Writing West Midlands

Although funding for writers and writing projects is hard to come by, it has always been possible and some new initiatives have made things easier. Jonathan Davidson will look particularly at Arts Council England funding, including their Lottery Projects Grants and Developing Your Creative Practice schemes and at how writers and writing projects can be presented to make them fundable. Jonathan has working in arts and cultural management for thirty years and worked on many (mostly) successful small-scale funding applications. He is Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands and runs his own arts management company, Midland Creative Projects. He is also Chair of NAWE.

B2: i) From 'I Can't' to 'Can I?' to 'I Can!' Christopher Vick

A presentation exploring the barriers to writing for young people, and in particular, confidence and perceived lack of ability. Writing is too often seen as ‘other;’ something young people feel they can’t do, or that provides only limited creative options or is simply not for them. I’ll talk about my experience of workshops: how I try to use common and shared experiences to get young people engaged with creative writing: And what I’ve learned – and changed – along the way. We all tell stories. There isn’t really much difference in writing and telling. It’s like a musical instrument, but we already know the notes and how to play! Once we know this, and have a go, it’ s simply a question of working out what our stories are, and how we can tell them.

ii) National Literacy Trust: School for Writers Fay Lant

For many writers, engaging with children and young people is an integral part of their work and an opportunity to inspire the next generation. Building on their previous success in author training, this year the National Literacy Trust have partnered with Arvon, BookTrust and The Reading Agency to deliver ‘School for Writers’: a jam-packed three day course for writers who want to deliver brilliant workshops in schools and community settings. In this session we will discuss the benefits of working collaboratively across the sector and how successful the project has been in providing writers with the knowledge and skills they need.

iii) New Writing North: Human Centred Design Anna Disley*

New Writing North aims to create an infrastructure which supports young people to navigate their own journey, as writers, readers and consumers of culture. New Writing North Young Writers is available to young people in Tyne and Wear  aged 12 and over every week and year-round.  We run open-access opportunities including free weekly writing groups, and targeted programmes which are deep and long-term in specific areas of significant socio-economic disadvantage.  We also offer talent investment and professional development opportunities for 15 – 25 year olds.  This session will introduce delegates to the Human Centred Design approach we take to delivering our work, which involves identifying ‘beneficiary-types’ and designing programmes so that we can best support young people’s progression, according to their needs and drivers.


*CLPE are unable to attend 

C2: i) Ghost in a foreign city Julian Stannard

Genova di Sottoripa.

Emporio. Sesso. Stipa.

Genova di Porta Soprana,

d'angelo e di puttana

(from ‘Litania’ , Giorgio Caproni) 

I first arrived in Genoa in 1984, aged, 22. I discovered, among other things, a city with a rich literary history. Although I was an ‘outsider’ I somehow wrote my way into the city.  At the NAWE Conference last year I showed the film-poem ‘Sottoripa’, a collaboration of sorts with the film maker Guglielmo Trupia. The work was nominated at the 2013 Raindance Festival. The film-poem is, in effect, an introduction to Sottoripa the collection, published this year in Italy. The poems were translated by Massimo Bacigalupo (University of Genoa)  and my paper considers the relationship between translocation and translation and how the dilapidated backstreets of a once powerful mercantile city create their own poetic geography.

ii) Hybrid Writing Tawnya Renelle 

The presentation will begin with a definition of hybridity and examples of current hybrid writers. It will discuss the ways that the genre bending of hybrid creates a unique space and opportunity for students and teachers. The presentation will conclude with examples of exercises that can be used to encourage hybrid writing in students.  After practical uses are presented an invitation of discussion is encouraged.

iii) Conversations Through Poetry Holly Howitt-Dring & Steven O’Brien

Who are we writing to? And whom is speaking to whom? Conversations Through Poetry is a presentation that will examine the ways in which poetry can ‘speak’ with a multitude of voices. Who might it talk to? It could be to itself, to another poem, to another poet… We will explore how this can be used in classes through a range of writing prompts, and in our own practice as professional poets.

D2: i) Writing as thinking Judy Kendall

In a linguistically determined world, language shapes and limit thought, and language outside the normal bounds is not wayward but key: essential to the process and progress of thinking in writing. In a non-linguistically determined world, thoughts are composed prior to their linguistic forms. In this world, language outside the normal bounds, uncovering the inarticulable, is still essential to the progress of thinking in writing. This paper details the rich contribution creative writing offers to academic investigations and papers; examples from the author’s and others’ work; and the negotiations often necessary to help editors see the merits of such work.

ii) Creative writing and mental health Helen Kenwright

Converge is a partnership between York St John University and mental health service providers in the York region. It offers high quality educational opportunities to adults who use NHS and non-statutory mental health service. Courses are designed and delivered by University students (offering valuable work experience), Converge graduates and staff, and are held on a university campus. In this presentation teacher and educational researcher Helen Kenwright will share strategies, experience and lessons learned from the Creative Writing team at Converge, and invite discussion as to how education can better serve people with lived experience of mental illness.

iii) What are the safeguards in writing for wellbeing?  Carolyn Jess-Cooke 

This paper considers the sharp rise in 'writing for wellbeing' workshops around the UK, held in academic institutions, community centres and literary organisations, and also employed increasingly by counsellors and clinicians. The paper considers the provenance of creative writing for mental health and analysis the benefits and potential negative impacts of writing for well-being, with a call to establishing a regulatory body to impose safeguarding measures.

E2: i) Walking Workshops:  Traversing the Landscape of the Mind Belinda Castles

‘The mind is…a landscape of sorts and…walking is one way to traverse it…’ Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust. Walking is an established method for writers to explore the unknown territories of their minds. Can its value be channelled in the more formal, social structure of writing workshops? My purpose is the deliberate seeking of breakthroughs and, to this end, I am trialling walking workshops with creative writing PhDs and with members of the public. I will discuss initial findings, contextualise these workshops within a broader landscape of walking in education and seek connections with writing teachers interested in such methods.

ii) Storying Place Daisy Johnson, Claire Boardman

This workshop considers the relationship between story and place through enabling participants to devise, find and make their own story of place.  Influenced by techniques of deep mapping, digital storytelling and reflexive authorship, we will ask both if and how the act of storying can transform our relationship to place. 

F2: i) Brief Encounters: Writing and Teaching Flash Fiction (60 mins) Amanda Quinn

Amanda Quinn will share her experiences of writing and teaching flash fiction in this fun and fast-paced workshop. We will examine different ways to approach the form and write our own super short stories. We will also discuss the opportunities and challenges involved in teaching flash fiction. Participants will leave with a toolkit of exercises and ideas to use in their own practice.

ii) In Search of the Creative Kevin Price

The look the Chair of Curriculum directed at me could have chilled a Norwegian winter. ‘We teach architecture, Lazaar, to produce architects. Teaching engineering produces engineers. But creative writing …? If that is what we are to teach, it behoves us to know who is the creative writer.’ This fictocritical paper (drawn from my PhD research into the role of story and its transformative experience in creative writing practice, study, and education) interrogates the merits of taken-for-granted assumptions in our understanding of creativity in the creative writer, and what it is we aim to produce as evidence of that understanding.

18.00–18-30 Launch: Michael Loveday, Three Men on the Edge with Jennifer Steil and Keith Jarrett (Henley)

“A beautifully crafted novella-in-flash, small and perfect slices of life written with skill and heart.” (Kit de Waal)

Michael Loveday was born in Wembley, and spent over 30 years living on the Northwest edge of London, including nine years in Rickmansworth in the Three Rivers District of Hertfordshire. His debut poetry pamphlet He Said / She Said was published by HappenStance Press in 2011. Since 2013, he has been working as a tutor in Community and Higher Education, teaching fiction, poetry, life writing and general literature. In 2016, he moved to Bath. He is a Director of NAWE, and his blog of interviews with writers of flash fiction, poetry and prose poetry can be found at pagechatter.org. Three Men on the Edge was inspired by his experiences of an in-between place.

Jennifer Steil is an award-winning author and journalist. Her third book, a novel about a family of Austrian Jewish musicians who seek refuge from the Nazis in Bolivia, is forthcoming from Viking USA. Her most recent novel, The Ambassador’s Wife (Doubleday, 2015), won the 2016 Phillip McMath Post Publication book award and has been published in several other languages, including Italian, Bulgarian, Greek, and Polish. The Mark Gordon Company has optioned the film rights to The Ambassador’s Wife, with plans to create a television miniseries starring Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway. Jennifer is currently starting work on her fourth book while pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. She also works as a freelance book editor and leader of writing retreats.

Keith Jarrett is a poet, fiction writer, and PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London, exploring the migration of religion from the Caribbean to London. A former UK Poetry Slam Champion, he won the International Slam Championship at FLUPP in Rio. His monologue, Safest Spot in Town, was performed at the Old Vic and on BBC Four in 2017 as part of the Queers series. His book of poetry, Selah, is published by Burning Eye. He was one of six initial Spoken Word Educator trainees teaching at a school in East London while researching Creative Education for an MA at Goldsmiths; the project was the first of its kind in Europe.

18.30 - 20.00 Dinner (Restaurant)

20.00 - 21.00 Reading and Q&A with Stuart Maconie (Henley)

Stuart Maconie is a TV and radio presenter, author, columnist and journalist. He co-hosts the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 6 Music and has written and presents dozens of other shows on BBC Radio. His books include The Pie at Night, The People’s Songs, Hope and Glory, Adventures on the High Teas, Pies and Prejudice and Cider with Roadies.

21.00 - 22.00 NAWE Open Mic!

Join us for a smorgasboard of poetry and short prose! Put your name down at the NAWE desk until 7pm on Friday. First come, first served... (Henley)

Speaker 1

8pm: Stuart Maconie  

Stuart Maconie is a TV and radio presenter, author, columnist and journalist. He co-hosts the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 6Music and has written and presents dozens of other shows on BBC Radio. His books include The Pie at NightThe People’s SongsHope and GloryAdventures on the High TeasPies and Prejudice and Cider with Roadies.