News and Opportunities for Writers: May/June 2019


The Society of Authors want to hear from writers, illustrators and literary translators! Fill out this survey to tell them what training, development and advice will help you further your career as an author. The survey will take around 10-15 minutes to complete and as a thank you, you can enter a draw to win a year’s free membership to the Society of Authors.

The new season of writing short courses run by Writing West Midlands are available online. Booking till September 2019, there are courses on Poetry, Funding for Writing Projects, Starting to Write (Prose & Scripts) and many more.



The Shrewsbury Bookfest, a festival dedicated to children’s authors and illustrators, is back 4-5 May! Celebrating its 21st birthday this year, the festival includes events such as an Aardman Modelling Workshop and an event with Jacqueline Wilson. Book tickets here.

Once Upon a Wednesday with Naomi Paul is coming to the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton-on-Trent, 8 May! Set sail on a surreal journey- sometimes poignant, always funny and ultimately uplifting. From lingerie to libraries, from Birmingham to the Balkans, from the personal to the political. Book tickets here.

Have breakfast with Bethany Rivers in Palmer’s Cafe in the Baptist Church, Central Shrewsbury, 13 May 10-11am. Bethany is a celebrated local author of Fountain of Creativity – Ways to Nourish Your Writing. You will be able to buy copies of the book at the venue and there will be a chance to ask questions. Bethany will provide a fun and practical taster of the book, whilst you have tea, coffee, toast or cakes. Everyone is welcome.

Andrea Gibson will be at The Glee Club for their Lord of the Butterflies Tour, 13 May. In a fierce oscillation between activism and love, Andrea Gibson’s newest literary triumph, Lord of the Butterflies, is a masterful showcase from the renowned poet whose writing and performances have captured the hearts of millions. Book tickets here.

The Primers Vol 4 Birmingham launch event is just under 3 weeks away, on 14 May at Birmingham School of Art! The Primers scheme provides an important platform for emerging poets who are seeking to develop their writing and build towards a full collection of poems. Poets include: Lewis Buxton, Amelia Loulli and Victoria Richards. Book tickets here.

Author Garrie Fletcher will be doing a reading from his new book ‘Submerged’ at The Birmingham Whisky Club in the Jewellery Quarter on 15 May. Joining him will be some of the region’s finest writers, Lisa Blower, Peter Haynes and Alan Beard. There will be opportunities to buy books, get books signed and have a talk to the writers with a drink of whiskey!

How to Work Best with Your Local Bookseller – This is an event by The Society of Authors and will be held in Kenilworth Bookshop, 22 May. A chance to get together with local SoA members and put your questions to an experienced bookseller over drinks and nibbles. You can send your questions in advance to Click here for more info and to book.

Changing Wor(l)ds – The Changing Wor(l)ds festival in Nottingham works with independent presses, writers, cultural organisations and community venues to platform marginalised authors and engage new audiences. It brings together performances, talks and showcases accessible to the general public with writing and publishing workshops to develop and support people who already have an active interest in writing. Held at the National Justice Museum and Nottingham Writers’ Studio, 24-27 May. Click here for more info and to book.

Like the Prose – The Literal ChallengeThroughout June, participants will be sent a daily brief and have 36 hours to write a short story in response. The idea is to get writing and produce something creative every day! Registrations open until 28 May. Click here for more info and to book.

Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Fest 2019 – The festival will include events for all the family, such as workshops, open mics, music and more! Authors attending include Julia Copus, Michael Rosen and Nancy Kerr. 15-23 June. Click here for more info and to book.

Creative Writing WorkshopITI West Midlands Group is running a creative writing workshop at the Birmingham & Midland Institute on Saturday 29 June. This will be a fun day of creative writing prompts, discussions and exercises in a supportive atmosphere. No previous creative writing experience necessary. To book a place, please email Ros Mendy for a form:

BOOK LAUNCH: Wednesday 3rd July, 7.30pm, Shrewsbury Library.  Bethany Rivers launching her book on the creative writing process.  Refreshments available.  ‘Fountain of Creativity: Ways to nourish your words’ – 32 golden rules to help get you writing and to keep you writing.  A friendly and insightful guide to take you through your writing process.  FREE event.  Book released from Victorina Press £10.

Creative Writing: The Wonder of Seeds – This event will be led by Rebecca Hubbard, an experienced and inspirational writing tutor and published poet, and will be 19-21 August. Enjoy the beautiful gardens, a friendly welcome and delicious meals at the Woodbrooke Quaker Centre, Birmingham. For anyone who writes. To book: 0121 472 5171 or

NAWE Conference 2019: 8-10 November 2019, York – The annual conference of the National Association of Writers in Education offers an invaluable opportunity for writers and educators from across the UK and beyond to come together to celebrate the best in teaching creative writing practice, to build networks and debate current issues. Come and inspire and be inspired! Registration opens beginning of May.


Competitions and opportunities:

Calling all emerging poets! Take part in developing the second series of poetry podcasts for Bedtime Stories for the End of the World. There are 12 places for this project. Participants will all receive a £300 fee for this commission and travel costs for writers outside London are available. More info here. Deadline: 1 May.

The 2019 Bristol Short Story Prize is now open for entries. This competition is open to all writers published or unpublished, UK or non-UK, and announcements will happen in October 2019. More information here. Deadline 1 May.

NAWE Conference 2019 Proposals for workshops, presentations and panels exploring the teaching of creative writing in schools, community, FE and HE settings are invited for this year’s NAWE Conference. All contributors (members and non-members alike) benefit from a significant discount on the conference rates, with day, weekend, residential and non-residential packages available. More info here. Deadline 1 May.

Creative Nonfiction are looking for submissions for the following:

Apples and Snakes are recruiting for a Midlands Producer! With a current focus on delivering work in Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon, the Midlands Producer will build on the company’s partnerships, identify new strategic opportunities in the region, and nurture talent. Deadline: 24 May. Click here for more information.

Punch Magazine is calling for submissions for the Annual Anthology of Short Fiction: They love stories of all genres by authors of diverse ethnicities and regions. This year, they are publishing an anthology of best short stories from established and emerging writers from around the world. They are looking for original, unpublished short fiction not exceeding 3,000 words. Deadline: 30 May.

The Creative Future Writers’ Award 2019 is now open for submissions! Join the ranks of celebrated, under-represented poets and fiction writers from across the UK who have won cash prizes and unique development opportunities. This year’s theme is “home”. Deadline: 2 June.

New role available at Stan’s Cafe for a Creative Learning Producer. It’s an exciting job for someone dynamic who loves working in schools and is committed to promoting creativity as an integral part of our education system. This is a part-time role, so the post holder doesn’t necessarily have to be Midlands-based. For more information, click here.

The Aurora Prize for Writing 2019 is now open for submissions! This is a national competition for outstanding new writing in short fiction and poetry. Deadline 26 June.

The Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation 2019 is now open for entries. Translate a poem from any language, ancient or modern, into English! There are three categories: Adult; 18 and under; and 14 and under. There will be a special prize for translation from Polish. Deadline: 12 July.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 is now open! It is the biggest poetry competition for 11-17 year olds in the world, and has kick-started the careers of some of the most exciting names in poetry. Winners of the award receive fantastic prizes and support; enter your poems and change your life! Deadline: 31 July.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2019 is now open for submissions! The award celebrates excellence in Poetry and Short Fiction, supporting new writing talent and presents writers with a fantastic opportunity to further their involvement in the literary world. Both established and emerging writers are encouraged to enter, and works previously published are accepted. Deadlines 31 August.

Workshops / writing courses:

From Wednesday 1 May – 6 week Short Fiction Course at University Centre, Shrewsbury with award-winning writer Dr Lisa Blower, author of It’s Gone Dark over Bill’s Mother’s and Sitting Ducks. Places limited, booking essential: £120. Email to book your place.

4th May – Stratford Literary Festival will run a Writer’s Day on how to get your book published at Crowne Plaza Hotel. Tickets and programme details here.

1 June – Roz Goddard, the former poet laureate of Birmingham, will be leading a Poetry Workshop, with a walk across Warwick campus encouraging responses to the artworks and nature. The group will be forming their responses into poems and there will be an opportunity for readings. Please meet at the Box Office at 10am. Refreshments provided. For more info and to book, click here or call: 024 7652 4524.

15th June – Starting to Write with Kavita Bhanot. This event will be at the Impact Hub, Birmingham 10am-1pm. This practical workshop is for anyone who wants to start writing fiction or autobiography or has recently started writing. Anyone who has a story or stories to tell, who wants to express their self creatively. No experience needed. For more info and to book, click here.

17-22 June – Arvon writing course: Writing As If The World Mattered, The Hurst Arvon Centre, Shropshire. Join tutors Lucy Neal and Charlotte Du Cann to discuss what tools do we need as writers to articulate these realities at both ‘inner’ and ‘outer levels’; make meaning in times of urgency and sustain a writing practice? How do we write ‘as if the world mattered’?

29 June – Decolonising Creative Writing with Kavita Bhanot. This event will be at the Impact Hub, Birmingham 10am-1pm. This workshop is for more experienced writers. Those who have been writing in other forms for some time and want to move towards fiction, or those who have been writing fiction for some time and want to develop their writing; thinking about what it might mean to decolonise their practice. For more information and to book, click here.

6th – 10th July – ‘Warwick Translates’: literary translation summer school held at the University of Warwick, taught in an all-day workshop environment using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts and featuring networking opportunities. Bursaries available. More info and tickets here.



Categories: News