Northern young writers celebrate success

Talented young writers from across the north of England are embarking on promising writing careers, with support from a unique development programme called The Writing Squad.

The Writing Squad is celebrating an increasing number of public successes with many of the Squad members, past and current, are working away on novels, scripts and collections as well as building relationships with editors, producers and agents. You can read more about these in their latest newsletter here and on their website.

The Writing Squad was set up ten years ago to support emerging writers in Yorkshire. With National portfolio funding from Arts Council England, it now has a remit to support exceptional young writers on a bigger patch right across the north and is working in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, the Manchester Literature Festival and New Writing North.

This year the squad has recruited a new cohort of thirty-four writers: poets, novelists, short story writers, script writers, playwrights, gamers, bloggers and journalists. Squad days have already taken place in Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle and over the next two years squad members will work with professional tutors and each other on a writing development programme including a series of workshops and one-to-ones.

Squad members will also learn how to promote and manage themselves as writers and will benefit from support from a growing community of young writers. Support continues after the two year programme, with access to professional development advice, investment and a support network of other young writers.

Steve Dearden, Director of The Writing Squad, comments: “Writer development is a slow long-term process. The Arts Council’s continuing investment enables us to recruit writers in their late teens and, for those that want it, support them as they mature and begin to make their way in the industry.”

Former squad member Chris Bush, says: “The Writing Squad is unlike any other group I’ve come across. Alongside a workshop with a leading poet you’ll have a seminar on pitching a television drama, the feedback on your latest opus will include not only notes on narrative form and character development, but also on who the hell will actually read it and where to send it to next. It’s far more than simply another writing group, but a whole support network full of practical help and advice and contacts within the industry. Also as an organisation it’s small enough to cater carefully to the specific personal needs of each of its members, finding the most beneficial ways of forwarding their careers.”

The Writing Squad will be recruiting again in 2014. You can get further information here.

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