Friday, 26 June 2009

Young Fiction Writer of the Year 2009

Young Fiction Writer of the Year 2009 competition now open!

The Young Fiction Writer of the Year competition is the perfect opportunity for young people to develop their storytelling skills, see their name in print and win some exciting prizes. What’s more, your school could win £1000 in books.

This is the first year that Take a Break magazine has launched this competition, and with some fantastic prizes on offer it should appeal to a large number of pupils.

Those children wishing to enter are challenged to write short stories of between 500-1000 words on any topic that interests them. There are three age categories - 8-11, 12-15 and 16-18 - with one winner from each group plus runners-up. Winners will receive Apple laptops, have their stories published in a special issue of Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazine and have the opportunity to meet Anthony Horowitz. In addition, the school or college of each winner will receive £1000 worth of books.

Entries can be submitted online here, or sent by post.

The final deadline is 15 July 2009

For more information and to read some writing tips please visit

Now That's What I Call Reading

Time to Read is a North West based organisation which brings readers, writers, librarians and literature development professionals together.

The organisation's primary focus is to get new readers into libraries, and recently Jane Mathias, the Regional Reader Development co-ordinator, contacted the Preston Writing Network blog to tell us about their latest initiative:

"We have recently launched a Facebook page called NOW that's what I call READING - which is aimed at people who love music, and who might also be encouraged to read. We are doing this as a bit of an experiment to see how successful it is at reaching new readers- encouraging a themed discussion about reading."

Check out the page here - it's full of links along the lines of... 'if you like this band, you'll love this book' and describes itself as: 'a new way to choose books' - there's also a lively discussion board with debates on anything from current reading lists, fibs about books, Morrisey the poet, Glasto and Beth Ditto - not your average bookworms' chat site.

The organisers would love to know what you think - is Now that's what I call Reading just a fad, or a new and interesting way to generate discussion, make books attractive to reluctant readers, and bring writers and readers together for the benefit of both? Comments here or on the facebook page.

Writers interested in getting a profile for themselves on the Time to Read directory - making themselves visible and available to be booked for events, workshops and readings, should click here.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Screenwriting Workshops with industry professional - and it's a freebie!

Hello there! Ruth here, and I'm posting from the pendelino, so expect an occasional delay and some slightly dubious tea. This opportunity is a cracker for all of you who are looking to expand your screenwriting skills and portfolio. You need to act quickly - deadline is Monday 29th June!

How to Get Ahead in Screenwriting - Summer Course & Masterclass

Signal Films is offering aspiring screenwriters in Lancashire and Cumbria the opportunity to take part in free scriptwriting training led by an industry expert this summer.

Tutor Rob Ritchie, former Head of Screenwriting at the National Film and Television School will guide trainees through the process of developing a short film script to industry standard during these special one-off courses taking place in Barrow-in-Furness and in Lancaster, with 15 places available on each course.

The 3 day courses will be followed by a 1 day intensive masterclass for all trainees on the principles of pitching and securing commissions and will be held in Barrow-in-Furness.
Additional places are available to attend the 1 day masterclass only simply by registering with Signal Films.

Screenwriting Courses:
Lancaster: Sat 11th, Sun 12th July, Sat 5th September 2009
10am – 5pm (Refreshments throughout the day and lunch will be provided)
The Storey Creative Industries Centre, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Barrow-in-Furness: Sat 25th, Sun 26th July, Fri 11th September 2009
10am – 5pm (Refreshments throughout the day and lunch will be provided)
The Dock Museum, North Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 2PW

Barrow: Sat 12th September
9.30 – 5pm (Refreshments throughout the day and lunch will be provided)
The Custom House, 1 Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

For a place on the course:
- Fill in the attached form, contact Anna on 01229 839983 or email
- In your application please include your short film script(s) and if possible a current C.V.
- Deadline for applications for course: Monday 29th June 2009

For a place on the masterclass:

· To register for the masterclass only call Anna on 01229 839983 or email
· Deadline for registration for a masterclass place: Fri 4th September 2009

***Course and masterclass costs are fully subsidised – applicants must be aged over 16 and living in Cumbria or Lancashire. Places are limited so be quick to register!***

This project is supported by Northwest Vision and Media, West Lakes Renaissance, Northern Rock Foundation, Barrow Borough Council and Furness Enterprise

Signal Films
6-9 Lawson Street
LA14 2LN
01229 839983/01229 838592

Monday, 22 June 2009

Nicholas Royle + Thomas Fletcher reading

Nicholas Royle, appearing in Preston soon at Word Soup #4, will be reading with Thomas Fletcher in Didsbury next month.

Turn up at Oxfam, Didsbury on Tuesday 7th July at 7pm for an evening of new writing.

For more, go here.

Spotlight Writing Surgeries

via Lancaster Spotlight - (contact details below)

Work In Progress
Writing Surgeries

Whether you are just starting out
or have been writing for some time...

Whether you write for performance or the page...

Would you like feedback on your writing?

Then come to a One-To-One Surgery with
Spotlight Organisers Ron Baker and Sarah Fiske.

Surgeries will be held at The Gregson Centre on:

Sunday 12th July - 1pm - 3pm

Tuesday 21st July - 12pm - 2pm

Sunday 22nd November - 7pm - 9pm

Fee: £5

Places are limited and must be booked in advance -
To sign up for a 20 minute writing surgery
or phone: 01524 381642

* This is a unique opportunity to get confidential feedback on your work.

* Prior to the surgery participants will be asked to submit by e-mail or word processed on A4 1,000 words of prose or 3 poems up to approximately 40 lines in length.

* This initiative is funded by Arts Council England.

BBC Writing Opportunties

via the Newsjack Website

Newsjack is BBC Radio 7's new topical sketch show, which seeks to comically scrutinise the news, views and issues of the day.

It is a showcase for new comedy writing.

It looks to be irreverent and satirical, a kind of younger brother to the more "grown up" Radio 4 topical shows like The Now Show and The News Quiz.

The Pilot of Newsjack was broadcast on BBC Radio 7 on 4th June and will be available on iPlayer and Listen Again until Sunday 14th June.

If you are planning to write for Newsjack please listen to the pilot.

Don't feel you have to make all your sketches about the main news story or Westminster politics.

As well as the main news, you might have a great sketch about Advertising, Glastonbury or The Wire, things that people are aware of culturally but don't necessarily make for "hard news".

We'd love to include these zeitgeisty topics in the show too. They're all fair game.

Who's in the show?

Miles Jupp is the anchorman. The regular cast of Newsjack are: Jess Robinson, Lewis MacLeod and Andi Osho. Other actors may join them for certain episodes.

They are all terrifically versatile. Jess and Lewis are impressionists so feel free to write sketches featuring celebrities.

Series dates

Newsjack records every Wednesday from 17th June. The last recording is on Wednesday 22nd July.

Newsjack is broadcast on BBC Radio 7 on Thursday nights at 23.00 and repeated on Sunday nights at 23.00.

If you would like to attend a recording, you can see if there are tickets available at:

Regular Features - Part One

We will include stand-alone sketches but are also looking to establish some recurring features, which you can write for:

Your Voice
These Vox Pops (in which we pretend to ask the great British public what they think) are a great opportunity for one-liners or quick jokes.
In the pilot we chose to theme them around MP's Expenses. In the series we have decided they can be about any prominent news issue. These vox pops will be heard throughout the show.

From the Archive
Every week we delve through the archives and find out how a fictional show from the past covered topical events of their day.

Miles answers listeners' letters and emails. These could be topical or just silly, long or short.

Regular Features - Part Two

Celebrity Diary
Try writing a "sneak peak" into the inner thoughts of someone who's been in the news recently.

A nice opportunity for our cast to do an impressions. e.g. Michelle Obama or Peter Andre's diary, Joanna Lumley's blog.

Miles Undercover
Miles does an undercover investigation related to a specific news story, a la Donal MacIntyre

Newsjack does its own parody version of "youthy" fast-paced, bite sized news such as Newsbeat and 60 second news. Hosted by 1 male and 1 female "youthy" presenters.

Another good opportunity for one-liners. At the end of the show these 'corrections' pretend to address any mistakes we made in last week's show.

But don't let us be prescriptive: you may have characters that you would like to create, a funny movie reviewer or mad royal correspondent, for example.

We would be very happy to include any amusing characters or features that you come up with. And of course, something you come up with could become a regular item in the show.

Submission Rules

Please read these very carefully.

If you submit your work inappropriately we might not be able to include it in the show.

The submission deadline each week is Monday midday – we will not look at sketches that arrive any later.

The submission deadline for the Vox Pops is later. It allows us to be more topical with those. Please submit these by Tuesday 5PM – we will not look at vox pops that arrive any later.

We recommend you submit material from Friday, after listening to the previous week's episode. This will ensure you don’t cover topics that have already featured.

Please submit no more than three sketches per week. This means we can get a chance to read as many people's submissions as possible. If we are interested and want more we will ask for it.

Submission Rules - Continued

Please mark each of your sketches on every page with a header that includes:

Your name
Your email address
The title of your sketch

This is really important for making sure you get paid if your work is broadcast.

If you are e-mailing several one-liners, please paste them directly into the email or attach them in one document. Don't attach 12 documents for 12 one-liners.

Bear in Mind your sketches may be edited and adjusted by our script editors.

Finally, keep your sketches short – the funniest sketches are no more than three pages long.

Be imaginative. On Radio, you can set your sketches anywhere.

Submit your material – preferably in one email, rather than three separate emails – to

Thats it! Listen to the pilot episode and then get writing.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Word Soup 3

Tuesday 23rd June – Live Lit Night: Word Soup – from 7.30pm - £3 entry

This month’s edition of our regular live literature night sees poetry take centre stage as we welcome special guest host Ann the Poet. Ann has been performing poetry in theatres and at festivals for fifteen years, is the host of the Spoken Word Open Mic at Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal and was the Poet Laureate for South Cumbria in 2006. In addition to spots from Ann herself, Word Soup also warmly welcomes Sarah Miller, a playwright and poet who recently performed at the Contact Theatre and the Spoken Word Open Mic at the Brewery. Add to this an appearance from spoken word performer and slam poet Gary Bridgens (complete with ukulele!) and an open mic slot featuring the best of local spoken word and poetry scene and you have a great poetry-fuelled evening out.