Monday, 27 July 2009

How can we support the arts in Preston?

Fresh from Ed Walker at BlogPreston:

**register by 5pm today here**

The second Preston Tweetup is set to be held on Monday 27th July 2009 at the New Continental in their ‘Snug’ area. The event is part of Preston Tringe.

A tweetup is where people come together, bring along their wi-fi enabled laptop and/or mobile phone and meet other people. People also twitter during the course of the night, so even if you can’t make it you can see what’s happening and contribute, by following #prestontweetup.

At Preston Tweetup we’re going to be discussing ‘How can we support the arts in Preston?’

With the Preston Tringe festival hopefully in full flow, the Tweetup is a chance to discuss how we build on the great work already being done in the city and help music, comedy, theatre, art and everything else that comes under 'arts' to flourish in our city.

Wi-fi access will be provided free of charge.

The plan for the night is to start around 8 PM, allow half an hour for drinking and making the wireless access work. At 8.30 PM we’ll introduce the night’s topic and then break off into smaller groups to brainstorm (you’ll be allocated a number as you arrive) and then around 9.30 PM one person will feedback to everyone what their group came up with. The rest of the night will be free for socialising, idea bouncing and networking.

The first Preston Tweetup was held on 17th March 2009 and was about how the web can be used in Preston Guild 2012. Find out what happened and see some pictures from the event.

If you’d like to get more involved in Preston Tweetup drop an email to


We said Word Soup #4 started at 9pm, but in actual fact, we were wrong. Oops, oops and oops again. We start at 8pm, tomorrow night at the New Continental. Do get in touch via this link if you've any questions. We wouldn't want you missing any of it, would we?

Word Soup 4

If you have been hiding under a rock or, well, just haven't been on Preston Writing Network before, then you may have somehow missed the fact that it is Word Soup tomorrow and that we are quite excited about it.

Word Soup is Preston's monthly live lit event at the Continental and this month, as well as the great planned line up, there are some open mic slots to show us what you can do.

If you've never performed open mic before and you fancy a go- you might want to have a look at our good friend Ann the Poet's tips here here. Just sign up on the door!

So that's 9pm. Tomorrow. The Continental. 

Got it?


Friday, 24 July 2009

Some writerly goings on in the North West ...

Apples & Snakes, The Brewery Spoken Word Open Mic is this Saturday in The Warehouse at The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal from 7.30pm.
The fabulous Dominic Berry will be holding the writing workshop (4-6) and hosting the evening event and Andy Craven Griffiths will join him as guest performer.

The Story Slam have announced that they will be holding their first UK Story Slam in Lancaster at the aptly named Storey Creative Industries Centre on 4th September 2009. Admission costs £5. Keep an eye on their blog for details.

Kate Davis be running a weekend of poetry workshops at Heron Mill, which is a gorgeous 900yr old corn mill on the banks of the river Bela on Cumbria/Lancs. border. The workshops will run 11-4pm on Sat/Sun 15/16th August. Cost is £15 per day or £20 for weekend. Lunch can be provided at £5. The sessions are aimed at people who have some experience as writers of poetry or who’d like to try in a friendly, informal setting. Those of you who’re already red hot arel more than welcome to attend and share your skills, rummage around their archive materials and have a go at whatever bits take your fancy. You can book via Kate Davis direct at on Heron Mills' website or just email

Ruth Heritage on The Pygmy Giant

Ruth Heritage, pub owner extraordinaire, local cab firm lover and flash fiction writer, has been published on The Pygmy Giant.

The blog publishes UK flash fiction, poetry and non fiction. 

Check out Ruth's piece about a Preston cabbie here.

If you're interested in writing something for The Pygmy Giant, follow the submission guidelines here and email your finished piece to

Monday, 20 July 2009

Word Soup on Preston Blog

Here's a little bit more about our next Word Soup on the new look and swish Preston Blog. Top Banana!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Preston Cult Reading Group

Are your reading tastes for something a little out of the ordinary? Do you prefer off-beat reads and cult classics? The staff at Preston Harris library have just reminded us about their one-of-a-kind book-group:

Typically read authors include Jack Kerouac, Anthony Burgess, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S Thompson, Jeff Noon, Sylvia Plath and William Burroughs. If you require further details about meeting times or places, or wish to collect a copy of our current read, contact Melanie at the Harris Library on 01772 532676 or

Do you have information about a reading or writing group meeting in or near Preston? Are you a member of a reading group who'd like to use Preston Writing Network blog to reach a whole new audience? Get in touch or post your information in the comments.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Word Soup 4 - The Line Up

After the success of Word Soup #3: The Poetry Edition hosted by Ann the Poet, we’re back to the usual format hosted by Jenn Ashworth, Preston Writing Network’s Co-ordinator.

By popular demand, we’re keeping the three minute open mike spots and have several available to book on the night. Theme this month is: booze

This Word Soup is one of the many events put on as part of Preston’s first Preston Tringe Festival. For more about Preston’s first tringe, go here:

We’re also being recorded for PrestonFM and Lancaster’s Community Radio Station: Diversity FM ‘Words on the Waves’ programme. Volunteers will be live-blogging and twittering the event on the night, and you can join in from home by following us at @prestonwn or searching for #wordsoup

Events space at the New Continental – parking available round the back, and still only £3 to get in on the door. From 8pm.

This is the last Word Soup before our summer break – although we’ll be returning in September with something very special…

Booked writers are:


Nicholas Royle’s most recent books are two novellas, The Appetite (Gray Friar Press) and The Enigma of Departure (PS Publishing). His short story collection, Mortality (Serpent’s Tail), was shortlisted for the inaugural Edge Hill Prize. He writes regularly for Time Out and the Independent. Born in Manchester in 1963, he has been teaching creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University since 2006.


My earliest memory of real writing – the sort that comes from no incentive other than to write – is of feverishly coding text adventure games into a Sinclair Spectrum 48k. Looking back, I can see this provided valuable insight into the frustrations of

telling a good story. I am a prose writer, singer-songwriter, radio presenter and creative writing tutor. Some of my short stories can be found in ‘Before the Rain,’ published by Flax Books.

‘… An abiding characteristic of Mollie Baxter’s writing … is her ability to pull off the unexpected. Rather than the road less travelled, it's a road cleaved through the thicket.’ – Dogmatika, 2008


Richard Hirst was born in Preston and has studied creative writing in Manchester and Liverpool. He maintains a blog called I Thought I told You To Wait In The Car where he passes off other people's jokes as his own, draws pictures of John Leslie, and is the author of previous Word Soup ‘performance’, 'Dear Millipede'.


Simon Baker teaches English in a sixth form college and lives in Lancaster. He is a regular compere and performer of poetry, stories and comedy at the Spotlight Club. As a result he has been recognised in the street twice. His performance passport also has stamps from The Green Room in Manchester and the Sedburgh Literature Festival. Simon was commissioned to blog the Lancaster LitFest in 2006. Shortly afterwards it was accidentally deleted.



Tim Woodall is a writer who refers to himself, pretentiously, in the third person. He has been writing for a long time without getting very far, and has never come close to perfecting his art form. Does he work hard? Well, sometimes. Does he complain about it? Almost all of the time. In 2008 he published his first short story, and followed this minor success with a string of self-obsessed stories revolving aroun

d exactly the same themes. In 2009 he co-wrote a short comedy film called 'HIV: The Musical.' Somewhat bizarrely – and despite his hand in the directorial process – a real-life human film materialised. As yet, you might struggle to find it (anywhere) but it does star the ever-beautiful Martin Freeman and Julian Barratt. Thankfully, these two men are brilliant (they never write or speak about themselves in the third person…) and for the briefest of moments they made me – sorry, Tim – appear professional. It didn’t last long. As you’ll no doubt witness on the 28th July.


RAIN ON FILM (Aesthetica Magazine) -







Richard Hulse’s short fiction has appeared in the American literary webzines, Smokelong, Monkeybicycle, and 3AM. In 2004, his short story, ‘Christmas’, won first prize in the British fantasy magazine, Dark Tales. In 2007, he graduated from the University of Manchester creative writing MA, and is currently finishing a novel set in fin-de-siecle Vienna.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Word Soup 4

Are you excited about word soup 4? We, the lovely PWN people certainly are.  If you've not been, it's a live lit night hosted at the Continental in Preston. This month's theme is booze and it starts at 8:00 on the 28th July.

Check back later in the week for photos and bios of this months line up but in the mean time see what people had to say about last month's event below...

Was this the best Word Soup to-date? I think so & it was the best attended too. Ann the Poet was brilliant. - Max Henry

I didn't think poetry was my thing but Word Soup #3 was a fantastic evening. Ann the Poet, Sarah Miller and Gary Bridgens all provided an evening-worth of entertainment each and there wasn’t a duff open mic guest, all different, all good (missed Jenn though). Thanks again PWN. - Kim McGowan

I thought it was a great night out with a fine balance of styles and degrees of seriousness. Ann did a great job of making me feel welcome and relaxed on an unfamiliar stage. I was also really impressed with the consistently high quality of the other open mic contributions (something which by its nature is sometimes hit and miss). Word Soup has hit its stride incredibly quickly and already feels like a strong, established entity drawing on the strength in depth of the local writing talent. - Simon Baker

I really enjoyed the whole evening. The venue is excellent and there is obviously a great deal of work going on behind the scenes. I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute and agree that the standard was high and varied. I tried the open mic evening in the other bar but that seems to be more biassed towards musical acts. (Particularly liked the fish poem.) Great stuff! - Dave Carr

Monday, 13 July 2009

The future of reading is in your hands

I can not be the only person who gets emails with links to surveys that are VITAL for some piece of research or other. 
I know that I am certainly not the only person who sees the survey, thinks: "I'll do that later" and then never does.

(Can you see where I'm going yet?)

As part of my work for the University of Central Lancashire and a secret publisher who shall remain shrouded in mystery for the time being, i'm researching the potential audience for downloading short stories onto mobile phones. That is you Preston Writing Network readers!

Of course some of you may not want to read or listen to short stories on your phone or MP3 player which is fine. You are perfectly within your rights to not want to....I'd still like you to answer the survey though (please, please, please!)

The survey link is right here (and here and here for good measure) so please have a look. It will only take 2 minutes and I promise to get the next Word Soup review up super quick if lots of you take it.

Thank you PWNers!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Word Soup 3 review and tips for live mic performance

This month's Word Soup review is a guest post from Ann the Poet.

Word Soup is a fantastic and flavoursome event hosted by the fabulous Jenn Ashworth with prose and fiction writers keeping it real at the Continental, Preston.  In June Word Soup 3 was a bit different and focused on performance poetry.  The host for the event was the lively and engaging Ann Wilson aka Ann the Poet . The guest poets were ukulele loving and Thatcher hating Gary Bridgens and a fellow Barrovian  Goth poet and playwright Sarah Miller.

Ann opened the event with some attention grabbing poems and advice on microphone technique.  There were five open mic performers in the first half with themes varying from father and son relationships to the celebrities that could be locked in your cupboard.   It was a very warm night so the interval was a great opportunity to nip outside and stock up with drinks.  Also some audience members were so impressed with the open mic they decided to have a go as well.  There was a wealth of talent on the open mic with high quality writing and some heart breaking honest performances.  The people of Preston should be proud of themselves, what gorgeous people they are.  

We opened the second half with some of Ann’s punchy poems to warm up the stage and then a fantastic open mic with some people giving their first ever poetry performance in public.  Everyone was amazing.  Sarah Miller was the first guest poet to perform she is engaging, thought provoking and honest.  Her observations on everyday life and overheard conversations really strike a chord.  Chav Love Poem -  If I loved you I’d of burnt your fuckin house down was an audience favourite.  

Gary Bridgens performed a great set of comedy poems and fast patter songs with his ukulele.  His poems and songs about Margaret Thatcher almost brought the house down, if you still remember getting your milk stolen or the miners’ strike you’ll love Gary’s song.  Gary is a true star and the audience were left laughing.  

We hope to have another performance poetry focused Word Soup.  If you’d like to perform on the open mic here’s six top tips for your open mic spot:

 * Be confident about your material – people want to hear what you have to say.

*  Take your time – each performer has 3 minutes which is enough time to perform two or three poems

*  Rehearse what you will say – most poems don’t need an introduction but if they do it’s worth rehearsing that bit too, sometimes poets introductions are longer than the poems and sometimes they give the whole thing away in the introduction making the poem seem pointless.  Introductions should just contain information that the audience needs to hear to understand the poem or something that will enhance the experience of hearing the poem.

*  Be sure of your intention.  If you are performing here hoping to get more gigs perform your best work, if you are performing to see if new material works perform that, if you are performing to improve your confidence try work that you are already familiar with and can perform well.

*  Make yourself know to the host.  It’s the hosts job to make sure the audience are ready to receive you and you have the best platform to deliver your material.  The host can also promote your website, book or  other gigs.

*  Have fun.  If you enjoy yourself it’s likely the audience will too.

(Apologies from your local friendly Word Soup commentator for the appalingly late posting of this month's word soup blog.)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Succour Magazine Launch

The Manchester launch of Succour 9, 'Fantasies,' takes place at the Briton's Protection, Friday July 31 8pm.

Featuring words from Jonathan Hamnett, Laura Joyce, Annie Clarkson and Melissa Lee.

All welcome: spread the word.


We're also looking for new fiction and poetry for Succour 10, 'The Banal': more details here:

Succour 9, 'Fantasies,' is available from chain and independent outlets.

NorthWest Playwrights Events


part of Oldham Coliseum’s WORDSMITH FESIVAL 09


(A Playwright's Guide to Making it Happen)

Sat. 11 July 5.00 – 6.30 p.m.

Got a great play and don't know what to do with it?

There are plenty of ways of getting your work staged in the North West, if only you know where to go and who to talk to.

Here's an opportunity to hear first-hand from the people who organise fringe theatre festivals and run small-scale venues in our region.

What kind of plays are they looking for? How much does it cost? And what’s involved if you end up producing the play yourself?

Pick up hints and tips from those who know!


Script-in-hand performance

Sat. 11 July 7.30 p.m.

Extracts from works-in-progress by four established writers: Charlotte Keatley (My Mother Said I Never Should), Lavinia Murray (numerous dramas for BBC radio) and seasoned TV writers Jane McNulty and Lindsay Williams.

The four have had an intensive lab process with North West Playwrights on plays with topics ranging from the aftermath of violence in Ulster to a surreal multi-sensory farce about food!

The writers will also discuss their experiences on the one-week residential they’ll have just completed. A unique opportunity to sample the work of writers at the top of their game.

Tickets from Oldham Coliseum Box Office 0161 624 2829

or on line

Creative Writing Taster

Contact The New Continental to book one of the remaining places on this Sunday's PrestonWN creative writing taster course, taught by Preston writer and tutor Jenn Ashworth.

Suitable for complete beginners with gentle writing prompts and no reading aloud (unless you want to!) Lasts two hours ( 2.45pm - 5.15pm) and costs £15. A great introduction to the summer creative writing programme hosted by the Preston Writing Network at The New Continental.

Online Poetry Course

The University of Cumbria presents an on-line poetry course starting this September:

The Summer School will take place at the University of Cumbria's Charlotte Mason Campus, Ambleside JULY 2010 (date tbc)


Nick Pemberton has been a professional writer since his teens. He’s written, published and performed his poetry seriously (and not so seriously) for the last fifteen years. He is the subject leader for creative writing at the University of Cumbria.

Geraldine Green (BA Hons, MA Dist.) lives in Cumbria, is a published poet and University lecturer. She has performed in the UK, Italy, Greece and America. Currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, Geraldine runs writing workshops as a freelance and has worked alongside musicians, artists and photographers and is working on her third collection.

New York City's George Wallace (AB, MPH, MFA) is a university lecturer and a poet who has conducted writing workshops and readings widely in the US and UK. He has studied the craft of writing with recognized masters of the art in America, including Marvin Bell, David St John and WD Snodgrass; and dialogued with numerous others, including William Stafford, Robert Bly, Diane Wakoski and Allen Ginsberg.

This Online Poetry Course is suitable for:

a) Recent graduates of undergraduate creative writing programmes

b) Continuing Education students wishing to participate in an online workshop setting

c) All poets at all stages of their writing – please indicate if you feel you are a beginner or wish to be classed as a poet who wants to ‘move on’

The Course aims to support you in developing your confidence in writing, editing and providing feedback and fostering a sense of community.

For further details and to register your interest please contact Nick Pemberton by e-mail to

Flax 019: for bloggers

After the success of PrestonBlog's and PrestonWN's joint Preston Bloggers' Meetup (much of a mouthful?) we know there are plenty of bloggers busy typing away across the city. Which is why we're so excited to present this new opportunity from Flax, the publishing arm of Lancaster Litfest.

If you write a blog, and you fancy submitting your creative non-fiction to a growing local publisher specialising in NW writing, digital anthologies and a host of networking and career development opportunities, click here for details of Flax's latest call for submissions. (scroll down a wee bit for Flax 19)

Word Soup reader and North West blogger Annie Clarkson has already selected her favourite North West bloggers. It would be great to see someone from Preston make that list.

Who would you nominate?

Writers' Inc

"A word about a long-established group in Preston - Writers' Inc. They meet monthly in the City Centre for writing exercises, criticism, tea and chat. Many members are hobbyists, but others successfully submit to magazines etc. on occasion. They are a friendly bunch and if you want to join in reading a sample of your work to an audience, go along and say Hello. For more details email"