Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bugged - Creative Eavesdropping

On July 1st 2010, Jo Bell, poet and director of National Poetry Day, and David Calcutt, novelist and playwright, are inviting writers from across the country to take part in a new and exciting literary venture. The idea is simple. A writer places themselves in a location where they can overhear other people’s conversations. And it can be anywhere – on a bus or train, in a supermarket, pub or coffee shop – wherever people gather and talk. Then the writer simply jots down fragments of overheard conversations, and uses those fragments as a starting point for a piece of writing – prose, poetry or drama. Guidelines to the length of the work are: 1000 words for prose, 60 lines for a poem, 150 words for flash fiction, and 5 minutes for short scripts. The deadline for submissions is 15th August.

Jo and David will then select the best of the submitted work, and post extracts or whole pieces on a purpose-built blog, and publish them in a print-on demand anthology. The anthology will be launched at the Manchester Literature Festival in October, with featured writers reading and performing their work. Although a handful of writers have been commissioned to take part, such as Jenn Ashworth, David Gaffney, Steph Dale, the aim of the project is to encourage as many writers from across the UK to take part, and to create a real sense of community among writers of all kinds and experience, and to especially give emerging writers the opportunity of appearing in print alongside those who are more established. Above all, it is to create an anthology of fresh, vibrant, and original writing of a high standard, through which really do hear the nation speak.

To find out more about how to get Bugging visit:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Great Sermons of the Past

Manchester Cathedral is launching a series of events aiming to reaffirm the rich potential of the sermon as a popular literary art form. Not only is contemporary secular culture heavily prejudiced against it (the Chambers Dictionary, for instance, defines 'to preach' as 'to deliver a sermon; to discourse earnestly; to give advice in a sententious, tedious, obtrusive or offensive manner') but it's an art form all too often seemingly unloved, even by its own practitioners.

Each event will feature public readings, and discussion, of classic sermon texts by such old masters of English prose as John Donne, Hugh Latimer and Lancelot Andrewes. The first event takes place on Thursday 6th May immediately after 17.30 Evensong in the Cathedral (i.e. about 18.15). Michael Schmidt will introduce the sermon and Matthew Frost will deliver Hugh Latimer’s great Sermon of the Plough - an opportune sixteenth-century statement for election day!

Other Great Sermons of the Past will take place on 27 May, 3 June and 10 June.

Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Cathedral have also joined forces to commission a Great Sermon for the Future, to be delivered as part of the festival in October – watch this space for more information…

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rainy City Workshops

In May and June 2010 Rainy City Stories are running some more of their popular ‘writing about place’ creative writing workshops across Greater Manchester. These two-hour sessions will explore how the best writers successfully evoke the unique feeling of a place, and how descriptions and telling details can be used to transport the reader to a particular setting. The workshops will be led by some of Manchester's finest writers: Jenn Ashworth, Suzanne Batty, Shamshad Khan & Nicholas Royle.
The workshops are suitable for all levels of writer. Places are free, but limited to 15 people per session, so early booking is advised. Full details can be found at - so sign up for one now and find out how you can add a story to Manchester's best read map.

This series of workshops is being supported by the Association for Greater Manchester Authorities.