Mslexicon Weekend Tickets

£480.00

Friday 12 July – Sunday 14 July

SKU: MW Category:

Please read the terms and conditions before booking your ticket.

Ticket options

1: Single room, shared bathroom, 2 nights
2: Single en-suite room, 2 nights

Your weekend ticket includes your choice of workshops, talks, panel discussions and individual surgery slots, plus free entry to our evening events and drop-in performance spaces. Individual events are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, so you will need to choose your morning, afternoon and 1-2-1 sessions when you buy your ticket (Friday afternoon mini-courses are not included in the price). Please have selected your options from the drop-down lists above before you pay for your ticket! If an event listed in the programme is no longer available in the relevant drop-down list, this means it is fully booked.
Meals and accommodation are included. The food will be primarily vegetarian and vegan (with one meat option) and a paying bar will be open from 6pm every evening.
Day tickets will be made available at a later date.

Accommodation
Devonshire Hall consists of several adjoining listed buildings ranged around two grassy courtyards, plus several purpose-built blocks in wooded grounds just across the road. For accommodation purposes, single rooms are available in the main group of older structures, and in the adjacent modern buildings. The majority of rooms are en-suite; additional rooms with personal wash-basins and share bathroom facilities are available for a reduced price

Accessibility
All event and workshop spaces are wheelchair accessible, apart from one room reached by a wide staircase. There are some ground-floor bedrooms on site, plus accessibility-adapted bedroom accommodation in the Charles Morris building a short car-ride away. Please telephone 0191 204 8860 if you would like to discuss your accessibility needs and/or the availability of carer accommodation.

Bursaries
Five Mslexicon bursaries are available for low income women. If you would like to apply for one of our bursaries, please submit the following by email to postbag@mslexia.co.uk or by post to PO Box 656, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE99 1PZ. The deadline to apply is 26 April.

● A completed application form, including a short personal statement. (Download here)
●  A 2,000 – 5,000 word extract from a published or unpublished piece of creative prose. (This is so we can establish that our bursaries will be going to women who are committed to their writing and will benefit most from this opportunity.)

Please read the terms and conditions before booking your ticket.
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Friday pm

MINI-COURSE: Procrastination and time management (2pm – 5pm)
Nina Grunfeld

We’re privileged to offer this intensive three-hour workshop devised by the acclaimed author of the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Get a Life’ column and founder of the life-coaching organisation Life Clubs. Nina’s ‘Precious stones’ feature in Issue 62 of Mslexia prompted one of our biggest ever postbags of appreciative letters. 

Are you a slave to procrastination? Do you understand what factors are causing your blocks and preventing you from working as productively as you’d like? Are you aware of the distractions and trivial activities that prevent you from achieving what you really want to achieve? 

Nina’s workshop will help you identify the issues that are consuming your time and teach you how to combat them. She’ll explain the three main types of procrastination, and guide you towards an understanding of why you’re procrastinating – and how to stop.

We are all motivated differently, she says. So if we want to increase our productivity, we need to discover what motivates us. Some thrive on competition; others need gentler nurturing. This workshop will help you create your unique motivational toolkit, a toolkit that will surprise and delight you. 

(Additional fee: £50)

 

MINI-COURSE: Finding creative fulfilment with ikigai (3pm – 6pm)
Linda Strachan

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates roughly as ‘the thing that you live for’ or ‘the reason you wake up in the morning’. In this three-hour workshop, ikigai practitioner Linda Strachan (who is also a prolific children’s author and industry expert) will help you understand how your writing compliments or conflicts with the rest of your life – and how to bring them into harmony with one another.

Using guided discussion and practical exercises she’ll help you gain an insight into why you write, how your creative work fits into the rest of your life and how you quantify success. 

The purpose of the workshop is to explore to what extent the kind of writing you’re doing is bringing you fulfilment – and if not, why not? Would scriptwriting be a better fit for your inner values than biography? Might you find a deeper contentment in writing a novel instead of a memoir? Whether you’re an aspiring writer or already well established, Linda Strachan will guide you towards discovering your ikigai.

Exploring your inner ikigai will help you redefine your personal goals – including your writing goals – and understand why they are important to you. It will also give you the confidence that what you are striving for reflects your deepest values – regardless of what other people are achieving. 

(Additional fee: £50)

 

MINI-COURSE: Resilient thinking for writers (3pm – 6pm)
Isabel Costello and Voula Tsoflias

Learning to cope with inevitable setbacks – such as rejection, criticism and blocks – is an essential part of any writer’s life, yet it gets little attention on creative writing courses. Influential Literary Sofa blogger and novelist Isabel Costello has teamed up with corporate psychologist and novelist Voula Tsoflias, to devise this unique three-hour workshop, which adapts psychological principles to the particular challenges all writers face.

In this energising and interactive workshop, Isabel and Voula will combine presentation, discussion and written exercises in order to help you develop a bespoke set of skills to cope with setbacks; stay motivated to progress towards your goals; and protect and nurture your love of writing

As the core of the workshop they will introduce you to ‘resilient thinking’: skills that help you recognise and adapt unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns that are often triggered by setbacks, to enable you to recover more quickly and continue to move forward. Their approach is honest and realistic, positive and practical. They will be sharing strategies that have been tried and tested – and have made a real difference – in their own lives as writers.

(Additional fee: £50)

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Saturday am

WORKSHOP: Writing prose monologues (10am – 12pm)
Margaret Wilkinson

Critically acclaimed playwright, short story author and creative writing tutor Margaret Wilkinson will introduce you to the craft of writing prose monologues – to make your fiction voicier, pacier and more intense. Taking inspiration from dramatic writing, she will take you through a series of exercises that will use the monologue form to create deeply empathic characters with distinctive voices, inner lives and uncomfortable secrets. 

The spoken voice is probably the most obvious feature of the prose monologue, a sense that the main character is actually talking directly and intimately to the reader – but is this character telling the truth? Is she hiding something from herself, or others? 

This workshop is the distillation of Margaret’s four-part monologue workshop series on Mslexia Max, which is a primer for writers entering our Women’s Monologue Competition, launching in 2019.

 

WORKSHOP: ­­­­Short story masterclass­­ (10am – 12pm)
Jane Rogers

The award-winning novelist, playwright and short story author Jane Rogers, who has taught creative writing at university level for many years, will lead this workshop on creating a short story that will grab the reader from the very first line. The exercises will include examining some powerful fictional openings and analysing what makes them work; and considering where the best place is to start a story – is cutting your first paragraph always the best advice? Then you’ll write an unputdownable
opening of your own. 

Economy is one key characteristic of a great short story, but setting can be equally important. Jane will also look at ways of evoking dramatic and atmospheric settings with the minimum of description. Come prepared to write!

 

WORKSHOP: Dealing with your internal critic (10am – 12pm)
Rosie Garland

Rosie Garland is an acclaimed novelist, poet and singer – but she is still intimately acquainted with her inner critic. So if you have ever completed a short story, only to feel like throwing it in the bin, or found yourself apologising when asked to read it aloud, this is the workshop for you. Do you lie awake at night thinking your novel might be completely unpublishable, or sit in front of a screen unable to type a single word? 

It’s all very well to say ‘just do it’ – but what happens when you can’t? Welcome to the world of the internal critic.

This informal and supportive workshop delves into the root of the problem. Rosie will lead a discussion about Imposter Syndrome, encourage you to share experiences – and most important of all, explore strategies for dealing with your own internal critic, so that it never gets the upper hand again. 

 

WORKSHOP: How to write a synopsis (10am – 12pm)
Debbie Taylor

The synopsis of a novel or memoir is probably the most challenging piece of text a writer ever has to tackle. Mslexia’s Editor Debbie Taylor interviewed over 30 literary agents to develop this workshop, in which she offers a foolproof step-by-step method to take the pain out of writing this daunting challenge.

In a series of practical exercises she will help you identify what your book is really about, and explain how to communicate this to an agent or editor. 

How long should the synopsis be? How many of your characters should you include? How much of the plot should you explain? What about the denouement? What about subplots? Debbie will demystify the entire process and leave you with all the ingredients you need to write your own synopsis. 

N.B. This workshop is designed for people who have already written a draft of their book, or who have planned out the plot and characters in some detail. 

 

TALK: Writing for children: Middle Grade and YA books
Linda Strachan
PANEL: Publishing trends 1: Middle Grade and YA
with Julia Churchill & Thérèse Coen (10am – 12.15pm)

TALK: We are very privileged to offer this talk by Linda Strachan, who is the award-winning author of over 70 books for children, and also the author of the seminal handbook Writing for Children. Linda’s extensive experience of writing for children aged from 8 to 18 makes her the perfect person to speak on this topic. She will discuss the wide variety of ways to approach older children, exploring the possibilities, the joy and the challenges in writing Middle Grade and Young Adult books.

PANEL: Fantasy and magic realism, diverse voices and settings, gritty contemporary plots with hard-hitting messages, classic stories reconceived for a modern audience… What are the current trends in Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction at the moment – and what’s on the horizon for the future? Find out what’s on the wishlists of two specialist agents working in this field.

 

TALK: Plot and pace: how to write a page-turner
Alison Hennessey
PANEL: Opening pages: how to get our attention
with Jo Unwin & Clare Alexander (10am – 12.15pm)

TALK: Penguin, Random House and Bloomsbury editor Alison Hennessey, with a host of bestselling novels under her belt, will share her insights into the key elements involved in plotting and structuring a compelling novel. From flashbacks to cliff-hangers, sub-plots to plot twists, multiple timelines and multiple narrators, how can you ensure your book is as riveting as possible? Alison will highlight common pitfalls and help you identify key areas to focus on in your writing and rewriting process. 

PANEL: Literary agents receive hundreds of submissions every week – so how do you make yours stand out? Our trio of agents will guide you through the best way to ensure that your first sentence, page and chapter hook them and leave them wanting more. Clare Alexander is chair of Aitken Alexander Associates, a major literary agency based in London; Jo Unwin runs JULA, a dynamic agency that represents bestselling and début authors.

 

PANEL: Publishing trends 2: narrative non-fiction (10.15am – 11.45am)
with Kerry Hudson, Zoë King & Sarah Such

Narrative non-fiction or creative non-fiction are terms used to describe texts written with the creativity of a novel but based on real-life events and characters. Although this genre of writing can include elements of memoir and personal anecdotes, it usually also addresses one or more wider issues, such as philosophy, mental health, social class. 

The genre has gained enormously in popularity in recent years, with the publication of books such as Helen McDonald’s memoir H is for Hawk, about mourning, depression, and the training of a bird of prey; and Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun, about her personal battle with alcoholism. 

In this panel discussion, two leading agents who specialise in representing narrative non-fiction will discuss current trends in the genre with novelist Kerry Hudson, whose first sortie into the non-fiction genre, Lowborn, came out this summer.   

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Saturday pm

WORKSHOP: Fiery flash fiction (2pm – 4pm)
Meg Pokrass

Meg Pokrass was the judge of Mslexia’s 2019 Women’s Flash Fiction Competition and is the editor of our new Flash Challenge series in the magazine. Her writing workshops are very hands-on, inspirational, and aim to nudge you off your usual creative tramlines. She says that learning to write flash fiction is like becoming a mad scientist – you need to experiment to create something that works. 

From being a minority genre practiced by a small group of aficionadas, flash is fast becoming a mainstream form – in print, online and in performance. These days, there are hundreds of publications inviting flash submissions, many of which prefer them over traditional-length stories. 

Meg’s prompt-driven workshop will help you create strong openings and endings, use sensory information and specific detail, explore conflict, and develop an inventive structure. She’ll also advise on where to submit your finished flashes of genius. 

(This workshop will be repeated on Sunday AM)

 

WORKSHOP: Psychoanalysing your characters (2pm – 4pm)
Arabel Charlaff

We are excited to offer this ground-breaking workshop by Arabel Charlaff, who combines her work as a psychotherapist with her writing experience to help you plumb the emotional depths of your fictional characters. Arabel will explore with you that fundamental question, posed by both psychoanalysts and writers: why do we behave as we do?  

Psychoanalysis offers a wealth of developmental narratives, a variety of perspectives from which we can examine the story of character formation. Arabel’s workshop will introduce you to basic psychoanalytic theory in order to help you explore your characters’ inner worlds. How might their early experiences shape their expectations and assumptions in later life? What’s the difference between conscious and unconscious motivation? And how can writers construct coherent and convincing emotional histories for their characters? 

(This workshop will be repeated on Sunday AM)

 

WORKSHOP: Which idea should I write? (2pm – 4pm)
Stephanie Butland

As well as being an established author of two memoirs and five novels since 2010, Stephanie Butland is one of only 40 Master Trainers in de Bono thinking methods worldwide. Psychologist Edward de Bono invented the term ‘lateral thinking’ and revolutionised approaches to problem solving. Stephanie is an expert in thinking skills and creativity and unique in her ability to apply her insights to writing – and to life. 

So if you are buzzing with story possibilities, but unable to settle to anything, this is the workshop for you. Maybe you get a little way into a novel or short story, then lose confidence in your idea? Or plan out a complete novel in detail, only to lose interest in it as soon as you start writing? 

Stephanie will help you sort through your ideas, learn how to analyse and develop them – or perhaps even generate new ones – and finally strengthen and commit! 

 

WORKSHOP: Revealing and concealing in fiction (2pm – 4pm)
Margaret Wilkinson

Margaret Wilkinson has been inspiring postgraduate creative writing students – and readers of Mslexia – for two decades, with her perceptive insights and mind-expanding writing exercises. In her regular columns for the magazine, she has been analysing the skills of notable ‘short story heroes’ and monologue writers and has become convinced that good writing depends on achieving the right balance between revealing and concealing information. 

In this workshop, Margaret will teach you how to withhold information in a short story – and explain why you should. 

Using contemporary examples as inspiration, she’ll create a series of writing exercises designed to help you master the tantalising arts of withholding, omitting, delaying, concealing, hinting and misleading… The trick is to tease and tempt the reader, without annoying and alienating them. The result, if you get the balance right, will be more active, engaging and exciting prose. 

 

TALK 1: Memoir and fiction: what’s the difference?
Maggie Gee
TALK 2: Turning interviews into narrative non-fiction
Kerry Hudson (2pm – 4.15pm)

TALK 1: Novelist Maggie Gee will talk about writing her acclaimed memoir My Animal Life – about becoming a writer, and being part of a generation of women who forgot about their bodies and often ‘forgot’ to have children. Her previous books were fiction, so was it a relief to tell a ready-made story – or a challenge to find a fresh format? Maggie will describe how she discovered lost memories, how she exorcised some ghosts – and how she dealt with her real-life family and friends afterwards. 

TALK 2: In this friendly fun workshop Kerry Hudson will share everything she learned from interviewing people for her book Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns – including how to put people at ease, what questions to ask (and when to stay quiet), how to capture the tone, character and setting of your meeting – and how to weave it all into a compelling narrative that does the story justice while serving the overall intention for the work. Could you do it too?

 

PANEL 1 : Cultural appropriation (what not to do)
with Emma Paterson & Thérèse Cohen
PANEL 2: Rookie mistakes (how to avoid them)
with Laura Williams, Julie Fergusson & Diana Beaumont (2pm – 4.15pm)

PANEL 1: What exactly is cultural appropriation? And what should writers bear in mind when trying to create fictional worlds that include diverse characters, themes and settings? With some publishers employing ‘sensitivity readers’ to monitor manuscripts for stereotypes, biases and problematic language, our guest agents will discuss whether certain subject matter is now off limits for some writers – and how far we should go in vetting our own work. 

PANEL 2: Our panel of seasoned literary agents describe the main rookie mistakes they see time after time in the thousands of manuscript submissions they receive every year. What tropes and clichés make them switch off? What avoidable gaffes make them sigh and press delete? And what can you do ensure your book submission is professional and appropriate and makes them sit up and take your work seriously?

 

PANEL: Publishing trends 3: adult fiction (2.15pm – 3.45pm)
with Clare Alexander, Charlotte Robertson & Sarah Such

Back in 2000 Mslexia consulted a panel of literary agents and editors about the Next Big Thing in adult fiction, and they correctly predicted dark themes in chick-lit, historical fiction based around lesser-known true-life characters, and stories in exotic foreign settings. In 2004 a different panel correctly predicted the emergence of issue-based memoir, cosy and/or historical crime fiction, and diverse authorial voices. Now a new panel of top experts will repeat the exercise for Mslexicon in 2019. 

How does a literary agent keep her finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist? How do they balance the search for the Next Big Thing with publishers’ penchant for producing clones of successful titles? Our three top agents will discuss the current trends in adult fiction writing, and tell us what they’d love to see next in their inboxes.

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Sunday AM

WORKSHOP: Fiery flash fiction (10am – 12pm)
Meg Pokrass

Meg Pokrass was the judge of Mslexia’s 2019 Women’s Flash Fiction Competition and is the editor of our new Flash Challenge series in the magazine. Her writing workshops are very hands-on, inspirational, and aim to nudge you off your usual creative tramlines. She says that learning to write flash fiction is like becoming a mad scientist – you need to experiment to create something that works. 

From being a minority genre practiced by a small group of aficionadas, flash is fast becoming a mainstream form – in print, online and in performance. These days, there are hundreds of publications inviting flash submissions, many of which prefer them over traditional-length stories. 

Meg’s prompt-driven workshop will help you create strong openings and endings, use sensory information and specific detail, explore conflict, and develop and inventive structure. She’ll also advise on where to submit your finished flashes of genius. 

(This workshop is also available on Saturday PM) 

 

WORKSHOP: Psychoanalysing your characters (10am – 12pm)
Arabel Charlaff

We are excited to offer this ground-breaking workshop by Arabel Charlaff, who combines her work as a psychotherapist with her writing experience to help you plumb the emotional depths of your fictional characters. Arabel will explore with you that fundamental question, posed by both psychoanalysts and writers: why do we behave as we do?

Psychoanalysis offers a wealth of developmental narratives, a variety of perspectives from which we can examine the story of character formation. Arabel’s workshop will introduce you to basic psychoanalytic theory in order to help you explore your characters’ inner worlds. How might their early experiences shape their expectations and assumptions in later life? What’s difference between conscious and unconscious motivation? And how can writers construct coherent and convincing emotional histories for their characters?

(This workshop is also available on Saturday PM) 

 

WORKSHOP: When to press ‘send’ (10am – 12pm) – SOLD OUT
Jenny Savill

Jenny Savill has been working as a literary agent with ANA (Andrew Nurnberg Associates) for over 16 years, and has seen every kind of submission: the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It’s unusual for a literary agent to run a workshop, so we’re delighted that Jenny has offered this practical interactive two-hour session to help you decide when your precious manuscript is ready to send out into the world. 

Is it enough to have reread every chapter until you know every word off by heart? Almost certainly not, according to Jenny. Before you press ‘send’, Jenny will show you how to pause, take a breath, and properly assess whether your manuscript is fit for submission. She’ll provide you with a detailed checklist of things to consider – and attend to – to give your book the best possible chance of attracting an agent. Using individual and group exercises, Jenny will focus on drafting your cover letter, pitch and synopsis. 

 

WORKSHOP: Point of view: who’s telling your story? (10am – 12pm)
Jane Rogers

Imagine the story of Little Red Riding Hood, as told by the wolf. She might mention her starving pups, her own famished state, and the recent murder of her mate by huntsmen. She might talk about how her natural prey has been decimated by farmers and foresters. We might start to feel empathy for her… 

In this workshop about narrative voice, the award-winning novelist, playwright and short story author Jane Rogers, will look at writing in first, second and third person, and explain how a shift in point of view can radically alter a story. Deciding on what point of view to use is arguably the most important decision a writer takes before embarking on a new story. But what if you have two leading characters, rather than one? Or multiple first-person viewpoints? How do you shift point of view between scenes? What effect does that have on your reader’s sympathies?

Using a series of exercises employing different points of view, Jane will help you explore what is gained and what is lost by using each voice.

 

TALK 1: Discovering your voice as a writer
Margaret Wilkinson
TALK 2: Performance skills for writers
Rosie Garland (10am – 12.15pm)

TALK 1: Margaret Wilkinson has been teaching voice in fiction for many years. But what exactly is a writerly voice? Do you have one? If not, what techniques can you use to discover one? If so, how can you enhance it? The short story is the perfect vehicle for experimenting with and developing your own unique style, your fingerprints on the page. Looking at contemporary stories, this one-hour talk will probe the mystery of how different voices are evoked – so you can do it too.

TALK 2: If you’re nervous about performing, or want to improve your ability to keep your audience gripped, this informal talk by award-winning writer and performer Rosie Garland will look at how all writers – of fiction, non-fiction or poetry – can improve their readings and presentations. Whether you’re performing at a launch reading or open mic event, Rosie will offer insights and strategies to build up your confidence and make your words sizzle. (This talk will be repeated Sunday PM) 

 

PANEL: Indie publishing in the North (10.15am – 11.45am)
with Sarah Cleave from Comma Press, Sara Hunt from Saraband & Tara Tobler from And Other Stories

There has never been a better time to be published by an independent (indie) publisher. With big corporate publishers becoming increasingly risk averse in their choice of titles, much of the best adventurous, diverse and idiosyncratic writing is being published by the indie press sector – and titles from indie presses are crowding onto the literary prize lists. The 2nd Edition of Mslexia’s own Indie Press Guide lists over 340 independent book publishers, championing every kind of writing – and you don’t need to have an agent to submit. 

Among those making serious waves is the Northern Fiction Alliance, a group of 11 leading independents based in the North of England, all committed to showcasing voices from outside London. We’re proud to welcome representatives from three of those publishers at this panel event, ready to answer your questions about how they work – and how they can work for you.

 

PANEL: How to pitch your book (10am – 11.45pm)
with Jo Unwin, Laura Williams & Lina Langlee

Whether you have the germ of an idea, a work in progress, or a finished manuscript, at some point you’ll need to answer the question, ‘What is it about?’. Often that’s the hardest question for a writer to answer; because we are so caught up in our work, with all its characters and subplots and deeper meanings, that it’s impossible to see the wood for the trees. But if you can’t sum up your book in 100 words, how will you ever induce an agent or editor to pick up the manuscript? 

This panel discussion, with three leading agents specialising in every genre from romance to crime to non-fiction, is your chance to find out more about the pitching process, and take part in an open session where you can pitch your current project for constructive feedback on its strengths and weaknesses. Often it’s not the writing in your book that’s at fault, or your plot idea, but the way you’re describing them in your pitch. Listen and learn!

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Sunday pm

WORKSHOP: Why is my protagonist boring? (2pm – 3pm)
Jane Rogers

Virginia Woolf claimed that a good story begins with ‘the little old lady on the train’. In most fiction, character is key. But we often find that the admirable heroic protagonist we want readers to root for and identify with pales to insignificance beside the fascinatingly flawed baddie we want them to dislike. 

Novelist and short story writer Jane Rogers’ own character creations include a 19th Century evangelist, a idealistic young environmentalist, a vengeful daughter and a confused and crotchety old woman, and she has been teaching creative writing at postgraduate level for many years. In this workshop she’ll explore some of the techniques a writer can use to create a compelling character, and analyse published examples of great characterisation to see what we can learnt from them. And she will consider a boring protagonist, and look at ways of making them more interesting and memorable.

 

TALK: Performance skills for writers (2pm – 3pm)
Rosie Garland

Are you nervous about presenting your work in public? Do you want to keep audiences hanging on your every word? In this session, award-winning writer and performer Rosie Garland looks at how all writers – fiction, non-fiction or poetry – can improve their readings and presentations. This informal and supportive talk will combine key insights with practical tips and strategies to help build your confidence and make your words sizzle.

There can be few people better equipped to share her knowledge and experience on this topic. Rosie writes long and short-form fiction as well as poetry, and has been praised by Apples and Snakes as ‘one of the country’s finest performance poets’. She also sings with post-punk band The March Violets and performs gothic cabaret as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen, chanteuse and mistress of ceremonies. So come prepared for an inspirational and exhilarating hour…

(This talk is also available on Sunday AM)

 

TALK: Earning a living as a writer (2pm – 3pm)
Danuta Kean

A 2018 survey by the Society of Authors found that the median annual income of a professional author in the UK is just £10,500 – and the average earnings of female professional authors are around 75 per cent of those of the average male. Many writers make a living through portfolio careers, with multiple part-time jobs or contracts.

Publishing expert and commentator Danuta Kean – who has been earning a living as a freelance writer for over two decades – looks at the many ways that writers can supplement their income, from teaching workshops and chairing events, to journalism, copywriting and blogging. 

She also offers advice on managing your portfolio workload – and your work-life balance – to keep the commissions coming in without burning out. And she’ll tackle that all-important issue of calculating what your writing is worth, and making sure you get paid a fair fee for your work.

 

TALK: Funding opportunities for writers in the North (2pm – 3pm)
Claire Malcolm, New Writing North & Alison Boyle, Arts Council England

If you’re interested in finding out about funding opportunities for writers in the North, this is the event for you. We’re delighted to welcome two of the most knowledgeable women in the region to answer your questions about what kind of support is available – and what the funders are looking for in an application. 

Claire Malcolm has been leading New Writing North for over 20 years, presiding over an organisation that supports work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the whole of the North of England, with a wide range of grants, initiatives and partnerships with organisations such as Channel Four, Live Theatre and Penguin Random House (and Mslexia…). 

Alison Boyle is your direct line to literature funding from Arts Council England, with insider information on what kind of financial support is available now and in the pipeline for the future. 

 

PANEL: What makes a book addictive? (2.15pm – 3pm)
with Julie Fergusson & Maggie Gee

What is it about a novel or a book of creative non-fiction that keeps the reader totally engrossed, feverishly turning the pages, unable to set it aside, until three in the morning? In this engaging discussion, commercial fiction agent Julie Fergusson and seasoned author of 13 novels and Professor of Creative Writing Maggie Gee will talk about what makes a book addictive, how to use plot and character to hook a reader and force them to read on for their next ‘fix’, and what writers can learn from blockbusting bestsellers, TV soaps and Netflix binges to apply to their own work. What is a hook and how does it work? What is it about a particular character that makes the reader care about them so much it’s impossible to abandon them part-way through a story?