New Writing School East Midlands Programme Launch!
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Welcome to WEM!

A big WEM hello to our new subscribers! From the Aurora Prize to the lovely people we met at Newark Book Festival, we want to say a hearty welcome to all of the people who are new to our newsletter.

And, of course, to those of you who are veterans of the Writing GEM - we say welcome to you too!

In short, welcome to everyone. Goodwill to all writers! However you got here, it is an exciting month for us, because we are launching our new 2018/19 programme at Writing School East Midlands. I won’t step on my own toes though, happy reading…


  • Writing School East Midlands Programme Launch
  • Upcoming Leicester Courses
  • Upcoming Nottingham Courses
  • Nottingham Author Gareth Peter Dicks joins Penguin Fold
  • WORD! in the Garden
  • The Aurora Prize 2019 – Thank you!
  • SLAMbassadors at Curve Theatre, Leicester
  • East Midlands Poetry Catalogue

Writing School East Midlands
2018/19 Programme Launch

It is that wonderful time of the year when lots of shiny new Writing School East Midlands brochures land on our desks - and in our digital inbox too - with a magical mix of creative writing courses and workshops happening in Leicester and Nottingham.

We only choose tutors who are renowned and professional writers and performers, well-published and eminent in their field. That is what sets us apart and has helped so many students on their own road towards publication.

Our courses cover a wide range of genres and forms, from short stories to novel writing, theatre writing to poetry – as well as professional copywriting (for the first time). We know that life can be complex and busy, which is why lots of our courses are programmed in the evenings or at weekends.

We offer you a friendly place to learn, network and make time for your writing. This is your writing school.

Click here to browse our full range of courses.


Upcoming in Leicester


Developing Your Writing Voice with Sabrina Smith

6 week course – 23rd September to 4 November 2019 (Mondays 7 – 9pm)
Explore ways to use memory, experience and imagination together with observations and language to develop your voice and stylistic control. Enhance your writing style through a selection of exercises designed to unlock your raw material. Begin to read as a writer and build your critical vocabulary. 
Click here for more information and booking

Writing Workshop with Maxine Linnell

8 week course – 24th September to 19 November 2019 (Tuesdays 10 – 12pm)
This course offers writing exercises and cues to start you writing in new ways and new directions. Develop your writing skills while trying out new genres and forms in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Maxine is one of our most popular returning tutors, so do book early to avoid disappointment.
Click here for more information and booking

Writing Fantastika 1: Kick-Ass Characters with Kevan Manwaring

1 day course – 26th October 2019 (Saturday 11 – 5pm)
In any genre of fiction, character is everything – from them spring story itself. In this session you will generate convincingly multi-faceted characters, let them speak, and develop plot ideas from their fears and desires.

This is the first of a 3-part series from prize-winning Sci-Fi and fantasy author Kevan Manwaring. It will explore what John Clute called Fantastika – science fiction, fantasy and weird fiction. Each day-course can be booked separately, or as a discounted block booking.
Click here for more information and booking


Upcoming in Nottingham


Write a Short Play with Hugh Dichmont

6 week course – Tuesdays, 24th September to 29th October 2019 (6pm – 8pm)
Are you curious about writing for theatre, but don’t know where to start? During this six-week course, led by Nottingham-based playwright Hugh Dichmont, learners will explore the foundations of dramatic writing for the stage, whilst exploring their creative voice.
Click here for more information and booking

Write and Print an Artist’s Book with Emma and Duncan Pass

1 day course – 28th September 2019 (10am – 4:30pm)
Learn the history of the artist’s book, and how the art form has developed, create a piece of guided writing based on memory and the senses and then make a series of collograph prints to accompany your writing using recycled materials – which you’ll print on a Victorian printing press. A creative day which will end in you taking home your printed work!
Click here for more information and booking

Creative Writing with Eve Makis

6 week course – Tuesdays, 1st October to 5th November 2019 (6:30pm – 8:30pm)
Got an idea for a novel and don’t know where to begin? Love writing but need a little inspiration? Stuck in your garret and want to connect with like-minds? Come and experience a series of interactive and informative writing sessions with the co-author of The Accidental Memoir (Harper Collins, 2018)
Click here for more information and booking



Nottingham Author, Gareth Peter Dicks joins Penguin Fold

Gareth Peter Dicks is a Nottingham based author who was selected for the 2018 Penguin Write Now Programe, which sought out new voices from under-represented groups in publishing. We are so happy to say that Gareth has now been picked up by Penguin Random House and his book Daddies  will be published by them in 2020.

Daddies is a picture book which follows a day in the life of a book-loving family - two gay dads and their adopted daughter – as they go on a roller-coaster-ride of story-themed adventures. It is, in his own words, a book is about love, parenting and the joy of books themselves.
We chatted to Gareth about the publication process, working with editors and agents and the new challenges of a published author.

“It took a while to ‘win’ my place. I heard about applications, through WEM, and waited for the very last minute to apply.  Mainly because I felt I wasn’t worthy and they were… Penguin.”

You can read the full interview, by clicking here.

WORD! in the Garden

Thursday 25th July 2019, 12 noon until 9:30pm - Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester LE1 7HA

The WORD! festival, kick started with the support of Kew Gardens, is now in its second year. It is a big green day and night of events featuring poetry and performance from the likes of Peter Bearder, Mellow Baku and Keith Jarrett – alongside a cast of locally emerging, and established talent.

With mentoring, workshops, night blooming flowers and butterflycakes as standard; summertime in the city has never looked, sounded or smelled so fabulous… To sign up for a writer one-to-one, workshop, open mic slot – or for more information email:

For more information, and for full times and lineup - click here

The Aurora Prize 2019 – Thank you!

The Aurora Prize for Writing closed for submissions on June 26th. We have been genuinely thrilled with the national and regional response to the prize, and we are now in the process of reading the wonderful work that has been sent in. We will be shortlisting for our judges later in the month and will be sharing news of the chosen writers, and later the winners (so exciting) as soon as we can.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their work, and thank you to everyone who helped us to spread the word. We’re already looking forward to the prize giving at Lincoln Book Festival in September (and to next year!).


SLAMbassadors at Curve Theatre, Leicester

Deadline for applications, Monday 22nd July
For writers aged 14-19 and based in the Midlands, The Poetry Society and UniSlam are looking for young writers to take part in a free poetry slam weekend at The Curve Theatre, Leicester.

SLAMbassadors is the national youth slam. Since 2001 it has been unearthing new talent, igniting live events, and developing the future of UK spoken word.

The weekend will be led by poetry slam legends Kat Francois and Jess Green.

For more information and how to apply, click here

East Midlands Poetry Catalogue

As part of an effort to form an East Midlands Poetry Library, Civic Leicester are currently putting together a catalogue of East Midlands poets. The list is already amazing in its depth and diversity, but they are asking for contributions, for poets who should be on the list.

The full call-out can be read by clicking here, and you can add names to the list here

Let us help you promote your writing projects... it readings, performances, workshops, seminars, conferences, competitions, calls for submissions - anything East Midlands and writerly, we can help you share it. Upload your events and opportunities onto our listings pages on our website. Opportunities/Events.

Writing East Midlands
 is the writer development agency for the region. We work closely with a range of organizations including schools, universities, galleries, museums and libraries, to help build strong relationships between writers and their communities.

We are grateful for support from Arts Council England. 
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