Commonword announces renewed NPO status 2018-2022

Commonword announces the wonderful news that its bid to receive funding under the Arts Council of England’s National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) programme has been successful. We, at Commonword, thank Arts Council England for continuing to support our work.

Julia Davis, Commonword’s Chair says: “”We are delighted with this news which will underpin our continued commitment to new writers. We look forward to developing our creative programme of workshops, digital innovation, conferences and cross sector partnerships.”

Commonword’s Chief Executive, Pete Kalu states: “This represents a ringing endorsement of our diversity and innovation focused approach to literature development and specifically our five strand plan to help more new writers become successful over the coming years.”

 

Those five strands are:

  1. Black Digital + Creative Texts:

Commonword will foster BAME writers pioneering innovative e-based fiction such as twitter platfomed fiction; flash fiction multimedia stories involving sound, visuals and text; games which have text as a central element; geo-interactive stories – utilising smart phone geo-positioning technologies to tell stories specific to black places.  The programme will include Digital Creative Labs, Workshops, Showcasings, Masterclasses and visiting artists.

  1. Advanced Black Fiction Focus

We have become one of the UK’s leading movers, shakers and change-makers in the field of Diversity and Children and Young Adult (CYA) Fiction.  We intend to maintain that progress while  leading  again in supplementary areas including in black crime fiction and black scifi fiction where there is a growing movement of black writers and critics.  Our programme will include workshops, seminars, conferences, and masterclasses.

  1. Spoken Word

Responding to demand, particularly from new and refugee writers to help them develop live, text centred, performance we have grown a strong presence in developing monologue and performed poetry, particularly via our Women In The Spotlight programme. The work often forms the starting point for the writers to experiment with other more two dimensional text based forms such as the short story and longer fiction. We will intensify and broaden the scope of our work in this area.

  1. Biennial Black Writers Conference

We have brought people together and caused major shifts in the creative writing fields via our much lauded Black writers conference.  Outputs have ranged from quarter million pound AHRC funded research projects (Mediating Marginalities: Lancaster University) to new publishing houses (HopeRoad) to radical change in the mainstream publishing industry (Diversity Writing For Children agenda went mainstream). The Conferences will continue to push game-changing voices, technologies and critical analyses of literature and the literature industry.

  1. Biennial Festival of Firsts

We will provide place and time for new writers including young writers, to learn their craft, showcase their work and grow to success. We will provide workshops and performance opportunities for new writers throughout the year including via our Superheroes of Slam format so spoken word artists can network, learn from one another and showcase their work. These initiatives will be brought together and supplemented via our biennial Festival of Firsts. This Festival will celebrate innovation of art form as well as new writers and will include immersive novel readings, Who Wrote What (4 new writers read 4 scripts. But who wrote which script?), the showcasing of digital creatives, Audio Booth & Peep Show events and sign language stories.

 

We look forward to joining with all our partners, collaborators, sponsors and participants in making this programme happen. Given the backing also of other North based literature organisations by Arts Council England, the North looks set to have a thriving literature scene for the next five years.

 

More about the Arts Council England’s NPO decisions can be found here.

 

 

 

SHORTLIST: Diversity Writing for Children Prize 2016

Shortlisted entries for the 2016 Commonword Diversity Writing for Children Prize are:

Star Burn by Magda Knight

The Ghosts and Jamal by Bridget Blankley

Jed Zed Black by Roopa Farooki

The Monster Orphanage by Rohan Agalwatta

A Very Modern Covern by Manon Olegasagarem

To read the entries, click on the titles.

The winner will be declared on the 11th of October at Chapter One Bookshop. Details to follow

For more details, please go to http://www.ihaveadream.org.uk/

Diversity Writing for Children Prize 2016: Writing for Children Masterclass

Organised by Commonword, this panel discussion is for those aspiring to write for the children’s fiction industry. Topics covered will include: how to find an agent, what publishers seek from writers in this genre, the challenges of writing diverse characters, the difficulties BAME authors face getting published within the children’s book industry and possible solutions.

Alexandra Antscherl – Penguin Random House, Executive Editor
Melvin Burgess – Award-Winning Author
Catherine Pellegrino – Marjacq Scripts Ltd, Literary Agent
Rosemarie Hudson – HopeRoad Publishing

This masterclass is part of the 4th Commonword Diversity Writing for Children Prize

Women in the Spotlight Arvon Residential

About Women in the Spotlight:
Women in the Spotlight (WITS) is a theatre development programme for women who want to write for and/or perform on the stage. This project will culminate in a group of queer women and BAME women having their short plays staged at a Manchester theatre and also them having the opportunity to confidently perform their own work within an established arts venue.

Paris Kaur wins Superheroes of Slam 2015

Click here for an exclusive interview with the 2015 slam winner, Paris Kaur

The Superheroes of Slam final took place on Friday 23rd October at Three Minute Theatre, as part of Manchester Literature Festival (MLF) 2015. This was the fifth occurrence of the poetry slam competition, which has become ever more successful year on year. Since June 2015, nine heats have taken place across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands. There has been high uptake at all the slams. At the Leicester heat, the first round had 20 participants and the equally popular Manchester heat required a reserve list within the first 48 hours and 11 potential slammers were on the waiting list four weeks prior to the event. A diverse and talented group of individuals have slammed across the nine heats. Audiences have been packed with 50+ attendees at events.