Written by Mickela Sonola, September 2021

Malorie Blackman, best-selling author of Noughts and Crosses, shares the following insight:

“When I first started writing, I found joining a supportive writing group invaluable. Friends and family tend to be less objective when it comes to venturing an opinion of your work.”

In the summer of 2018, Blackman gave a talk about her writing journey. She described how she received over eighty rejections before her first publication. She finished her speech - more of a call to action - with the words: “Don’t give up”.

Over 80 rejections! What kept her going? I’m pretty confident that there are multiple answers to that question, but one I am absolutely sure of is that taking part in a supportive writing group was a key factor in her resilience and tenacity.

Commonword Novel Writers’ Group meets twice a month to share their writing and give and receive constructive feedback on their novels.

It is facilitated by Mickela Sonola and funded by Commonword, Manchester. The group is open to underrepresented writers across the North-West. We are currently welcoming new writers.

The meetings are twice a month and are currently taking place online via Zoom. This ‘online’ space is supportive, safe and confidential.

There are no more than six writers in the group at any one time. The workshops are not genre specific.

Commonword has been helping new writers since 1977. Writers such as Jennifer Makumbi, Keisha Thompson and Yvonne Battle-Fenton have developed their talent with the organisation’s support.

The Novel Writers’ Group helps you hone your writing craft and gives you a supportive and safe place to build the tenacity and resilience whilst you work towards publishing your work. This group is free to attend but donations to support Commonword’s work are welcome.

If you are interested in learning more about the group, please attend our Open Event on Monday September 20th at 7pm (online) where you will hear readings and testimonials from current and former members.

To formally apply to join the group please send a 1-page summary of your novel (novella’s welcome too) and a sample of your prose writing to cheryl@cultureword.org.uk

Author Bio

Mickela Sonola is a British-born writer and educator with African and Caribbean roots. With a passion for teaching, she has led workshops across communities from schools to methadone clinics. It’s from growing up in England, Nigeria, Zambia and Papua New Guinea along with her multicultural childhood and bi-racial home life that she has drawn from these experiences, reflecting in her writing as well as her outlook on life.  Her debut novel, Dead Dogs & Angels was published by Holland House Books in 2018 was short listed for The Saboteur Award for Best Novella in 2018.