After Hours Anthology

I’m so very excited to say, it’s been an absolute joy to edit Hive’s 2023 emerging young writers anthology: After Hours, and now… it is available to buy!!! Featuring 79 emerging young writers from across South Yorkshire and the nearby north (aged 14 to 30), the anthology contains 67 poems and 15 stories (115 pages). It’s such a diverse and inspiring book, definitely one of my favorites I’ve put together.

This brilliantly inventive, powerful and vibrant anthology of poetry and short fiction showcases writing by the next generation of writers in the North. Many are members of Hive young writers’ groups or have attended Hive programmes and projects across the region. Some have been placed in our competitions. There’s also work from Hive award-winning writers such as Luke Worthy, Beth Davies, Safia Khan, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith and Warda Yassin.

We launched in Sheffield at the Hallam University Performance Lab with young writers traveling from across the north to be with us. Such a wonderful night!

“From museum tardigrades to keyring turtles, glow-ups to circus tricks – mic-droppingly brilliant writing from the next generation of writers in the north.” Vanessa Lampert

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy, or treat someone you love 🙂

Eco Poetry Workshop for the Being Human Festival

Yesterday I was delighted to work with poet Helen Angell on an eco-poetry workshop for the Being Human Festival via Sheffield Hallam University. Rather brilliantly, it was on a barge and we were on the move for the whole thing. I’ve delivered workshops on barges and at Sheffield’s Victoria Quays before (oddly enough as it’s not your usual venue!) and I love it.  Such a great idea to do some writing while going out on the canal, with some participants having a leisurely glass of wine in the afternoon! As she sadly couldn’t be there, Helen delivered an excellent reading of Harriet Tarlo’s wonderful poem that was commissioned through the project. As the engine of the boat was quite loud, we had a microphone. At one point, I had the urge to do eco-poetry bingo 🙂 At the end, participants came up and shared some really brilliant poems. There’s something about writing in that kind of environment, it always proves so inspiring. Thanks to Helen Angell, Amy Carter, Lauren McConnell and the team for a fabulous afternoon. Lovely write-up here from Sam Gregory.

Some autumn best bits…

What a busy autumn it’s been! A few highlights as we head towards December… There have been lots of lovely Hive happenings during the Off the Shelf Festival of Words again this year including a showing of the Ear to the Street film installation at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. The film, which I had the privilege of putting together with tech queen Kitty Turner includes the words and voices of over 40 young people from across South Yorkshire. Details can be found in a post below. It was so great to have it showing in a public place, but I’m so pleased it will be available to watch online soon too.

Also as part of Off the Shelf, I was a proud mama mentor of three Hive alumni poets: Danae Wellington, Warda Yassin & Sile Sibanda, who launched their joint mini collection ‘Spit Out the Myth’ with the Poetry Business and Off the Shelf Festival of Words. Such a lovely event, and it was great to smile at the queue out the door when it came to the end book signing. Congratulations to these wonderful human beings!

And also in October, I got to take a group of Hive poets to the Forward Prizes award showcase in Leeds for the inaugural Young Poets Summit, alongside other young writer initiatives including the Barbican Young Poets, Young Identity and the Writing Squad. The Hive poets found it a really inspiring and insightful day. It was great to stay into the evening for the awards and readings, and for them to meet some of the poets. We even had a chat with Simon Armitage. Everyone had studied him at GCSE, so it was quite the moment!

And for much of autumn, I’ve been putting together Hive’s 2023 anthology: After Hours. My, my it’s a belter! There’s some absolutely stunning work here. I really can’t wait for it to launch in a few weeks and imagine the buzz for so many young writers, many of whom will be being published for the first time. Such an important and validating moment for them as writers. More on the anthology soon 🙂

And I’m very proud of three Hive writers: Luke Worthy, Freya Bantiff and Safia Khan who were commissioned to write pieces for the Northern Dreaming anthology as part of Leeds 2023. Every child in Leeds born in 2023 will receive a free copy of the book spanning work for the different ages of childhood and written by both emerging and established writers. More details here.

And I almost forgot, I’ve a poem accepted for Irish journal Southwords early next year, and a short story/monologue in the 100th Issue of Mslexia which I’m so thrilled about (and I’ve always wanted to be in Mslexia and great for it to be fiction for a change!)

I hope this finds you wrapped up warm and enjoying the hibernation time of year 🙂

Shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2023

Delighted to have a poem shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2023, judged by Roger Robinson! Congratulations to all placed 🙂

Arvon Retreat -Starting to Write: Letting your writing take flight

So looking forward to running this fine Starting to Write ‘Let your writing take flight’ Arvon retreat for the Lumb Bank centre at Hebden Bridge hostel with co-tutor, the brilliant Jacob Ross and visiting writer Alycia Pirmohamed in spring 2024. A little of the blurb here:

Do you feel unsure about how to get your writing off the ground? Do you want to get your flying machine of ideas into the air and landing on the dreaded blank page? What about support for writing you’ve already started? If you’re a new or fledgling writer, keen to explore fiction and poetry in a warm and supportive environment, this course will help your writing take flight.
Full details here

Shortlisted in the Ironbridge Poetry Competition 2023

Delighted to be shortlisted in the Ironbridge Poetry Competition 2023. Thanks to judge Pat Edwards and Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists. Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists are Dave Pitt, Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse. Three performance poets from the Black Country. Find all places and more info here.

Ear to the Street & NHS workshops

Greetings autumn 🙂 Just two little updates. Lots of goings on this October, especially with the Off the Shelf Festival of Words. Hive usually has a few related events (you can check out here), but I just wanted to briefly spotlight the Off the Shelf film installation project: Ear to the Street. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, not just the running of workshops with brilliant young people from across South Yorkshire, but also working with the very talented audio-visual whizz, Kitty Turner. Here’s a bit of the blurb on it >

Ear to the Streets: 24hrs in the life of South Yorkshire– is an audio-visual love letter to the urban and rural life of South Yorkshire, featuring the words and voices of over 40 young writers from across the region’s cities, towns and villages, working with poet Vicky Morris through Hive Young Writers Network. The film has been created in collaboration with digital content producer and musician Kitty Turner. More details here

And in mid-October, I’m delighted to be leading a series of creative writing workshops in acute psychiatric wards at Sheffield Hospitals. This will be my third year delivering for the Sheffield Social Care Arts Festival. The patients and nurses are always absolutely lovely and I love bringing everyone notebooks to encourage them to keep writing!

Busy July

Greetings August! Just a little update on a very busy time. In July, I was delighted to be part of a brilliant panel (with the inspirational George Bastow and Pippa Hennessey) at Writing West Midlands National Writers Conference 2023, on all things supporting neurodiverse writers. It felt like the dream team and we really seemed to work in sync to get across everything we’d been discussing beforehand. The conference in general was brilliant (and I saw some lovely writer friends I’ve taught and mentored but who I’ve only previously met on Zoom!) A fab day and I left energised and inspired. Thanks to my fellow panellists, George and Pippa and to Jonathan Davidson and Emma Boniwell at WWM.

I so enjoyed running an odes masterclass for the mighty Arvon at the end of July. It’s been a long time dream of mine to teach for Arvon and despite me being unsure about the webinar format beforehand, I think it went pretty well. I got some lovely feedback that warmed my cockles!

Congratulations to poet Kathryn Bevis for her Forward shortlisting for the stunning ‘My body tells me that she’s filing for divorce’. Kathryn was kind enough to mention my work in her Forward interview (which is nuts because I’m her fangirl!) And to Hive spoken word poet and rapper, Dominic Heslop, who has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship that I was honoured to write a reference for. I’ve mentored Dom through his rocky younger years and am so proud to see the person he’s grown into and what he’s achieving through Slambarz.

And I’ve just got a copy of Obsessed with Pipework, hot off the press, with a few of my poems in. Anyway, I hope whatever you’re doing, the sun is out 🙂

The Rialto & NAWE

Well, look at this thing of great beauty! The cover of The Rialto’s anthology to celebrate 100 issues (1984 to 2023) Poetry with an Axe to Grind. The fact that my poem stood out in Michael Mackmin’s revisiting of 100 issues, was a very lovely boost indeed. And the company it’s in! Work from poets such as Simon Armitage, Pascale Petit, Les Murray, Carol Ann Duffy and Catherine Smith. It’s chock-full of wonderful poems and you can get hold of a copy here.

And just a quick update to say, I’ll be taking part in a writers’ panel focused on Writing with Neurodivergence chaired by Emma Boniwell from  Writing West Midlands at the National Writers’ Conference in Birmingham on 8th July along with Pippa Hennessy and George Bastow should anyone be interested. Most details here.

Online Poetry Summer School

Just a quick update to say I’m running this Hive Online Poetry Summer School – Sundays in July 2023 – A set of inspiring online poetry workshops for new or emerging young poets to develop or refresh your poetry writing skills and build more of a body of work. Open to young people aged 17-30 in the north of England & Midlands | more details