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Writers' News

New Literary Agency Listing: Robert Caskie Ltd

firstwriter.com – Tuesday April 21, 2020

Keen to receive fiction and nonfiction writing that stimulates debate, comments on the world around us, and invokes an emotional response.

[See the full listing]

Duffy and Manchester Writing School launch coronavirus poetry project

thebookseller.com – Tuesday April 21, 2020

Poet Carol Ann Duffy and the Manchester Writing School have launched an international poetry project in response to the coronavirus.

WRITE Where We Are NOW will see writers including Duffy, Gillian Allnutt, Raymond Antrobus, Roger McGough and Ian McMillan share new work inspired by the pandemic.

[Read the full article]

Pembrokeshire's Penfro Book Festival poetry and writing competitions launched

tivysideadvertiser.co.uk – Tuesday April 21, 2020

THE search is launched this week by PENfro Book Festival to find some of the country’s best ‘eco’ poets and short story writers.

Two competitions run by the Festival are linked to the Loving the Earth Green Fair weekend, due to be held at Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran, at the end of August. Results will be revealed at the fair, and if the event is postponed the winners and shortlisted writers in both contests will be announced on the venue’s website.

Poetry competition organiser, Jackie Biggs said: “PENfro Book Festival had planned to run a series of literature related events at Rhosygilwen throughout this year, but while all live events are postponed we can at least continue with our popular competitions.

[Read the full article]

Opportunity knocks: how lockdown is opening doors for new creative talent

theguardian.com – Sunday April 19, 2020

Cameras have stopped rolling, book launches are postponed and actors are all “resting”. It looks as if nothing is moving in the world of entertainment and storytelling, yet from Hollywood to the major the publishing houses of London and New York, the talent scouts and production companies are working overtime to complete unfinished projects and find new tales to tell.

The frenzy of backroom activity is creating unusual opportunities for novice stars of the future. For once, aspiring writers and wannabe directors are in demand.

[Read the full article]

A Rainbow Short Story Prize to Beat the Blues

bedfordwritingcompetition.co.uk – Sunday April 19, 2020

Everyone is having to make sacrifices in these dystopian times, but few more so than the over 70s. Not only is this group more vulnerable to coronavirus, but self-isolation is already proving a high price to pay. For some time now, 70 has been the new 50. Fitter than ever before, more socially active and playing a vital part in the lives of children and grandchildren, this generation of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, has transformed the process of ageing. Not so surprising then that enforced isolation is taking its toll.

Fortunately, technology is proving a life-saver with emails, Skype and Zoom keeping us connected. Newspapers can be downloaded, food delivered by supermarkets. There's even theatre and church service streaming along with virtual poetry meetings and poetry exchange schemes.

The Bedford Competition, a not-for-profit organisation, is also doing its bit by promoting a special Rainbow Prize for the best short stories submitted by anyone 70 years and over, all proceeds going to charities helping victims of Covid-19. Writing a winning story is yet another great way to beat the isolation blues. Bestselling, internationally acclaimed author, Leigh Russell, who is judging the Rainbow Prize, says, "In the current crisis we need stories more than ever, to offer us an escape from the loneliness we are all experiencing. So I am thrilled to be invited to judge the Rainbow Short Story Prize, and look forward to reading your entries." 

The Bedford Competition opens 1 May. Entry fee for one short story is £6 or you can enter 3 for £12. First prize is £500 with additional prizes for second and third places. In addition the winning stories will be published in BWC's anthology. And, even if you don't win, there's the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to a worthy cause. The bigger the number of entries, the bigger the donation we can make.

At the other end of the spectrum, we're offering prizes for the best short story or poem submitted by 17 - 25 year olds.

The spirit of pulling together, as in the war days, has sprung to life again. We may be keeping our distance but we're still reaching out. How long the crisis will last, no one knows. But, as HM, The Queen , movingly reminded us, We Will Meet Again. It will end, and there will be a return to normality, One Sunny Day. 

[Read the full article]

Please Don’t Criticize Me For Writing Pandemic Stories

medium.com – Sunday April 19, 2020

Like many of you, I’ve been writing a lot of COVID-19 related stories over the past several weeks. It’s really hard to think about anything else right now, so given that we generally write about what’s on our minds, it’s not unusual that this is the topic of a good percentage of the stories being written these days.

At the same time, I’ve seen a number of complaints by writers who feel that there is far too much emphasis on this topic, especially on Medium. A common criticism is that there isn’t a balance in terms of topic variety. I do agree that stories that are just rehashed or spun content reporting the same facts that are everywhere you look are a bit annoying. I think we can leave news stories to those who actually report the news.

[Read the full article]

Sentimentality in Poetry: Emotional Imbalance and How to Avoid it

By Maria Foster
Poet and Writer

firstwriter.com – Saturday April 18, 2020

Nothing is going to turn readers off your writing quicker than that sickly, disingenuous whiff of sentimentality that emanates from aggressively emotional wording. That cliched, pandering thing that so many writers fall into the trap of.

All of my mean adjectives aside, it’s usually not something that happens deliberately. It’s not like people are just padding out their writing with sentimentality, knowing that it sounds awful but doing it anyway just because they want to.

What’s going on is probably more of a misguided attempt at something that is actually sincere. When we’re writing something creative and artistic, it’s almost always going to be an expression of emotion.

[Read the full article]

12 Ideas for Writing Through the Pandemic With The New York Times

nytimes.com – Thursday April 16, 2020

The coronavirus has transformed life as we know it. Schools are closed, we’re confined to our homes and the future feels very uncertain. Why write at a time like this?

For one, we are living through history. Future historians may look back on the journals, essays and art that ordinary people are creating now to tell the story of life during the coronavirus.

But writing can also be deeply therapeutic. It can be a way to express our fears, hopes and joys. It can help us make sense of the world and our place in it.

Plus, even though school buildings are shuttered, that doesn’t mean learning has stopped. Writing can help us reflect on what’s happening in our lives and form new ideas.

[Read the full article]

Sphinx Theatre announces £1,000 commissions for female playwrights and new writing lab

thestage.co.uk – Wednesday April 15, 2020

A new writing programme for female playwrights, offering £1,000 seed commissions and support from writers including Winsome Pinnock and April De Angelis, has been launched by Sphinx Theatre.

The pilot writing programme, called Sphinx Lab, and the commissions have been announced to mark the company’s 30th anniversary.

Emerging to mid-career female playwrights can apply for one of 10 commissions by submitting a CV and an example of their work to Sphinx Theatre by June 15. Further opportunities are to be announced for mid-career to established female playwrights.

[Read the full article]

Caskie and Mushens part ways after three years

thebookseller.com – Wednesday April 15, 2020

After three years working together as Caskie Mushens, literary agents Robert Caskie and Juliet Mushens have decided to work independently.

Each will continue working with their own clients, the pair confirmed.

[Read the full article]

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