National Creative Writing Industry Day at Man Met

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Isabel Waidner. Photo by Robin Christian
Isabel Waidner. Photo by Robin Christian.

The National Creative Writing Industry Day at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester 4 November 2023 Tickets from £65 — Book now

The National Creative Writing Industry Day promises an opportunity to meet literary agents, commissioning editors and other publishing professionals as well as offering an insider’s view of how the industry works. Back for a ninth year, the National Creative Writing Industry Day is the largest conference of its kind taking place in the north of England, drawing over 150 delegates annually.

Run by Manchester’s Comma Press in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, the conference takes place at Man Met’s shiny new Manchester Writing School headquarters and is designed for emerging writers heading towards publication. They are promised an insight into the publishing industry, with experts on hand to offer up advice and help hone the skills needed to make it. Experts will be on hand to offer advice via panel discussions and practical hands-on workshops, helping to sharpen the skills writers need – not only picking the best pen for the job (we josh), but also how to get your wonderful words out there into the world. The organisers say: “This special event is committed to providing participants with a unique introduction to the publishing industry and its professionals.”

The National Creative Writing Industry Day will begin with an introduction and this year’s keynote speech comes courtesy Isabel Waidner, the Goldsmiths Award-winning author of Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, just out with Hamish Hamilton and from which they’re reading the night before at Blackwell’s Bookshop, just up the road. Based in London, Isabel Waidner’s previous books are Sterling Karat Gold (2021, Peninsula Press), We are Made of Diamond Stuff (2019) and Gaudy Bauble (2017), the last two published by Manchester indie Dostoyevsky Wannabe. They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021 and were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction in 2022 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2018, 2020 and 2022. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and they are an academic in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

The morning also includes two panels for all participants to enjoy, each an hour in length with 15 minutes set aside at the end for questions from the audience. The first is entitled “Building Your Readership: How to Market Yourself as a Writer” and welcomes publisher and The Book Pitch Doctor James Spackman, writer Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, whose novels include Harmless Like You, which received a Betty Trask Award and the 2017 Author’s Club First Novel Award, Starling Days and The Sleep Watcher, and Christopher Hamilton-Emery, who runs Salt Publishing, which has regular showcases at Blackwell’s. The second panel, “Expanding Your Practice: Writing Beyond the Book”, hears from Laura Barnett, Eli Goldstone and Chloë Ashby.

In the afternoon, participants alternate between two activities: one-to-one meetings with literary agents and industry professionals to refine pitching technique or seek advice on works-in-progress, and workshops tailored to the needs of those looking to enter the current writing industry.

Workshops-wise, there’s a choice of four. Author and creative writing teacher at University of Lancaster Zoe Lambert (recently spotted at Lancaster’s Litfest) will be leading a session on autofiction while mandla rae will be looking at life writing, poetry and objects as well as performance skills, connecting to the body and physicality. Fiction writer and Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University Sophie Parkes-Nield will be opening up place-writing, trying out techniques for strengthening their representations of place, whether real, imagined or an amalgam of both. The fourth workshop will guide you through your rights as an author with a representative from the Society of Authors.
Participants are also welcome to stay beyond the finish time to relax with a drink in the bar and take the chance for more informal networking with fellow writers and publishers.

The National Creative Writing Industry Day at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester 4 November 2023 Tickets from £65 Book now

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