Back for a seventh 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 day is designed for all new writers heading towards publication. They are promised an insight into the publishing industry, with experts on hand to help hone their skills.
Jenn Ashworth will be talking about ‘Finding Your Form’ for your fiction or life writing, exploring different techniques. Her fifth novel Ghosted: A Love Story is out soon.
This year’s opening keynote speech comes courtesy Caleb Azumah Nelson, who will be talking about his journey to publication and offering his advice to aspiring writers. A 27-year-old British-Ghanaian writer and photographer living in south east London, his first novel, Open Water, was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and his photography has been shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and won the People’s Choice prize.
Following this, a one-hour panel with an audience Q&A will be discussing ‘The Paths of Northern Writers’. Three North-based writers, Kya Buller, Désirée Reynolds and Richard Smyth, will discuss their varying career paths, how they have each nurtured their writing practice, and how they have worked to make their voices heard within the industry, while also giving advice on how aspiring writers might propel their own work.
There will also be two workshops, each lasting an hour and a half, with participation/interaction from you – you’re advised to bring something to write on and with, as well as ideas for the projects that matter to you. Acclaimed author and creative writing lecturer Sarah Schofield, whose debut short story collection is out with Comma this autumn (more on an event with her at Blackwell’s here), will be looking at ‘Self-editing Your First Draft’.
Jenn Ashworth will be talking about ‘Finding Your Form’ for your fiction or life writing, exploring different techniques. Her fifth novel Ghosted: A Love Story is out soon (and she is also appearing at Blackwell’s in October), and follows A Kind of Intimacy, which won a Betty Trask Award, Cold Light, which saw her featured on the BBC’s The Culture Show as one of the UK’s 12 best new writers, The Friday Gospels and Fell. Her memoir-in-essays, Notes Made While Falling, came out in 2019, when it was a New Statesman Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize.
The rest of the day consists of individual one-on-ones and pitching opportunities with literary agents; see the Comma Press website for full details of those taking part.