Northern Lights Writers’ Conference 2021 at Waterside and online

Part of our Literature guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Northern Lights Writers' Conference 2021
Author Kate Mosse. Photo by Ruth Crafer.

Northern Lights Writers Conference at Waterside Arts, Manchester, Until 30 September 2021, from £7.50 - Book now

For writers at all stages of their career, from the unpublished to those already established with words in print, the Creative Industries Trafford Northern Lights Writers’ Conference is perfect for picking up tips and useful contacts in the publishing world – and you can choose to attend the eighth NLWC virtually or in real life, at CIT’s Waterside base.

The Northern Lights Writers’ Conference also welcomes international best-selling author and founder director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction Kate Mosse OBE to give this year’s keynote speech, always an inspiration.

The programme on Saturday 25 September includes talks, panel discussions and “in conversation” sessions, including with BAFTA-winning writer and comedian Sophie Willan, whose acclaimed comedy Alma’s Not Normal hits BBC2 as a full-length series this autumn. The Northern Lights Writers’ Conference also welcomes international best-selling author and founder director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction Kate Mosse OBE to give this year’s keynote speech, always an inspiration. Author of The Burning Chambers series as well as the multimillion-selling Languedoc trilogy, Kate Mosse is the latest in a roster of world-class guests to feature at the conference, which, since it began in 2013, has welcomed Louise Doughty, Sarah Dunant, Joanne Harris MBE, AL Kennedy, Heather Morris, Jane Rogers and Will Self.

The all-day event features six 45-minute sessions, which all delegates can attend – and if you join online via Waterside arts centre’s Diverge hub, you’ll still have the opportunity to take part in the all-important Q&As at the end of each. Continuing its tradition of delving into both the craft and the business of writing, you can hear how to stay inspired and focused on your writing projects with the “Resilience for Writers” panel, featuring acclaimed writers and publishing professionals including authors Okechukwu Nzelu, whose debut novel The Private Joys Of Nnenna Maloney won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for both the Desmond Elliott and Polari First Book prizes, Oliver Sykes, lead artist for writing and outreach organisation Stories of Care, Phoebe Morgan, best-selling author of The Wild Girls, which came out in April, and Fehmida Master, founder of independent poetry press Master House Publishing, which has Lisa O’Hare and others on its books.

Megan Carroll of literary agents Watson, Little Ltd joins author and editorial director of publishers HarperCollins Phoebe Morgan for the masterclass “Finding A Deal: What Writers and Agents Look For”. Meanwhile, Eve Wersocki Morris, publicity manager at Simon & Schuster, will delve into the challenges of “Publicity & Marketing for Writers”, and book designer Anna Morrison will look at what makes a compelling cover in her presentation “The Art of Book Cover Design”.

This year’s Northern Lights Writers’ Conference continues into the week with a series of creative writing workshops and one-to-one advice sessions with writers, editors and publishers, taking place via Zoom (£5 for delegates who attend the Saturday event, £7.50 for non-NLWC delegates). Sarah Schofield – whose new collection Safely Gathered In is out with Comma Press in the autumn – will be looking at short stories on Monday 27 September (6.30-8pm) while performer and writer Aisling Caffrey will look at character development on Wednesday 29 September (6.30-8pm). Places for both are limited, so be sure to book.

Experts are also on hand to answer any burning questions you have on the nuts and bolts of writing or on getting your work published or represented. Sign up for 45-minute one-to-one advice slots between 1pm and 5pm with, on Monday 27 September, creative nonfiction writer and publisher at The Real Story Adam Farrer, on Tuesday, YA speculative fiction author and freelance editor Melissa Welliver (also appearing at Chorlton Book Festival, when she’ll be interviewing fellow author Gill Darling), children’s fiction editor Tilda Johnson (on Wednesday) and, finally, on Thursday 30 September, poet Jazmine Linklater, also the facilitator of CIT’s regular Writers’ Group.

Sarah Schofield Safely Gathered In
Sarah Schofield Safely Gathered In

Tickets for the Conference are £25 in person or £10 online. Places on the creative writing workshops and one-to-one advice sessions are £5 for delegates who also attend the Saturday event (call 0161 912 5616 to get this offer) and £7.50 for non-NLWC delegates.

Northern Lights Writers Conference at Waterside Arts, Manchester

Until 30 September 2021
From £7.50