Northern Lights Writers’ Conference 2021 at Waterside and online

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

Northern Lights Writers Conference at Waterside, Manchester 25 — 30 September 2021 Tickets 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For writers at all stages of their career, from the unpublished to those already established with words in print, the Creative Industries Trafford Northern Lights Writers’ Conference is perfect for picking up tips and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

Northern Lights Writers Conference at Waterside, Manchester 25 — 30 September 2021 Tickets from £7.50 Book now

What's on at Waterside

Women carrying flaming torch. HerStories at Waterside.
MusicManchester
HerStories at Waterside

Learn about some of history’s most influential women through a celebratory evening of performance and song with singer/songwriter Louise Jordan.

from £10.00
Roger McGough
LiteratureManchester
Roger McGough at Waterside

One of the famous Liverpool Poets of the Sixties, Roger McGough – ‘the patron saint of poetry’ according to former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy – takes to the stage.

from £20.00

Where to go near Northern Lights Writers’ Conference 2021 at Waterside and online

Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
Bean and Brush Art Café

Bean & Brush is a family art café in Sale which serves simple, tasty food with ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The bonus for parents is the arts and crafts studio which keeps the kids busy being creative while they can join in or relax with a coffee.

Manchester
Park
Grosvenor Square

Grosvenor Square is one of the few open spaces along Oxford Road Manchester; on sunny days, students from the nearby Manchester School of Art come out to bask.

Manchester
Park
Walkden Gardens

Walkden Gardens in the Manchester suburbs has all the makings of a fairy tale garden. As a venue, it’s hard to imagine a more magical gateway, a wonderful escape only a short(ish) stroll from the Brooklands Metrolink stop..

Sale
Restaurant
Meze & More

An intimate supper club in Sale, South Manchester, with a specialist focus on Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.

Beech Road, Chorlton
Restaurant
Mish Mash

Cocktails and craft beer along side a menu of British food ‘with a twist’. Mish Mash is currently closed for a refurb.

longford park ben williams
Manchester
Park
Longford Park

Longford Park in Stretford was created in the grounds of Longford Hall, the grand entrance steps of which remain.

What's on: Literature

Ian Humphreys
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Writer Gaynor Jones
LiteratureManchester
Weird Women at Levenshulme Old Library

To mark International Women’s Day, Levenshulme Old Library has pulled together a programme of activities called Weird Women, which includes Unheim-Lit, a showcase of strange and uncanny spoken word.

free entry
LIVEwire
LiteratureManchester
LIVEwire at The Edge

Following sold-out shows in 2019 and 2021, LIVEwire is back at The Edge this March, and again in June, with an electric line-up.

from £13.00

Culture Guides

Teenage Dads
Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.