Spark Summer Writing Challenge 2021

A week of writing prompts and feedback sessions with tutors to guide your writing, and an opportunity to be published.

Spark Summer Writing Challenge by Writing West Midlands

Monday 26 – Friday 30 July 2021

Are you – or do you know – a young person (school years 7 – 12, aged 12 – 17) who loves writing or wants to be a writer?

Following the success of last year’s Challenge, we are re-running our Spark Summer Writing Challenge for young people like you!

Come and join us for five days of writing, inspiration, and quality feedback from your own home, caravan or holiday cottage.

You’ll write new genres following writing prompts set daily, and you’ll get a chance to get one-on-one feedback at least twice in the week, if you want it. You can try your hand at writing a range of styles from poetry to audio drama to flash fiction to wordplay.

You’ll be writing for fun, being as creative as you want to be, and you’ll meet and be supported by a whole network of other young writers for a brilliantly positive creative writing experience.

You will have the option to submit pieces created during the week to our anthology, gathering together some of our favourite poetry, prose and plays of the Spark Summer Writing Challenge.

This is your chance to take the first step in becoming the writer you want to be.

Lead by poet Liz Berry and author Fiona Joseph, you will flex your writing muscles and have an opportunity to work with experienced poets and writers to review your own work, discover your creative strengths and find out what you need to do to take your writing to next level!


How it will work:

Each morning, young writers will be given some interactive writing prompts via Zoom from 9.30am. The morning session will include a short warm up writing task, followed by information about the daily writing prompt. There will be time to ask the lead writers questions and for additional information, but then the young writers are free to go off and write. There is an opportunity at the end of the day to come back together to share your writing with the other young writers and the lead writers – between 3-3.30pm.

You will be allocated timeslots for your one to one feedback sessions where the lead writer will read and discuss your work with you. This will also take place via Zoom. A member of the team will be on hand between 10.30am – 3.30pm for the week to answer any questions that arise during the day.

More information and some examples of writing and images to support the course content will be sent out in advance. Keep an eye on your inbox (and check junk folders!).

There are a number of bursary places available. Please contact Emma Boniwell to find out more.


Equipment needed:

Participants will need to have access to the internet, a device with a microphone and webcam for the feedback sessions. Young people under 18 should not be signing up to Zoom as participants and it is possible to use Zoom without being an account holder – as long as you have access to an email address.

We would also ask that any writing which is to be submitted is saved either as a Word document, or as a pdf so our Lead writers can view it. We will also circulate a code of conduct for our participants and their parents to sign up to. This will need to be agreed before any Zoom meeting invitations are sent to participants.


About the writers:

Liz Berry

Liz Berry is a poet from the Black Country who now lives in Birmingham. Liz’s debut poetry collection, Black Country, received the Forward Prize for Best First Collection Winner 2014, Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award. Liz’s second collection is The Republic of Motherhood, for which Liz won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2018 for the title poem. Liz also works as a tutor for organisations such as the Arvon Foundation and Writing West Midlands.

Fiona Joseph

Fiona Joseph was born and raised in Birmingham. She is a former university lecturer and textbook writer, who now runs an EFL website, Flo-Joe.

Fiona has had a number of short stories published in anthologies, including The Hills And The Fortune, which won a prize in the Happenstance International Short Story competition judged by Janice Galloway. A non-fiction memoir essay, Hair Wars: Growing Up Frizzy In The 1970s, appeared in the Hair Power Skin Revolution collection. She also won the BCU/NAW Prize for Fiction.

Fiona also writes graded readers (aka language learner fiction) for EFL learners.

Please note: you must sign up for the full course even if you do not complete the course. No partial course ticket is available. 

The Spark Summer Writing Challenge is for under 18s only.

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26 - 30 Jul 2021



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