News and Opportunities for Writers: November/December 2020

With many events and festivals cancelled, the writing community has transferred a lot of its activity online. Search on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #amwriting or similar and you’ll find lots of resources. 

News from Room 204

News from Room 204:

Jane Campion Hoye has been selected by Aesthetica Magazine as one of their featured writers for this years international Creative Writing Award. ‘Coming Back to Life’ will be published in their 2021 Anthology. 
Michael Amherst was announced as the winner of the Hubert Butler Prize for his essay responding to this year’s title Communal solidarity and individual freedom: antagonists or allies? 
Justina Hart has won first prize in the Second Light Poetry Competition for Long and Short Poems by Women 2020 in the long poem category for her climate-change poem, Doggerland Rising, A poem about the historic narrowboat aboard which she lives and writes was also shortlisted in the same competition. You can read Doggerland Rising here. 
Naomi Paul has been working with the Community of Meon Vale on the ‘Snapshot Stories’ project as part of Live and Local’s ‘Living Room’ project. They released the song ‘The Promise of the Woods and you can watch the whole film here. 

Sarah Leavesley/James’s manuscript ‘Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic’ has won the CP Aware Award Prize for Poetry 2021. She’s also had a poem, ‘Sickle Moon Dreams’, selected for Shetland Library’s Bard in da Bog scheme and a poetry film, ‘Writing Life’, for Big Picture Festival 2020 from 28 November-6 December 2020. Filmmaker Andrew Curtis’s poetryfilm based on her poem ‘A Plague on All Houses’, featuring a contemporary Romeo and Juliet forced by covid-19 to lockdown in separate cities, is shortlisted  for the 2020 Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition. 




Writing Support and Resources

The Word Association works with marginalised groups and isolated communities, offering free writing workshops and support.  In 2021 they will be running writing courses for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as those who have battled long term mental illness – if you’d like to find out more information on either course, please do get in touch.

Writing West Midlands is hosting friendly informal networking and information sessions online. Find out about writing, meet writers local to you, and hear more about what Writing West Midlands does. Find a session near you.


The Birmingham Literature Festival has come to an end, however we are continuing to publish a podcast each week. Follow us on your podcast provider to stay up to date on the conversation!

This year’s Big Dreamers festival is going online! Featuring two theatre shows, three story time sessions and one original festive song written just for us. Come and fly to space with Frozen Charlotte’s sensory experience, Valentina’s Galaxy. Or, join Leapa in The Hare and The Moon, as she saves the Siberian Tundra from the clutches of a villainous beast, bringing back the light of the sun and the night time glow of the moon. All shows will be available to stream and completely free to view. Perfect for families with children aged 2-12.

The Bookshop on the Green is taking part in Random House’s Christmas scheme It Begins With A Book:  buy one book and the same book will be given free of charge to someone in need.  It’s a brilliant way for book-lovers to spread a little joy this winter. There are 32 qualifying books to buy via their affiliate link. The donated books will be distributed to refuges, homeless charities and children’s charities by Neighbourly. 

Are you, or do you know, a young person aged between 14 – 20 who loves writing? Spark Young Writers is running a Teen Writing Series. Each month we will be hosting a session on a specific genre or area of writing from crime fiction to performance. Tickets are just £10 for a 2-hour session (online) and bursaries are available.

The Spark Young Writers groups run throughout the year. With workshops across the region, as well as new online only sessions, this is the perfect opportunity for creative young people aged 8 – 18 years old. Find your group.


Competitions and opportunities

Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage announces the launch of MY CITY, MY HOME, a major, specially commissioned, international writing competition for women and girls from diverse communities in Birmingham (UK), Bangladesh and Pakistan. The competition is open to women (aged 16+) and can be a response to, or a reflection on the phrase MY CITY, MY HOME. Run online, women can enter a poem, short-story, or other prose.  Winners will each receive £200.00, and have their pieces published in Birmingham, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in summer 2021.

Deadline: 30th December 2020. Find out more here. 


Writing West Midland‘s writer development programme is now open for applications. If you are a writer, working in any genre or form, based in the West Midlands you can apply to Room 204. Find out more and apply here. 

Deadline: Monday 1 February 2021, 12 noon.