News and Opportunities for Writers: March 2022

In addition to anything here, follow us on on Twitter or Instagram and run searches using the hashtags #amwriting or similar and you’ll find lots of resources. 

News from Room 204

News from Room 204:

Susan Stokes Chapman’s debut novel, Pandora, was released 27th January.

Liz Hyder’s debut adult novel, The Gifts, was published in mid-February.

Elizabeth Lee’s debut novel, Cunning Women, will be published on 24 March 2022.

Ania Bas’ debut novel Odd Hours will be published in June 2022 by Welbeck Publishing Group.

Michael Toolan was short listed in the Scottish Arts Trust’s annual short story competition. His piece will be published in an anthology, A Meal for the Man in Tails.

Chris Akers’ second book, a boxing autobiography, Enter The Welsh Dragon, will be published by Pitch in 2023.

Andrea Mbarushimana, Emilie Lauren Jones and Nick Fogg have all had successful outcomes in the latest round of DYCP grants from Arts Council England. You can read more on the DYCP news page.

Sara-Jane Arbury was longlisted for the 2021 Plough International Poetry Prize (judged by Roger McGough) and a runner-up in the 2021 Mslexia Poetry Competition (judged by Pascale Petit). Her poem, Confluence, is published in the current edition of Mslexia (Issue No. 93).

Emma Purshouse has won third place in The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2021 with her poem, ‘Catherine Eddowes’ tin box as a key witness’.

Script Sirens, a Birmingham-based writers group, are currently working on eight animated short films to be released weekly online from 23rd April. You can watch their short films on their YouTube channel.

Naneh Hovhannisyan has teamed up with Book Chat to create ‘Do You Remember, Liz?’, which has since been recorded at The Armenian Institute, featuring the writer alongside producer and reader Olivia Melkonian. To listen:

Ania Bas will be having an event at Waterstones featuring a conversation with Jonathan Davidson to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Odd Hours. Click here to book your ticket. 

Congratulations to all!Naneh Hovhannisyan

Writing Support and Resources


The Arvon Foundation have announced a whole new season of creative writing workshops and writing weeks for writers of every level. In addition, they are once again running in-person residentials and retreats. Find out more.

Scriptease: Scriptwriting for stage & screen, Jan 2022-Dec 2022. This year long online course with Sara Clifford and Lisa Fulthorpe will enable you to develop your skills. For more info & register email Sara:

Room 204 writer, Cate West has adapted her successful online introduction to Creative Writing course and will be delivering it from Jan 2022 onwards. The course is ideal for someone who has always wanted to write, but never got round to it. Find out more and book now. 



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

CRIPtic Arts and Spread the Word are collaborating on Access to Literature research. It aims to understand the barriers to access in the literature sector for D/deaf and disabled writers, poets and audiences, and seeks to improve access to in-person and online literature opportunities. If you are a D/deaf or disabled writer, literature lover or creative producer, please consider contributing to this research. Find out more.

Foyle Young Poets Award, judged by Anthony Anaxagorou and Mona Arshi, are officially open for submissions. Submit by 31 July 2022 for a chance to win. Find out more. 

Invisible Brum are accepting prose submissions for their upcoming anthology on Birmingham and particularly Digbeth. Submit by 1 July 2022.

All Stories have opened applications for their 2022-2023 programme. If you’re a children’s or YA writer from an underrepresented background, apply to join their programme offering mentorship, workshops and writing groups. Bursaries available. Submit by 30 June 2022.

The Aurora Prize for Writing are open for submissions of poetry and short fiction. Submissions close on Monday 13 June 2022. Find out more.

The Birmingham Film & TV Market and Peaky Blinders creator, Steven Knight, are teaming up with Script Angel to judge a scriptwriting competition, the ‘Steven Knight: Make it in Birmingham’ Award. Submissions close on 11 July 2022.

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award are open for submissions of short fiction and poetry until 31st August. Prizes include £2500 for both categories and publication within the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology

Are you an artist or poet interested in the philosophical problem of evil and suffering? Are you passionate about expressing how hope can be exercised in the face of adversity? The Global Philosophy of Religion Project at the University of Birmingham is organising a public exhibition event which involves philosophers, artists and poets. Submit by 8 July 2022 to have your work exhibited. 

We stand with Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is deeply shocking. Russia is attacking the fundamental principles of international peace and security, the pillars of the UN, and the existence of the Ukrainian state.

Over the last five years Writing West Midlands has worked closely with writers in Ukraine and with colleagues in the British Council Office in Kyiv. We were fortunate to host a visit from three Ukrainian writers – Halyna Shyyan, Lyubko Deresh & Volodymyr Rafieneinko – in 2016.

In 2017 we arranged for five writers from the West Midlands to visit Ukraine, including to the Book Arsenal Festival in Kyiv. Last year we were partners in a project to look at the links between the industrial regions of the Donbas (Ukraine) and the Black Country (UK), again working with the writer Lyubko Deresh.

In all our work with Ukraine we received nothing but kindness and friendship. We came to know Ukraine as a complex and fascinating country with a rich and many-faceted culture. We know it as a country where writing and writers are important – more so now than ever before.

We have been asked by our friends who organise the Book Arsenal Festival to do all we can to keep the world’s attention on the tragedy unfolding. They ask that we show solidarity with Ukraine in as many ways as possible and that we give whatever support we can to their writers and their fellow citizens.

We will share any other information we receive from the writing community in Ukraine as it is received.