News and Opportunities for Writers: March 2021

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:

Justina Hart’s poem Mistress Iron Whale was shortlisted in the Wolves Lit Fest poetry competition with the theme ‘aspects of love’. Details, including a video recording of the readings featuring Emma Purshouse and a wonderful introduction by judge Liz Berry, are available Watch here.  

Chris Akers is excited to share that the autobiography he is ghost-writing, King Of The Journeymen: The Life of Peter Buckley, will be published by Pitch on 21st June.

Elizabeth Lee’s debut novel launches later this year. Pre-order your copy of the historical tale here now. 

William Gallagher’s 58keys, a YouTube channel for writers who use Macs, iPhones and iPads, just crossed 900 subscribers. Together, they’ve watched over 2,500 hours of him talking. Watch here. William Gallagher will be a presenter on the Royal Television Society’s Big Telly Quiz on the evening of March 31st. He’ll be asking half a dozen questions related to television in the Midlands, and promises to wink clues at Room 204 people who can all watch via YouTube. 

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.

William Gallagher is running a five-week writing club on Tuesday evenings from March 9, with about an hour’s writing exercises followed by about an hour writing surgery where we all discuss what we’re writing and what problems we’re having. In truth, the idea that if William knows you’re going to turn up, he’ll do some writing. The five weeks will go on sale from March 1 for £95. Sign up to his mailing list to stay informed. 

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!

Writing East Midlands Writers Conference 2021 is now on sale. Join them for four days of panel discussions, workshops & networking all completely online. Key note speeches from TS Eliot Prize Winner, Roger Robinson and Costa and Commonwealth Prize Nominee, Kerry Young. Book tickets.

Arvon at Home’s winter season is now open for booking – a jamboree of writing masterclasses, courses, craft sessions and readings you can attend from the comfort of your home. This year, alongside established names like Kit De Waal, Irenosen Okojie, Cathy Rentzenbrink and Jacob Ross they’ve programmed more new voices than ever before. Arvon at Home Events.

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

Wilber Smith Adventure Writing Prize: Best Unpublished Manuscript. This award is open to aspiring, emerging, and also self-published writers anywhere in the world. First prize is a publishing deal with Bonnier Books UK with an advance of £15,000, and up to six shortlisted writers will be offered manuscript development from a top literary consultant. Find out more.

New Writing North has partnered with Writing West Midlands and literature development agencies nationally to deliver A Writing Chance. We are looking for aspiring story tellers and future journalists from working-class and lower income backgrounds.

Each successful applicant will receive: 

  • A bursary of £1,500 to participate in the project
  • One-to-one mentoring with an experienced writer or journalist
  • An invitation to Insight Days with the media partners, either in person or online

Publication with byline by one of the media partners, including the Daily Mirror or New Statesman, or broadcast as a podcast. Apply Now.