Monday, 27 of March 2023

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Rachel McLean wins Kindle Storyteller 2021

We are thrilled to congratulate Rachel McLean for winning the Kindle Storyteller award (and grateful that she name-checked the group whilst doing so!).

The win recognises the success Rachel has had with her novels, specifically The Corfe Castle Murders, first in her Dorset Crime series.

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Forestry Commission Writer in Residence Opportunity

You can apply to be a Writer in the Forest.

If you have a passion for nature, the Forestry Commission wants to hear from you.

See the website for details

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Request for help with a project

The following request has been sent to us from Emil:

Dear all, I am a neuroscientist at University of Birmingham, and for the last few years I have been involved with several initiatives on Public Engagement with Science. One perspective that drives me is my feeling that science does not has a proper place in the cultural narrative of our time. It is certainly respected, it is certainly discussed about – but the majority of people treat from a certain distance. And I’d like to change that, and one initiative is to try to organise a group of storytelling with an interest and focus on science – in a variety of setups and forms of presentation.
I am thus reaching out to you, a group of writers, to see if anybody is interested in engaging with this challenge – maybe some pieces (shorter or longer, sketches or more elaborate) on or about science: the way you experience it yourself, the way you relate to it – all good or bad; I am not looking at eulogies of science, but at personal experiences of science (either as data or facts, or through its stated or experienced meanings).
At some point, depending also on the interest that this initiative might generate, I would also be willing and able to organise a workshop with scientists, for people who might want to work and develop further such mini-projects.

If interested, get in touch with me: Emil Toescu, on

Looking forward to hearing from you,


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The Pound Project

The Pound Project is a new independent publisher based and founded in Birmingham.

They are using crowdfunding to publish short stories from different writers every month.

Details of the current campaign:

“This month we’re releasing a never before published story by the late, great, Birmingham legend, Paul Murphy, with all the funds going to writers’ charity The John Hewitt Society and their community bursary. Info on the campaign here:

Born in Belfast, before moving to the UK and eventually settling in Cotteridge, Paul was the front-man of The Destroyers, set up Birmingham’s Songwriter’s Cafe, and became a much-loved figure in the Birmingham arts scene.”


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PR & Comms volunteer needed for Acorns Childrens Hospice

Established in 1988, Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust is a registered charity offering a network of care for life limited and life threatened children and young people, and their families, across the heart of England. These children and young people are not expected to reach adulthood and require specialist care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the last year Acorns has supported over 760 children and more than 980 families, including those who are bereaved.

Acorns is the only organisation that provides this level of care to these vulnerable youngsters whilst offering a range of support services to the whole family to help them cope at every stage of their child’s life and beyond into bereavement.

Thet provide tailored nursing care for each child; short breaks, emergency and end of life care at each of our three hospices:

They are currently looking for a volunteer to help their PR & Comms team and have asked if any members of the group might be interested.


Job Description

An enthusiastic, self-motivated intern to become an integral part of and play a key role in the communications team. Excellent written and oral skills are essential, as is an approachable, personable manner. This individual will be highly organised and proactive with the ability to foster strong relationships and gain trust.

The successful candidate will report directly to the PR & Communications Manager, work with colleagues across the organisation, as well as supporters and volunteers to deliver accurate and effective communications for Acorns Children’s Hospice, promoting awareness and generating income.

The role will assist with a range of duties such as preparing press releases, photocalls, event PR and liaison with journalists. It will also support marketing campaigns and both fundraising and care events, whilst helping maintain internal systems of monitoring and reporting.

A degree or training in a relevant discipline is strongly desired, although not essential.

Minimum commitment of two days per week for three months.

What we can offer you:

This is an opportunity to work with one of the region’s best known and well-respected charities.

Responsibilities will involve activities ranging across small community-based and large-scale fundraising events, major partnerships with key regional organisations and businesses (including Birmingham Airport, Aston Villa FC and Worcester Warriors), hospice based care events and the charity’s retail division of charity shops.

The role will help develop essential skills required for working in communications and marketing as well as an understanding of charity and fundraising.

An experienced and committed team will provide on-going opportunities for learning and development with on the job mentoring.

Please apply by emailing your covering letter outlining your reasons for applying and CV to Sarah Worrall at

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Help with market research for a new writing magazine

Here are some details we have been sent by Criteria Fieldwork, an independent market research agency based in London (

The sessions that are mentioned are taking place in Edgbaston.

“We have been commissioned by a publisher who is launching a new magazine and website offering information and support to people who enjoy creative writing as a hobby (more info is available about the magazine/ website is available upon request).

They are organising some focus groups, in the evening, on Tuesday 17th March and would love to invite people along who enjoy creative writing to get some feedback on the new magazine and website.  This is not a sales exercise and all information obtained within the research will remain confidential.

The focus group would last 1.5 hours, we understand that time is valuable so those attending would receive a cash thank you of £50.00 as a token of our appreciation.

Please be assured that the research is conducted in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the Market Research Society Code of Conduct ( )

If you are interested in participating we would need to ask some questions to see if you are eligible for this particular session. If you would like to take part or are interested in finding out more, please reply to this email with your contact mobile number and I will give you a call.”

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Can you inspire a child to read?

Beanstalk are looking for volunteers for local primary schools to support children on a 1:1 basis with their reading.

Volunteers spend time with children twice a week, reading talking and playing games together.

Training and ongoing support is provided.

To apply, please call Michelle on 0121 771 2922


For more information visit

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Creative writing workshop – Voices of the First World War

Creative writing and poetry workshop for adults

Saturday 11 October, Heritage Learning Space in the Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 2ND

Free (but please book)

A partnership event with Voices of War and Peace, an Arts & Humanities Research Council First World Engagement Centre, and the Birmingham Literature Festival.

10.30am-12.30pm Creative writing workshop led by Fiona Joseph

Fiona is a teacher, publisher and writer. She has written a biography of Beatrice Cadbury, the radical daughter of the famous chocolate manufacturer, and is currently working on a novel based on Cadbury women employees in the First World War.

In this workshop Fiona will explore using archive collections as a springboard to creative writing.

1.30-3.30pm Poetry workshop led by Garrie Fletcher and Antony Owen

Garrie is a teacher and writer. Widely published, he writes short stories, novels and poems and is a member of the Tindal Street Fiction Group. Antony is a Coventry- based poet. His first collection of work was published in 2009.

In this workshop Garrie and Antony will encourage participants to explore themes of conflict, peace and reconciliation in their creative writing with particular focus on poetry.


All of our workshops are free. To book a place please contact:


Voices of War and Peace is an Arts & Humanities Research Council First World War Engagement Centre. Led by the University of Birmingham and based in the Library of Birmingham, the Centre supports community research projects, connecting academic and public histories of the First World War as part of the commemoration of the centenary.

Please visit the website for more information:

Twitter @Voices_WW1

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Travelling Book Project

From Mike Raven:

I wondered if the members of the Birmingham Writers’ Group might be interested in a project that I’m organising at the moment?

The idea behind the Travelling Book project is that a blank journal travels around the world, from person to person, with each person writing in the book about their lives and interests. When complete the journal is made available on the Internet for everyone to see. It gives people an opportunity to be creative, to collaborate, and to find out what different parts of the world is like from the people actually living there.

I’m aiming to send a whole host of travelling books around the world, and to also provide a website so that participants can track the progress of the books.  The campaign for the project ends on August the 4th, after which books will start to be produced and sent out.

If people would like more information, do please check out the project page at

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Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing at the University of York

From the University of York:

The Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) has carved out a niche in offering high-quality, distance learning provision over the last decade, focusing on first-rate student engagement and flexible models of delivery. As a learning provider, we have offered a variety of educational opportunities for more than twenty-five years, and have received numerous Vice-Chancellor Awards for the standard of teaching and student support.


CLL is a thriving unit within the University, offering a variety of innovative learning opportunities both locally and globally, with a specific remit of supporting non-traditional students as they return to learn. The Centre offers around 200 evening and day classes during the academic year, receiving around 2,200 applications annually. We are based on the Heslington campus, and aim to make the University a place for everyone, priding ourselves on working in partnership with university departments, external funding bodies and local agencies throughout our work.

Since 2007, we have developed an extensive programme of distance learning to reach learners nationally and around the world, with a particular focus on creative writing. In that time, we have taught literally hundreds of students from the UK and around the globe, and have utilised that expertise to devise new, part-time postgraduate programmes of study that offer you study flexibility without compromising academic rigour. Our approach is to create vibrant and dynamic learning experiences despite students’ distance from one another, fostering a sense of community through keenly-facilitated learning.

Our technology-enhanced delivery uses the University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, to ensure that you receive a comprehensive learning experience regardless of whenever or wherever you engage, without the need for extensive IT knowledge. All our online learning is supported by experienced staff, and there is never a need for you to be on the course site a set time for core activities, making this the ideal way for the busy student to extend their learning journey.

The Programme

Led by Elizabeth Linklater, the Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing is a two-year part-time programme, aimed at writers wishing to develop their creative and critical skills at an advanced level. The programme adopts an all-encompassing approach to the discipline of creative writing, taking in a variety of genres and exploring the major forms of prose, poetry and scripts.  The award is delivered wholly online, in a fully-supported learning environment, and builds upon many years of experience in the international distance learning arena.

The programme comprises six 20-credit modules which will develop students’ writing skills and their critical faculties in a range of genres. These modules are:

Year One

  • · Creative Practice: Creativity, Theory and the Craft of Writing
  • Critical Approaches: Methodology, Research and Literature
  • Compressed Fiction: The Art of the Short Story

Year Two

  • · Poetic Power: Theory and Practice in Contemporary Poetry
  • · Sustained Fiction: The Novel as Narrative
  • · Dramaturgy, Sound and Screen

The programme also includes residential weekends at York each year. Each event is an opportunity to meet teaching staff network with fellow students, engage in study activities, and hear established writers talk about specific topic areas. These weekends are free of charge, though students will be expected to meet the cost of their travel, accommodation and sustenance. For anyone unable to attend, there will also be the option to engage via real-time video conferencing or to watch recordings of the key sessions.

What Next?

For more information, please visit or email The programme launches in late September 2014, and if you have any specific questions you would like answering, please do feel free to give Iain a call on 01904 328474.

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