SPECIAL GUEST NORTHERN HIGHLIGHT
Can you tell us about Hive and your work with young people in Yorkshire?
We’d love to! Hive South Yorkshire is over 5 years old now. We’re here for everybody aged 14-30 with an interest in writing, no matter what their goals are. We love opening the writing door to people who might not have had much experience, or access, and we love working with people who’d like to have a career in writing or publishing, signposting them to great opportunities, and introducing them to new writers and forms. We support writing development through regular, free, writing groups (in Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Barnsley) and writers’ days with professional writers and projects, live events, collaborations, competitions, podcasts and publications.
We urge anyone 14 to 30 in South Yorkshire, and the nearby north, to get in touch if they have any kind of interest in words. We’re at www.hivesouthyorkshire.com
What are your latest opportunities for young writers?
We have a poetry masterclass soon with Vanessa Lampert and are about to launch a new competition. Our groups are running as always too. Everything happening or coming up is always on our website or socials so we recommend young people follow us to stay in the
Can you tell us about the Hive Young Writer’s 2021 Competition?
All details will be live by mid-June at http://www.hivesouthyorkshire.com/competition and the competition will be open to 14 to 30s in Yorkshire and nearby regions. We have one judge in place but are just in the middle of sorting our other but all will be revealed soon!
How important are networks to young writers?
Networks are hugely important. Writing can be such a private, solitary thing, we know the importance of having the chance to share work with your peers (who, quickly, become your friends) but also the opportunities it opens you up to and immersion into the communities and landscapes of writing. They’re a terrific way of offering support and friendship and a brilliant way of sharing information and providing public facing cultural opportunities in the community that are accessible and open to everyone.
What for you is the 'spirit of the North’?
What a great question! On an individual level it’s hard graft, and being honest, humble and grateful, we’d say. We don’t blow our own trumpets enough in the North, but there is a rich creative history here, and of activism and innovation. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and it’s clear to see a lot of new writing and creative talent coming out of these parts.
Why is it so important that we continue to support young writers in the North?
It’s VITAL that young writers are supported everywhere. We’re both writers ourselves, and we know how befuddling it can be navigating writing in general, as well as the industry. And we don’t want the talent that’s here to be unrealised or hidden! The 2019 BBC Young Writer of the Year winner was Georgie Woodhead – a Sheffield Young Writer; Naomi Tomas, also from our Sheffield group, was in the final five last year. We have a lot of writers coming up through accolades such as the Young Northern Writers Award, Foyle Young Writer of the Year, and the New Poets Prize – we know grassroot interventions and networks like Hive are vital to ensuring young writers can self-actualise and reach their potential, but also enable us to inspire each other and celebrate great writing.
How can the creative industries in the North better support and encourage writers?
As a relatively small, grassroots project, Hive is always keen to be recognised and supported, so that we, in turn, can signpost and bridge those gaps for the young talent coming through. I’d say, find out who the young movers and shakers are and where they are coming from and support those networks and talk to them. Who knows where great collaborations can be uncovered! I think the changes that are happening now are doing an awful lot – look at how amazing you are! We’ve been thrilled to see some real heavyweights coming north – Hachette, The BBC to name but two – and that’s not forgetting some incredible, interesting publishers we already have – And Other Stories, Bluemoose, The Poetry Business have been doing brilliant things for some time. Organisations - big and small - need to support each other as everything feeds into more readers, audiences, productions and opportunities.
Of course, we’d love to see more investment (there can never be enough!) but we’re happy that strides are being made and that the north is being recognised as being a fertile, and interesting, creative land!
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