Hive at Off the Shelf Festvial

It’s that time of year again! Off the Shelf Festival of Words is underway from Friday 15th to 31st October with events online and in the real world. As always, Hive is honoured to be onboard across a number of fabulous events.  Below is a taster of what to expect, events with Hive or hive writers, but there are many more events and happenings all things words to feast on here in the Off the Shelf Programme.

New Poets Prize winners 2021 – Sat 16th 5pm online
Readings from the four New Poets Prize winners including Hive young poet/Doncaster Young Writers alumnus, Safia Khan. Watch online via the link.

Poetry & performance workshop for young people in Rotherham – 20th Oct | 5pm Rotherham Civic
Calling young people aged 14 to 21 in Rotherham….like creative writing or want to build confidence to read or perform work to an audience? Then come along to the wonderful Rotherham Civic Theatre for a workshop all things poetry writing & spoken word (and maybe performing, but you decide!)
More info

10th Birthday of the Youth Word Up – Thurs 21st 7.30pm
Suitable for ages 13+, parental guidance applies
The Youth Word Up is ten years old this year! To celebrate, young people who’ve been involved in the project over the years perform their work alongside those new to the mic and this year, the mighty Joelle Taylor is back to headline!
FREE | Tickets

Poetry Live – HIVE Poets, Safia Khan, Caroline Bird, Otis Mensah: Hosted by Sile Sibanda
22nd Oct | 7.30pm Rotherham Civic
Join us for a stellar lineup of poetry talent including Freya Bantiff and Safia Khan, members of HIVE poetry.
More info

The Perks of Young Adult Fiction with Paula Rawsthorne – sat 30th Oct
A Hive Young Writers’ Day
Open to: Younger writers (aged 15-30) in South Yorkshire and beyond with any interests/experience level.
Drawing on the strengths and driving elements of this genre, join multi-award-winning writer, Paula Rawsthorne, for a day of writing and exploring all things Young Adult fiction. From finding inspiration for stories to pitches and plotting.
More info

Poets Respond to Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze 30th Oct 11am | Millennium Gallery Sheffield
Poets read new work inspired by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze include Hive poets Warda Yassin, our Sheffield Poet Laureate, Sile Sibanda, and Danae Wellington.  Come and celebrate with us the life and work of the brilliant Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze.
Part of Black Women Write Now curated by Désirée Reynolds
More info

Young Writers Groups

Hive Young Writers’ Competition 2021/22

Poetry & performance workshop for young people in Rotherham

Calling young people aged 14 to 21 in Rotherham….
like creative writing or want to build confidence to read or perform work to an audience? Then come along to the wonderful Rotherham Civic Theatre for a workshop all things poetry writing & spoken word (and maybe performing, but you decide!) Through the workshop, you’ll build your writing confidence while finding out about opportunities for young writers including a special performance at the Civic on 22nd Oct which you’ll be invited to, and a regional OPEN MIC for young people in November which we hope you’ll come and perform at!

All welcome and you don’t have to feel you’re a great writer to get involved. All you need is curiosity and a pen!

Book your place by emailing:
And if you’re 14-19, consider coming to check out Rotherham Young Writers starting 4th Oct.

This is an Off the Shelf Festival of Words event. The festival is 30 years old this year and runs from 15th to 31st October. For the programme of great happenings visit:
Supported by Rotherham Civic Theatre & Rotherham Events

Speak Your Truth to Power

Who or what has power over you and what do you want to say to them?

This simple but vital question is at the heart of performance and digital theatre project – Truth to Power Café – and we’re delighted to be working with them this autumn via Rotherham’s Children’s Capital of Culture!

If you’re a young person in Rotherham aged 14 to 25, we’d love you to share your response with us – to speak your truth to power. You can come to a Hive writing and discussion workshop, or send us your answer to this question in writing or via video (details of both coming soon).

Whatever way you want to communicate your truth, we’d LOVE to hear from you, and where you’d find it helpful, we can support you to get out what you want to say.

The Truth to Power Café happens all over the world but this Rotherham café is aimed at you – young people aged 14 to 25 – it’s YOU we want to hear from.

Work from the project will be published in a little Truth to Power book and, very excitedly, some of the answers gathered will be picked up and explored further by the mighty Truth to Power Café itself – through a live show at Rotherham Civic Theatre.

There are many ways you can approach exploring this question. Your answer can be one that celebrates the powerful and impactful, for example, the influence of a family member on your life and what you’ve learned from them, or it might be a chance to talk to those you feel are accountable for things you want to see a change in the world. The power in question can be anything or anyone – your parents, your town, fashion, food, the environment, a sibling, a politician, a group of people, a neighbour, a religious leader, a teacher. Anything at all goes.

Interested? Then please get in touch! Email with your name, age, the area of Rotherham you live in, and one line about the power you want to speak of or to. We’ll get back to you soon!

And if you’re 14 to 19, you can also join Rotherham Young Writers (starting late September, details posted here soon)
Truth to Power Cafe
The Truth to Power Café is an internationally acclaimed performance and digital theatre event
told through memoir, image, poetry, music, and film. It’s created, written and performed by Jeremy Goldstein with Henry Woolf and directed by Jen Heyes.

Rotherham Children’s Capital of Culture
In 2025 Rotherham will be the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture! In the meantime expect to hear about a range of great opportunities for children and young people in Rotherham including conversations, workshops and projects like this!

The Perks of Young Adult Fiction – Young Writers Day with YA writer Paula Rawsthorne

Hive Young Writers’ Day
Writing young adult fiction that flies off the page – with award-winning Young Adult fiction writer Paula Rawsthorne
Date: 19th Feb 2022  – 10.30am – 3.30/4 pm | Venue: Cantor Building, Sheffield city centre (5 mins from train station)
Open to: Younger writers (aged 14-25) in South Yorkshire and beyond with any interests/experience level.

Drawing on the strengths and driving elements of this genre, join multi-award-winning writer, Paula Rawsthorne, for a day of writing and exploring all things Young Adult fiction. From finding inspiration for stories to pitches and plotting.

You’ll think about the books you love and look at what distinguishes YA fiction from other forms and what to consider in the mix of a great YA novel, such as first-person narration versus third-person, creating characters, pace and story arches.

There’ll be exercises to get you writing and thinking, and Paula will give advice and tips to help you strengthen you own stories and ideas, and insights into how she wrote her award-winning books and got published.

This writers’ day has a focus on Young Adult fiction but will be of interest to young writers of any experience with an interest in any kind of fiction. You might have a story you’re developing on the go, or you might be looking for inspiration to plot a new one!

Open to: Younger writers (aged 14-25) in South Yorkshire (or beyond) with any interests/experience level.
Cost: £5/£4 including refreshments (but not lunch)
Discounts: Hive is keen to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally access this type of opportunity, and there are always discounts available for a number of tickets to support individuals who may be unable to pay in full, or to support travel costs within the region. Get in touch ASAP before places fill up if that sounds like you.

Booking: To book a place on this Writers’ Day, email:
Supported by Off the Shelf Festival of Words and Sheffield Hallam University 

Paula Rawsthorne is a multi-award-winning writer of Young Adult fiction. She discovered that she could write when she won a national BBC writing competition and her comic tale, The Sermon on the Mount was read by Bill Nighy on Radio 4. Her dark stories for adults have been published in anthologies of contemporary literature. Her first YA novel, The Truth about Celia Frost, was a winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Undiscovered Voices. Published by Usborne, it was shortlisted for eleven literary awards and won the Leeds, Sefton and Nottingham Book Awards.  Her second novel, Blood Tracks, won the Rib Valley Book Award.

Paula’s short stories for teenagers have been commissioned by Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and published in an anthology of award-winning Young Adult authors. Paula’s third YA novel, Shell, (Scholastic 2018) won the North East Teen Book Award, The Derbyshire Schools’ Book Award and The Hampshire Book Award.  Her latest Black Mirror-esque YA novel, The New Boy, was published last year.

Find out more about Paula and her books: or on Twitter @paularawsthorne 

Hive Young Writers’ Days
Hive Young Writers’ Days are a chance for young writers, whatever your interest and ability, to develop your writing with support from professional writers, while meeting other young writers, and getting involved in the Hive young writers’ network.

Hive Young Writers’ Days are open to young people 14 to 26 (the age range changes sometimes). If you don’t quite fit, but you’d like to come, get in touch with:

But Mummy Doesn’t Have a Broken Arm by Sam Davis

We’re delighted to tell you about Doncaster young poet, Sam Davis’ debut children’s book – But Mummy Doesn’t Have a Broken Arm, out now on Amazon.

Sam, who attends Hive Poetry Collective and recently took part in the Brave New Words Doncaster project (in partnership with Doncaster Creates) wrote the book in the absence of finding anything suitable for children to read around understanding why a parent, or adult in their lives, might be in a mental health hospital.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Luna de Vera and we think Sam is an absolute inspiration in following her creative dreams and addressing something much needed through her writing talents.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

Blurb from the book: But Mummy Doesn’t Have a Broken Arm looks at the reasons why a parent may be in a mental health hospital. It focuses on the visual difference between physical health and mental health. It also reiterates the fact that it’s not the child’s fault that a parent is poorly. It can be very hard for children to understand why their mum or dad is not at home, and to understand the complexities of mental health. This book aims to explain that in an easy to understand terms with illustrations to help alongside the text.

“Samantha Davis is a talent, her writing effortlessly makes you care. When caring is probably the most important thing we can feel, this book is vital for any young family’s library, pulling back the curtain on mental health and showing it for what it is. Where there isn’t standing there is hope. Nik Perring

Samantha Julianne Davis is a Yorkshire-born and bred writer with a history of mental health difficulties. She’s spent over 10 years in and out of mental health hospitals. Samantha enjoys writing stories and poetry and performing spoken word.

Brave New Words Podcast

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past & imagine their world anew. They are a portal between one world & the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice & hatred, our avarice & dead ideas… Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” – Novelist Arundhati Roy

Brave New Words was a programme of free creative writing workshops for young people in Doncaster exploring Roy’s idea of stepping into a new way of looking at the world, and ourselves in it, through writing.

Although not solely focused on the pandemic, we discussed its effects and how our world might change on the other side. Most importantly, Brave New Words was about being creative, trying new ideas, coming together in isolation, having fun, and meeting like-minded people. Here is a podcast of some of the work produced:

Supported by Doncaster Creates

Writers: Rachel Pearson, Josh Phoenix, Sam Davies, Rachael Thacker, Kylie Noble, Beth Prior & Rebecca Payne.
Big thanks to Juliet Farrar, Mike Stubbs and Sacha Gray at Doncaster Creates.

Lacey wins the Matthew Hale Award

Huge congratulations to Lacey Williamson of Barnsley Young Writers who has won the Matthew Hale Northern Writers Award 2021. Lacey has had a difficult few years and this is such a boost to her confidence and growth as a young writer. She will receive a package of support from New Writing North to help develop her writing.

Lacey Williamson is a 16-year-old poet from Barnsley. Writing has always been a form of therapy to her. For longer than she can remember, she’s always been drawn to reading books and writing short stories and poems. Lacey joined Barnsley Young Writers through Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services after struggling with ill mental health. Through CAMHS and Barnsley Young Writers, she’s gained the ability to channel her ever-changing emotions into poetry.

Lacey feels lucky to have found her tribe and hopes there are more opportunities in the North for young writers to flourish these days. She hopes that those who also struggle with their mental health will find comfort in connecting with others who like to write, and in reading great poetry. Her favourite pamphlet is Phoebe Stuckes’ Gin & Tonic.

Lacey’s confidence and positivity has grown massively since joining a young writers’ community. She’s had her work published in anthologies including Hive’s ‘Surfing the Twilight’ and she’s performed at open mics. She also spent a weekend writing at Ilkley Literature Festival summer camp.

Lacey never leaves the house without a pen and notepad, as inspiration strikes with no warning wherever she goes!

More about the Northern Writers Award
Established in 2000 by New Writing North, the Northern Writers’ Awards supports work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the North of England. The Awards support writers creatively as they develop their work towards publication, as well as helping them to progress professionally and navigate their way through the publishing industry.

New Writing North is the reading and writing development agency for the north of England, and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. It works in partnership with regional and national partners to produce a range of literary and performance activities including flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional, Cuckoo Young Writers, the Gordon Burn Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and Durham Book Festival.

About Northumbria University
Northumbria University, Newcastle is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Complementing its work with New Writing North and Channel 4, the University works with a range of high profile cultural partners, including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Live Theatre, Great North Run Culture and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums providing students with industry exposure and live project opportunities.  We were awarded the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2012, as well as the Journal’s Culture Award for Best Arts and Business Partnership in 2013. Northumbria University’s Art and Design courses were ranked Top 10 in the UK for Research Power following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the University was ranked Top 50 in the UK – its highest ever league table position – in the Guardian University League Table 2017.

Children’s Books North interview

We were delighted to do an interview recently for Children’s Books North (co-founded by Tilda Johnson, Emma Layfield and Liz Scott in 2020). CBN aims to connect published children’s authors, illustrators and publishing professionals living in the NW, NE, Yorkshire and Scotland. The network seeks to promote our members’ work, new books and events. Additionally, CBN is keen to bring focus on the importance of regional diversity in children’s books and the industry.

You can read the interview here.