Mixing Roots Poetry Programme

for young women of colour age 15-25 in the north of England
[Application deadline midnight Friday 17th Feb 2022]

If you’re an aspiring or emerging young poet keen to take your craft further, Mixing Roots is back and running an online poetry programme starting on Sundays from 27th February, offering a supportive set of workshops and individual feedback to inspire and guide you in developing as a poet.

Join award-winning poet Warda Yassin, who’ll build your writing confidence through fun and accessible writing exercises and editing advice, and receive peer and one-to-one feedback on work, and tips and insights into publishing routes and opportunities. There’ll also be guest workshops from the brilliant Danae Wellington and Sile Sibanda.

Who’s it for?
The programme is for young women of colour aged 17 to 25 in the North of England with an interest in developing their poetry. You don’t have to feel like you’re an amazing writer to apply, you just need a curiosity for poetry and a willingness to have a go. Both beginner and emerging poets are welcome to apply.

You might feel like you lack a way in, direction, sticking power, or confidence. You might have a project you want inspiration to get stuck into, or to hone your skills or work. Or you might simply want a regular reason to write and connect with others on a similar creative journey. All levels and interests welcome.

As the programme is on Zoom, it’s open to writers from across the north. We’re keen to hear from more young women of African heritage, but all women of colour/migrant communities are welcome to apply. We’re also keen to hear from people who feel like they wouldn’t normally be able to access this kind of opportunity.

Expect a warm and supportive group with a wonderful poet and guests. The programme will run on Sundays from 27th February, 3 to 5pm on Zoom [6 sessions with Warda Yassin and two optional sessions with Danae Wellington and Sile Sibanda]

Cost
The programme is subsidised through Hive meaning places are totally free. Why? Programmes like this normally cost upwards of £250 but Mixing Roots is subsidised as a way to reach new and emerging young writers and remove barriers to developing as a writer. We are looking for young writers who are keen to commit to the programme and gain as much as possible from taking part.

To Apply
Send (in one Word or .rtf document) up to 4 poems (no pressure if you don’t have much to send), followed by up to 350 words about yourself, including: your interests, where you feel you are with your writing and any input you’ve had with it, why you’re applying for this programme, and how you think it could be of help.

Sent with the following at the bottom: Your age, date of birth, your heritage/ethnic origin as you wish to describe, email, telephone number, address (term or home), and anything else you might want to tell us by midnight 17th February to wardayassin@hivesouthyorkshire.com [Note places will be limited to ensure a supportive programme[

About Mixing Roots
The Mixing Roots project was set up in 2019 by poet Warda Yassin with the support of Hive. It exists to encourage and support the creative development of young and emerging writers of colour through writing. Over the last few years, several Mixing Roots programmes have been delivered through Hive and several publications launched as a result. In 2022 there will be a Mixing Roots anthology book celebrating a wide range of voices of colour from across the north.

Warda Yassin is a British Somali poet and English teacher. She was awarded the Women Poets’ Prize 2020/21 and became Sheffield Poet Laureate in the same year. Warda writes about her experiences as a British Somali and about her heritage and community and in 2018 was a winner of the New Poets Prize. Her debut pamphlet Tea with Cardamom came out with The Poetry Business in 2019. Warda has been a part of the South Yorkshire writers network (now Hive) for 8 years and recognises from her own experience, how it can support young people to reach their potential.

Danae Wellington is a Jamaican British writer, poet and advocate for healing through the creative arts, specifically through the fusion of poetry, storytelling, music and theatre. She’s been published in several anthologies and has performed widely at places like the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival and Sheaf Poetry Festival. She recently set up Nyara School of Arts, a project aimed at creatively supporting young people from African Diaspora backgrounds.

Sile Sibanda is a British Zimbabwean poet, spoken word performer, and BBC radio presenter. As well as being an active part of the Hive community, she has hosted open mics and events for Hive over the last few years and is loved by everyone for her warmth and encouragement of young voices. Sile hails from Rotherham and in 2019 she won the BBC Radio Sheffield ‘This is Me’ presenting competition and subsequently became the host of The Vibe on BBC Radio Sheffield.

Hive Online Fiction Programme with Rachel Bower

For new, aspiring or emerging writers aged 17-30 in the north of England
Hive fiction programme is a supportive and inclusive space to refresh or develop your skills.
[Application deadline 2nd Feb 2022 | Thursday evenings 6-8pm on Zoom from 10th Feb]

Writing can be a solitary and tricky business to navigate, whether you’re starting out or have been at it a while. It’s difficult to know where to get feedback, or if what you’re writing is as good as it can be. And then there’s what to do with a piece of work once you’ve finished it.

If you’re an aspiring or emerging short story writer, or novelist, keen to refresh or develop your skills, Hive is running an online fiction programme on Thursday evenings from 10th February, offering a supportive and immersive set of six workshops and individual feedback support to help, inspire and guide you to getting where you want to go with your writing.

Join award-winning fiction writer Rachel Bower, for all things furthering your fiction, and:

  • Write – through exploring a range of exciting exercises and example texts you’ll generate great ideas leading to short fiction you’ll want to polish and send out for publication
  • Build your confidence, knowledge and motivation while identifying and working towards your writing goals
  • Focus on the mechanics of fiction writing such as creating compelling and believable characters, convincing dialogue and description, and strong plots
  • Learn how to edit your work to make it publication-ready. Looking at before/after examples of published work, you’ll learn the tricks of identifying the often small changes that can turn something good into something brilliant
  • Receive peer and one-to-one feedback on work, and tips and insights into publishing routes and opportunities
  • Consider how you can keep moving forward beyond the programme as a writer with peer support
Who’s it for?

The programme is for new, asprising and emerging young fiction writers aged 17 to 30. As the programme is on Zoom, it’s open to writers from across the north who would like to develop their writing further. Both those who’ve done fiction workshops or courses before and those completely new to them are welcome to apply. We’re also keen to hear from people who feel like they wouldn’t normally be able to access this kind of opportunity.

Whatever stage you’re at, you might lack direction, sticking power, or confidence. You might have a project you want inspiration to get stuck into, or to sharpen your skills and hone your work, or you might simply want a regular reason to write and connect with other young writers. All levels, genres and interests welcome.

Expect a warm, inclusive and supportive group with a wonderful writer and mentor.
Thursday evenings 6-8pm on Zoom from 10th February 2022

Cost

The programme is subsidised by Hive South Yorkshire meaning a cost of just £45 for six sessions, and edit surgery and one-to-one feedback. 

Why so cheap? Programmes like this normally cost upwards of £250 but this Hive fiction programme is subsidised as a way to reach new and emerging young writers and remove barriers to developing as a writer. If cost is still a barrier, please let us know in your application.

To Apply

Send (in one Word or .rtf document) up to 3xA4 pages of work (but no pressure if you don’t have much to send), followed by up to 350 words about yourself, including: your interests, where you are with your writing and any input you’ve had with it, why you’re applying for this programme, and how you think it would be of help.

Sent with the following at the bottom: Your age, date of birth, telephone number, address (term or home), and anything else you might want to tell us by midnight 2nd February to fiction@hivesouthyorkshire.com [Note places will be limited to ensure a supportive programme]

Rachel Bower is an award-winning writer based in Sheffield. She is the author of two poetry collections and a book on literary letters. Her stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines, including The London MagazineThe White Review, Magma, Stand and Frontier. She won The London Magazine Short Story Prize 2019/20 and the W&A Short Story Competition 2020. She has also been listed for the White Review Short Story Prize 2019, the RSL V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize and the BBC Short Story Prize. Rachel is a qualified community development worker and has over ten years’ experience running workshops with a wide range of people and organisations.

Easter writing workshops for 14-19s in Barnsley

Aged 14-19 in the Barnsley area? Like creative writing?

Hive in partnership with The Civic Barnsley are looking for new and aspiring young writers to join us this Easter for creative writing workshops to tie in with an exciting new exhibition coming to The Civic – Teenage Wildlife: a project exploring 70 years of Barnsley youth culture and teenage experience.

Everyone is welcome and you don’t have to think you’re a great writer to attend. You just need an interest in words and a keenness to try something new. You’ll also find out about Barnsley Young Writers who’ll meet fortnightly after Easter. As well as working with supportive professional writers to explore different writing forms through fun exercises that will build your writing confidence, through the group you’ll find out about great local and national opportunities open to young people who write.

Free, friendly, relaxed and open to all!
Dates (sign up for one or better still, both!)
Tue 19 Apr: 1pm – 3.15pm
Wed 20 Apr: 1pm – 3.15pm

Interested!? Get in touch at info@hivesouthyorkshire.com
Hive in partnership with The Civic Barnsley

Barnsley Young Writers at The Civic

Barnsley Young Writers & The Teenage Wildlife Project (FREE!)
Calling young people aged 14-19 in the Barnsley area…

Like creative writing?
Want to join something fun, relaxed and creative with others who share the same interests?

Next dates:

Friday 24th June 5-7pm
Friday 8th July 5-7pm
more dates added soon
(Refreshments provided)

Hive have teamed up with The Civic Barnsley again and we’re looking for aspiring young writers to join our new monthly group starting this February half term at The Civic Barnsley Civic. Everyone is welcome and you don’t have to think you’re a great writer to attend. You just need any interest in words and a keenness to try something new.

As well as working with supportive professional writers to explore different writing forms through fun exercises that will build your writing confidence, you’ll find out about great local and national opportunities open to young people who write.

We’ll also be working towards a bigger creative project start in the Easter break when we’ll be producing writing (and photography for those interested) to tie in with an exciting new exhibition coming to The Civic Barnsley – Teenage Wildlife: a project exploring 70 years of Barnsley youth culture and teenage experience.

Interested!? Get in touch at info@hivesouthyorkshire.com
Free, friendly, relaxed and open to all!
Hive in partnership with The Civic Barnsley

A Poetry Week at Lumb Bank by Freya Bantiff

As someone with very little concept of time, my week at Arvon unfolded in a blur of exciting happenings – one second, I was hopping onto a train from Sheffield (I hadn’t been on a train since pre-Covid times so even that seemed moderately exciting!), the next I was entering a secreted world, hidden amongst the woods, of people who shared the same passion for writing as me.

Cobbles greeted me upon arrival at the station, alongside a friendly map inviting me to consider the various haunts of Ted Hughes and walks I could take around the local area. I was suddenly convinced that may be a horrible mistake had been made and any second someone was going to pop up and tell me there was no place for me at Arvon… thankfully this could not have been further from the truth! After acquiring my lift (and a driver who knew that Lumb Bank cannot be found on such mundane devices as a satnav) I was off, drinking in the beautiful Hebden Bridge as we wove our way upwards, to the place I would call my writing home for a week.

It’s hard to arrive at Lumb Bank and not immediately feel at home. Despite the inherent awkwardness of being flung together with a group of strangers and the idiosyncrasies of the building (I had never seen a room with ceiling hooks for clothes acting as a walk-in wardrobe before), the warmth was palpable. There was already the smell of something delicious cooking downstairs (shoutout to the Arvon staff for developing such lovely recipes – including for us weird vegan folk!) as well as suitably squashy sofas and enough books to make us wish we could all stay a good deal longer to appreciate them.

That first evening we were given a rundown of the week to come and had some time to chat over dinner before the evening ice-breaker session. We were a group of all ages and stages, ranging from those who had just started dipping their toes into the realm of poetry to those with full collections under their belts, but everyone was so supportive of each other’s journeys. During the ice breaker session, which was run by the lovely Mimi Khalvati, we were paired up and asked to tell our partner a story from our own lived experiences and, afterwards, to write our partner’s story as if their recollection was ours.

This was a very simple exercise, but reminded me that poetry doesn’t have to be ‘truth’. I’ve often worried that my writing will be viewed as a diary entry, when it is frequently taken far out of its original context, inspired by events that happened years earlier, to other people or to a different version of me. People sometimes wonder what the point of writing weeks are, but I think I could already see it here: it is a permission-giving, a freedom, and an allowance to experiment with everything you’ve been unsure about.

As the week unfolded, as a group we had many memorable bonding experiences, such as getting very lost in the forest together in the pitch black, cooking for each other and heading out in the early morning mists to collect interesting natural items to write about. There is something about three strangers trying to identify one path from another while bumping into trees that makes any residual nerves disappear.

None of us could believe how stunning our surroundings were. Autumn had well and truly settled in so everything was celebratory with colour. I heard owls nearly every night and developed a habit of waking early to explore as much as I could, finding near-endless steps climbing to some faery-style impossible height, wandering by the river and photographing fungi. Given that I often tend heavily towards writing eco-poetry, or poetry incorporating natural imagery, Lumb Bank was a humming, buzzing ecosystem of inspiration.

The best parts, undoubtedly, came from the tutors themselves. Katrina Naomi’s workshops were incredible, opening my eyes to the potential of the long poem and inclusion of footnotes. Manuscript questions were answered and I left every session feeling encouraged, feeling that I had gained a few more techniques and strategies to employ in my own work. Mimi’s morning sessions were just as excellent… her awareness of form, syntax and lineation was impressive and intimidating in equal measure but soon I was coming to understand a little bit more about the hidden capacities of the sonnet, and was delighted and appalled to discover just how many types of ‘rhyme’ there are (I could have named about three… I believe Mimi named at least eleven!) All of this fit perfectly with the one-to-one tutorials. Receiving positive feedback from tutors whose work I greatly admire, and whose opinions I trust, meant so much to me and I am so grateful for all the critique and advice I was given on how to develop my work further.

We had the amazing poet Leo Boix come in midweek to read, cue many of us tearing up as he reached the end of ‘Ballad of a Happy Immigrant’ with that haunting refrain ‘come back a man or never come’, as well as the absolute privilege of hearing our tutors read and finally, on the group’s last night, sharing the work we had all produced. While I cannot say that I wrote a huge amount during Arvon itself (too many distractions for an ADHD brain!) I came away with so many new ideas and just as many new approaches for my own poetry which I have been steadily incorporating since returning home. Leaving was bittersweet, but I know Lumb Bank will continue to stay with me through all I’ve learned.

I feel so fortunate to have received such invaluable encouragement from my tutors and peers who (as I suppose is the way with writers) seemed to know all the right words and made me believe in my own writing.

Thank you so much to bursary support from Hive South Yorkshire in partnership with Arvon for making this experience possible.

Freya Bantiff

Reclaiming Robin Hood

I’m Ashely Gregory, an emerging young scriptwriter, and I had the honour of writing a chapter in a new book entitled, Reclaiming Robin Hood, celebrating folklore and South Yorkshire’s legendary outlaw.

The project was part of the Sensoria Film and Music Festival and my involvement in the project came about through an internship with them through Sheffield Hallam University in 2019.

My role was Audience Development and Engagement for the Reclaiming Robin Hood strand of the festival. This involved writing a 2000-word piece on the screen portrayals of Robin Hood. Having just finished my Film and Screenwriting degree, this was the perfect opportunity for me. Sensoria is also one of my favourite festivals and it was great to be part of such a wonderful team.

I learned so much from undertaking this project. Over the summer of 2019, I embarked on a lot of research including reading the original texts around Robin Hood, as well as watching some of the films and TV shows that have shaped the universal hero and ensured the legend of Robin Hood continues to evolve and endure today.

The Reclaiming Robin Hood project continued to grow, gaining traction by capturing the imaginations of the local community which has given rise to the book. This will be accompanied by several events and initiatives throughout 2022.

Whilst writing, it was important to consider the right tone for an audience. After Covid put a spanner in the works for the project, I’m beyond thrilled to now have my work published for the first time. It feels surreal to hold a physical copy after so long, and apt that Robin of Loxley once said, “nothing is forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten.”
…………..

Reclaiming Robin Hood is now available to buy directly from Sensoria and will be also available in local libraries, galleries, and shops in the steel city such as Waterstones and the Winter Gardens in the coming weeks.

Ashley Gregory is a writer and creative based in Sheffield. He graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2019 with a First degree in Film and Screenwriting. Ashley has written scripts for stage, screen, and radio. In 2020 he was shortlisted in the Red Planet Prize for his 4-part thriller intended for ITV. His recent works include an audio adaptation of Tom MacRae’s Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Century House, a lost TV story and A Christmas Carol, featuring Jon Culshaw and Katy Manning. Ashley is currently a member of Sheffield Theatres’ Young Company, and will be performing in plays at the Crucible throughout 2022.

Trials of the Realm by Lauren Stabler

Lauren Stabler, who joined us for a recent Hive fiction course, talks about her debut novel written in lockdown….

I wrote my first novel during the second lockdown of 2020 but the idea was born as I was writing my dissertation for the MA. I loved books like The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and The Testing (Joelle Charnonneau) but I wanted something a little bit older as I myself got older. And so, I wrote Trials of the Realm.

I’m Lauren Stabler, a 29-year-old writer from Sheffield. I studied Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University at both BA and MA levels because this seemed like the best way to pursue my writing passion in a structured way.

I’ve always been an avid reader and spend nearly all of my spare time reading dystopian or fantasy fiction (if I’m not playing Sims 4 that is). My favourite writers are Teri Terry (a UK-based YA Sci-fi author), Lindsey Pogue and Caroline Peckham & Susanne Valenti (sister co-authors).

One of the things I look for when reading is sci-fi or fantasy with the main characters in their 20s. Something between young adult and adult. I’ve found this quite difficult to find and a lot of the books I do read, with characters that fit my preference, are self-published.

This is one of the main reasons I chose to self-publish. There is a strong book community for self-publishing authors, whether that be on Twitter, Facebook or even TikTok. And I’ve found myself welcomed by other authors and they’ve helped me along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go for the route of traditional publishing, but it just wasn’t right for this book. I may head in that direction for one of the next book series I’ve got planned.

Self-publishing also means I’ve got control of what happens in the book, although I do have a fabulous copy-editor Holly Hill Mangin (Fresh as a Daisy Editing) and she really helped push the story to be the best it could be. I also got to choose the cover I wanted and even helped with the ideas for it when my friend Connie May was designing it.

Self-publishing can be harder and more expensive, but if you have the resources it’s definitely a great option for getting your novel out there on your own terms.

When life has stripped you of everything, how hard will you fight to get it back?

Adelaide Taylor’s life is anything but ideal. After losing her parents to the new, tyrannical government, she’s forced to live in an orphanage for women under twenty-five.

While she toils away six days a week at a thankless job, the government systematically destroys the country. Elections are abolished. Borders are closed. The death penalty is reinstated for anyone who dares defy the new world order. All anyone can do is hope they survive.

But Adelaide needs more than hope. She needs a way out.

When new trials are introduced, she jumps at the chance to win a second chance at life. Should she win, she will regain some semblance of a life. But success won’t come easily, and failure will mean death.

Will she escape this brutal life or has her fate already been sealed?

Find out in this adrenaline-rushing sci-fi dystopian novel!
Purchase Trials of the Realm

Lauren Stabler loves to read and explore new worlds. Her active imagination has afforded her many opportunities to create worlds in her head. But when she couldn’t find books that matched the stories, she dreamt up for people her age, she decided it was the perfect opportunity to write her own.

She holds a BA and an MA in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam University. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, playing the Sims, her absolute favorite game, or spending time with her long-haired ginger cat, Maisie. She lives at home with her mum and stepdad in Sheffield.

All Reytons

We want to say a massive – Yes lads! to The (mighty) Reytons for their absolutely stellar debut album – Kids Off the Estate. This is musical craft, in-it-for-the-long-haul graft, northern songwriting at its finest.

The album is a love letter to a working-class South Yorkshire, a collection of soaring and stinging anthemic slices of life – the everyday, the underdogs and the underbelly. And we just love it!

And yes, we are beaming with pride because Reytons lead guitarist, Joe O’Brien, was a member of Rotherham Young Writers from the tender age of 13 to a veteran 19. We like to think all he got up to in the network has had some influence on his creative path. It certainly uncovered what a brilliant poet he is (we recall him winning a festival slam aged 16).

Speaking of which, we have a songwriting competition coming up with Joe! (for 14-19s in South Yorkshire who aren’t in an established band) Pens at the ready…watch this space…

There’s something else in the pipeline too but we think that would be way too much excitement for one day 🙂 Once again, we can’t say enough about how great this album is, and how much we think you should have a listen – authentic, unfiltered, and brimmed full of heart and grit, just how we like it.

For everything Reytons, go to: thereytons.com
Becoming The Reytons documentary
Twitter: @TheReytons Instagram: @TheReytons


Joe back in the day! >>

Poetry free reads & mentoring support

“Nik was able to build my confidence up and help me edit my short story constructively, but without tearing it to pieces! We looked at perspectives and where to start each ‘scene’ or chapter. Overall, a very helpful eye and advice to have, thank you!’ Isabelle Kenyon

Hive is offering a number of free reads, feedback & mentorship support to young poets [aged 17 to 30 years] who are at a stage where they are getting ready to send their work out into the world for a pamphlet submission.

There is no current deadline, but we recommend you contact us by the end of December 2021 as there is a finite limit to the support on offer. The time and feedback we can give will depend on interest and needs.

We’re open to reading a portfolio of up to 20 poems.

Eligibility: Open to young people in South Yorkshire, and the nearby north, aged between 17 and 30, with priority given to those who have a specific, clear goal, and those who haven’t yet been able to benefit from Hive support.

What you need to send to be considered:

  1. a sample of your work (up to 3 poems) as a word or.rtf document
  2. & up to 300 words on: your interests, experiences and goals as a writer, and your specific reason for getting in touch – why you want feedback and support including any areas you with support with.
  3. your full name, date of birth, and address
    Send to hatchread@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Hive poets at Rotherham Civic for Off the Shelf Festival

Such a lovely evening on Friday at Off the Shelf Festival of Words at the beautiful Rotherham Civic.  Hive poets Safia Khan & Freya Bantiff performed wonderful sets alongside the brilliant Caroline Bird and Otis Mensah. Hosted by our very own Sile Sibanda, who co-hosted the 10th Birthday of the Youth Word Up the night before! If you haven’t been to Rotherham Civic, you really need to go. It’s such a gorgeous theatre with great staff and so welcoming.
Safia Khan is a winner of the New Poets Prize 2021. She is a member of Hive Young Poets and an alumnus of Doncaster Young Writers. She has been published in places like The North, BATH MAGG, Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets and several Hive anthologies including Surfing the Twilight and Halfway Smile. She is currently studying medicine.

Freya Bantiff is a member of Hive Poetry. She is the winner of the Canterbury Poet of the Year 2021, the Walter Swan Poetry Prize (for 18-25) in 2020, and the Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize in 2017. Freya’s poems and stories have been placed in numerous competitions since 2010 including Myslexia, the Ilkley Literature Poetry Festival and Foyle Young Poet of the Year. Her poems were chosen to tour Guernsey as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival’s ‘Poems on the Move’ exhibition in 2014 and 2015 and she won first prize in her category of the Wicked Young Writers Award in 2014.

Stage photos courtesy of Peter Martin @postarchives