Dear 2021…

We’re delighted to be holding a copy of… Dear 2021! – The Start of It, a Sheffield Year of Reading Project (Sheffield Library Service) in association with the BBC’s Novels That Shaped Our World and Hive South Yorkshire.

We’ve so enjoyed being part of this wonderful project and are proud to have supported the involvement of many young writers and voices. Through poems, letters, stories (even an email to a house plant!) this little book documents a key time in collective human history, a record of our hopes, dreams and wishes for the year ahead, and some reflection on the one we’ve just endured.

The book is a limited edition but will be available for a short period through Sheffield Library Service and available as an archive and for reading at local libraries (more info to follow)

Foreword by Nik Perring
2020 has been the strangest of years. For some, it’s brought space and peace, for others it’s been rubbish. And then, there are those for whom it’s been the worst imaginable. Whatever our experience, we all have a story within it, and people will look back on this time, as with all great crises past – wars, disasters, epidemics, and such, and ask: What was it really like to live through it?

Just as we read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, in part, to see what life was like in the 1840s, this collection is something to be kept: a record, a time capsule of words, if you will, of 2020. And, like Scrooge on that fateful Christmas night, we’ve taken the opportunity to look both backwards at the year, and forwards in our hopes and wishes for the unknown one ahead.

I’m incredibly proud of this document – a representation of forty-four good people of Sheffield, and beyond. This year has given me, and Sheffield Library Service, the chance to reach new people, to give them a voice and, through this and the videos broadcast as part of this project, perhaps the most important thing of all – an audience.

Nik Perring
Writer in Residence

With thanks to: All at Sheffield Library Service’s Year of Reading; Libraries Connected; The Arts Council; the BBC’s Novels that Shaped Our World; Alexis Filby, Steven Johnson, Helen Fidler, Nick Partridge, Alex Holyoake, Nik Perring, Vicky Morris and all who took part.

Facilitation & Editing: Nik Perring & Vicky Morris
Collation and design: Vicky Morris
Cover illustration: Steven Johnson
(based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
The End of It is the title of the last chapter of A Christmas Carol.
The Start of It refers to us, and this coming year.
More about Sheffield Year of Reading here

Warda wins Women Poets’ Prize

A huge congratulations to a long-time member of the South Yorkshire young writers network and a Hive young poet – Warda Yassin, who has just been announced as one of three winners of the Women Poets’ Prize 2020, alongside Alisha Dietzman and Natalie Linh Bolderston – congratulations to all! The judges this year were Liz Berry, Malika Booker and Pascale Petit.

Out of 734 entries, the three have been chosen to receive a package of support including a cash bursary, mentorship, creative opportunities and practical support. This year’s mentors are: Mona Arshi, Isobel Dixon and Martha Sprackland.

Warda was beautifully announced by poet Liz Berry, at an event on 17th November 2020. Liz said:

It is heart-lifting to know that women are making such tender, ambitious and thrilling work, and the world of poetry is moving forwards in such capable, exciting hands. I’m so pleased to be announcing the name of our first winner, Warda Yassin. We greatly admired Warda’s poems, the lyrical grace, the clarity and vivid image-making. And we also loved the work she was doing with young women writers in her community, and through her work as a teacher. Sometimes when you lift a poet, you know in turn they will be lifting others, and that feels such a beautiful gift to pass on. So, many congratulations Warda, we’re all delighted for you and know you’re going to shine so brightly.

This wonderful news comes just weeks after Warda was announced as Sheffield Poet Laureate at Off the Shelf Festival of Words, by Sheffield ex-Lord Mayor, Magid Magid, taking the baton from poet and rapper Otis Mensah.

Warda runs Hive’s Mixing Roots project and is a member of Hive’s Poetry Collective. You can hear Warda reading recently with other fine young poets in the network as part of the Hive Sheaf Poetry Festival showcase this Saturday 21st Nov via this link (premiering at 1pm).

For more about the Rebecca Swift Foundation: @FoundationSwift

Photo courtesy of Timm Cleasby

Dear 2021, The Start of It…

Many of us will be haunted by the ghosts of 2020 – the strangest of years. We’re giving you the opportunity, the voice, and the audience to put them to bed.

Letters to 2021 takes the spirit of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and challenges you to exorcise the ghosts of 2020 by writing a letter to Donald Trump, the universe, Santa, the future – to someone or everyone, telling us what you want to change and the whys and hows.

In several related workshops Sheffield Year of Reading Writer in Residence Nik Perring, will show you the best ways of making your ideas, and desires, into brilliant poems, letters, or stories – and then he’ll show you how to shape them into pieces good enough to send up the chimney/out to the world.

A selection of the finished pieces will be collated into a special book and recorded to be broadcast via Sheffield Library Service’s Digital platform.

All levels of experience are welcome – we WANT YOUR WORDS!

FREE!  | Open to young people 14 to 19
Email: to book
Workshops will take place on Crowdcast / Camera not needed
Workshops 5 to 7pm Tuesday 24th November, and Wednesday 2nd December

Hive are delighted to be supporting Sheffield Library’s Year of Reading 2020 as part of its young people’s strand of activity.

Sheffield Year of Reading 2020 is a 12 month, citywide celebration of creativity and the written word. Reading is the key that unlocks the door to life’s riches. It helps us feel better, discover more, and unleash our individual creativity.

This year people from across our city will come together in libraries, pubs, schools, living rooms, museums, parks, and many other venues to share the simple joy of words. It will be literary and silly, it will be big and small, it will be on the page and in the streets. In fact, it can be whatever you want it to be. There are lots of ways you can get involved, no matter what your experience or ability is.

More on Sheffield Year of Reading

Youth Word Up Podcast

This year the Youth Word Up is a little different! Our usual live event at Off the Shelf Festival of Words, with its accompanying publication, has turned into… a podcast! This time around we’ve worked with young people via Zoom from: the Sheffield Children in Care Council, Sheffield Young Carers, and Chilypep.

The Youth Word Up!, created by poet and activist Benjamin Zephaniah, celebrates its 9th year in 2020!
Please note topics include those relating to mental health issues and experiences of being in care. This podcast is suitable for ages 13+  | See below for track listings.

 Contributing young writers: Rhia J, Jake E, Belinda, Fatema, Ellysha, Cleo, Stevo Brooks, Sara R, Rebecca O, Ary H, Eamie H, Layla Ayub, Erin Memmott, Niamh Brownhill & Frankie Donaghy-Roering

With warm thanks to the following children & young people services: Sheffield Children in Care Council (Clare Holdsworth, Max Bellwood and Tanja Ward), Sheffield Young Carers (Luke, Niall, Laura & Catriona) and Chilypep (Oliva, Emma & Charly and co). Also our fine host, Dominic Helsop|The One Devotion, and all the lovely staff at Off the Shelf Festival of Words – Lesley, Sara, Maria and co! 

Hosted by Dominic Heslop aka The One Devotion
01:28     Manifesto – Group poem by Children in Care Council
04.25    Wasps – Frankie Donaghy-Roering
05.20     Dyslexia – Stevo Brook
05.54     Dear Anxiety – Rhia J
06:36     Voices – Layla Ayub
07.32     AA – Frankie Donaghy-Roering
08.28     Things Your Teacher Should Not Call Your Foster Carer –
Ellysha (reading by Rhia J)
08:50     One of Me – Stevo Brook
11:35    Box for My Brother Who is Adopted – Fatema (reading by Rhia J)
12:45     The Sky is Falling – Jake
13:49     Turtle – Cleo (reading by Rhia J)
14:52     The This That Was Really a That – Group poem by Children in Care Council
17:03     Nervous – Stevo Brooks
17:55     Sharpener – Frankie Donaghy-Roering
19.00     Dear Judgemental people – Karina (reading by Rhia J)
20:04     PAIN – Erin Memmott
20:38    Box for Frankie – Frankie Donaghy-Roering
23:42     Some People – Group poem by Children in Care Council
27:33     Rain – Jake
29:05     Aftershock – Niamh Brownhill
29:37     The Can in Can’t – Cleo (reading by Rhia J)
30:15     Depression – Niamh Brownhill
31:18     When I was a Ladybird – Rhia J
32.21     Versions of Me – Layla Ayub
35:44     Box to myself – Belinda (reading by Rhia J)

In partnership with Off the Shelf Festival of Words

Young, Gifted & Black: A celebration of voices of African heritage

In collaboration with REMA and Rotherham Diversity Festvial, to celebrate Black History Month, we’ve a real treat for you! The Young, Gifted & Black podcast showcases the voices of up and coming local young poets of African heritage, spanning: Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Jamaica and Zimbabwe. They are: Taina Maneus, Verta Lune, Danae Wellington, Sile Sibanda and Warda Yassin.

Note: Difficult and possibly triggering subjects covered in this podcast.
REMA is the infrastructure support organisation for the Black and Minority Ethnic Voluntary and Community Sector of Rotherham.

Hosted by: Dominic Heslop – The One Devotion
Danae Wellington (00:20)
Lessons from Mama | Halfway Smile | Last Days with Maria
Taina Maneus (07:36)
Oh Freedom | 9pm Stroll, Riverside | The Last Africans
Sile Sibanda (12.27)
I Wanna Be | Behold | Arms of Love
Verta Lune (18.15)
Remembering | The Cuts | My People
Warda Yassin (25:20)
Searching for my Father’s Tree | Stories of Boys and Men | Cavendish Count

Music: Sometimes by Frequency Decree
To Be Young, Gifted and Black
 is a song by Nina Simone with lyrics by Weldon Irvine. It’s had many covers over the years including Aretha Franklin and this legendary one by Bod and Marica

Brave New Words Doncaster

“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

Aged 14-18? Or 19-30?
Brave New Words is a series 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.

It won’t be focused on the pandemic, but we’ll certainly be covering its effects and how our world might change on the other side. Most importantly, it will be about being creative, trying new ideas, having fun, and meeting likeminded people.

All experience levels are welcome, and you don’t have to think you’re a great writer to attend. You just need an interest in words and in trying something new. Sessions will be warm and supportive. Currently, the sessions will need to happen on Zoom, but you don’t have to have your camera on to attend.

Writing from the project will be part of an accompanying podcast on Hive’s Hatch Channel (for those interested, but no pressure!)

Running the sessions will be writers Vicky Morris and Nik Perring. Both have worked for many years with younger writers building skills and confidence, and both have a toolkit of great ideas and ways to get you writing.  They’ll also tell you more about opportunities open to young writers aged 14-30 in the region and beyond.

We hope the project will feed into a new Doncaster Young Writers group (which has been on hiatus for too long!).

Interested? (go on, why not!)
 with your name, age, and writing interests
Start date: Evening of Thursday 22nd Oct (two sessions for 14-18 & 18-30)
Sessions 1.5 hours. Weekly or fortnightly to be discussed with groups.
Supported by Doncaster Creates

The Hatch Podcast

We’re excited to launch our all new Hive Podcast Channel! We’ve migrated to a new platform and have been busy uploading all sorts of fab archive content from the last few years of Hive.

From interviews with inspiring writers, to projects, readings & performances The Hatch Podcast is a place for the hatching of new voices, new writing, and all things word! 

We’ll be uploading more content this autumn so do keep an eye on out!
Go to The Hatch Podcast or listen below to a selection >>

Birdlife – a poetry podcast project

We’re flapping our wings with excitement right now, to bring you….Birdlife – a truly captivating poetry podcast project that saw a flock of talented young poets explore the boundless life of birds in a set of commissioned poems.

Birdlife took us on a wonderful bird walk to Graves Park, Sheffield, with the guidance of the mighty Jim Clarke, ornithologist and all-round wonderfully engaging teacher on all things birds.

We were also lucky enough to have Alistair McGregor, sound specialist, recording the whole experience and picking up a truly spectacular dusk chorus.

Enjoy this wonderful audio podcast filled with so many fascinating facts, stories, folklore, beautiful poems, and endless, glorious birdsong!
(You can listen to specific poems via the time codes below but do keep in mind there might be a pre-story you miss that goes with the poem!) 

(For best sound quality play on a computer or via the podcast channel here)


Dave the Dunnock
Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith (4:40)

Love Me, Fight Me (a little tanka)
Lydia Allison (12:10)

Maia Brown (17:20)

When blackbird calls sound like wolf whistles
Ciah White (20:00)

Luke Worthy (30:45)

King of Birds (The Wren)
Vicky Morris (34:35)

Georgie Woodhead (41:20)

Seeking Goldfinch
Lydia Allison (44:15)

Bird Tour with Jim
Lydia Allison (46:35)

With special thanks to:
Jim Clarke – Ornithologist
Alistair McGregor – Sound production Specialist & co-director of Hybrid3
Vicky Morris – Poet & Facilitator
Poets (as above)

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Hive at Sheaf Poetry Festival 2020

From 19th to 23rd Nov it’s.. the Sheaf Poetry Festival 2020! And we’re very excited to be part of the action!

It was such a brilliant festival last year – we aren’t going to let the need to be online dampen things, after all poetry doesn’t need the real world to be heard, read and written.

We’re excited that Rotherham Young Writer and Hive poet, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith will be young poet in residence for the festival alongside older Poet in Residence, Gevi Carver. She will be reading with Gevi at the Opening events on 19th November. She’ll also be writing a new poem for the festival that will be posted on the website.

Also on 19th, it’s the launch of Matter 20 with Sheffield Hallam University and we’re excited to to have two Hive writers included this year, poet Maia Brown and Fiction writer Naomi Thomas.

On Saturday 21st November, we’ve got a Hive showcase of young and emerging poets from Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham reading from 1-2pm (free).

And on Sunday 22nd Nov, we have a rather exciting masterclass: Poetry about People with awesome Welsh poet, Jonathan Edwards! Jonathan is a master of writing about people and there will be a lot to discover and enjoy in this fast-paced writing afternoon (open to all young writers, whatever their experience level, from 14 to 25)

Aside from all this goodness, there’s a brilliant range of free and affordable happenings, workshops, and readings. If you’re a poetry enthusiast or occasional dabbler, come along – you don’t even need to be near Sheffield this year to attend!

Find out more at

Louisa Rhodes – Streetcake Prize Winner

Hive young writer Louisa Rhodes has been chosen by Jarred Mcginnis as 4th place winner in Streetcake’s Experimental Writing Prize (18-23 category) for her story heaven.exe_/run/. The announcement was made at Streetcake’s Awards ceremony on Zoom last week. Louisa’s story, along with all the other winners, is published in Streetcake’s Experimental Writing Prize anthology 2020, and available now We’re delighted! Congratulations, Louisa!

Louisa Rhodes is a member of the Hive network and an alumnus of Sheffield Young Writers. She writes fiction and poetry and has won or been highly commended in several competitions over the last few years. She’s had work published in various anthologies including Hive’s Halfway Smile & Surfing the Twilight.

2020 judges and mentors:

Sascha Akhtar (ages 18-23)
Astra Papachristodoulou (ages 24-30)
​Jarred McGinnis (ages 18-23)
Nik Perring (ages 24-30)

“Streetcake are the archetypal best of the UK’s innovative and literary poetry scene – magazine and platform who have been tireless in their support of new and upcoming writers for over a decade. Their consistency and singularity have made them a go to publication for 21st century UK poets, offering encouragement where it’s needed.” SJ Fowler, patron