Thank You! Hive Young Writers’ Festival 2019

Hive Young Writers Festival 2019 saw an impressive 160 young writers, 25+ industry professionals and a heroic team of front of house staff and volunteers come together at Sheffield Hallam University on 13th April for a transformative and memorable day of all things writing and words.

Young creatives aged from 14 to 30 traveled from as far as Nottingham, York, Birmingham and Cumbria. Many lovely comments and feedback from the day are starting to come in now, particularly about the aspects that really sparked, moved and inspired people. We’re heartened that so many seen and unseen fires were lit!

We know it won’t have been the exact perfect balance of a day for everyone, but it’s rare to have that much choice and support under one roof, so we hope it was varied and affordable enough to be worthwhile and inspiring for all who came.

The panel on routes to publication was excellent. Not only were the panel members engaging and approachable with questions, they seemed genuinely interested in answering and discussing the questions as best they could. This was the most informative panel on such a topic that I have attended, and it was well-balanced between representatives of independent presses and writers. (SurveyMonkey feedback)

And now for the thank yous, of which there are many (as you might imagine for an event this size!)

Firstly, we wouldn’t have been able to keep tickets so affordable and the day so varied without funding from Arts Council England, and without the incredible support of our partners, Sheffield Hallam University, who hosted the festival in the amazing state-of-the-art Institute of Education.

From the Hallam English & Humanities team in particular – Katharine Cox, Susan Anderson and Kaley Kramer who have been so brilliant, accommodating and enthusiastic about what Hive does, and who saw the potential of this event and helped us realise it. The inspiration that is Maxine Greaves from the Faculty of Development and Society. Maxine has been a key member of the Hive’s steering board since its inception, and Hive wouldn’t have achieved what it has without the support she has given, and through Hallam, over the last few years.

Also from Hallam we’d like to thank Dan Judge (technician and lovely bloke), and Tim, Debbie, and Maggie, Hallam building, mail and security people, for their last-minute kindness and support.

I feel like events like this are important in keeping writing alive by inspiring and showing people that things are possible and also to make sure that new and diverse voices can be heard in the future. (SurveyMonkey feedback)

Next up we’d like to thank all the amazing writers and professionals for coming and giving so generously of themselves and their knowledge, insights and craft through workshops, panels, talks, advice 1-2-1s and performances – many of whom, as with front of house, very kindly gave their time and skills for a reduced rate or entirely for free to make the day possible. In no particular order, and in salute to all: Sharna Jackson (Site Gallery), Simon Bestwick, Oz Hardwick, Dave Windass, Tom Knight (supported by Ubisoft), Stan Skinny, Dan ‘Loops’ Bernard, Justine Gaubert, Yvonne Battle-Felton, Stacey Sampson, Louise Wallwein, Kate Fox, Dan Ingram Brown, Bambos Georgiou, Desiree Reynolds, Kate Garrett, Nik Perring, Jen Booth, Kevin Duffy (Blue Moose Books), Eleanor Kent (And Other Stories) Becky Cherriman, Michelle Scally Clark and Steve Dearden (The Writing Squad) – And to the latter, Becky and Michelle for accompanying members of Ilkely and Bradford Young Writers (and Erica Morris at Ilkley Literature Festival for making that happen), and to Steve Dearden for enthusing members of The Writing Squad to join us for the day, and for his ongoing support of Hive.

I loved the comedy workshop. I felt my work was getting a little repetitive and it was great to explore how to be more out there and delve into different themes. (SurveyMonkey feedback)

And then there are the front of house heroes, headed up by the unflappable Kiran Malhi-Bearn. We really couldn’t have functioned without you lovely folks! Zoe Cox, Marcus Wrindlewald, Jane Armstrong, Tom Robbins, Kate Woodhead, Anas Kabar, Helen Angell and Liz Morley.

The session on writing for video games really gave me a confidence boost to pursue my ambition and revealed that the industry isn’t as closed-off to people in my position as I thought it was. It really did give me the hope and inspiration I needed to rethink my plans and work harder to achieve a dream I didn’t think was possible. (SurveyMonkey feedback)

To poet Gav Hudson for managing advice session sign up, Brian Lewis from Longbarrow Press for manning an excellent extensive bookstall for the day, (and northern publishers: Blue Moose, And Other Stories, The Poetry Business, Dead Ink & Valley Press for sending their fine books and pamphlets to sell), Sile Sibanda for her general support and encouraging and enthusiastic hosting, Warren Draper and apprentice Cameron for their fine photography, to Spleeny and Sez for Write Radio podcasting, to Michele Beck for travel support, to Andy Hill from First Story for run up solidarity, and to all the individuals and organisations who have supported this event whether by enthusing young people, or helping to spread the word. Competition prizes were supported by several wonderful bodies – our partners Arvon (thanks Joe Bibby), Nick Sidwell, the Literary Review and the Reading Agency.

I sincerely hope nobody has been forgotten here. If you have, it’s a temporary glitch! 🙂

We are certain, within the building on Saturday – whether quietly taking things in, or loudly on the mic – among those present were many of the creative movers and shakers, playwrights, poets, novelists, and spoken and written wordsmiths of the future – and we’re delighted we could bring you together and help to spur you along.

Thank you all so much!
Vicky Morris & Hive
Meeting authors is a truly eye-opening experience. Can’t really explain in words how much it has helped and inspired me (SurveyMonkey feedback)

Here’s a very fine gallery of photos to enjoy courtesy of Warren Draper and a few others of the fly… We didn’t catch all of the open mic sorry. Also, pop up writers portraits coming soon! And both will be posted in Facebook galleries in the near future!