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.

Happiness & Other Poems

It was lovely to be part of the open mic launch of Happiness & Other Poems yesterday with St Leger Homes of Doncaster, a publication of fine work written during Hive workshops with young people and adults as part of Keeping Safe Week Doncaster run by St Leger Homes of Doncaster and the mighty Stacey Lynn.

A lovely mix of young people and adults read their work on Facebook live hosted by St Leger’s Stacey Lynn and Sandy from Healthwatch Doncaster and it was such a lovely session with brave and beautiful pieces read by all.

Find out more about the young people work St Leger do in Doncaster on their Instagram here.
Healthwatch Doncaster: 
St. Leger Homes of Doncaster:

The Snow Grows Whiter

Painting the World Anew Through Poetry with Vanessa Lampert

In the words of Charles Simic, ‘The snow grows whiter after a crow has flown over it’. How do poets paint our world anew to turn up the brightness or amplify the dark? How can we write the crow, or be the crow?

Join prize-winning poet, Vanessa Lampert for this fast-paced, fun and worry-free poetry writing workshop, open to all levels, full of thought-provoking prompts. We’ll draw insights from a range of poetry and talk about how we can borrow (respectfully) from other poets. Leave the session with more colours and textures in your poetry paint palette and a more interesting range of brushes!

The Snow Grows Whiter: Painting the World Anew through Poetry with Vanessa Lampert
Sunday 11th July 12pm to 2.30pm (with a short break)
Where: Zoom

Open to young writers (aged 15 to 30) in South Yorkshire & the nearby (priority given to young writers in the South Yorkshire region).
Cost: £4 (writers outside of South Yorkshire £6)

Vanessa Lampert has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University and Poetry School London. She has been published in many magazines, most recently in Magma, The Moth, Spoonfeed, Quince and the Oxford Times. She has twice won the Café Writers Prize, the Ver Prize, and the Edward Thomas Foundation prize. She came second in the Fish, Oxford Brookes, and Kent and Sussex, prizes and was commended in the Troubadour, Folklore, Segora and Newcastle poetry prizes. She was commended in the National Poetry competition 2020.

Vanessa is a poetry tutor for Learning with Leaders in India. She writes for and co-edits the online and print magazine The Alchemy Spoon. Vanessa’s first pamphlet On Long Loan, was published by Live Canon in October 2020. She is working on her first full collection to be published late 2021.

New Poets Pamphlets 2020

We are so excited that the New Poets Prize 2020 winners’ pamphlets are now available to purchase from Smith|Doorstop bookshop and other outlets. Last year, two Hive writers won the prize, Georgie Woodhead for her pamphlet ‘Takeaway’, and Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith for ‘Ugly Bird’. All four of the pamphlets are available here, and they launch on 27th June on zoom (here). You can also find fab reviews of Ugly Bird here, and Takeaway here.

Ugly Bird is bolshy and funny and unapologetic. With subjects ranging from public nudity and polyamorous dunnocks to women who run with wolves, these tender poems appreciate human relationships and the natural world, without shying away from difficult conversations around toxic masculinity and mental health. Ugly Bird is tough enough to stand its ground and look you in the eye: ‘I’m not perfect, and in no way do I want to be.’

Takeaway unflinchingly observes a world where everyone is doing their best to survive, often through a lens of the mealtimes that bring us together and set us apart; whether that’s a takeaway eaten in a car park, chickpeas ‘speared like love-struck hearts’, or a multi-generational cooking lesson. Brimming with inventive and tactile imagery, these poems play with time, until it is suspended or flowing backwards through domestic interiors where stereos send secret messages and a poltergeist misses doing the washing up.

Creative writing at Harrison College Doncaster

It’s been so much fun and so insightful holding the huge majority of our workshops and groups online over this past year – we’ve opened the door to loads of new writers and we’ve loved finding new ways of working – both for us at Hive, and for the writers taking part. We’ve been doing things as safely and sensibly as possible. We won’t lie though – we’ve all missed the creative energy of being in the same room as the people we work with and, over the past few weeks, with the world emerging we’ve – relished sessions in the real world again!

Yesterday, Nik completed his run of sessions at Harrison College in Doncaster. The college itself is there specifically to support young people over 16 with high-functioning autism, who want to thrive in business and enterprise. Over the sessions Nik worked with groups of young people to writing poems, encouraging teamwork, and nurturing written and verbal communication.

We wrote to celebrate ourselves; we designed futures for ourselves and our communities; we built creative work together and we let the world know what we’re most proud of. Any success comes from being proud of who we are and recognising all the things we do well.

A huge thanks to all the young writers who took part and to the staff at Harrison College.

This work was made possible by Well Doncaster Barrier Busters funding support.

The Wales Young Poets Award 20/21

Congratulations to Anni Hodgkinson of Doncaster Young Writers, winner of the inaugural Wales Young Poets Award 2020/21 in the 14 to 17 age category.

Anni won with her poem ‘Song of Ikea’s Sadness’. Her poem, ‘The Screams’, was also highly commended in the competition. The theme of this year’s award was Empathy.  Anni will receive book vouchers and her work will be published in a print anthology by Poetry Wales. Congratulations to all other winning and commended young poets.

The Wales Young Poets Award is UK-wide bilingual (Welsh and English) poetry competition for children aged 10-17, hosted by Poetry Wales.

The Canalworks Project with Mixing Roots

What a wonderful weekend of poetry on the canal! On Saturday, young writers from the Mixing Roots project joined Warda Yassin for an exciting poetry workshop on a canal boat in Swinton. Warda is currently collecting inspiration for a poem she’s writing to be displayed along the canal later this year. A selection of work from the Canalworks workshops will feature in a Poetry Society blog by Warda. Vicky Morris from Hive also came along to support and legendary Rotherham skipper Mariam Shah.

On Sunday we were back in Sheffield at Victoria Quays for more canal poetry with the general public and Hive young writers. We’re blown away by the poems from the weekend and can’t wait to hear and read Warda’s poem later this year!

If you’re a young person of colour, or from a diverse background, interested in writing, check out the Mixing Roots Project.

The Canalworks project is a partnership between The Poetry Society & The Canal and River Trust.


Safia Khan wins New Poets Prize 2021

We are so thrilled for Hive young poet Safia Kahn who is a winner of the international New Poets Prize 2021 – for her debut pamphlet collection ‘Too Much Mirch’. Safia started out in the network as a member of Doncaster Young Writers when she was 14! It’s been so lovely to see her grow as a poet over the last few years and we can’t want to hear her voice out there more widely. 

Being awarded a New Poets Prize offers Safia the wonderful prize of pamphlet publication with The Poetry Business alongside three other winners.

We want to say a massive thank you to The Poetry Business for supporting early-career writers so young, and offering this wonderful opportunity to move onto publication. Safia joins recent Hive winners Georgie Woodhead, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith (2020) and Warda Yassin (2018). This year’s judge was Kim Moore.

Kim Moore on Safia’s collection, Too Much Mirch “The poems in this pamphlet constantly surprised me with their inventiveness with imagery and the way the writer challenges assumptions and stereotypes and turns them inside out. There are stunning poems here about family, racism, misogyny and the interplay between them. A particular strength of this writer is their colourful and lively way of writing about people in all their complexity. My favourite of these is Julie, a hairdresser who is off to a Brexit rally. This poem manages to be both funny and alarming as the poet concludes ‘This is Julie’s world, we’re all just living in it”.

Safia Khan 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.

For more information, and to purchase 2020’s New Poets publications (hot off the press in June!) visit The Poetry Business