Our Streets: Unmasked

Commission Opportunity

Calling budding fiction writers! We’re excited to offer a fiction writing micro-commission to a small number of young writers (aged 17 to 30) inspired by documenting and exploring the changing faces of the places we live as they take off their masks and wake from their lockdown slumber.

Our streets and neighbourhoods, the places we live in, have personalities and characters, and all of them, over this past year, have been affected– it’s like we’ve been socially distancing from them as much as people, and we don’t quite recognise them anymore. But they’re going to be changing again soon. The smiling shopfronts will soon be welcoming us in; the open arms of our favourite cafes and restaurants will invite us to sit and chat over noodles or cake. Libraries will feel like somewhat exciting places to hang out. Our parks might be just as noisy, if not more, but how we interact in them will change too. As will our high streets and the streets we live on.  They will be ours again.

The brief…

We want to commission fiction pieces that reflect the changing faces of a street, shopping hub, or community of your choice, as they ease out of lockdown with us.

You’ll visit your chosen location on three dates and gather inspiration for three short pieces reflecting something of these changes in your narrative/s.

The dates:

  • 16th March – we’re still in the silence of lockdown and the streets and shops are lonely
  • 12th April – the shops and high streets are open, and our places are talking again
  • 20th May – social contact is allowed again! For the first time since before Christmas

Your pieces can be interconnected by characters and themes, or just by place. They might be one story told in three parts, or over three different periods of time. For inspiration, you might take photos, record audio on your smartphone, or chat to a shopkeeper. You might sit in a café, when it’s possible again, and see the you from your first visit walking past the window. The world is your oyster!

Chosen micro-commissions
You’ll receive advice and editorial guidance, a small fee (known when the number of commissions is decided) and, you’ll have your work made into a podcast! This is a great opportunity for fledgling writers, interested in a creative challenge and focus, to get support, and have something great for CVs, and to develop future interests in writing.

Deadline for applications: As soon as possible (cut off 12 midnight 12th March)
Send us… a sample of your fiction writing (up to 800 words) and a brief proposal (200 words max) including where you think you’d like to set your work and why. And how you might tackle the commission and what interests you about it. We are looking for each piece to be around 600 to 1000 words (but this is not set in stone!)

Send to: fiction@hivesouthyorkshire.com with your name, age, the town you live in, whether you’re connected to any writing groups or organisations, and the subject line: Streets unmasked
If you’re outside of South Yorkshire, but in the not too distant north and really want to pitch, go on then, we’d still love to hear from you.

Photos courtesy of Tim Dennell