The first year of the Writing Squad programme consists of four one-day workshops led by guest tutors in Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester, focussing on prose, poetry, scriptwriting and a genre chosen by Squad members. In the second year we work in cross-regional Squads, grouping writers according to their specialisms.
One to Ones
Squad days are complemented by at least eight one-to-one sessions focussing on the writer’s own writing. In these sessions, we create and review individual plans for developing the writer’s work, and how they manage and promote themselves as writers. The one-to-ones take place across the north, wherever our writers feel comfortable meeting.
We create specialist support for our writers alongside the core programme. For example we teamed up with Peter Sansom, Director of the Poetry Business to offer Tritorials, our poets meeting in groups of three to close edit their work, talk about their reading of contemporary poetry and share their writing experience with each other. Read the results in PUSH2. Helen Mort has also been working with our poets on how to assemble and edit a first pamphlet or collection.
We hold several weekend or residential workshops a year, all open to current and past Squad members. The focus of these comes from the particular needs of the Squad and have included a weekend spent making two short films to post on YouTube; a Dangerous Writing weekend with Tom Spanbauer; a flash project weekend playing online; and an ‘unblocking’ weekend where we got together, without any tutors, and talked about what we do when we have forgotten how to write.
After our writers have completed the two-year programme, the Squad continues to work with them and support the development of their writing and careers. We provide professional development advice, investment from our Professional Development Fund, and invitations to attend residential courses and special workshops.
Over its thirteen years, the Writing Squad has evolved from a writer development programme into a community of creatives. Producing projects with partners or by ourselves gives us the opportunity to develop our writers’ professional skills through practical creative adventures. See some of our current and previous projects here.