The end of our second year at The Writer’s Place

What an amazing couple of years it has been for us here at The Writers’ Place in Brighton! Nobody, least of all me, was sure that things would work out. Moving a writing programme, albeit a highly successful one, out of its university location and running it from a converted warehouse in the centre of Brighton looked like a tricky move.

We were lucky from the outset to have such a great partner in New Writing South and although I was convinced they were the right people to work with, we were a little anxious at first. I should have had more faith! New Writing South have been brilliant: smooth, efficient and organised. Everybody on the programme has loved the new location. It’s such a lift to have our own space instead of the anodyne and institutional seminar rooms at Sussex. There’s a real buzz about it. I think everyone has a sense of ownership about our new venue and it feels so much closer to the pulse here in Brighton. New Writing South keeps everyone in touch with what’s happening on the literary scene. There are always flyers and information about the latest events on the tables. Then there’s the coffee houses and excitement of Brighton on the doorstep!

But it’s not just the location, or the fact that we’ve had over a hundred writers on the programme this year. We’ve also delivered. We were successful at the university of Sussex and we’ve maintained that success over the last nine months. Our writers are getting published, putting on shows, giving readings, winning competitions, moving into new and interesting literature related work and writing those novels they always thought they had it in them to write but sensed they needed a little help and support to get finished. It is a wonderfully satisfying experience - and it is happening more and more frequently these days - to get emails from writers who have come through the programme who’ve got book deals or are having their work staged or televised.

Now we’ve established ourselves in our new home and the first year has gone so well, we’re looking forward to building the programme in the future. Plans are well advanced to have the programme accredited, which means you will have the option of gaining university level credits in the future that you can put towards an undergraduate qualification.

We’re also looking at alternative publishing models. With over a thousand writers in the South East who’ve been through the programme over the past fifteen years on our email lists we’ve built a unique community of writers and readers. There are plans next year to publish the best work from the Creative Writing Programme and from our Advanced Writers Workshops – novels, short stories and poetry – within our own community of writers. So, publication might not be that far away! Next year, we’re also going to be offering - in collaboration with New Writing South - courses in professional development for writers designed to give you an insight into what is required to manage a career as a writer and get you in touch with agents and publishers who can talk to you about your work.

Finally, before I sign off, I’d like to thank all of you who have made the programme what it is this year – all our new writers and all of you who’ve been through the programme and have joined our Advanced Writers Workshops, and the staff at New Writing South, and our brilliant tutors. It’s been a real privilege to work with you all.

All best
Director of The Creative Writing Programme

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