2023 Regional Writers in Residence
This year, we piloted a new programme: bringing the residence to the writer, allowing them to explore their hometowns, communities and unique places. They also had full rein to decide the theme of their residency, what they would explore and how. Each writer had dedicated time to write, residencies in unusual/non-traditional spaces to interact with people and gain inspiration, and led writing workshops for local people.
Lisette Auton: Darlington Writer In Residence
Lisette Auton works with words in all their forms: as an author and playwright, a film and theatre maker, as a solo artist, with collaborators, and alongside wonderful humans as a creative practitioner and mentor. Disabled, neurodivergent and northern, some say she’s a word artist, she says she does stuff with words. She is the author of two middle grade novels, The Secret of Haven Point and The Stickleback Catchers. She is also an award-winning poet and performer, including a CF Writers' Award.
Lisette undertook a roving residency across town, with a pack of writing prompts for anyone wanting to have a go, or just chat about what a writer does and about Darlington. She explored ideas about what makes a place your home: sometimes we stay in the town where we’re born; sometimes we move to new places for various reasons. But what makes a place your home? Is it family? History? Community? Time going by? What connects you most to where you live?
You can read Lisette's illuminating written reflection on her residency here.
Day Mattar: Liverpool Writer In Residence
Day Mattar is a queer poet and performer from Liverpool. They are the co-founder of Queer Bodies Poetry Collective, and facilitate poetry workshops with various art organisations, including the University of Liverpool, First Take, and Heart of Glass. Day has been the Poet in Residence at FACT, Writers&Scribez and EAT ME. Their poetry pamphlet, Springing from the Pews, was published by Broken Sleep Books.
Day’s poems come from the body; they use poetry as a tool to explore links between the psychological and the physical, the somatic and the sensual. Day has an MA (Distinction) in poetry from Manchester Metropolitan University and was a 2017 Creative Future Writers’ Award winner.
Day ran workshops at GYRO, Liverpool’s LGTBQIA+ youth support agency, which they had greatly benefited from as a young person. Day was also in residence and facilitating workshops at FACT Gallery. For the focus of their residency, Day said:
FACT is a space that focuses on showcasing the work of artists who embrace new technology and explore digital culture. I’m curious to see how these futuristic worlds nudge my own language forward–how might my poetry have to melt and broaden in order to properly touch the strange environment of virtual reality or alien planets? Can these immersive experiences help me imagine and temporarily live in a utopia that, with language, we could build a bridge toward?
Can there be a relationship between technology and lyric? How can the two learn from ivy and a brick wall, and live symbiotically? Where might the marriage between the two deliver us, on the boat of language, pushed by the winds of poetics.
The two writers have also created new work for the 2023 Creative Future Writers’ Award anthology, which they'll read as part of the showcase at the Southbank Centre, part of the London Literature Festival. Both will also take part in our 'Page to Publication' panel at our Southbank Centre Writers' Day.
Previous Writers in Residence
From 2015-2020, we offered a residency in collaboration with New Writing South and Preston Park Recovery Centre. This offered time and space to write and development support. These were on-site day residencies at Preston Park Recovery Centre, an award-winning mental health recovery day centre in Brighton, where they interacted with centre users, gave 1:1 writing support and held writing surgeries, as well as led workshops. Writers In Residence were also published in our Award anthologies and read their work at the annual showcase events. (Due to the pandemic, we did not offer the residency in 2021 or 2022.)
2020 - Akila Richards
Akila Richards is a writer, poet, and spoken word artist. Her poetry and short stories have been published by Penguin, Peepal Tree Press, and Waterloo Press. Some of her writing gives voice to the Black German experience and on migrating in multiple ways. Akila’s portfolio includes programming and managing creative and diverse community projects. Akila also programmed for the Mboka Literature Festival 2019 in Gambia and the UK. She is currently completing her poetry collection and writing a novel, culminated from a selection of her short stories based on the same character. Read Akila's residency reflections here.
2019 - Emma McGordon
Emma McGordon is an award-winning writer and performer published by Tall Lighthouse, Penned In The Margins, Handstand and Blacksuede Boot. She is the recipient of two Arts Council Awards, a Northern Writers Award and the Julia Darling Fellowship, which allowed her to pursue a research project in San Francisco. She has worked extensively in arts participation and was the Associate Artist with Rosehill Theatre, Cumbria for three years. Emma is currently based in London. Read Emma's reflections here.
2018 - Sharon Duggal
Sharon Duggal was born in Birmingham to parents who immigrated to the UK from the Punjab, India. She now lives in Brighton & Hove. Her acclaimed debut novel, The Handsworth Times (pub. Bluemoose Books) is set against a backdrop of social unrest, neglected communities, incredible music and the healing power of direct action in 1980’s working-class Birmingham. It was The Morning Star newspaper's fiction ‘Book of the Year 2016 ‘ and Brighton City Reads 2017. Sharon has an Mphil in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex. Read Sharon's thoughts on her residency here.
2017 - Dean Atta
Dean Atta is a writer and performance poet. He has been commissioned to write poems for the Damilola Taylor Trust, Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Dean won the 2012 London Poetry Award and was named as one of the most influential LGBT people by the Independent on Sunday Pink List 2012. He is an ambassador for the Spirit of London Awards for Achievement through the Arts. His debut collection I am Nobody’s Nigger was published by The Westbourne Press in 2013. His latest book, The Black Flamingo, won the Stonewall Book Award, and was long-listed for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and Jhalak Prize.
2016 - Tara Gould
Tara Gould studied visual arts at Brighton University and an MA at Sussex University. Her short stories have been published in anthologies including the Asham Anthology for Women Writers, and her plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Tara was selected for our inaugural Spotlight Books series, a partnership between Creative Future, New Writing South and Myriad Editions; publishing her short book The Haunting of Strawberry Water. She lives in East Sussex. Read Tara's residency result here.