Happy New Year from all of us at New Writing South!

January 3, 2022
a photo of open books from above, opened out like fans

Happy New Year. We are looking forward to meeting in person soon and sharing a brighter, lighter, literary 2022.

Despite the ups and downs of our strange new reality, New Writing South had the privilege of working with some amazing writers and partners in 2021.

As readers, where would we have been without so much incredible writing over the past 20 months? As writers, we have experienced the comfort and quiet of our practice. As humans, we’ve probably all struggled more than once, but books and stories and poems and songs – all kinds of writing – have made that struggle more bearable. We owe a debt of gratitude to each and every writer who made that happen.

We are especially grateful to the brilliant writers who have so generously shared their skills and knowledge, in masterclasses and courses over the past year – Amer Anwar, Dinos Aristidou, Stella Duffy, Yvvette Edwards, Alkin Emirali, Rosie Garland, Ed Hogan, Hannah Lowe, Tanushka Marah, Katy Massey, Beth Miller, Anna Mills, Jacob Ross, Leone Ross, Anita Sethi, Farhana Shaikh, Sea Sharp, Catherine Smith, Louise Tondeur and Laura Wilkinson.

We’re grateful too, to the team of skilled writers (too many to mention) who have provided critique services, mentoring and 1-1 surgeries for the region’s writers and members of our NWS21 development scheme for Black and Asian writers.

In 2021 we were proud to present Monique Roffey, Douglas Stuart, Alan Hollinghurst and a host of other wonderful writers at University of Brighton’s Big Read and The Coast is Queer writing festival. Amer Anwar and Salena Godden took up residencies with our partners West Dean College. Robin Pridy wrote us a brilliant story for Historic England’s High Street Tales ebook and podcast. Vanessa Gebbie and Louise Tondeur wrote inspirational blogs for our newsletter. AFLO, Suhayla El-Bushra, Craig Jordan-Baker, William Shaw and our own Sharon Duggal discussed all things writing with Brighton’s brilliant librarians.

Tarik Elmoutawakil and collaborators from Marlborough Productions made the film  Space:Walk to add to our collection of Hear Us Out videos with older members of the LGBTQ+ community. Anna Jefferson and Sam Johnson’s Writing Around the Kids got mums writing in Crawley and Littlehampton. Hangleton and Knoll Multicultural Women’s Group shared their moving journey stories. We had the privilege of working with writer-in-residence Alinah Azadeh, encouraging diverse writers to work in, and be inspired by, our lovely South Downs National Park.

New Writing South would be nowhere without our partners. In 2021 these included Writing Our LegacyCrawley MuseumMarlborough ProductionsBrighton& Hove Libraries,The SpireHastings LitfestWest Dean College, Brighton and Sussex Universities, the Hangleton and Knoll ProjectRiseCreative Future and the wonderful TLC who, once again, offered their excellent free reads to writers from the South East.

2021 was a year of change as publishers made efforts toward a more equitable and diverse offering, but the job ain’t done.  Black, Brown, queer, working class and disabled writers still have to fight harder, write better, knock louder to be heard. At New Writing South we remain as committed as ever to helping redress the balance, in any way we can, and look forward to our ongoing collaboration with the eminent Words of Colour to implement anti-racist practice across every aspect of the organisation.  

That is our journey in 2022 and we warmly invite you to join us for masterclasses, courses, writing groups, or to participate in our community and writer development projects…all on show on our shiny new website any day now. 

We’re also excited to be recruiting for two new posts in January, so keep an eye out for those!

From the whole team – Lesley, Sharon, Ed and Liam – we wish you an optimistic, creative low-Zoom 2022.