Writing Hub

PWH logo w circle

To join the Portsmouth Writer’s Hub community anytime visit: facebook.com/groups/portsmouthwritershub/

ABOUT: July 2015- June 2018 I had the pleasure of looking after the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub under the banner of my role as the Portsmouth Literature Worker. The community has grown to 700+ local writers, artists and creatives who are now bursting with talents from performing to leading workshops to writing. Do feel free to post directly onto the Facegroup, you’re likely to find like minded creatives.

Here are the events I curated during my time running the hub:


  • May Hub ‘How To Build Your Online Author Presence’ with Joanne Mallory
  • Also in May The Hub Social to meet the new hub coordinator Julia Davey
  • April Hub ‘Publishing for a Young Audience’ with Neal Layton
  • March Hub ‘How To Write Poems’ with Hampshire Poet Laureate Robyn Bolam
  • Also in March ‘Spontaneous Writing Booth’ as part of Southsea Library Book Fair
  • February Hub ‘Portsmouth Food Writing Supper Club’ taught by Misti Traya aka: Chagrinnamon Toast & catering by Tara from Ginger & Peach & Southsea Coffee Co
  • January Hub ‘100 Fresh Ideas’ 100 writing prompts moving across the tea house led by Tessa Ditner


  • November Hub ‘Meet the Literary Dragons’ Writers pitch their book to literary agents. Agents on the Library Stage were: Sandra Sawicka (Marjacq), Charlie Campbell (Kingsford Campbell), Jamie Cowen (The Ampersand Agency). Agents in the Dance Studio were: Kate Barker (katebarker.net), Sarah Savitt (Virago), Anne Williams (KHLA)
  • October Hub ‘Q&A w Rufus Purdy, Editor Curtis Brown Creative’
  • September Hub ‘Spoken Word Workshop’ with Dean Atta
  • Also in Sep ‘Coffee & Creative Tips’ with Zella Compton (funding and theatre writing)
  • Also in Sep ‘Subaquatic Steampunk Weekend’ Short Story Readings
  • August Hub ‘Writing for Radio Workshop’ with Lucy Flannery
  • July Hub ‘Crime Thriller Workshop’ with Zoë Sharp
  • Also in July ‘Getting your short film made’ Q&A with David Munns, Arts University Bournemouth
  • June Hub ‘Lyrical Verse & Post-Modernist Poetry Workshop’ with Samuel H. James
  • Also in June: Summer Writers’ Weekend incl. Saturday Screenwriting Day w tutor Andrew Zinnes and Sunday Press & Social Media Day for Writers with Star & Crescent
  • May Hub ‘100% Social Hub Night’ & Edward King Pop-Up performance as part of the EK Project
  • April Hub ‘What is Voice? Workshop’ w literary fiction tutor Martine McDonagh
  • March Hub ‘An Evening with Simon Nelson’ Development Producer at BBC Writersroom
  • Feb Hub Q&A with Script Consultant & Tutor Philip Shelley – Head of Channel 4 course
  • Jan Hub ‘Mythology & Symbolism’ a talk by local LGBT writer Justin MacCormack


  • Dec Hub ‘How to get published?’ a talk & Q&A w Sophie Buchan of Orion Books
  • Nov Hub ‘Femmes Fatales’ five female authors talk about the dark themes in their work: Cal Moriarty, Steph Broadribb, V.H.Leslie, Carolyn Hughes & the panel was moderated by Diana Bretherick
  • Oct Hub ‘Writing advice and Q&A’ with Andy McNab. (This is also the new Darkfest festival launch evening in collaboration w Portsmouth University)
  • Sep Hub ‘Funding Workshop’ with John Prebble, CEO New Writing South, formerly at Arts Council England
  • August Hub ‘Breaking into Travel Writing & Photography’ with photographer Alex Sebley & travel writer Tom Sykes
  • July Hub ‘Rise of the Kraken!’ Creative writing & Freewriting as responses to art. A creative writing workshop lead by Jacqui Pack, James Bicheno & Jon Everitt
  • June Hub ‘An Introduction to Poetry’ by Isabel Rogers, Hampshire Poet Laureate
  • May Hub ‘Murder at the Café’ in association with the students from the crime writing course taught by William Sutton and Diana Bretherick following their crime writing series at the New Theatre Royal
  • Also in May ‘Q&A with Cressida Cowell’, Author & illustrator of How To Train Your Dragon series
  • April Hub ‘Author Networking Evening’.
  • Also in April ‘Erotic Writing Workshop’ taught by Tessa Ditner
  • March Hub ‘Debug my Script’ script read through by hub volunteers and feedback given on work in progress
  • Feb Hub ‘Hobby, career or vocation?’ a talk on writing by bestselling author Adele Parks
  • Jan Hub ‘The Dark City Project’ the hub collaborates w Dr Karl Bell of Portsmouth University


  • Dec Hub Awards Ceremony ‘The League of 10’ with prizes from literary and other sponsors
  • Nov Hub ‘Meet the Literary Agents’: The Marsh Agency, LAW, Watson Little & Madeleine Milburn
  • Oct Hub ‘Plotting Workshop’ with bestselling commercial fiction author Chris Manby
  • Also in Oct: ‘Spoken Word Workshop’ with Deanna Roger
  • Also in Oct: ‘If Books Could Talk’ Performances by hub writers in Blackwell’s as part of NTR’s The Found Hour Festival
  • Sep Hub ‘How to collaborate with an artist?’ artists, cartoonists and graphic writers discuss. With David Kemp, Jon Everitt, Ben Counter, Angus Day, Laura Jenks & Russell Mark Olson.
  • August Hub ‘The Water Workshop’ Themed Creative Writing Workshop taught by Tessa Ditner

More details on our past events…

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents How To Build Your Online Author Presence

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This May Hub will see writer and mindful marketer Joanne Mallory lead you through the ins and out of building your author platform online.

This includes which social media to use for your career as a writer, how to navigate the prickly world of online branding, using SEOs, GoodReads, Amazon, Soundcloud, newsletters, selling more books, mindful marketing and lots more.

All tickets include a copy of her book: ‘How To Build An Author Platform For Free (and stay sane…)’, you can download yours here:

The Wave Maiden, 36 Osborne Road. Southsea, PO5 3LT, 6-30-8pm. Tickets: https://onlineauthor.eventbrite.com

During the break, attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for her brand new support workshop series or her tailored one-to-ones if you think you would like more personalised support. She will be offering this for attendees at half price (£5 for the 1 hour group support, or £15 for 1 hour one-to-one session, payable directly to Jo.) For more details about these follow on support worshops please visit Jo’s website here: https://joannemallory.com/workshops-1to1s/

All authors at all stages of their writing career and working on all genres are very welcome.

We will be at the Wave Maiden (upstairs) from 6pm and Jo’s workshop runs from 6.30-8pm. Food and drink is available at the venue just order downstairs at the bar and food will be brought up to you throughout the evening.

There is free three hours parking in the streets nearby. Do bring a notebook and pen to the workshop!

For more info about Jo, check out her website: http://www.joannemallory.com

Neal Layton

April Hub Evening:

Neal Layton Workshop April Hub 2018.jpgPortsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Publishing for a Young Audience with Neal Layton

John Pounds Centre | 23 Queen Street | PO1 3HN Portsmouth | United Kingdom Thursday, April 26, 2018 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM Tickets: https://neallayton.eventbrite.com

Neal Layton Workshop April Hub 2018 2Author and Illustrator Neal Layton will share his experiences of working with text and image narrative.

Neal’s work covers a wide sprectrum of young age ranges and topics, including the adventurous Emily Brown books (Hodder), the award winning Oscar and Arabella (Hodder), the ecological The Tree (Walker Books), educational The Story of Everything (Barron’s Educational Series) and Poo (Walker Books), and more mammoths with Mammoth Academy (Henry Holt & Company). He will explain how he gets from sketch to finished product, how he works out the readership age for his stories, the plot and handles the collaborative aspects with different writers for instance Cressida Cowell, Nicola Davies and Michael Rosen.

Please feel free to bring your own work-in-progress to get tips and advice from Neal and the other writers in the room!

Neal Layton Workshop April Hub 2018 4.jpgAfter the creative and collaborative bit, Neal will do an overview of kids publishing and share his experiences of getting published with major publishers such as Hodder Children’s Books, Walker Books or Bloomsbury Children’s Books. He’ll explain why he chose to self-publish some of his titles, such as his book of Dickens characters and his book ‘Idle Fancies’ and what to expect when you work with large publishing houses.

Neal lives in Portsmouth and apart from writing and illustrating, he also teaches illustration and the relationship between text and image to writing students, school children, university students, teachers and academics.

Neal Layton Workshop April Hub 2018 3We look forward to see you for our exciting April hub! Tea & coffee is included.

[There will be a drop in session before hub night 5-6pm at the John Pounds Centre Library for those keen to know more about the hub role. Feel free to join us!]

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents How to Write Poems

Poetry Hub March 2018 (1)On the 29th March 2018, 6.30-8pm, brand new Hampshire Poet Laureate 2018, Robyn Bolam, is coming to Portsmouth to share her knowledge and experience of all things poetry! This exciting workshop will see Robyn reveal the creation stories of some of her poems, then share promps and ideas to help you write new poems of your own.

A fantastic opportunity to build on your collection of work, try out a new form of writing or get a helping hand with work in progress. Robyn is happy to answer questions both creative and practical about poetry and the craft of writing.

Where? John Pounds Centre Cafe & Library, 23 Queen Street, PO1 3HN

Tickets: https://poemhub.eventbrite.com [Free for hub members otherwise £5 – your ticket includes the workshop as well as tea/coffee, easter eggs and cake. (Members if you can just bring a few pounds for the cake kitty!)]

Poetry Hub March 2018 (3)More about our March hub tutor: Robyn has published four poetry volumes with Bloodaxe Books. Her selected poems, New Wings, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and her latest collection, Hyem, appeared in October 2017. Along with Hampshire Cultural Trust, she set up the Hampshire Poetry Hub. Do join! Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1218059554993090/

Robyn also led the Ferry Tales project on the Isle of Wight and in Solent ports (National Lottery and ACE Funded). More details of Robyn’s poetry and work here: www.robynbolam.com

More info here: https://poemhub.eventbrite.com

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents The Portsmouth Food Writing Supper Club

SupperClub Misti Traya Chagrinnamon Toast

Misti with food writing books about to start the workshop

Misti Traya Chagrinnamon Toast.jpg

Award-winning food blogger Misti Traya, aka ‘Chagrinnamon Toast’ invites you to join her for an evening of sensory and literary exploration, in a unique workshop comprising a two-course supper, prosecco and, of course, food writing!

Under Misti’s brilliant guidance and tutelage, adventurous authors will relish vegan dishes to inspire exciting writing exercises.

With wellness so on trend at the moment, your meal will be all plant-based health and flavour prepared on site by Southsea supper club Ginger and Peach – their first pop-up in a library!

This special evening will suit all “flavours” of food writers, from aspiring food bloggers, columnists and article writers to restaurant critics, writers of food-inspired memoirs and even those wanting to create their own cookbook.

Chef Yotam Ottolenghi said of our tutor: ‘There’s something fresh and candid, almost cheeky, in Misti’s voice; it is disarming and charming.’

It’s going to be a fascinating, fun sensory and literary exploration that will feed your abilities and give you fresh new experiences to savour.

Join us for fun, food, writing and discussion at Portsmouth Writers’ Hub’s first food writing workshop! All writing levels welcome. You can sit with writer friends or join a table of writers and make new ones!

Note: Places are limited and ticket sale ends a week before, due to catering requirements. Please book early! Venue: Menuhin Theatre, Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DX,  Thursday 1st of March 2018, 6.30-8.30 pm

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents The Spontaneous Writing Booth

Spontaneous Writing Booth.jpg

Setting up the spontaneous writing booth with writers Amanda Garrie (left) and Irene Strange (right), Tessa Ditner (middle).

In February 2018 as part of BookFest, the Portsmouth Writes’ Hub will be setting up a Spontaneous Writing Booth at the Portsmouth Book Fair in Southsea Library. This will be on Friday 2rd March 11am-3pm.

Our booth writers:

  1. Heaton Wilson
  2. Rick Haynes
  3. Ann Carver
  4. Nicci Shepherd
  5. Irene Strange
  6. Joyce Waghorn
  7. Steve Walden
  8. Christine Lawrence
  9. Amanda Garrie
  10. Tessa Ditner

Here is the event blurb to let friends and family know:

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents The Spontaneous Writing Booth
Come and meet Portsmouth writers in the spontaneous writing booth. Give the writers a topic, any topic, from your new shoes to ‘winter’, ‘Portsmouth’, ‘the beach’ or the name of a loved one. They will spontaneously write you a poem, short story or piece of flash fiction to take home, for the price of £1. No booking necessary, just turn up!

Here is a little more about the concept behind the booth:

‘Do not feel left out when your school, church (…) rummage sale. Don’t think you have nothing to contribute. Simply set up a spontaneous writing booth. All you need is a pile of blank paper, some fast-writing pens, a table, a chair, and a sign saying ‘Poems on demand’ or Poems in the moment’ or ‘You name the subject, I’ll write on it’. I (…) timidly began charging fifty cents a poem, but by the next year it was up to a dollar. There was a waiting line throughout the day. I let my customers give me any topic. Some were ‘the sky’, ’emptiness’, ‘Minnesota’ and of course ‘love’. Kids wanted poems on purple, their shoes, bellies. My rule was that I filled one side of a piece of standard sized paper, did not cross out, nor did I stop to reread it. I also didn’t worry about putting what I said in poetic stanzas. I filled a page like I did in my notebook. It was another form of writing practice. In Japan there are stories of great Zen poets writing a superb haiku and then putting it in a bottle in a river or nearby stream and letting it go. For anyone who is a writer, this is a profound example of nonattachment. The spontaneous poetry booth is the twentieth century equivalent. It is practice in unselfconsciousness. Write, don’t reread it, let it go into the world.’ ‘Writing Down the Bones’ by Natalie Goldberg

January 2018 – Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents 1oo fresh ideas


Join our January Hub writing workshop jam-packed with writing prompts to help you create mammoth amounts of fresh ideas. Start your new year by generating new story ideas, scenes and paragraphs that can be used for your work in progress. A perfect way to get back into writing after the Christmas break. Tickets download link is at: ideasworkshop.eventbrite.com

You will be sitting in groups with other writers, in the charming tea-scattered décor of All About Tea. 100 writing prompts will be steadily rotating around the space, including, artwork, scents, words, objects, living things, books and more. You are welcome to use as many as you like in this fun and relaxed writing workshop. Bring a notebook and pencil, typewriter or laptop.

‘Sylvia Plath (…) never scrapped any of her poetic efforts. Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy.’ Ted Hughes.

November 2017 – Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Meet the (literary) Dragons
Menuhin Theatre, Central Library, PO1 2DX
11/30/2017  Agents and Editors All Agents
Writers! Literary Agents & Editors are coming to Portsmouth to answer your questions, network and hear your book pitches. Download your ticket here: https://literarydragons.eventbrite.com

The Literary Dragons are:

Sandra Sawicka, Literary Agent and Foreign Rights Manager at Marjacq, see: marjacq.com
Kate Barker is a literary agent, see: katebarker.net
Charlie Campbell is a literary agent at Kingsford Campbell, see: kingsfordcampbell.com
Sarah Savitt is an editor at the publisher Virago, see: virago.co.uk
Jamie Cowen is a literary agent at The Ampersand Agency, see: theampersandagency.co.uk
Anne Williams is a literary agent at KHLA, see: katehordern.co.uk

The writers will be pitching live to The Dragons. This will be held in the Menuhin Theatre, Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Square. Tickets are sold out for this event.

You will receive an immediate ‘Yes, please submit your book to me’ or ‘no, this is not for me’ from the agents/editors.

Meet the Dragons Pic by Tony Noon

The Dance Studio writers preparing their pitches.

‘Yes’s you will then be invited to submit your manuscript to the agency, please state in the cover letter than you had a ‘yes’ at the Hub’s Meet the Dragons.

If you have received nos from all the panel of agents and editors, you will receive a free feedback on your chapter one from the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub. This will be done anonymously by a member of the hub.

Come meet some fantastic literary dragons looking to sign up new writers, bring your questions, support your writer friends and pitch your book ideas.

Our Literary Dragon Bios:

SANDRA SAWICKA joined Marjacq in 2014. She is actively looking for new clients. She is particularly drawn to original voices and exotic settings – and this could be anything from a spanning space opera to historical Southern gothic to a literary novel set in a remote part of the world. She loves complex, morally ambiguous characters and has a weird soft-spot for university settings. Sandra represents authors from all over the world and believes that truly great stories are universal.
KATE BARKER has worked in publishing for nearly twenty years as an agent, commissioning editor and ghostwriter. She spent ten years at Penguin, where she was an Editorial Director for Viking, acquiring fiction and non-fiction. She has also worked for Orion, for Curtis Brown, for digital publisher Bookouture and for a speakers bureau. She works with a wide range of specialist agencies for the sale of rights around the world. Kate set up her own agency in 2016 and is actively building her list across fiction and non-fiction.
CHARLIE CAMPBELL has been a literary agent for over a decade, joining Ed Victor Ltd in 2005. He handled film, TV and serial rights for the agency’s clients, as well as helping launch the speakers bureau and digital publishing arm. He is interested in both fiction and non-fiction, with a particular focus on literary novels, thrillers and books that tackle big or quirky subjects in an accessible way. Before agenting, he spent three years at Literary Review, where he became Deputy Editor and ran the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. His book Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People was published by Duckworth in the UK and Overlook in the US, as well as in Russia, Thailand and Turkey. In 2012, he and a group of writers revived the Authors XI, a literary cricket team that used to star PG Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle. Under his captaincy the Authors have toured India and Sri Lanka and, in 2013, they defeated the national side of Japan. In the same year, their book, The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon, was published by Bloomsbury. It was shortlisted for the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year award. Charlie has just published Herding Cats: The Art of Amateur Captaincy about his experiences captaining the Authors side.
SARAH SAVITT is an Editor at the Publisher Virago and previously worked at Headline, Faber and David Godwin Associates. She has published authors including Louise Doughty, Kate Hamer, Sara Pascoe, Karen Rose, Sarah Schmidt, Lauren Graham and Hanif Kureishi. She has taught for Arvon, Faber Academy and Guardian Masterclasses.
JAMIE COWEN has worked in publishing for 14 years. Before joining Ampersand in 2013 he was a commissioning editor at HarperCollins, and prior to that he worked in legal and contracts departments at HC and the Hachette Group. Jamie is looking for writers of high-end genre fiction, including crime, thrillers, SF, fantasy and horror. His taste within these areas is broad, but he is specifically on the lookout for science fiction/thriller crossovers. Jamie is also looking for sport-related non-fiction, and commercial narrative non-fiction, and is keen to see submissions of all kinds from BAME and LGBTQ writers. Jamie’s clients at Ampersand include Mark A. Latham (The Lazarus Gate , The Iscariot Sanction and The Legion Prophecy; Titan, 2015, ‘16 and ‘17), Adrian Selby (Snakewood; Orbit, 2016), Mark Hill (Two O’Clock Boy; Sphere, 2016), Nate Crowley (100 Best Video Games and The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack; Solaris, 2017) and Joel Bird (The Book of Shed; Bonnier, 2017).
ANNE WILLIAMS worked for over fifteen years as a commissioning editor, first at Michael Joseph, then for thirteen years at Headline during which time she was Co-Publisher of the Review imprint and Publisher of the main Headline imprint. Anne commissioned and edited a number of Headline’s major commercial fiction authors, including the Sunday Times No. 1 bestsellers Sheila O’Flanagan and Lyn Andrews, top 10 bestseller Faye Kellerman and prize-winning crime writers Barbara Nadel, Manda Scott and Caroline Graham (on whose books the tv series Midsomer Murders was based). She joined the Kate Hordern Literary Agency in 2009 and is based in Central London. What Anne is looking for: I am keen to find well-written, engrossing fiction for which I feel I can find a market. I want a plot that will keep me engaged, characters I care about and a world that is intriguing or attractive enough for me to want to spend time in. Specifically, I am interested in women’s fiction, be it contemporary or set further into the past. I am also passionate about history and historical fiction and am a fan of crime and thrillers, an area of the KHLA list I am keen to build. Though my background is largely in fiction publishing, I am also on the look out for ‘new nature writing’, a personal enthusiasm. I am not looking for children’s, YA fiction, SF or Fantasy. Apart from Nature Writing, I do not usually work on non fiction projects.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Curtis Brown Creative’s Rufus Purdy

Photography for Curtis Brown Creative

Thursday, October 26, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, at The Wave Maiden.

Writers working on commercial fiction, non-fiction and scripts, join us for this informal Q&A with Rufus Purdy, Editor at Curtis Brown Creative. Tickets are free for Portsmouth Writers’ Hub members or £5 (£2 for students) here: https://curtisbrown.eventbrite.com
‘The writing school lets the agents help writers at a much earlier stage of the process, sharing insider knowledge to help students get ahead of the slush pile. Literary agencies are famously inaccessible; we felt it was time for a change.’
Rufus will tell us about help at hand from Curtis Brown HQ, incl the agent led writing program both online and in their office.
Curtis Brown Group represent authors, playwrights,
film and television writers and directors, theatre directors and
designers, television and radio presenters and actors.
Rufus Purdy is a former travel and lifestyle journalist so is well versed in the ups and downs of writing.
He says: ‘Writing a full draft of a book is an incredible achievement and – just like those who are able to complete a marathon or swim the Channel – I’m personally in awe of anyone who can do it. Perhaps we should say that everyone who’s prepared to devote themselves to months of gruelling work and inevitable crushing crises of confidence has a novel in them. And, no, I don’t believe you have to go on a writing course to get a novel out. But I do think a novel comes much more easily when you have the support of a tutor and coursemates, and the structure of weekly meetings with like-minded people to keep you going through the tricky times.’
You might want to know for instance, when in terms of your career to apply, how and what to submit to get through the application process, making friends with other writers on the course, finishing that novel, genre and commercial fiction, how much writing is expected and how much real and useful contact with the agents happens throughout the course. This is also a great opportunity to ask about the agent-author relationship generally. What is expected of you as an author and how much support you can get throughout your career from a literary agent. What a good literary does and doesn’t do and the benefits of having an agent to represent you.
If you would like to become a hub member please visit: https://uk.patronbase.com/_NewWritingSouth/Memberships
More about CBC: Curtis Brown Creative has a range of courses, some run for three or six months and are more commercially focussed than university MAs or BAs. More about CBC: http://www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/
Get inspiration from the CBC blog here: http://www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/blog/
We look forward to seeing you there!

Sub-Aquatic Steampunk Weekend & The Portsmouth Writers’ Hub


Portsmouth Writers’ Hub writers will be performing Subaquatic Tales at the Sub-Aquatic Steampunk Weekend. Saturday 30th of September and Sunday 1st of October in the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.

Storytellers include:

  • Nick Moorish The Floating City
  • Charlotte Comley Resigned & White Filgree on Green
  • Helen Salsbury The Diwali Cluster
  • William Sutton Orpheus & the Spice Island Nymph
  • Amanda Garrie Selection of Poems
  • Tessa Ditner Subaquatic Welcome Committee
  • Alan Morris Leviathan
  • Christine Lawrence
  • Wendy Metcalfe Miss Morris and Mr Darwin
  • Clym Arnold The Kraken
  • Pete Adams Pop Dead – The Pension Papers
Subaquatic Weekend Pic by Helen Salsbury
Subaquatic Steampunk Weekend performance, pic Tessa Ditner & Anonymous Diver by fellow writer Helen Salsbury

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub Presents a Spoken Word Workshop with Dean Atta

Dean Atta

September Hub evening will be a spoken word workshop, on 28th September 2017 6.30-8pm at the Menuhin Theatre, 3rd Floor Central Library, Guildhall Walk PO1 2DX, UK

Join us for a spoken word and poetry workshop with the fabulous Dean Atta. All ages and writing levels welcome. This is a free event for all, not just Portsmouth Writers’ Hub members and New Writing South Friends. Tickets are free for all, but please download your ticket here: https://spokenwordportsmouth.eventbrite.com/

Bring your work in progress and any questions you might have for tips and guidance on improving your writing and getting your voice out there. Dean will set a few exercises to help you develop your poetry and share tips on delivering them in your unique voice. A published poet and spoken word artist, Dean Atta has been commissioned to write poems for BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Dazed & Confused, Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. This is your chance to hear some fabulous spoken word while developing your skills and getting all your questions answered on this growing artform.

More about Dean: Dean Atta was named one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday Pink List. He has performed across the UK and internationally at the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (Italy), CrossKultur (Germany), Ordspark (Sweden) PuSh Festival (Canada) and Word N Sound (South Africa). He is Guest Artistic Director of New Writing South and Writer in Residence with Creative Future, as well as a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and Point Blank Poets. For more info about Dean here: https://sites.google.com/site/deanatta/about

“Unapologetic, perfectly candid and equally moving”
Writer’s Block

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub Presents Coffee with Zella

In 2016 Zella Compton was funded by the Arts Council to research and write a piece of theatre about the Mary Rose.

zella compton tessa ditner mary roseThis will be an informal chat located in the cafe of the New Theatre Royal. Zella will talk about the project, and answer any questions that you might have about her experience of the Arts Council England application process, working with the Mary Rose museum and writing the piece. It’s free and will last for about an hour.

Free tickets must be booked as there are limited spaces. Click here to download yours: https://zella.eventbrite.com/

Zella Compton is a Portsmouth writer. She is extensively published as a freelance journalist, columnist, playwright and author. Fri, September 15, 2017 10:15 AM – 11:15 PM.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Writing for Radio

LF 001 Lucy Workshop

The August Hub evening will be a Radio Writing Workshop with Lucy Flannery. This will be held on the last Thursday in August (31st of August) 6.30-8pm. This hub evening will be held at The Wave Maiden (upstairs), 36 Osborne Rd, Portsmouth PO5 3LT, UK. The Wave Maiden is open until late.

Have you ever considered writing a play, or a sitcom, for radio? Do you think you could hold a listener spellbound with just the power of your words?

In this workshop, you will learn about the strengths and challenges of writing for this unique medium, which embraces both the epic and the intimate.

The evening will cover:
• An analysis of the UK radio audience
• The delivery of information ‘without pictures’
• The use of silence, music and sound
• Practical exercises
• An explanation of the commissioning process for BBC Radio 4

For more info about the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub and to download your ticket please visit: https://radiowritingworkshop.eventbrite.com/

Here is a link to the event on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1414557511927099

Lucy Flannery has written both comedy and drama for BBC Radio. She has worked with celebrated actors including Alison Steadman, June Whitfield, Patrick Barlow, Roy Hudd, Jan Ravens, James Grout, John Duttine, Sally Grace and Jonathan Aris. Her sitcom Rent won the Writers Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy. She also has credits in TV, film, theatre and fiction.

Her full CV is here: http://writersguild.org.uk/profile/?profile=1868 and you can follow Lucy on Twitter @flannersoldgirl

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Zoë Sharp’s Crime Thriller Workshop


Are you a crime or thriller writer looking to create an unforgettable protagonist? Are you working on a series or have an idea for a series? Get your plot together with crime thriller author Zoë Sharp.

This Portsmouth Writers’ Hub evening will cover:

  • How do you devise a gripping plot for a crime thriller? Once you have, where do you start?
  • Create suspense in your writing.
  • What makes a great opening line?
  • Writing jacket copy short synopses.
  • The mystery vs. thriller genres.
  • How to nail a plausible MacGuffin.

Zoë Sharp is the award winning author of the Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox series. Her books include Die Easy, Fifth Victim, Road Kill, Killer Instinct & Hard Knocks. She writes series, stand alone novels, novellas and short stories. Find out more about our July tutor here: http://www.zoesharp.com & https://twitter.com/authorzoesharp

“If I were a woman, I’d be Zoë Sharp, and if Jack Reacher were a woman, he’d be Zoë’s main character, Charlie Fox.” Lee Child

“Sharp means business. The bloody bar fights are bloody brilliant, and Charlie’s skills are both formidable and for real.”—New York Times*

Author pic by Nick Lockett.

Date: Thu, July 27, 2017

Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Grab your tickets here: https://crimethriller.eventbrite.com

Location: The Wave Maiden, 1st floor lounge, 36 Osborne Rd, Portsmouth PO5 3LT

Note: at 8pm we had the wonderful David Munns coming to chat to the writers for 30 minutes about possible collaborations with his film directing students. David Munns is Principal Lecturer at Bournemouth Film School at the Arts University Bournemouth and MA Film Production course leader. David has been a film production designer since the 1980’s working on features, television dramas, commercials, music videos and working with Milcho Manchevski since designing ‘Before the Rain’ in 1992. Films have included ‘Six Shooter’ (Director Martin McDonagh) – winner of the Academy Award for best Short Film in 2006 and ‘This Little Life’ (Director Sarah Gavron) –  BAFTA winner 2004.

If you have some screenplays that might be a good fit please email him directly at: “David Munns” <dmunns@aub.ac.uk> For those who couldn’t make, David is looking for either 7-10 minute or 15-20 minute screenplays which his student directors and filmmakers can then shoot as part of their course. They will first shoot a teaser to draw in the funding (approx 7 thousand pounds for a week’s shoot). Beware of big budget stories (no planes crashing in to trains please) and huge cast numbers (w exotic pets etc) to make it more likely that your script is taken on and turned into a short film, though they do have green screen and the students have access to all the equipment on site.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents

Lyrical Verse & Post-Modernist Poetry Workshop

with Samuel H. James


Sam will explore the creative writing of song and poetry from Rumi To Ginsberg & The Beatles to Rihanna.

The workshop will look at re-defining the rules of rhythm & form to coerce tantalizingly adverse prose & unexpected inspired works. We will look at some of the more abstract approaches to writing in regards to form, use of ‘correct’ grammar & literary devices.

This workshop will stir the creative within yourself and aims to reach unchartered elements of your psyche. We’ll compare the poetic nature of lyrical verse from historic musicians & writers, to the monster chart-breaking lyricism of the mass manufactured pop machinists.

This is our Portsmouth Writers’ Hub evening for the month of June: Thursday 29 June. 6.30-8pm The Wave Maiden

The Wave Maiden is at 36 Osborne Rd, Portsmouth PO5 3LT. We will be upstairs from 6pm onwards. Workshop starts at 6.30pm so if you would like to grab a bite to eat/drink and socialise with the writers beforehand please aim to get there by 6pm.

Tickets: Free for Portsmouth Hub/New Writing South members otherwise £5. Ticketing link coming soon.


Hub summer weekend

Saturday Screenwriting Day

Central Library 3rd floor, Room F,
Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DX
Saturday 24 June 9.30am – 4.30pm

-Develop your script portfolio
-Write for Hollywood
-Adapt a book for the small or big screen
-Pen a short film script
-Write for television
-Meet other screenwriters and build friendships in your areaFor beginners to those already working on scripts, the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub Screenwriting Day will see script analyst, tutor and producer Andrew Zinnes help you take the next step in your script writing journey.Andrew will share his lessons from working as a script doctor at screenwriting conventions, to working closely with student screenwriters at the rewrite stage, to being part of development in Hollywood.Recent hub nights have highlighted that voice and portfolio building are key. Simon Nelson, Development Producer BBC Writersroom said at our March writers’ hub evening: ‘I can recognise a writer’s work when I watch TV. Voice is important’. While Philip Shelley, who runs Channel 4’s course explained at our February hub night ‘Invariably if you attract the attention of an independent production company with a great screenplay, they will ask you ‘what else have you got?’’Building your script portfolio and developing your unique writer’s voice will put you in a stronger position when approaching agents, broadcasters, film or television production companies. This is a fantastic opportunity to get help with your work while building friendships with other writers working on screenplays in Portsmouth right now.Some of the topics covered will be:
• Idea Generation: How to come up with the next ARRIVAL or CATASTROPHE
• Story Structure: Google Maps for the screenwriting process
• Plotting: Starting with the end
• The Hero’s Journey: Developing modern legends ala GUARDIANS OF THE
• Dialogue: From Tarantino to Steven Knight, getting it right
• Point of View: Keeping the audience with you
• Theme: What are you saying, mate (or dude, because an American saying
mate sounds weird)
• Writing Exercises: Practice what’s preachedAbout the tutor:
Andrew Zinnes has read over 10,000 screenplays and worked in development with Norman Lear, ACT III, Paramount Pictures and USA Networks (Original Movies Division). A partner of The Script Department as well as a freelance script analyst, he is also US Editor/Co-writer on The Guerilla Filmmakers’/Documentary handbooks.What to bring?
Please bring your laptops or a pen and notepad to do the exercises.Pricing:
Early Bird Ticket – £20 / £18* (available until Monday 29 May)
Online Ticket – £28
Cash on the day ticket (if available) – £50
Tickets can be purchased here: https://uk.patronbase.com/_NewWritingSouth/Productions/PHSD/Performances*New Writing South members/Portsmouth Hub members
Membership discounted rates are only available on early bird tickets.
To keep rates low, food & drink is not included in the tickets, please
bring cash on the day for teas/coffees/sandwiches and cake.
The evening social is voluntary, there is no obligation to attend.
If the event is cancelled, your tickets will be refunded in full. No
refunds otherwise.
All tickets are transferable to a friend, please just let the organisers know who will be taking your place by emailing their name and email address in advance of the event to tessa@newwritingsouth.com.
Members can transfer a members’ ticket to a non-member without paying any extra. Tickets can also be purchased as a gift, again please just email the name of the attendee to the organiser in advance of the event.


Press & Social Media Day for writers

in association with Star & Crescent

Portsmouth University Library
Cambridge Rd, Portsmouth PO1 2ST
Sunday 25 June 9.30am – 4pm
9.30am – 12 Morning workshop: Your writing in the press-Get your fiction and journalism published in the press (& get paid for it!)
-Maximise your research by using it across different media platforms
-Find new audiences & readers for your books by building followers through
engagement with shorter piecesThis in-depth workshop is for novelists and journalists looking to publish short pieces in the press (and get paid for it!). This will give you the nitty gritty of tackling the industry and finding the right home for your work. Learn about every stage of the process, from finessing an angle, to researching and fact-checking, to locating exactly the right publication for your work. The tutor, Tom Sykes, has devised this workshop to help improve your relationship with the press. He has created tailor-made writing exercises while sharing his own pitch letters, editorial responses, press trip invites, contracts and other pertinent industry documents.12 – 1pm Lunch social1pm-3.30pm Afternoon workshop: Social media for writers-Social media is fun! Let me show you how
-Building a writers’ profile online
-The writing career boost – using social media to your advantage
-Which platforms are best for me?
-Avoiding time drains and other pitfalls.Writer and Editor Sarah Cheverton leads the afternoon workshop. She will explore how to build your identity online as a writer using social media. She will take writers through the main social media platforms to explain how they differ, advice on sharing your writing online, some top tips on using online platforms and why a one-size-fits-all approach may not be working for you. This workshop is great for writers looking for that extra helping hand using social media for their writing. From Instagram junkies, to Facebook detoxers to technologically illiterate writer, all welcome at this fun and essential workshop.3.30pm-4pm Further Q&A with the tutorsAbout the Tutors:Tom Sykes is a widely published writer and Portsmouth University senior lecturer. He has 12 years of professional writing experience including publications in The Telegraph, New Statesman, The Scotsman, Private Eye & New Internationalist.Sarah Cheverton, is Editor in Chief of local news and commentary site Star & Crescent. She is also Writer-in-Residence for the voluntary sector organisation Aurora New Dawn, as well as a writer, lover of Portsmouth and blogging contributor for Huffington Post UK.Press & Social Media Day for Writers is brought to you in association with the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCi), University of Portsmouth.Please note: Unless you are already members of the University of Portsmouth library, please bring photo ID that will allow you access for the day.What to bring?
Please bring your laptops or a pen and notepad to do the exercises.Pricing:
Early Bird Ticket – £20/18* (available until Monday 29 May)
Online Ticket – £28
Cash on the day ticket (if available) – £50
Tickets can be purchased here: https://uk.patronbase.com/_NewWritingSouth/Productions/PHPS/Performances*New Writing South members/Portsmouth Hub membersT&CsMembership discounted rates are only available on early bird tickets.
To keep rates low, food & drink is not included in the tickets, please bring cash or card on the day for teas/coffees/sandwiches and cake.
The lunchtime social is voluntary.
If the event is cancelled, your tickets will be refunded in full. No
refunds otherwise. All tickets are transferable to a friend, please just let the organisers know who will be taking your place by emailing their name and email address in advance of the event to starandcrescent@hotmail.com
Members can transfer a members’ ticket to a non-member without paying any extra. Tickets can also be purchased as a gift, again please just email the name of the attendee to the organiser in advance of the event.
Writing Workshops and Performances Tessa Ditner Blog CK.PNG

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents 100% Social Hub Night

25 May at 18:00–20:00

Following requests from several hub writers that they would like to get to know each other at a social hub night, our May Hub night is 100% socialising.

Chat to fellow writers and artists about your work, find common ground, build friendships, invite writers to join your private writing group or feedback group, or why not find writers to create a new one?

We have chosen the beautiful The Canteen as our venue for this social, at Point Battery & Barracks, Broad Street inside the arches of the hot walls. Hub Night will start a little earlier at 6pm and officially end at 8pm though the venue stays open for another hour until 9pm if you’re midway through your glass of wine and prawn aioli at 8!

There is parking nearby and this is a free event, all welcome. Please just download your free Eventbrite ticket here so we can keep The Canteen updated on numbers: https://mayhub.eventbrite.com/

The Canteen, The Hotwalls, Portsmouth, PO1 2FS. Open 8am-5pm everyday (until 9pm in the summer)

Writing Workshops and Performances Tessa Ditner Culture Kiddo

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents ‘What is Voice?’


For the April Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, author Martine McDonagh will be teaching a workshop on finding your Writing Voice.

What is Voice?

Publishers and reviewers often talk about original, engaging voices, but what is voice, is it a construct or a naturally-occurring phenomenon? In this workshop, we’ll discuss and play around with ideas to explore what we think voice is, where it comes from and how to get it down on the page.

The evening will start with a reading and book launch of Martine’s new book -Narcissism for Beginners- at 5.30 followed by a book signing. The Voice Workshop is 6.30 to 8pm.

Martine’s previous publications include – I Have Waited, and You Have Come – and – After Phoenix – for more info check out: www.martinemcdonagh.com/

Both the book launch and workshop are held at Blackwell’s bookshop, Cambridge Road PO1 2EF. They are  both free to attend for hub members and non members, please simply download your free ticket to either or both events at: whatisvoice.eventbrite.com . This is suitable for writers working in all genres and in all mediums.

Image credit: Chris Ison / West Dean College

There is three hour free parking on Waterloo Road and also on St Paul’s Road near Blackwell’s bookshop.

The Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Simon Nelson, a Portsmouth BookFest event

Simon Nelson.pngThis BookFest 2017, Simon Nelson, Development Producer at BBC Writersroom is coming to Portsmouth for a Q&A.

Simon worked in theatre and television for 20 years, in both drama development and production before taking on a producer role in BBC Children’s Drama then at BBC Writersroom. This is your chance to ask Simon about all aspects of writing for the BBC, from submitting to the Script Room, writing for established shows to making the most of the Writers’ Lab on bbc.co.uk/writersroom to progress in your writing career.

The BBC’s Writersroom works with writers and programme makers to shape the BBC content of today and to inspire the content of tomorrow.

Thursday 30th March 2017, 6.30-8pm The Portsmouth Writers’ Hub Le Cafe Parisien, 1 Lord Montgomery Way, Portsmouth PO1 2AH

Tickets are free to download for Portsmouth Writers’ Hub/New Writing South members otherwise £10 / £5 (concession). Tickets here: bbcportsmouth.eventbrite.com

There is three hour free parking on Waterloo Road and also on St Paul’s Road near Cafe P. This event is part of BookFest 2017.

The Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Philip Shelley, a Portsmouth BookFest event

6.30-8pm, Thursday 23rd of February 2017. Tickets here: writershub.eventbrite.com/

Tickets are free to download for Portsmouth Writers’ Hub/New Writing South members otherwise £10 / £5 (concession)

Script Consultant, Producer and Tutor Philip Shelley is coming to Portsmouth for a Q&A about all things screenwriting.

Philip Shelley runs Channel 4’s screenwriting course, an entry point into TV drama for new writers. Every year 12 uncredited writers work for a 6 month period on a new TV script. Many of these projects have been optioned and taken into development by independent production companies. Previous participants have achieved great success going on to write for shows such as Coming Up (Touchpaper/Ch4), Indian Summers (New Pictures/Ch4), Banana (Red Productions/Ch4), Shameless (Company/Ch4), Fortitude (Fifty Fathoms/Sky), Youngers (Big Talk/C4), Murdered By My Boyfriend (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Waterloo Road (Shed/BBC), Holby City (BBC) – and many others.

Philip was head of development (drama) and produced three shows for Carlton / ITV. He script edited 2 series of Waking The Dead for the BBC and has worked for several drama indies, including Sally Head Productions, Kindle Entertainment and Conker Films. He also runs his own independent screenwriting courses throughout the year and is a script consultant. (www.script-consultant.co.uk)

This Q&A is your opportunity to ask Philip about writing for established shows vs developing your own ideas for a TV series, improving your own script storytelling, as well as getting advice on breaking in to the British TV and film industry.

There is three hour free parking on Waterloo Road and also on St Paul’s Road near Cafe P. This event is part of BookFest 2017.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Mythology & Symbolism with Justin MacCormack

solitaireJustin MacCormack, LGBT, horror author has been writing fiction for 10 years. Before that he was a tarot card reader. He has self-published 5 books and been published in 4 anthologies.

His books include The Darkness Bites series, Twilight of the Faeries, Diaries of a Gay Teenage Zombie, Hush! and The Castle of Count Shagular. He regularly performs in the Portsmouth literary scene including Day of the Dead, Premature Articulation, Valentine’s Day Massacre and Portsmouth Plugged In

This January hub, Justin will be leading a creative writing workshop on the power of symbolism in your writing. From the lady in the lake from Arthurian legend to the more overt use of symbols in books like The Da Vinci Code. Justin will cover:

How mythology can be useful for contemporary stories.
How using symbols in your writing can add touches of meaning.
What modern-day objects symbolise broad themes such as hope, rebirth and harmony.
Which images fall into the categories of masculine or feminine imagery.
Use of numbers in mythology.
Image: SolitaLive And Let Die 1973 Eon Productions, United Artists

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents How to Get Published by Sophie Buchan


Thursday 1 December, 6.30pm–8.00pm
Portsmouth Writers’ Hub
Waterstones Cafe, Commercial Rd, Portsmouth

This is a free event but places are limited please book your ticket here: portsmouthwriters.eventbrite.com

Sophie Buchan is Senior Commissioning Editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, part of the Orion Publishing Group. She specialises in literary fiction, including high-end crime, and has a sideline in narrative non-fiction. Her authors include Michèle Forbes, Simon Wroe, Walter Mosley, Bernhard Schlink and the founders of The Museum of Broken Relationships. Topics covered in this talk include:

  1. The writing process
  2. Finding an agent
  3. How to submit work
  4. What publishers are looking for
  5. The right publisher/imprint for you
  6. What to expect from being published
  7. How to make the most of being published

Prize-winning publishers, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, have generously offered a free workshop to de-mystify the publishing process, advise and answer your questions to help you get one step closer to a publishing deal. The talk will be followed by a Q&A.

About Weidenfeld & Nicholson’s new project Hometown Tales

Next year W&N are launching a series of short books – Hometown Tales – featuring new voices from regions that are under-represented in the UK book market. Each book will include a work by an unpublished writer and one by a high-profile author, both writing about the same place. The series will promote greater inclusivity and provide a platform for new writers, helping them to launch the first step of their careers, edited and mentored by editors at W&N.


Writers who have not published a full-length work are invited to apply to feature in Hometown Tales by submitting a piece of fiction or non-fiction, of approximately 15,000 words, about a place in the UK including Northern Ireland where they were born or where they have lived. It can be a village, a town, a city or a region.
For a chance to see your writing in print, please send your work to the following address: hometown@orionbooks.co.uk.

This is our December Portsmouth Writers’ Hub evening, held not on the last Thursday but instead on the 1st of December 2016. We will be in Waterstones Cafe, Commercial Rd, Portsmouth. Timings 6.30-8pm. Closest parking is Portsmouth&Southsea train station which is £2 for the overnight off peak fee, just pay your parking at the automated ticket booth.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Femmes Fatales


For November’s Portsmouth Writer’s Hub, five female authors talk about the dark themes in their work, why they chose them and how they write.

TICKETS: This is a free event for hub members and non members. We look forward to seeing you. No booking needed, just turn up.
Eldon Building, Lecture Theatre 0.20
This event is part of Portsmouth DarkFest and can also be found here on the DarkFest page: https://www.facebook.com/events/134131813718464/

Cal Moriarty, Author is the creator and author of the Wonderland series published by Faber. A series which can be read together or as standalone novels. The first novel in the Wonderland series, The Killing of Bobbi Lomax, was published by Faber in hardback on May 5th, 2015 and described by the London Times as a ‘Total wow of a debut. Superb.’ It was named as A Crime Novel of the Year (2015) by the Financial Times.

Steph Broadribb – ‘Crime Thriller Girl’ – was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Her debut novel Deep Down Dead published by Orenda books is out soon.

V.H.Leslie – Victoria Leslie – writes fiction that focuses on psychological issues and perspectives, that blurs boundaries or takes place within liminal or marginal spaces. Her stories are driven by setting and often connect to other texts, to mythology, folklore and art. Her short story collection ‘Skein and Bones’ and her first novel ‘Bodies of Water’ were both released earlier this year.

Carolyn Hughes – Author is writer of historical fiction set in the middle ages. Her debut novel ‘Fortune’s Wheel’ published by Silverwood books is about the aftermath of the Black Death in a fictional Hampshire village and is out this Autumn.

The panel will be moderated by Diana Bretherick – a criminologist, former barrister and author. She has written two historical thrillers in the Lombroso series – ‘City of Devils and ‘The Devil’s Daughters’, published by Orion. Both are set in 19th century Turin and feature the world’s first criminologist.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents An Evening with Andy McNab


From the day he was found in a carrier bag on the steps of Guy’s Hospital, Andy McNab has lived an extraordinary life. From teenage delinquent, to young soldier, to member of 22 SAS. He was at the centre of covert operations for nine years, on five continents.

During the Gulf War he commanded Bravo Two Zero. Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal during his military career, Andy was the British Army’s most highly decorated serving soldier when he left the SAS.

Now a bestselling writer, he draws on his experiences to write bestseller nonfiction, thrillers and YA. Alongside writing, he lectures on security and intelligence and advises the film industry.

Andy is coming to Portsmouth for the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub October Hub night, in association with The University of Portsmouth & BritMilFit.

Andy will talk about his journey so far and introduce us to his latest Nick Stone thriller Cold Blood: Fifteen men out on the ice, one of which is a killer.

This introductory talk will be followed by an open Q&A. This is your chance to ask Andy any questions you might have in a friendly Q&A format. You might want to ask him tips on writing a thriller, advice on going from the military to the arts, or simply how to find your place in the creative industries.

A pop-up Blackwell’s will be selling copies of Cold Blood. You are welcome to purchase copies and get them signed by the author.

Tickets: £5 or free for Portsmouth Writers’ Hub/New Writing South/BritMilFit members or with student/military ID. Visit: andymcnab.eventbrite.com

An Evening with Andy McNab is part of the winter festival Portsmouth DarkFest 2016.

This is our Portsmouth Writers’ Hub October Hub Night. Thursday 27 October 6.30-8pm. Richmond Lecture Theatre n1, Richmond Building, Portland Street, The University of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents a Funding Workshop with John Prebble

John PrebbleJohn Prebble, CEO of New Writing South, will be our hub tutor for September. He will lead a workshop on how to apply for funding for your writing projects – looking particularly at Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme.

Topics covered will include:
-Shaping your writing project to funding bodies
-How and where to apply
-How much and what to ask for
-Support in-kind vs. financial support
-Pitfalls to look out for and top tips
-Connecting with audiences and communities
-Your creative journey

John’s mission in life is to connect people with the power of words. He is delighted to have joined New Writing South in 2016.

John was Relationship Manager, Literature at Arts Council England (South East/East), where he supported a wide range of organisations and individuals involved in writing – publishers, libraries, festivals and many talented writers.

He also enjoyed a stint as a freelance Literature Producer and has worked at festivals including Canterbury Festival, Folkestone Book Festival, Hay Festival and Latitude.

John is passionate about New Writing South being a community for people who love writing in the South East and beyond.


This is our Portsmouth Writers’ Hub September Hub Night. Thursday 29 September 6.30-8pm. Le Cafe Parisien, Portsmouth, 1 Lord Montgomery Way PO1 2AH .

Tickets: Free entry to Portsmouth Writers’ Hub members, £5 otherwise. You will be able to purchase tickets on the door, or download a ticket in advance, ticketing link and venue info coming soon.

Note: This workshop will be particularly useful to those applying for funding for an event that they are running during Portsmouth’s literature festival BookFest! If you haven’t already, make sure you run your event idea by BookFest coordinator Clare so she can provide you with any thoughts or feedback which all helps to strenghten your funding application.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Breaking into Travel Writing & Photography

Photography &amp; Travel Writing Workshop Image

Writer-editor Tom Sykes (Bradt travel guides, Cassell Illustrated, New Statesman) and writer-photographer Alexander Sebley (VICE, BBC, Bradt) present a workshop that offers everything you need to know about publishing your travel writing and photography – and getting paid for it! Drawing on their experiences of travelling and writing about four continents, they will help you find fresh, unique and newsworthy angles sure to grab the attention of editors, agents and publishers. A good angle doesn’t have to be exotic – there are just as many opportunities for writers with a local or domestic focus, think Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island. Using specially-designed writing exercises, you’ll learn to construct killer travelogues, features and guidebooks – as well as eye-catching pitches – and grapple with the big challenge of the travel narrative form: how to apply the techniques of fiction writing to non-fiction. Tom and Alexander will demystify ‘the business’ by examining the state of the current market for travel writing and sharing with writers and photographers their real-life book/article proposals, contracts and commission letters.

Tom Sykes is the author of the Bradt Guide to Ivory Coast, the first ever English-language guidebook to the country. His travelogues and foreign affairs features have appeared in The Telegraph, New Statesman, Scotsman, New Internationalist, London Magazine, Red Pepper and New African. He is the co-editor of No Such Thing As a Free Ride? series of travel anthologies, the first of  which was named the Observer‘s Travel Book of the Month. Alexander Sebley is a photographer, writer and label manager who has worked for VICE, the BBC & Bradt Travel Guides.

This is our Portsmouth Writers’ Hub August Hub Night. Thursday 25 August 6.30-8pm at Café Parisien. 1-13 Lord Montgomery Way, Portsmouth, PO1 2AH. Ticketing: https://uk.patronbase.com/_NewWritingSouth/Productions/PTPH/Performances

Free for Portsmouth Writers’ Hub members please just sign in on the door. £10 for non members, please purchase your ticket in advance on the above link. Parking, there is 3 hours free parking on Waterloo Road and also on St Pauls Road nearby. Facebook event link: facebook.com/events/297835500558902/

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents ‘Rise of the Kraken!’ Creative Writing responses to Art. A creative writing workshop lead by Jacqui Pack, James Bicheno & Jon Everitt

Rise of the Kraken

July Hub was a free creative writing workshop responding to art. Two of our writers took us on a creative writing journey in response to the artwork of a local Unrealist artist.

Jacqui Pack and James Bicheno, both having completed the series of workshops ‘Defining Movements: a journey through British Modern Art’ at the Gosport Gallery earlier this year (http://www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/defining-movements-journey-through-british-modern-art), took us through creative writing exercises inspired by the artwork of Jon Everitt. There were character creating exercises and descriptive exercises to help you come up with new poems, flash fictions, short stories or the beginning of a longer tale. Both tutors and the artist were on hand for any questions and tips.

Thursday 28th July 2016
5-8pm (with the workshop starting at 6.30pm and the social and writerly catch up in the new Waterstones cafe 5-6.30pm).
Where: Waterstones, Commercial Road, Portsmouth
Tickets: Free to hub members and non members.
Closest parking: Portsmouth&Southsea Station – Off Peak from 4pm Monday to Sunday at a rate of £2 in total for the whole evening, see: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/pms/details.html

Facebook event link: facebook.com/events/862695023874300/

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents An Introduction to Poetry

Isabel Rogers, Hampshire Poet Laureate 2016
 Isabel Rogers, Hampshire Poet Laureate 2016, is our June hub speaker.

She will tell us about her journey as a poet, lead us through an introduction to poetry and share her top tips and the pitfalls to look out for.

Whether you wish to develop your writing skills generally, get a grasp of what poetry might mean to you, submit poetry to competitions, write beautifully to a loved one or participate more fully in your city’s poetry scene such as taking part in Tongues&Grooves tonguesandgrooves.com or  Aurora’s Front Room Poetry Open Mic, this is the workshop for you.

Isabel will touch on the relationship between words and music, how to develop and edit your writing to publication standard, and writing poetry for established publications eg: Mslexia, Under the Radar, Poetry.

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents ‘Murder at the Cafe’
Crime Workshop black and white

6-8pm Thursday 26th May  2016 saw the writers gather for an evening of crime storytelling, pitching and short readings. Writers enrolled in William Sutton and Diana Bretherick’s crime writing workshops (see pics above and below!) at the New Theatre Royal read out pitches/ a 5 minute crux scene developed during these workshops or a gripping 5 minutes from somewhere in the work (opening? ending? twist?).

Crime Workshop

The writers hub joined in with their own readings, feedback or just sat back and enjoyed the listening to the latest grippy tales. We used ‘crime writing’ in the loose sense of the term to include thriller, supernatural, detective, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, YA, courtroom, middle grade, comedy etc as long as there is a connection to crime, you are on theme for this hub night!

Ticketing info: Free entry for all, no ticketing or booking in advance required, please just turn up! When: 26th May 6.30-8pm. Where: Le Cafe Parisien, Portsmouth, 1 Lord Montgomery Way PO1 2AH The facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/1003459236369660/

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents a Q&A with Cressida Cowell


5-6.30pm Friday 20th May 2016 – Blackwell’s Bookshop, Portsmouth PO1 2EF. Free event.

Author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, author of the -How To Train Your Dragon- series, came to Portsmouth to answer all your questions.

Cressida wrote the books that inspired Dreamworks’ and Netflixs’ TV and movie franchise of the same name. To date the series has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, in 38 languages. Cressida will arrive at Blackwell’s bookshop, Portsmouth, to meet us at 5pm with the Q&A starting at 5.30pm. This is a free event, all welcome! No ticket or booking required, just turn up! Come with friends and family and any burning questions.

Here are some ideas for writerly questions that might be useful to ask Cressida:
-How to find a fresh angle on historical fiction as she did with her Viking characters and settlements in the dragon series.
-What is the process of having your stories bought by Dreamworks and Netflix? How involved can the author be?
-What advice would she give on writing a series?
-Tips on being an illustrator or artist wanting to get a story published?
-How to write a character who is growing up with each book in which he/she appears?
-Top tips on writing for a young audience? From picture book to magazines, graphic novels and novels.
-And/or anything else you might like advice on!

Watch the movie trailers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y0erVF9cLI

More about Cressida:

‘The best children’s books make the world magical. As every child looks for Narnia in the back of a wardrobe, so I hope that, for years to come, children will see dragons all around them…a resounding finale, full of fire and smoke, love, honour and old fashioned thrills. It’s a triumph.’ The Daily Telegraph

‘Cowell has crafted a modern classic. The world she has created, throwing readers back into a time when dragons and humans inhabited the same place, is every bit as consuming and deep as Harry’s in Hogwarts … a worthy end to something very special’ Big Issue

www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com (books)
www.howtotrainyourdragon.co.uk (films)

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Author Networking Evening
Book covers 1

For the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub April hub night we’re mixing it up, so you get to find out who’s doing what in their writing. This hub evening is the fun idea of local writer Christine Hammacott who wanted to attend a hub evening where we get to chat to each other!

She will lead a structured format so you will get to chat to writers you might have seen around, but not had a chance to talk to before. Find inspiration, share your writing news, thoughts and challenges, and build friendships with other writers in your city.

This is a free event for Portsmouth Writers’ Hub members and non-members. All welcome. No need to book, just turn up. When: 28th April 6.30-8pm Where: Le Cafe Parisien, Portsmouth, 1 Lord Montgomery Way PO1 2AH Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/220984341600040/

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Debug My Script
The Master Builder Old VicJPG

The Portsmouth Writers’ Hub March hub night was dedicating to scripts, plays and book chapters that needed a debug session.

‘If you are about to submit your TV script, play or film script to a production company, agent or competition, a read through of your opening, or of the sections you are most unsure of might be useful.’

Actors from among the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub volunteered to be at your disposal to read out your work and help you hear it as it is on the page. They read up to 10 minutes of script/play or book chapter. The second 10 minutes of was dedicated to giving feedback. For more info visit: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.com/2016/03/debug-my-script.html

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents an evening with Adele Parks

6-8pm Thursday 25 February 2016, Menuhin Theatre  –  Third Floor, Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DX (talk starts at 6.30pm)

Adele Parks Books

The multi-million bestselling author Adele Parks presented a fun and honest talk on how to achieve a long career as a writer. Adele has published 15 novels in 15 years all of which have hit the bestseller list. She writes contemporary and historical fiction exploring themes such as family, love, parenting and fidelity with an emphasis on honesty and humour. Whether writing is your hobby, your career or your vocation. Join us to celebrate Portsmouth BookFest 2016. adeleparks.com Pop up bookshop by Hayling Island Bookshop.

imagePortsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Dr Karl Bell’s Creative Workshop ‘Dark City’

Free entry for all
More info here: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.com/2015/11/dr-karl-bell.html

Portsmouth University’s Creative Writing Department in collaboration with New Writing South present Deanna Roger’s spoken word workshop Matter.
6-8pm Tuesday 20th October, Portsmouth University, Eldon Building in Eldon West 1.09.

Deanna Roger’s ‘Matter’ was a cross form spoken word project. Themes include astro physics and the universe, including new horizons & meteor showers.
Matter was in the middlDeanna Roger Photoe of an Arts Council England funding and Deanna delivered a talk on her process, performed spoken word and encouraged a discussion on some of the themes raised – such as perception, memory and their impact on each other. For more info check out: http://deannarodger.co.uk/

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub & The Found Hour festival present If Books Could Talk then on to Sam Cox at Southsea Coffee Co (5pm)Page 1 The Found Hour Festival
2 – 4.45pm Saturday 24th October, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Portsmouth PO1 2EF
For more info go to: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.com/2015/08/if-books-could-talk.html

Halloween at Southsea CoffeeDay of the Dead III  –  Halloween Cabaret Night
7pm – 9pm Wednesday 28 October, Square Tower, Portsmouth, PO1 2JE
Following full house shows in 2013/2014, featuring writers, poets and musicians performing original work, in a cabaret night with a Halloween twist in this spooky Portsmouth venue. More info visit www.william-sutton.co.uk

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Chrissie Manby’s Plotting Workshop
A-Proper-Family-Christmas-by-Chrissie-Manby6.30 – 8pm Thursday 29 October, Le Cafe Parisien, Portsmouth, PO1 2AH
Sunday Times bestselling author Chris Manby revealed her plotting tips and secrets for writing successful books, over and over again. Check out the blog post for notes on this workshop: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.com/2015/09/chrissie-manbys-plotting-workshop.html

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Meet the Agents
6.30 – 8pm Thursday 26 November
4 fantastic literary agents joined us to answer all your questions. • Free entry to NWS Members & Creative Writing students, £5 entry for all others. The agents were:

Araminta Whitley of Lucas Alexander Whitley
Donald Winchester of Watson Little
Jessica Woollard of The Marsh Agency
Sarah O’Halloran of The Madeleine Milburn Agency

More info including how to submit manuscripts please visit: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.com/2015/11/meet-agents-2015.html

Tree Dressing Day Hilsea Official Poster

This event was cancelled due to high winds – Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Christmas Storytelling Hour at Hilsea Tree Dressing Ceremony
More info here: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.com/2015/11/hilsea-tree-dressing-ceremony-2015.html

Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents The Extraordinary League of 10
6.30 – 8pm Thursday 17 December, Le Cafe Parisien, Portsmouth, PO1 2AH
• Free entry for all

More info here: http://culturekiddo.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/writershub10.html
Sponsored by Granta, Mslexia, Taylors of Harrogate, Writing Magazine & The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook


 Portsmouth Writers’ Hub presents Tamara Drewe Who?

David Kemp illustrations 04

The September Portsmouth Writers’ Hub meet up celebrated the relationship between writers and their visual collaborators. Have you ever thought of writing a graphic novel like Tamara Drewe? Or a children’s book like Matilda? Do you want to add bite to your journalism by working alongside a cartoon satirist? Do you wish you had a trusted artist friend to collaborate with?

This event encouraged artists & writers to chat, discuss, explore ideas and perhaps even start that first step towards possible collaboration.
Jon Everitt Paintings Collection
Artists & visual writers that were there to chat about their work and answer questions about the image/word relationship were:

  • David Kemp, published illustrator with a background in children’s TV animation, storyboarding and cartooning. Mr Kemp also designs and builds responsive websites and e-books and lives in sunny Southsea. www.davidkemp.net/
  • Jon Everitt, paints and lives in Southsea. He uses acrylic and watercolour but also works with wood engravings, linocuts and laser-cut wood. He exhibits in the UK and France. http://joneveritt.net/
  • Ben Counter, author of several books and short stories set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. He has been published in 2000 AD and is a graduate in ancient history and an avid miniature painter. His latest book can be found here: www.blacklibrary.com/warhammer-40000/the-world-engine-hardback.html
  • Angus Day is a Portsmouth-based artist and graphic dLaura Jenks Greek Myth Comix 02esigner. http://goosegraphix.tumblr.com/
  • Laura Jenks is the author of Greek Myth Comix, explaining Classics such as The Odyssey in stick-man form… The comics were originally started to help students understand the concepts behind the Homeric epics and Greek pantheon. Check out: https://greekmythcomix.wordpress.com/
  • Russell MarRussellMarkOlsonk Olson is an American illustrator and cartoonist living and working in Portsmouth. He is currently working on a historical graphic novel. http://russellmarkolson.blogspot.co.uk