You can’t keep a good newsletter down! Well it is a while since our last one, and there’s much to report.
A glance back at our news and gig guide entries is a Who’s Who and a What’s What of the UK poetry/spoken word/live-literature scene. If we’re not where-it’s-at, we are who will know where-it’s at; if you follow my drift.
It’s the one site I always refer new poets to when they get in touch - Russell Thompson, Apples and Snakes.
- How are we doing? – what’s happening on Write Out Loud?
- Group profiles
- Calling publishers and reviewers
- Writing Out Loud – the Arvon /Write Out Loud open-mic poetry course
- Grab the chance to book Elvis McGonagall in November
- Jazz Festival writing workshops in Yorkshire
- Can you help Write Out Loud? volunteers needed
- Please donate
- The Write Out Loud BIG THANK YOU
How are we doing?
An incredible 10,129 unique individuals used the website in May – 12% up on the same month last year, and the third highest ever. Our 900th online member has just set up their profile, too.
Why? Perhaps because…
…we’re THE UK gig guide
We’ve the most comprehensive, up-to-date listing of open-mic poetry, spoken word and live-literature events in the UK - and probably beyond.
Uniquely, gig organisers, you can upload your own events data, with automatic repeating dates (weekly/monthly etc), and make your own changes such as different guests, timings, etc. You are in charge of your own listings.
In May we had 255 events listed on the gig guide, with a record 29 events listed on a single day - Thursday 26th - from Penzance to Ayr, Swansea to Cambridge someone was organising yet another fabulous, inclusive exciting poetry or other live-lit event.
Each day brings new events - over 20 new listings today alone - and the guide has grown exponentially thanks to the magnificent, behind-the-scenes work of gig-guide editor David Andrew; and of those of you who tell us of unlisted events. Please keep the information coming!
Really appreciate the site and the great work it does - Slam champion, Kat Francois
… we support all UK and Irish live-literature events, festivals, book launches, etc
We are not precious or competitive. We encourage and support anyone setting up and running any live-lit event anywhere. And our listing encourages people to set up their own events where there are gaps.
Having more events listed in London and the Home Counties than anywhere else should finally scotch that old idea that we’re only interested in the North West. Bring us your poor poets, your muddled asses!
We get our audience via the Write Out Loud gig guide - Ceri May, Y Tuesday, Clerkenwell.
…Top Class Poetry/live-lit News
The news service goes from strength to strength under editor Greg Freeman, whose day job is sub-editor on a national daily. Greg has built on the excellent work of Chris Dawson and boosted our Google rankings to ensure even more people realise the central role we play in this fantastic movement, this community of poets and writers that is the UK poetry and live literature scene.
Recent news items have included: poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s campaign against poetry spending cuts which, thanks to Write Out Loud’s huge readership, propelled our coverage close to the top of Google rankings; and the friendly debate about Milton Keynes’s new poet laureate, Mark Niel, which was initiated in our discussion pages, and when Mark himself became involved in it, became a front page news story on the WOL site in its own right.
Watch this space, and send us your news, preferably with a jpeg image, to firstname.lastname@example.org
…Thriving online community
One of our strengths is that we are a community of people who are passionate about writing and who love poetry, and enjoy sharing with and supporting each other. You can blog a poem and have sensible, erudite and honest feedback from like-minded people who care about poetry and each other.
This is far more than a poetry site to me. I find a meeting of minds here that sometimes escapes me in real life. Bloody poets eh? - Isobel Malinowski, poet, compere, regular blogger and commenter on www.writeoutloud.net
Write Out Loud is there for its users – amateur and professional writers, poets and, increasingly, script, song and fiction writers. This unique combination of lively online community and our own events is what moved Adrian Mealing to describe us as:
“… the liveliest, jumping beaniest grassroots poetry organisation”.
Adrian is UK touring agent for Andrew Motion, Ian Macmillan, Roger McGough and Brian Patten, so he knows his onions (and beans).
…thriving monthly open-mic events in six towns
They might all be Write Out Loud events, but how different they all are. Wigan evokes Shakespeare’s Globe in its heyday (his left one?), or perhaps it’s more 19th Century music hall? Though not the easiest place for beginners, it has a passion, a friendliness and inclusiveness all its own. And the poetry is piped round the whole pub; but Muzak it’s not!
Stockport is in an art gallery with all the hushed reverence that suggests, a tea urn replacing the bar of other venues, and a most erudite compere in John Keane. It is also the Write Out Loud open-mic nearest to the equator; when we are not running one of our Bordeaux nights, of course.
Middleton has a loyal following upstairs at the Ring O’Bells, Sale is at the prestigious Waterside Arts Centre, which is a theatre and gallery, though does have a bar.
And Hebden Bridge is our only Yorkshire venue so far, and is in the White Lion hostelry. All welcome: new writers/readers or old hands.
… our discussions and debate
There are near verbal fisticuffs at times (hurrah!), the debates get that intense, but it’s because our community is passionate about poetry and other writing: What is poetry? Your favourites? Are poets mad? Just a few examples of the issues debated. Come along and start your own! (Discussion, not fight!).
…profiles, for groups and individuals
your profile is your base station for all that you do on the website: blogging, commenting, audio, video, messaging other site users, having your own gig diary linked to the main gig guide and more. Soon you will have your own photo galleries, set up your own groups for open or closed group discussion, blogging, messaging and posting; all you need to run a more effective writing group, open-mic night or other event, or manage your career. Cool eh? more info from email@example.com
Calling publishers and reviewers
Let’s get more open-mic poets reading poetry, shall we? We are making changes to the Features section by introducing more reviews and information about publishers and competitions. We are always interested in trying out new reviewers and receiving publications to review. Send us your books/pamphlets and we will review them, with links for purchase. Reviewers, send an example of your writing, preferably a review. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning to write and perform
Our two BIG weekends of workshops and fun have been runaway successes, with fantastic feedback:
…whole event was brilliant… excellent open-mic performers… great vibe… easy-going and friendly… fantastic workshops… when’s the next? - Writers out loud attending BIG weekends
Here is the next:
Writing Out Loud – improving your poetry performance, for open-mic and page poets
Tutors: top performance poet Francesca Beard, Elvis McGonagall of Radio 4 fame, and Write Out Loud founder, Julian Jordon.
Run with the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank, Ted and Sylvia’s old gaff, this workshop runs from 14th to 19th November and offers guidance and tuition in writing, selecting and editing for reading out loud; and improving how you perform your work.
It’s a heavily-subsidised course (by Arvon and Arts Council, England), around £200 less than their usual fees for an all-found week (travel and alcohol not included), with priority given to Write Out Loud regulars, donors and site members (with a profile), though others can apply to go on the shortlist.
Early booking very much advised. £100 deposit needed, refundable if we can fill your place.
Full information and to apply: http://www.writeoutloud.net/public/slams.php?slamid=23
Give a gig to Elvis
Elvis McGonagall will be tutoring midweek for the above workshop, and is available for bookings on the days either side of Wednesday 16th November, anywhere in the north of England. If you are looking for a stunning poet and powerful performer to draw the crowds in, as the nights do the same, Elvis is your man. Contact him via his Write Out Loud profile
Jazz Festival writing workshops
Following the sell-out success of our Poetry Jam at last year’s Marsden Jazz Festival - www.marsdenjazzfestival.com -we are running a series of workshops in advance of this year’s festival, with the aim of producing work that can be read at the poetry jam. Expect to be inspired and encouraged to write your heart out! More info from Julian@writeoutloud.net. Please put ‘Jazz workshops’ in the title line.
Volunteers needed- Could you help run Write Out Loud?
We have openings for volunteers to help with the work of Write Out Loud, including:
- Editorial assistants – news (receiving and filtering invitations and directing to appropriate editor, notifying sources of published items, urging use of gig-guide self-editing).
- Facebook manager/editor(s)
- Facebook-savvy person/people to help manage and exploit our Facebook presence, liaising with news and gig editors
- Writing groups’ support person – helping develop our group profiles for writing groups
- Event organisers’ support – experience of promotion
- Business manager – experience of commercial revenue generation and/or fund-raising essential
- PHP programmers
- News gathering/reporting -
- Discussion moderators/animateurs
What else? – if you have skills you believe can help Write Out Loud, do get in touch.
NB, these are volunteer positions, not paid posts, and would suit students looking to add to their CV or retired Write Out Loud members who want to help maintain the site and its valuable work. More information from: email@example.com.
We still rely on donations to cover at least some of our costs. As things stand we are still running this popular resource largely out of our own, diminishing pockets, so all contributions are welcome to allow us to keep the show on the road, including yours!
Creative Writing and Scriptwriting workshops
Book an Introduction to Scriptwriting or Creative Writing workshop from Write Out Loud founder, Julian Jordon. Julian gets highly enthusiastic feedback for his workshops, and has inspired students to go on to greater things. He runs these for festivals, libraries, colleges and schools. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write Out Loud’s BIG THANK YOU
To all those who support Write Out Loud totally voluntarily, and without whom it would not exist, and those who kindly donate money to keep us afloat, especially the regular contributors (we need more – see above).
In particular, thanks are due to Winston Plowes, David Andrew, Greg Freeman, Rachel Bond, Sean Kavanagh, John Togher, John Keane, John Armstrong, Gemma O’Neil, Rod Tame and Jeff Dawson (Jefferama), Cynthia Buell-Thomas, who just get on with it and make it work. Michael Jordon and Paul Emberson have written, and continue to write, the software that ensures regular innovation in the superb features that make the site so different, so user-friendly. We would not have got this far were it not for Paul Blackburn’s unstinting efforts over many years. He is presently recuperating somewhere in cyberspace. I also want to mention Chris Dawson, who looked after the news so well before Greg and has now set up her own venture, Wise Badger. We wish her loads of success.
I also want to thank those of you who regularly contribute to the blogs, discussions, so forth. The quality of comment, the erudition of the contributors is fantastic. Keep it coming, and we might be going for another 7 years!
Julian, on behalf of the aforementioned Write Out Loud team.