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Young Writers Inspired by Industry Professionals at University Event

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The next generation of novelists and writers assembled at the University of Worcester last weekend to gain an insight into the industry at the second Student Writers’ Toolkit event.

The event, hosted by the University in partnership with regional literature development agency Writing West Midlands, saw young writers, including graduates and current and prospective students, come together at the University’s City Campus to learn from some high profile figures currently working in the industry.

Poet and author Andrew Fusak Peters delivered a keynote presentation on sustaining a career as a writer, before a series of panel sessions took place, on topics such as How Publishing Works, Writing for Broadcast, Developing Writing Projects and Writing Online.

Panellists included The Archers scriptwriter Tim Stimpson, BBC Radio producer Tim Dee, writer and journalist James Walker, and literary agent Julia Churchill.

Julie Maclusky, Senior Lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing, explains: “We were thrilled to have been selected to host the second Student Writers’ Toolkit event; we have a strong and growing new Creative and Professional Writing degree, and this was a fantastic opportunity for our students and others to learn from those working in the industry.

“Our students were given the opportunity to perform their work, pick up knowledge and tips and network with a host of professionals, and we are certain that the experience will take them a step closer to fulfilling their writing ambitions.”

Also speaking at the event were James Urquhart, Relationship Manager (Literature) at Arts Council England, and Wes Brown, founder-editor of the literary magazine Myths of the Near Future.

To close the event, an Open Reading took place, giving student writers the chance to showcase their own work.

One of those, Val Turner, performed a poem about her mother’s Irish heritage and its influence upon her life. Of the event, she says: “The Student Writers’ Toolkit was a great opportunity to network and get first-hand advice from different professionals within the literary industry.

“The student Open Reading session enabled us to perform our own work to a live audience but in a safe, encouraging environment, which was great fun.”

Julie Maclusky continues: “It was fantastic to see so many Worcester students have the courage to get up in front of an audience and perform their pieces.

“We have an ice-breaking ‘Writers’ Bootcamp’ that kicks off our degree programme every September, and then a few weeks into their course, all of our first year students perform or stage a piece of their own writing in front of their peers.

“This is an innovative approach which gives our students a great sense of audience, staging and performance. The fact that so many of them took part in the Open Reading event is testament to that.”