The Creative Future Literary Awards is pleased to announce performance poet Dean Atta as its Writer in Residence 2017.

This unique residency places a successful under-represented writer in a social care organisation for six months. As well as having the time and space to write afforded by a residency, Atta will provide a positive role model for service users.

The residency will take place at Preston Park Recovery Centre in Brighton – a supportive environment for those who have experienced mental health challenges.

On being appointed Writer in Residence, Atta said:

 Mental Health has been a subject matter in the background of my writing for over a decade but it’s only now coming to the foreground. I think this mirrors what we are seeing in society at large; finally mental health is becoming less of a taboo and more openly spoken about and understood.

 I hope what comes out of this residency can add to the conversations that are already taking place and help more people to speak out about and understand mental illness. As a black gay man, I have seen how so many men, people of colour and LGBT people do not seek help when they need it. If what I write on this residency helps one person to do this it will have been worth it.

Alongside the residency, Atta will receive bespoke training from Creative Future and New Writing South, as well as a £1400 bursary. Work that Atta produces during the residency will also be published in the Creative Future Literary Awards anthology, alongside award-winning writers like Lemn Sissay.

Beth Shepherd, Assistant Contract Manager at Preston Park Recovery Centre said:

We are delighted to be working with Creative Future again. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome the greatly respected well renowned poet Dean Atta as our new writer in residence at the centre to inspire budding writers to explore their ideas and gain more confidence in their work.

Last year’s pilot residency featured Lewes-based writer, Tara Gould, and received extremely positive reviews from both the writer and service users. Partners New Writing South said:

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Dean Atta in a number of roles over the past five years and we look forward to seeing what comes out of this residency with Preston Park Recovery Centre.

Atta’s progress on the residency will be documented via a series of posts on the Creative Future Literary Awards website