Talent Development

Word Space 2024-25

7th May 2024

Word Space is Literature Works’ inclusive and diverse talent development programme for developing new voices from around the South West region.

2024-25 sees our third cohort of 8 emerging writers embark on a creative journey with their mentors for 12 months to develop their work and achieve set writing goals.

Meet the Cohort

  • After deciding to make the most of his surname, Bob has been writing modern Gothic fiction for the past few years. Taking inspiration from current authors such as Catriona Ward and Andrew Michael Hurley, he also draws from the classic horrors by Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill.

    Always putting queer characters front and centre, Bob’s work aims to give voice to those often ‘othered’ – for whom everyday horrors often loom large. Living and working from home in Cornwall, a bleak and storm-battered west country setting is also a pre-requisite.

    After winning the Spotlight First Novel Award with the opening of a manuscript he’s never felt happy to submit to an agent, Bob has since been working on his second attempt at a novel with the aim of securing representation. Near to completion, this current project has earned the runner-up spot in Jericho Writers’ Friday Night Live event and a place in the longlist of The Literary Consultancy’s Pen Factor competition.

    The main hope for this programme is to develop and refine the next manuscript, while finally getting to grips with the submission process. Publication remains Bob’s ultimate goal.

  • A former national and regional journalist, Chris Campbell now works in PR in Bristol. He lives with his wife and two-year-old son, with a little one on the way. Many of his poems are around ‘home’, ‘nature’ and ‘family’. He has written poetry since a teenager and has published two pamphlets and a collection of poems (‘All Island No Sea’, Alien Buddha Press, 2022).

    Chris was shortlisted for Canterbury Poet of the Year 2023 and was a Guernsey International Poetry Competition 2022 ‘Poems on the Buses’ winner. He received third prize in the Shelley Memorial Prize Poetry Competition 2022 and won The Portico Library’s ‘Poetry Prize’ in 2021.

    His poems have appeared in publications including Magma, Prole, Black Bough Poetry, Flight of the Dragonfly, Dreich, Indigo Dreams’ The Dawntreader, Streetcake and The Waxed Lemon. His poetry features on BBC Radio Bristol. His upcoming pamphlet ‘Whelks Know’ will be published by Back Room Poetry later this year.

  • Spider lover, worm rescuer… in fact anything that moves and grows and also things that don’t, like stones – or do they? Estelle is an award winning nature writer and performance poet. Her nature story show The Trapped Doe debuted at London’s Etcetera Theatre (2024) and Cranborne Chase National Landscape commissioned her to headline “Festival Of Words” (2023). A winner of BBC Radio Wiltshire’s “Ten Tiny Plays About Wiltshire”, she was nominated for the Forward Prize in relation to her debut poetry collection Motherhoodlum (Jawbone), which is included in the National Poetry Library’s collection. Estelle was second in The Yeovil Literary Prize (Novel) 2022.

    Publications include Mslexia, Dialect, andThe New Blackmore Vale Magazine, and (U.S.) Rock And A Hard Place, Dark Yonder, and Kingfisher. Performances include the National Trust, Southbank (London) and the Royal Albert Hall. Estelle won the Dorchester Literary Festival Poetry Slam 2023. Delighted to be included in Literature Works 2024/2025 cohort, Estelle’s work will include her nature memoir, a story about landscape, heritage and second chances.

  • Inés Rae is an artist, writer, lecturer and curator. Trained in Fine Art, Rae’s work uses photography and text to explore representation, consumer culture and the everyday. Previous mixed media publications include A Real Work of Art and Kurl up n Dye, a monograph published by Wild Pansy Press with an introduction by Simon Grennan. A feature on the book has aired on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. Solo and collaborative works have been exhibited at ICA, London, ImagoLucis, Porto Portugal, Cornerhouse, Manchester; Impressions, York; Brighton Photo Biennial; and UCA Farnham. Her Arts Council supported project Portrait of a Woman will be shown at Photomuseum, Zarautz, San Sebastian in 2025.

    Current work in progress Searching for Leo is a creative nonfiction work exploring the life of Rae’s maternal grandfather who was a photographer during the Spanish civil war. She will use the Word Space opportunity to complete a first draft.

    Inés teaches Creative Media at Plymouth University and lives in Cornwall.

  • Jason Conway is a professional daydreamer based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. He is director of the Gloucestershire Poetry Society and founder and editor of Steel Jackdaw magazine. His poetry is published in Poetry Bus, The Poetry Village, Impspired, Wildfire Words, Dreich, Fevers of the Mind, Ink Sweat and Tears, and on BBC Upload. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and is an Arts Council funded poet.

    Professionally, he is a multidisciplinary freelance creative. For the Word Space programme, he’ll be producing a full length manuscript about Autism and ADHD, from his lived experience of neurodivergence. When he’s not working, he’s immersing himself in nature and loves a cold water swim.

  • Nirosha Gunatillake began writing earnestly in 2022 after years of writing poems on the back of matchboxes and stories on old bus tickets. She writes short stories, flash fiction, plays and poetry. She is driven to write about the vagaries of 21st century life, awkward obsessions, unfulfilled dreams and estranged lives. Nirosha is interested in the complex relationships that follow us through life and her characters are often those that don’t feel they have a voice.

    During the Word Space programme, she is aiming to refine her work and learn from other writers and different genres. Nirosha has been living in a rural South Devon community for the past decade. She works as a hospital physician and is continually moved by the stories and grace of the people she is fortunate to meet every day.

  • Tom Mason is a writer from Bristol. He is a graduate of The University of Bristol Creative Writing MA with Distinction and his first full-length novel, The Grief Tree, a science fiction novel exploring digital afterlives, is currently being queried with agents. Described as The Echo Wife meets Black Mirror, by way of The Overstory,The Grief Tree is about AI, love, and the legacy each of us leave when we die.

    Tom is currently working on his second manuscript, The Autumn Sun. The novel, Wool crossed with Piranesi, follows the journey of an outcast looking for a place to belong on a nomadic society set in a futuristic ship-breaking yard.

    Tom’s short stories have appeared in indie anthologies including Bad Language and Watch and he has performed his work at multiple events including Sounds of the City Festival and Novel Nights. His favourite authors include Jeff VanderMeer, Sophie Mackintosh, and Neil Gaiman.

  • Ulrike has been writing ever since she can remember, mainly to make sense of the world. She loves variety in both writing and life, and is currently living on the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall.

    She grew up moving between countries and learning languages, finding solace in a wide range of literature. Most of her adult life she has worked as a teacher, sharing her love for words. In 2009 she completed a MA in Creative Writing from Southampton University with distinction. Since then, her short play Draco and Juno was performed at the Berry Theatre. Her short stories are published in anthologies and magazines, including with Solent Press, Cornwall Writers and The London Reader. Her poetry has appeared in Mordardh, a collaborative surf poetry anthology based in Cornwall. Her writing is inspired by her mixed German-Chilean heritage, and she shared South American stories at the Tropical Pressure festival. Her favourite tree is the Monkey Puzzle, and she loves swimming in the sea.

    She is currently working on a historical fiction novel based on her heritage, and will concentrate on this during the Word Space programme, as well as putting together shorter works for submission.


Our third year of Word Space is being delivered with the support of our 5 fantastic partner organisations: Dialect, providing opportunities to writers in rural/small town/remote areas; Out on the Page, nurturing and supporting LGBTQ+ writers; Little Toller Books, publishers and booksellers specialising in themes around rurality and nature writing; Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions, who specialise in presenting underrepresented voices and reaching diverse audiences; and The Writers’ Block in Cornwall; an innovative creative writing hub, based in Redruth.


Check back here soon to see more information about our mentors for this year.