Talent Development

Word Space

19th April 2022

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

The programme aims to nurture writing potential and talent, and develop a supportive and connected sense of community amongst new writers and with the established writers who will support them.

Word Space has a particular focus on supporting writers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, LGBTQ writers, minority ethnic writers and writers with a disability. We have partnered with five organisations to help extend the reach of the programme to such underrepresented voices. The partner organisations are The Bookery, an independent bookshop and writing hub in Crediton, Devon; Dialect, working with writers in rural Gloucestershire; Out on the Page, nurturing and supporting LGBTQ+ writers; Little Toller Books, publishers and booksellers specialising in themes around rurality and nature writing, and Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions, which specialises in presenting underrepresented voices and reaching diverse audiences.

Each partner organisation has nominated a participant to mentor for the Word Space programme. In due course, a 12-strong first cohort of emerging writers have embarked together on a creative journey with their mentors for 12 months to develop their work and achieve set writing goals. It is all taking place online, combining a writing group in Slack with live workshopping sessions, one to one mentoring and monthly industry insight sessions with agents, editors and other sector experts.

The regular workshop leader for Word Space will be the brilliant poet, playwright and skilled facilitator, Tolu Agbelusi, who hosted our online networking sessions for the Quay Words / Poetry Africa collaboration in 2021. Tolu is the author of Locating Strongwoman (Jacaranda Books 2020). She is the founder of Home Sessions, a poetry development program for young Black poets and she also facilitates a variety of workshops for schools, universities and festivals. We are delighted that the first Word Space industry insight session will be from the Society of Authors, a presentation about ‘Surviving as a Professional Author’. The talk is for authors at any stage of their career, especially those just starting out. Look out for Word Space updates during the year. We can’t wait to keep you posted about the group and their progress. Here, to kick it all off, you can…

Meet the mentors

  • Virginia Baily is the author of three novels: Africa Junction, Early One Morning, and The Fourth Shore. She won the McKitterick prize in 2012 for her debut novel and her work has been translated into thirteen languages. Early One Morning was a Sunday Times bestseller and was dramatized on BBC Radio 4. Her award-winning short stories have been widely published. She is the co-editor of Riptide short story journal. She is currently working on a novel set in Exeter.

  • J. R. Carpenter is an artist, writer, and researcher working across performance, print, and digital media. Her digital poem The Gathering Cloud won the New Media Writing Prize 2016. Her print collection An Ocean of Static was highly commended by the Forward Prizes 2018. Her recent collection This is a Picture of Wind was one of The Guardian’s best poetry books of 2020. She is a fellow of the Eccles Centre at the British Library and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. She is currently the Writer in Residence at University of Alberta 2020—2021.

  • Tracy Darnton is a writer for children and young adults. Her most recent thriller, Ready or Not, is out in May. Having graduated with distinction in 2015, Tracy now teaches as an Associate Lecturer on the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. She’s looking forward to being part of Word Space.

  • Rosie Garland writes long & short fiction, poetry & hybrid works that fall between and outside definition. She’s also singer in post-punk band The March Violets. With a passion for language nurtured by public libraries, her award-winning work has been widely published. New poetry collection What Girls do the Dark (Nine Arches Press) is out now. Latest novel The Night Brother was described by The Times as “a delight…with shades of Angela Carter.” In 2019, Val McDermid named her one of the UK’s most compelling LGBT writers.

  • Alyson Hallett is the current EarthArt Fellow in the Earth Sciences department of the University of Bristol where she is working with vulcanologists on the impact of meteors. Her latest pamphlet, Covid/Corvid was co-written with Penelope Shuttle and is published by Broken Sleep Books. Alyson is a Hawthornden Fellow and part-time lecturer at Falmouth Art School and UWE. She lives near Bath, loves to walk and swim in the sea, and is deeply committed to collaborative practice.

  • Tiffany Murray’s novels are Diamond Star Halo, Happy Accidents and Sugar Hall. She has a series of short stories on BBC Radio 4, ‘Huldur’s Café’, and is currently working on a crime novel, The Girl Who Spoke to Birds. Tiffany is also completing a memoir, You, Me, and The Rock and Roll Cook, about growing up in Monmouthshire with rock stars in the kitchen. She is a recipient of the Roger Deakin Award for nature writing from the Society of Authors, and has been an International Hay Festival Fiction fellow, a Fulbright scholar, and a Senior Lecturer. Tiffany founded and directs Hay Festival’s development program for Welsh writers, ‘Writers at Work.’

  • Jon Stock is a full-time author, specialising first in spy novels and, in recent years, psychological thrillers written under the name J. S. Monroe. His first novel, The Riot Act (Serpent’s Tail, 1997), was shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for its debut novel award, and his ‘Daniel Marchant’ spy trilogy, which began with Dead Spy Running (HarperCollins, 2009), was optioned as a film by Warner Bros. Jon Stock lives in Wiltshire with his wife, a photographer, and they have three adult children. His J. S. Monroe novels are set in a village not dissimilar to his own and play on the contrast between the county’s beautiful, Neolithic landscape and its sinister ‘deep state’ undercurrents. He is currently the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford.

  • Emma Timpany was born and grew up in the far south of New Zealand and has lived in Cornwall for twenty years. Her publications are the short story collections Three Roads, Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing (co-editor), The Lost of Syros and Over the Dam, and a novella, Travelling in the Dark. Her writing has won awards including the Society of Authors’ Tom-Gallon Trust Award.