I am a poet, editor, accredited coach, performer and collaborator.
I’ve published a collection of short stories, Closet Collection (Businesslike, 1994) and of poetry, Host (Waterloo Press, 2010). In 2009 I was commissioned to write a play for Gambolling Arena: I Wish You Love – performed in Bruges, Brighton, Liverpool and Edinburgh – in 2007 a libretto for an improvised opera, Flocking and in 2005, I collaborated with two artists to write a cross art book to celebrate reading for Calderdale Libraries, Reading is Believing, and with another artist on a comic strip for Lancaster Institute for Young Offenders, Reach for the Light. My poems are published here and in the States, in over twenty publications, including The British Council’s New Writing 15, The Rialto, Stand and Washington Square Review.
I was the founding editor of Flax, the publishing imprint for Lancaster Literature Festival, and have had the pleasure of being part of the team that published over fifty writers from the North West of England so far. I’ve edited individual poetry pamphlets: Maya Chowdhry’s The Seamstress and the Global Garment and Andrew McMillan’s Every Salt Advance and The Moon is a Supporting Player. Throughout my work as a writing facilitator I have edited anthologies of poetry and fiction by inmates of HMPs, primary school pupils, adult education colleges and day care centres. I am also an accredited coach, and apply coaching techniques to my editorial and mentoring work.
My ethos for editing and critiquing is to honour the poem, or collection. Everything serves the work and its potential. I have no desire to imprint myself or ideas on other people’s work. My aim is ensure your voice is clearly heard and expressed.
My website/blog is Echo Soundings.
I am a novelist, blogger and occasional short story writer.
My first novel, A Kind of Intimacy was published by Arcadia in 2009. It was short-listed for The Waverton Good Read award, the Guardian’s Not the Booker and listed as a ‘Waterstone’s New Voice’. In 2010 it won a Society of Authors Betty Trask award. My second novel, Cold Light sold to Sceptre in the UK and William Morrow in the US and will be out in May 2011. I am currently researching novel number three as well as regularly updating my blog – which won the Best Writing on a Blog award at the Manchester Blog awards 2008 and was short-listed for the best author’s blog category for the national Completely Novel blog awards.
Alongside my own writing, I teach, mentor and devise writing development projects. I’ve worked for The Lancashire Writing Hub setting up a local writers’ network, development opportunities for writers at all levels, and a series of live literature events. I have worked for The Liverpool Biennial devising and delivering a project that helped beginner writers use blogging and on-line mapping to tell stories. I’ve led workshops for Rainy City Stories, Time to Read, Lancashire Libraries, Litfest, the Writers in Prisons Network and a variety of universities.
I have lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Central Lancashire and have been a Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. I am currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster.
As an editor and mentor I take a hands-off approach because I know each writer has their own voice, their own writing process and rate of growth. I enjoy being a careful reader and a diplomatic, though direct, critic.
You’ll find more about me and my work at my website.
the Writing Smithy
We’re fascinated with the writing process; and enjoy working with other writers, people who share our passions. We value the importance of keeping at the slog when the excitement dies, and we value how much we can learn from the Writing Smithy relationships.
We’re as interested in the process as the end product, although understand the value of finishing things. This work keeps that alive for us too.
And, finally, we like working with each other.
(The Writing Smithy is the joint trading name of Jenn Ashworth and Sarah Hymas. Your contract of work is not with the Writing Smithy but with your individual reader or mentor.)