Summer School

Monday 9th - Friday 13th August

£35 per day // £165 for the whole week 

Our first online summer school will give you tools, tips and motivation to move forward as a writer. We'll spend each morning in a workshop with a Northern guest writer then use the afternoon to write and feedback to the group. On Friday, we'll have a bonus panel with Northern writers.

Each day runs from 10am to 4pm with a lunch break and regular tea breaks. The sessions will run on Zoom and be recorded so you can access them afterwards. Sarah Davy will be your host for the week. 

Places are limited to 14 participants per day.


Here's the rundown:

Monday - Ways into Writing

Tuesday - Exploring Form

Wednesday - Embracing Place

Thursday - Write/Polish/Pitch

Friday - Being A Writer

Our summer school is suitable for writers who want to make progress on creative projects, experiment with form and develop their writing practice with our friendly writing community.

You can book for a single day or the whole week. Interested? Full details below, including guest writer bios. Now head over to Eventbrite and book your place!

Ways into Writing

Monday 9th August

Morning workshop with Amanda Quinn and Sarah Davy

Find new ways into writing and develop your writing habits with Amanda and Sarah. We'll explore using objects, mark making and images to tell stories and try out writing techniques to invigorate your practice. This is the perfect place to start when words are hard to come by and will give you a toolkit to dip into whenever you need it.

After lunch, we'll come back together to write, work through our exercises and feedback to the group, led by Sarah. 

Exploring Forms

Tuesday 10th August

Morning workshops on form with Amanda Quinn and Katie Hale

Micro-Fiction with Amanda Quinn - 1 hour

Tiny stories are everywhere – in shopping lists, emails, advertising slogans, postcards, and song lyrics. Find out how you can tell a complete story in very few words in this micro-fiction writing workshop. The session will look at how to write stories under 300 words. You will leave with prompts and exercises designed to inspire ultra-short writing as well as information on where to submit your stories for publication.

Poetry with Katie Hale - 1 hour

In this workshop, we will explore poetic forms that are less about rhyme schemes or rules on numbers of lines, and more about the feelings and information they can convey: the narrative poem, the ode, the short poem, the list. How can we use these free poetic forms to generate material – and how might they work as part of a longer piece of writing?

After lunch, we'll come back together to write, work through our exercises and feedback to the group, led by Sarah. 

Embracing Place

Wednesday 11th August

Morning workshop with Katie Hale

Everything happens somewhere, be it a poem, a story, or a piece of creative non-fiction. Whatever we’re writing, setting plays a role – so in this workshop, we’ll give it the attention it deserves.

During the workshop, we will look at poetry and fiction that uses place not as an afterthought, but as integral to its making – then look at how we can shape our own writing by doing the same. How can we make a setting more dynamic? What other ways are there of exploring place?

Borrowing techniques from cinema, visual art and various genres of writing, we will explore how to make our settings come alive, and how different tools might enhance a story or a poem.

After lunch, we'll come back together to write, work through our exercises and feedback to the group, led by Sarah. 

Write / Polish / Pitch

Thursday 12th August

Morning workshop with Dr Sarah Dobbs

This workshop will give you practical tips to navigate your individual path from writing to publication. You'll emerge with a strategy for ensuring your work is both professionally edited and for how you might take this work forward. We'll consider traditional publishing routes and non-traditional avenues. You don’t need any experience or to have a completed manuscript, just a desire to get your work heard.

After lunch, we'll come back together to write, work through our exercises and feedback to the group, led by Sarah. 

Being A Writer

Friday 13th August

Morning workshop with Megan Holland 

A safe space to learn to speak about yourself and your work with confidence. Identify the things you value as a writer, craft your bio, explore the best platforms for your practice and learn how to create effective content without draining valuable writing time!

This workshop is perfect if you’re figuring out how to speak about your work or wondering how to position yourself as a writer commercially – and you’ll also be sent a pack of brand questionnaires, a content calendar and useful resources that you can use after the session as you continue to explore your writing identity.

Afternoon panel and Q&A with Katie Hale, Lisette Auton and Caroline Hardaker.

After our Q&A, we'll come back together to talk over our thoughts from the day, led by Sarah.

Guest Writers

Amanda Quinn is a writer and tutor based in the north east of England. Her micro fiction has been published widely, including in National Flash Fiction Day anthologies and publications such as Splonk, 50-Word Stories, Neon Literary Magazine, Ellipsis Zine, and Spelk.  She teaches creative writing for the Workers Educational Association and other organisations and is passionate about inspiring and supporting people to enjoy writing creatively.

Katie Hale is an internationally recognised novelist & poet, with more than a decade’s experience of leading creative writing workshops.

Her novel, My Name is Monster, was shortlisted for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award, and has been translated into multiple languages, and she is also the author of two poetry pamphlets. A former MacDowell Fellow and winner of the Munster Chapbook Prize, she has created commissioned work for the National Trust, the Barbican Centre, and BBC Radio 4.

She leads writing workshops for universities, arts organisations and schools, and mentors emerging writers on a one-to-one basis.


Dr Sarah Dobbs is a novelist, performer and storyteller, drawing on her knowledge and techniques in each medium she works in. Sarah completed her PhD at Lancaster University, has published two novels and just completed her third. Her work has been broadcast on the BBC and she has taught on the Guardian Masterclass series. Sarah currently works for the University of Sunderland as a senior lecturer and programme leader on their English: Creative and Professional Writing course. Sarah is the co-founder of an aerial theatre company in the North East, Uncaged.

Megan Holland is a writer, producer and marketing strategist, helping brands to find their voices and leading creative experiences. With seven years’ experience working in advertising, she wrote the first ever VR experience set in a church for Cartmel Priory and managed the branding of several organisations throughout the UK. Now freelance, she has recently developed an audio mindfulness experience with Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Her short story won a Creative Future Literary Award and she came second in the 2019 Hinterland Prize for creative non-fiction. Megan is part of Dahlia Book’s A Brief Pause and blogs about grief at

Lisette Auton, Ouseburn, Quayside, Studi

Lisette Auton is a disabled writer, poet, novelist, spoken-word artist, actor, film & theatre-maker, and creative practitioner; she does stuff with words. Her debut middle grade novel THE SECRET OF HAVEN POINT is forthcoming from Puffin in February 2022, with a second in 2023. She’s the 2019 Early Careers Fellow for Literature at Cove Park, and an award-winning poet, known for her energised spoken-word performances. Lisette works with creative collaborators to create innovative cross artform works. She is a director of the Disconsortia collective of North East disabled artists. Her current work is focused on ‘Writing the Missing’.

Caroline Hardaker is an author, poet, novelist, occasional librettist and sporadic puppeteer. Caroline’s poetry collections, Bone Ovation and Little Quakes Every Day, are published by Valley Press. Caroline's debut novel, Composite Creatures, was published by Angry Robot in April 2021. Her libretto for the opera, Folk Tales, premiered in London in September 2020. Caroline's poetry has been published worldwide, most recently in Magma, The Interpreter's House, The Emma Press, Neon Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, Eyewear Publishing's Best New British and Irish Poets, and Contemporary British Poetry from Platypus Press. Caroline's also worked with various organisations and community groups to advocate the holistic benefits of writing and making.