What's On

Urban Writers Retreat Opportunity

By April 24, 2023

Community. Leeds.

An affordable day-long writing retreat in Leeds city centre in May will be an opportunity to writers in the city to get the time and space they need to create their work. Organised by the volunteer-led group Fictions of Every Kind, the day, which is on Saturday May 27th at Carriageworks Theatre, offers a full day of dedicated writing time with other writers in the City.

The day being co-organised by Jenna Isherwood and SJ Bradley, offers the opportunity for writers in the city and beyond, to concentrate more fully on their work. As writers themselves, both know the importance of offering affordable and accessible support for new and emerging creatives. Fictions Of Every Kind, which has supported hundreds of writers over the years, celebrated its tenth birthday during the pandemic and the organisers say that offering these affordable writing retreats meets their aim to help support writers engaged in the lonely act of writing. Fictions of Every Kind grew out of a long tradition of DIY and volunteer-led arts organising in the city of Leeds. Isherwood and Bradley both have a background in the DIY music scene, and were interested to see how volunteer-led activity could support new writers, as it does with musicians. This initial idea grew, and developed into a writers’ social night based at Wharf Chambers.

During the pandemic, they offered Zoom events, hosting short story writers Uschi Gatward and David Constantine, winner of the BBC National Short Story Prize. Now, they’re offering these one-day writing retreats to meet a need that they know is pressing: that of affordable, accessible support that helps develop new writing.

“People don’t have the time or know-how to spend hours applying for arts funding or to get grants,” Bradley explains. “These writing days provide an accessible opportunity for writers to develop new work and experiment with their prose or poetry, without having to go through an intimidating application process.” Previous attendees have been able to produce an entire chapter of the novel they’re working on, or dozens of pages of script. “There’s something about being in a room with ten writers all doing the same thing that spurs you on and makes it easier to concentrate,” she added.

The venue is a short walk from the train station, and is in the city centre, making it easy to access.

“We know there’s very little infrastructure and support to help develop new writers in West Yorkshire,” says Bradley. “They can often feel isolated and discouraged, especially if they don’t have a network around them to help develop and support their work.” Unlike with other creative retreats, there’s no need to send in a CV or complete an application process to get a place – anybody who wants to come can simply book their place on Eventbrite.

Tickets for the all-day retreat, which runs in Side Room 3 at Carriageworks Theatre on Saturday May 27th, are available from £4, which you can buy here! However, writers who want to attend who need a PWYF / free ticket are encouraged to contact Fictions of Every Kind through the Eventbrite page or through their Twitter account.