Type writer typing 'What is your story'Edge Hill University will host two literary events this month exploring identity in fiction and the concept of “northern writing”.

Publishing the North, on the 12th of June will explore concepts of Northern Writing, whether such a thing exists and what northern-based publishers have to offer in comparison to the multinational giants.

During this event Edge Hill’s Professor Ailsa Cox will be in conversation with members of the Northern Fiction Alliance.

This will be followed by a reading from the NRG group of Edge Hill Writers, whose work negotiates themes of identity, place and sexuality.

During the evening, Professor Cox will also announce the shortlist for the 2017 Edge Hill Prize for a published short story collection.

Professor Ailsa Cox said:

Nowadays, writers don’t sit around waiting for their genius to be discovered by the big London-based publishers. They get out there and make their voices heard through small magazines, independent publishers, live literature events and so forth.

The Northern Fiction Alliance, an Arts Council funded consortium of independent publishers, is championing this work, and the work of their other authors, in the global market…

I’ll be asking whether there is a distinctive northern identity in fiction-writing and publishing.

In addition, fiction is one way to explore your own identity and to imagine the lives of others. When the Narrative Research Group joins me, we’ll be doing exactly that through readings of new work from authors including Billy Cowan, Carol Fenlon, Philippa Holloway and Kim Wiltshire.

We’ll be exploring themes of sexual identity, geographical belonging and family relationships, with humour and insight.

During the first event Ailsa will explore the newest voices of the north and how they emerged motivated by their passion of literature.

Later on, she, along with the Narrative Research Group of Edge Hill Writers will negotiate identity, place and sexuality in writing. Speakers at this event will include:

  • PhD graduate Carol Fenlon, reading from her latest book Plotlands, set in a decaying seaside shantytown, where people come to escape their former lives.
  • Award-winning playwright Billy Cowan who will deliver some of his favourite flash fiction – a wry and humorous account of growing up gay in Northern Ireland.
  • Dr Kim Wiltshire, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, scriptwriter and fiction writer whose main research interest includes gender representations, masculinity and feminism.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD student Philippa Holloway, a globally published short fiction writer. Philippa’s research looks at the cultural impact of landscape and digital technology on the act of writing.

Ailsa Cox is the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction and the founder of The Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story. During Publishing the North Ailsa will be in conversation with members of the Northern Fiction Alliance, Nathan Connolly, Publishing Director at Liverpool-based Dead Ink Books and S.J. Bradley, Director of the Northern Short Story Festival and the organiser of Fictions of Every Kind, a literary evening in Leeds. The conversation will be followed by a reading from S.J. Bradley, whose novel Guest is newly released from Dead Ink.

The Northern Fiction Alliance is an Arts Council-funded consortium of independent publishers, including Comma Press, And Other Stories, Peepal Tree Press and Dead Ink Books, formed to showcase works at an international level. The discussion will converse the penetrative power of the united publishers and their imprint on the industry.

The event is part of Edge Hill University’s annual Festival of Ideas themed around the topics of Identity and Belonging. Debates, talks, films, exhibitions, roundtables and performances make June a month full of events open to anyone interested in existential matters, from gender fluidity to technological classification.

Refreshments will be available.

To book free tickets for these events on the 12th of June, 6:00pm – 7:30pm and 7:30pm – 9:00pm, visit