Two of our Creative Writing students, Lydia Roskoszek and Jennifer Henderson, have recently had their work broadcast on BBC Radio 4, read by professional actors and produced by the highly regarded and prestigious production company, Sweet Talk Productions. The work was read as part of the series ‘New Frequencies’ which is a new series on BBC Radio 4 showcasing the work of writers between the ages of 16 and 21.
Congratulations to Lydia and Jennifer. This is absolutely brilliant news and a hugely important step in any emerging writer’s career!”Sarah Schofield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing
We spoke to both of the students, Jennifer and Lydia, who talked us through the process and how they felt:
What was the process for how you got your work published on BBC Radio 4?
“I sent my work into Sweet Talk Studios (for BBC Radio Four) after a call for submissions was alerted to us by one of my tutors. One of the stories that I’d written on one of my modules fitted the length being asked for. So after a series of edits, I sent it in by email.”Jennifer
“My short story was originally submitted as part of an assignment, for which the prompt was ‘Writing as Reminiscing’. After it was submitted and marked, my teacher told me that it was of publishable quality and that I should submit it to this writing competition that she had caught wind of, which was being hosted by Sweet Talk Productions. Before that, I had never actually considered sending it off anywhere. I didn’t think it was all that good. I’d almost completely forgotten about the fact that I’d submitted it because Sweet Talk got back to me about 6 months later. And my story had won!”Lydia
How did you feel when you found out your work had been chosen to be published?
“I had to read the email a couple of times before it actually sank in. Honestly, I never expected it and it was a dream come true.”Jennifer
“My first thought was, ‘This is insane. There’s no way it actually won, that story was rubbish!’ I must have reread the confirmation email fifty times that day. I just couldn’t process the fact that my story (and by extension, I) had been accepted. Most of my friends and family said, ‘See? I knew you could do it. You deserve this, you’re good at what you do!’ but the feeling was so bizarre and foreign to me.”Lydia
What was it like to hear your work being read on the BBC for the first time?
“It was surreal. I heard it for the first time when it was first broadcast and the voice actor was perfect for my main character, Henry. I don’t think they could have done any better.”Jennifer
“It was such a surreal feeling—I’m not ashamed to say that I cried the entire time. The narrator, Vineeta Risha, did such a beautiful job and my whole family was moved to tears, since the story is very special to them. I was working at a small company at the time and everyone in the office turned off their radios just so they could tune in and listen. It was such a wonderful experience, even if I was a little shy about hearing my own voice in the interview.Lydia
How has studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill helped to open up opportunities like this for you?
“Well, I actually heard about the opportunity through my tutors so without them I never would have heard about the submission call. They often send through opportunities for all year groups so it’s really helpful for getting work out there.”Jennifer
“I was never a hugely confident person before university. I hated everything I wrote and was never brave enough to send it out to anywhere or anyone. But surrounding yourself with classmates and lecturers who really believe in your abilities, and are willing to help you with your writing, really makes a difference. I would never have sent my story off to Sweet Talk Productions had my friends and teachers not said, ‘No, really, this could win!’”Lydia
Tell us a bit about your experience studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill.
“There is an interesting balance of creative pieces and analysing of other writers’ work which I have found to be both beneficial and not too overbearing on the essay side of things. I really like the freedom of the course and the way that you, as the writer, take precedence rather than just the writers that you study.”Jennifer
“The connections I’ve made and the people I’ll never forget. I loved studying new things and reading the work of people I previously hadn’t heard of, and doing it surrounded by the people I love was so fun. I feel so grateful to have met them all. They’re what really made my time at university special.”Lydia
Have you got any more plans for getting your work ‘out there’?
“I’m definitely trying. Honestly, I never thought that I would actually be able to do anything with my work, but this has given me the confidence to keep going.”
“Absolutely! My dream as a child was to write a novel and become a published author, and that is still the case today. I won’t stop until I get my name on that shelf!”
What’s the next steps for you?
“At the moment I’m working on more short stories to submit and a longer piece that I hope will become a novel.”
“More writing competitions. I want to spend 2022 building up my confidence more and more, so I’ll continue to write short stories in my spare time. I hear that Big Finish Productions holds a yearly writing competition for Doctor Who (something I absolutely adore) so I’m looking forward to participating in that next May!”