We recently held our Creative Industries Symposium for all of our Creative Writing students, across all years of study. The interactive symposium brought guest speakers who work professionally within the creative industries, whether that be publishing, TV, radio, etc, to talk to our students about their experiences of how they got into their area of work. This allowed our students to hear, first-hand, from people who are doing the jobs they wish to do and demystified the industry. Students heard about each speaker’s creative writing careers and got an idea about where and how these opportunities can come from.
The symposium also provided the opportunity to bring all our students together as a writing community, as whilst writing and ideas gathering is often done in solitude, support from other writers, and your peers, is vital. We spoke to Programme Leader and event organiser Kim Wiltshire:
With an event like this we’re bringing people to our students who may not even be that much older than them, but who have found a way into jobs in this industry. As a course, we focus on the idea of being employable as a writer, and this event helps give that sense to students. We want our students to see and experience how they can use their Creative Writing degree, and their own skills. Writers are probably some of the most employable people ever!”Kim Wiltshire
Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Creative Writing
The list of speakers and their industries included:
Naji Bakhti – Novelist
Born and raised in Beirut, Naji Bakhti graduated from the American University of Beirut (Lebanon, 2011). He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster (2012) and a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (2018). His words have been published in the Guardian and the New Statesman among others. Between Beirut and the Moon (Influx Press, 2020), his debut novel, was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize.
Caroline Smailes – Novelist
Caroline Smailes is a published novelist whose works include 99 Reasons Why and The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton was also released as a film in 2020. Caroline also writes under the name of Caroline Wallace and her works under this name include The Finding of Martha Lost.
Becca Parkinson – Publisher
Becca Parkinson has spent time working at Comma Press, a not-for-profit publisher specialising in the publication of short stories. Becca currently works at Manchester University Press and has worked in the publishing industry for several years.
Lee Thompson – Screenwriter and Playwright
Lee is a screenwriter and playwright based in Liverpool. He recently completed work on series 12 of Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On, contributing episode two, which transmitted March 2021. He is currently in development on several original projects.
A graduate of the Liverpool Everyman Writers Programme, his theatre work has been performed in various theatres around the country including the Royal Exchange Manchester, Lost Theatre London, and the Liverpool Everyman. His one-woman monologue Qualified has been longlisted for the Alfred Bradley Award and subsequently performed at Hope Mill Theatre Manchester. His screenwriting work has been shortlisted for BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing competitions, BBC Drama Room, and the Northern Writers Award for Children.
Jeremy Osborne – Radio Producer (BBC Radio 4)
Jeremy Osborne has produced Short Readings for Sweet Talk Productions since 2010 and has been developing work in this area for more than fifteen years. He has found and abridged most of Sweet Talk’s Book At Bedtime output since 2008. In 2019 he won the Audio UK Silver Award for Best Readings Producer. His close links with writers, publishers, literary agents and the stronger creative writing courses have proved invaluable to his work.
The event was a huge success and provided students with an opportunity to hear, and ask questions, from speakers that they would never usually come across.
Dream of seeing your work in print, online or on stage? Our practice-led courses taught by professional writers at Edge Hill will help make this a reality. With modules like scriptwriting, fiction, poetry and games writing, as well as placements and work projects with organisations like Edge Hill University Press or Crooked Dice Game Design Studio, you’ll soon find your niche.