For 2023! Meet the 6 New Northern Short Story Academy Writers

The Northern Short Story Festival Academy is delighted to announce that a further 6 promising writers are to join its now well-established Academy programme in 2023. Since its inception in 2018 the Academy has been supporting and championing writers in Yorkshire, helping them to hone their craft through monthly workshops where they have the chance to read and critique each other’s short stories. The Academy has already supported 24 Yorkshire writers and for this 5th intake, extended its search across the North of England.

The academicians work under the expert guidance of writer and creative writing tutor Anna Chilvers.  At the end of the 6-month programme they will have the opportunity to showcase their work at a special event.

Festival Director Fiona Gell says: “It’s a real thrill to be able to introduce our 6 writers from all over the North of England for 2023. Over 6 months, we will help them hone their short story writing skills and develop their voices. It’s very exciting to watch them become better at what they already do very well. We had a lot of entries this year and competition for places was fierce. We’re sorry that we couldn’t take more writers onto the scheme. It’s a real testament to the North’s pool of writing talent. All applications are read anonymously so that it’s a completely fair and unbiased process. This totally free scheme is generously supported by Arts@Leeds and Leeds City Council and the Walter Swan Trust.”

Our 6 writers (L-R) for 2023 are:

Kate Burke (Manchester) is a writer of fiction in its many forms. She has written for stage, screen and page, and is an alumna of Comma Press’ short story course.

Sarah Davy (Northumberland) writes short stories, scripts and creative nonfiction. Her short fiction is published online and in print, including by York Literary Review, Mechanics Institute Review and Wild Pressed Books. Sarah has had short plays performed in Newcastle and London and her non fiction is published in Spelt Magazine. She is working on a short story collection exploring climate change and a play about a sheep farmer.

Lydia Gill (North Yorkshire) is the co-founder of children’s quarterly A Year and a Day, and collects, edits, and reimagines traditional stories for inclusion in the magazine. She is a Writer’s Block North East 2022 mentee and is working on an adult novel, an expansion of the recurrent themes in her short fiction: motherhood, disability and the land. Her ghost story ‘The Lowing’ is included in the Seventy2One chapbook series.

Alex Joynes (Bolton) is a writer whose short story Fledglings won Bronze Prize in the 2022 Creative Future Writers’ Award. He’s a graduate of the Comma Press Short Story Course. Alex also writes for the stage and his work has been performed in theatres across the northwest, including the Liverpool Everyman. He was shortlisted for the Lancaster Playwriting Prize for LGBTQ writers in 2021.

Catharine Mee (Durham) has spent years studying literature and languages in the UK and elsewhere. She writes short fiction and is perpetually working on a novel. Her favourite stories view reality from an unusual angle and are often a little unhinged.

Miranda Roszkowski (West Yorkshire) moved to Yorkshire in 2021 and is inspired by its landscape, culture and people every day. She writes fiction and plays, and is currently working on her first novel. She is creator and editor of 100 Voices, a new collection of stories by women writers from across the UK on achievement which was published by Unbound in 2022. She is passionate about great stories and who gets to tell them.

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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