Monday, 15 August 2016

Jerwood Fiction Prize winner Naomi Wood to judge Words And Women’s prose competition, and we have some amazing new prizes too!

Naomi Wood
Our annual prose competition launches today! This is the fourth year it’s been running and this year we’re proud to announce that our guest judge is Naomi Wood, the prize-winning author of The Godless Boys and the bestseller Mrs. Hemingway (both from Picador). Mrs. Hemingway has been translated into ten languages, won the Jerwood Fiction Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2015 International Dylan Thomas Prize. The brilliant novel was also a 2015 Richard and Judy Bookclub choice.

Naomi Wood will be looking through our competition entries for ‘writing that is smart but also honest. Writing that challenges the reader and writing that may take risks in voice or form. But most of all, I'm looking for writing that has a big heart, and where the reader is left moved by the whole experience of being in the world created by the writer.'

If having Naomi as our judge isn’t fantastic enough we also have two major prizes to award this year: the East of England Prize and a new national prize for women writers over 40.

The national award, generously sponsored by Hosking Houses Trust, marks the fifth anniversary of Words and Women and offers women over the age of 40 the opportunity to win £1,000 and a month-long writing retreat. 

The East of England prize offers its winner £600 and a mentoring session with Jill Dawson of Gold Dust. 

Both national and regional winners will be published in Words and Women: Four, alongside 20 runners up. The anthology, published in partnership with Unthank Books in Norwich, will be launched on International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2017.

All competition entrants will be offered a special discount for Gold Dust, the high calibre mentoring scheme for writers.

For more information on the prizes see our dedicated blog page prose comp prizes and for details on how to enter see our dedicated blog page  prose comp entry details.

But in short: entries should be 2,200 words or under.  Fiction, memoir, life-writing and creative non-fiction are all welcome. Extracts from longer works will not be considered. The competition is open for entries from the 5th September and the deadline for entries is 15th November 2016. Winners will be announced in January 2017. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Support for filmmakers in the East of England

Wavelength Films and Creative England are collaborating on a talent development module for filmmakers and screen writers in the region.

This is a six-part module run over 6 evenings across 5 months. It is designed to guide 40 emerging film-makers (including writers, producers, directors) through the stages of developing, funding, producing and distributing their first full-length feature. The participants will be selected for the programme on the basis of a competitive application process, requiring them to demonstrate a track record either in short film production, other forms of storytelling for the screen or as an emerging writer in other genres. Participation in the module is free. The selected cohort will attend a series of 5 workshops and 1 screening event, each featuring contributions from industry professionals and experts. They will also be encouraged to explore and initiate their own creative collaborations with other attendees, stimulating the development of new projects and partnerships. 

Below are some FAQs about the scheme which potential applicants may find useful:


1.    I am currently in further/higher education (university, film school etc.). Can I apply?
No, you cannot apply if you are enrolled in formal further/higher education

2.    I am under 18. Can I apply?
No, you must be over 18 to apply.

3.    I want to apply but will not be able to attend all 6 sessions – will you still consider my application?
We would like participants to be able to commit to attending at least 5 of the 6 sessions in order to get the most out of the module.

4.    I’m from the East of England, but no longer based there. Can I apply?
No. Based on the limited amount of places available, this is just for people currently based in the East of England as we have run Talent Modules in other regions (South East, South West, North East, Midlands and Yorkshire). We may ask to see proof of address if we feel it’s necessary. 

5.    What do you mean by feature film?
In the context of this module we mean a fiction film of 80 minutes or more in length, released theatrically or having attracted distribution.

6.    I have already made a feature film. Am I eligible?
If your film was funded by the BFI or through other public funds or has been released in UK cinemas or shown at recognised film festivals then you are unlikely to benefit from this module.

7.    I have not made a short film. Am I eligible?
You do not need to have made a short film previously to be eligible for this module. We just need to see some evidence of your ability to tell stories for the screen. You may be a writer of fiction or drama, a DoP or editor with experience of documentary or drama, a producer or director of TV documentaries or a director working in theatre.

8.    Does the course cover animation?
No, the focus is on live action not animation.

9.    I am interested in feature documentaries is the scheme relevant to me?
Some parts of the course that cover storytelling, financing and production apply to documentary as well as drama but we will not be covering the very specific skills and issues that concern feature documentary.

10.I have applied for other Creative England schemes like iShorts and iFeatures and been unsuccessful. Am I eligible?
Yes. We have different selection criteria for the modules so please don’t be put off from applying now.

11.My current project in development is a TV drama series not a film does this matter?
Not if it is a great idea, but bear in mind that the purpose of the course is to  equip you with knowledge and skills to help get a feature film project made so consider if your project could work as a feature film or tell us about another project.

12.If selected for the scheme does that mean my project is eligible for funding by Creative England?
The scheme is primarily designed to share relevant knowledge and information to prepare you for taking the next step with your project. There are no follow-on funds attached for development or production, but we encourage people to apply to our film offer.

13.I don’t have any of the experience that you specify, but I do have good reasons for thinking I’m ready to make a feature film: will you consider my application?
If you genuinely believe that you can convince us of your suitability for the course then you are welcome to make an application.

14.How many people will you be selecting for the module?
Around 40 places are available and will be selected on a competitive basis by Creative England and write2screen. The screening and networking event on 12th December will be an open event which you can register to attend.

15.Will you give feedback on applications which are unsuccessful?
No. Based on the volume of submissions we’re anticipating we are unable to give any specific feedback on individual applications.

16.I am part of a film-making team – can I make a joint application with other members of my team?
Please apply as an individual telling us about your experience. If you are part of a team that information will be relevant to your application. You might want to consider whether other team members should apply too, as one of the planned sessions covers creative collaboration and dealing with different visions and approaches.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Prepare for our prose competition!

Our annual prose competition for women writers of fiction, memoir and creative non-fiction will be open for entries on the 5th September this year. The fee will be £10 per entry and each entry should be 2,200 words or less.  

This year, thanks to some very generous sponsorship, we will be awarding more prizes in addition to our traditional first prize of £600 and publication for our winner's work and twenty other highly commended entries in our annual anthology. We also have a fabulous guest judge. We will announce the judge's name mid August and details of our new prizes then too. The announcements will be made on this blog and through our Twitter feed @wordsandwomen. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Amanda Addison on her writing life and new book An Amsterdam Affair

My first degree was in illustration at Chelsea School of Art and in 2005 I completed an MA in Writing the Visual in Norwich at NUA. Since then I have worked across both disciplines of Art and Creative Writing.

This makes for an interesting working pattern where I alternate between teaching (Art and Creative Writing), writing and making art. This has proved very productive, as it allows me to take a break from one area of work, allow things to mull over in my subconscious and then return with a fresh take on my work – rather like the way an artist/writer often realises the solution to a problem whilst doing the washing up.

As the author I make artworks (as if I’m the protagonist) – in the manner of William Boyd’s Nat Tate. This cross-discipline approach has been supported by the Arts Council, which awarded me a Grant for the Arts to write a novel, where the key characters are artists and use art to sustain and explore themselves. Although, unlike Nat Tate, I made a decision to not include the works in the novel – as I wanted the writing to carry meaning and allow the reader to use their imagination.

Whilst working on my manuscript Picasso, Cream Horns and Tulips for Alice - which is out now with the revised title An Amsterdam Affair - I began to hear more and more about notions of creative living (making art, writing, music). I am a great admirer of Elizabeth Gilbert’s (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) Big Magic, a non-fiction book on creative living and its wonders. This really struck a chord with me as last year I taught the Art Module on the Arts & Wellbeing degree at City College, Norwich.

I write about East Anglian big skies, the sea, windswept beaches and flat landscapes both sides of the North Sea. I paint the landscape too, from memory, sketches, en plein air, and have just had a painting shortlisted for the Holt Festival Art Prize. In many ways the settings in An Amsterdam Affair are almost characters in themselves, reflecting the main characters’ changing moods and emotions. Sam, one of the story’s narrators uses a beach hut as her studio. I also use artistic motifs as settings, for example, Maggie Hambling’s shell sculpture on Aldeburgh beach, is a key location for a romantic tryst in An Amsterdam Affair

As with many writers I’m not too keen on my work being placed within just one genre, which can mean there are difficulties for publishers who tend to like books to come in neat boxes.  However, I have had great support from my literary agent, Sonia Land at Sheil Land, who patiently takes on board the artist side to my work!


An Amsterdam Affair is out now.  It’s a bitter-sweet family saga about searching for lost love and how families come undone and are re-made. At the heart of the story is a family secret. If you enjoyed Last Tango in Halifax: the inter-generational themes of romance, second-chances and how the internet and Social Media can change our relationship with the past and each other; or the seaside and painting motifs in Notes for an Exhibition; or the art & craft themes of my previous novel, Laura’s Handmade Life, this may be the book for you!

The story is based in The Netherlands and Norfolk. Sam and her idealistic teenaged son, Matty, feel constrained by the demands of Sam’s mother, hypochondriac Nan. Phil, Sam’s husband, is unemployed because of a short-lived affair that cost him his job as a geologist.
Sam finds solace in wild swimming and making art in her beach hut studio, while Matty dreams of becoming an architect. He prepares for a college trip to Amsterdam but before he leaves, Sam gives him a book that requires him to look for someone in Amsterdam.

Phil gets a temporary job off-shore and for the first time in a long while, Sam finds herself alone. She starts writing an art blog which attracts the attention of Theo, her Dutch-Indonesian ex-lover from a long forgotten relationship. He emails her and their online correspondence re-ignites their relationship and he wants to meet up with her once again.Matty meets the girl of his dreams, Alice, and both soon find themselves as detectives caught up in unravelling his family’s secret history.

Sam visits Nan who opens up to her daughter and unlocks the true nature of Matty’s search and brings to a head the unsavoury past and the racist morals of the 1960s. She meets up with Theo and realises that it was her husband’s affair that forced her to wake up from sleep-walking through life. Her careless emailing is read by Phil who returns back early to confront her.


Amanda Addison is a graduate of the Chelsea School of Art and holds an MA from the Norwich School of Art & Design. She lectures in Art & Design and Creative Writing and taught art and design for a number of years, winning awards for her paintings, illustrations and textile works. She had been the Travel Writer/Illustrator for a range of articles for the Archant Newspaper Group.

Her hand embroidery featured in public collections, including that of the Redditch Needle Museum, and provides inspiration for much of her novels which taps into the popularity of vintage fashion, the love of handicrafts and the drive for creative identity and self-sufficiency.

Her previous full-length novel, Laura’s Handmade Life, was published by Little, Brown to great acclaim and has been translated in several languages. Following consultation with library staff and the public, Laura’s Handmade Life made it into final 12 works of fiction for Norfolk Narratives 2014.

Amongst numerous awards, her short story, Alternative Renditions, a re-telling of traditional fairy tales, was selected by Bridge House Publishing, and she was runner-up for the Cinnamon Press Novella Award.Currently Amanda is on to the Longlist of the Commonword Diversity Writing for Children Prize with her novel for 9-11 years, Billy's World Class Bake-Off.