The WRITE Festival set to get underway in South Shields - this is what's in store

From creating pop-up characters to learning how to pen a chilling Gothic novel – there’s still time to get involved in this year’s week-long celebration of writing in South Tyneside.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:09 pm
The WRITE Festival begins in September.

The WRITE Festival is running from Friday, September 17, to Saturday, September 25.

It aims to showcase an array of literary and creative talent with a jam-packed programme of events, performances, workshops and talks at The Word in South Shields, across South Tyneside libraries and online.

Among the events is the opportunity for youngsters to join writer and illustrator Julia Stafford for a fun craft session to create a pop-up character.

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Julia Stafford

Children will paint, draw, cut and stick before bringing their pop-up face to life. The event is taking place on Sunday, September 19, at 2pm, at The Word. Tickets cost £2 per child.

North East author Helen Scarlett will also be making her WRITE Festival debut with a workshop on how to write a chilling Gothic novel.

The two-hour session, from 10am, on Sunday, September 19, at The Word, will explore the building blocks of successful writing, crafting unforgettable characters in dark and ominous settings and constructing narratives with twists and turns. Tickets cost £5 per person.

That afternoon, at 1pm, Helen will be talking about her experiences leading up to the publication of her first novel, The Deception of Harriet Fleet. It’s free, but booking is required.

Margaret Murphy

On Monday, September 20, author Margaret Murphy will be hosting two separate zoom online writing workshops. The workshop at 6pm explores the use of dialogue including how to reflect characters’ personalities and background. The other, at 7pm, focuses on starting points such as introducing characters, integrating research and the pitfalls to avoid. Each online workshop costs £5 per person.

There is also an opportunity to join costume historian and dressmaker Meridith Towne on a journey through the camping and caravanning fashions of the sixties and seventies. Her talk takes place on Wednesday, September 22, at 2pm, at Jarrow Focus Library. Tickets cost £5 per person.

Best-selling authors Harriet Evans and Lissa Evans will also be discussing their careers and books The Beloved Girls (Harriet) and V for Victory (Lissa) on Wednesday, September 22, at 6pm, at The Word. Tickets cost £1 per person.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “The WRITE Festival in only in its fifth year but has grown to become an extremely popular event in the South Tyneside calendar.

Helen Scarlett

“It’s a wonderful celebration of the written word in all its forms and a great way of bringing together such a wealth of amazing literary talent.

"It is also a fantastic opportunity for budding writers or illustrators to get advice and feedback from industry insiders, get support to develop their skills and find out more about how to get published.”

She added: “There is so much more going on during the course of the week.

"Whether people love writing stories or poems or are interested in how books are adapted for TV or film, we hope that this year’s WRITE Festival will inspire people to start their journey on producing their very own literary masterpieces.”

Details of WRITE Festival 2021 have been revealed

Those interested in attending festival events are encouraged to book their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

For the full programme of WRITE Festival events, and to book tickets, visit

Tickets can also be purchased in person from Shop @ The Word. Follow The Word on social media: Facebook /worduk and Twitter @theword_uk

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