Programme announced for literary festival at The Word in South Shields

The Word, South Shields.
The Word, South Shields.

A leading writer from South Tyneside is to take up residency at a major cultural venue as it prepares to celebrate the written word.

The WRITE Festival will launch on May 12 at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields - kicking off a two-week programme of workshops, events and activities for all ages.

Tom Kelly.

Tom Kelly.

Jarrow-born playwright Tom Kelly - along with Jenni Pascoe - will be its new writer in residence.

Tom worked as a drama lecturer at South Tyneside College for 25 years before concentrating on creative writing projects and writing full time.

During his three-month residency at The Word he will work with young people from South Tyneside to write a series of short stories inspired by Our Town.

He will also launch his own short story collection Behind The Wall, which features 12 stories set in North East England with titles including The Running Boy, Mother Teresa of Jarrow and Elsie Rides Again.

His time at The Word will then culminate in a presentation on May 19 when he will showcase his work.

He will also be joined by Ian Ravenscroft and Ted Cuskin – otherwise known as singing group Men of the Tyne – for a performance of songs about the river and the men who built ships on the Tyne.

In addition, Jenni Pascoe will be The Word’s Poet in Residence from mid-March working with various groups to develop their poetry skills.

Tom Kelly’s residency presentation will run from 11am - 1pm and is free to attend.

Poetry slam workshops with Jenni Pascoe will take place on April 7, April 28 and May 19, between 11am and 12.30pm and tickets cost £3.50 per person per session. Suitable for ages 18+.

For further information about The WRITE Festival, and to book tickets, go online here.

Events at the WRITE Festival include:

*Monster Invasion and Fancy Dress Competition on Saturday 12 May, from 10am-4pm (competition at 1.30pm), FREE

Hyde Fundraisers have out-of-this-world assortment of creatures lead by Davros, creator of the evil Daleks.

*Stuart Maconie: Jarrow, Road to Deep South at The Customs House on Saturday May 12 from 7.30pm.

In October 2016, writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie walked 300 miles from Jarrow to London, retracing the famous Jarrow Crusade 80 years on, through a divided, complex country that echoes 1936 in many ways.

Tickets, from £16, at The Customs House website.

*How to illustrate and publish children’s books on Sunday May 13, from 10.30am-12.30pm, £3.50 per person

Sixth Element Publishing will cover topics including how to write children’s books for all ages ults. They will also discuss styles of illustration including how to create print ready artwork as well as typesetting, proofreading, print, distribution, sales and marketing.

*Silent Book Disco on Sunday May 3 from 2pm to 3pm.

A free family event which offers the chance to put on a pair of headphones, read and dance to a playlist of songs inspired by some of their favourite children’s books.

There will be a children’s story treasure trail matching each track on the playlist to its book. For ages five and up.

*An afternoon of comedy with Ed Waugh on Sunday, May 13.

An afternoon of comedy – radio style, live on stage, both pieces written by Ed Waugh.

Tickets cost £6 per person

* Researching a historical novel with Nancy Revell on Monday May 14, from 9.45am to 10.45am.

Author of The Shipyard Girls series, Nancy Revell, will be at The Word talking about researching for historical novels and giving an insight into her former life as a tabloid journalist.

Tickets cost £3.50 per person

*Meet Sarah Dunnakey on Tuesday, May 15 from 6pm tp 7.30pm

Author Sarah Dunnakey talks about her debut novel ‘The Companion’, a mystery set in Yorkshire in the 1930s and the present day. She will be reading from the novel as well as discussing the inspiration behind it.

£2 per person

*Poetry slam workshops with Jenni Pascoe on Saturday April 7, April 28 and May 19 from 11am to12.30pm

Multiple award winning poet Jenni Pascoe will discuss the process of creating your own poems, guiding you through performance techniques, and prepares you to take part in WRITE Festival’s very own poetry slam.

£3.50 per person

An audience with LJ Ross on Saturday May 19 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm

LJ Ross will give a talk about her writing and her journey as an author.

£3 per person

An audience with Kevin Maguire on Friday May 25 from 7pm to 8.30pm

Leading journalist, political commentator and South Shields lad Kevin Maguire will be talking about his career so far.

£5 per person