Tag Archives: Wendy Cope

Na-nu Na-nu. Writing resources for you.


I’m not one for Nanowrimo – that’s National Novel Writing Month. In truth, it’s been a mystery to me for some time. I only got the acronym correct because I googled it, and previously to that I was confusing it with what Mork used to say to Mindy.

But in light of the feverish fecundity of what is often the dreariest month, I wanted to share some online resources I recently located and have been finding useful.

National Theatre’s Discover More section on their website have all sorts of lovely videos on a plethora of things. For dramatists they have Roy Williams on political   playwriting, with other videos giving advice on writing characters, building a plot and writing dialogue.

For those heading off into the month of furious novel writing, my old favourite Mslexia have reproduced some workshops originally featured in the magazine, including Jenny Newman’s ‘MA in Novel Writing.’

Writing, we know, is all about rewriting, and I’m endlessly fascinated by the choices writers make in redrafts. Mslexia’s Inspirations asks a writer to compare the first draft with the published version, and fascinating reading it makes, too, for literary geeks. Deborah Moggach discusses her prose editing choices here, whilst Wendy Cope compares poetry drafts here. Finally, in this little gift of interesting reading on process, poet Polly Clark is interviewed about a specific poem.

Whatever your preferred form, or your plans for November writing, I hope it’s a creative month and that these links prove stimulating. I’m off to teach Dramaturgy in Singapore and so escape this dark month, but I won’t be escaping the writing – as ever, I have a deadline to meet.




Mslexia poetry and pamphlet competitions for women writers 2014

Mslexia have several competitions currently open to women writers – and, below the details, I’ve put the links to some of their on-line workshops to hone those submissions before sending.











We welcome poems of any length, on all subjects – as long as they’re written by women.
1st prize: £2,000
(plus two optional extras*: a week’s writing retreat at Cove Park and a mentoring session with the Editor of premier magazine Poetry Review.
2nd prize: £400
3rd prize £200
17 other finalists will each win £25

for the best poem by a previously unpublished woman poet.
All winning poems will be published in Mslexia.
Judge: Wendy Cope
Award-winning poet Wendy Cope, OBE is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has four collections of poetry published, including 2011’s Family Values. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2007, and has kindly agreed to return to us to judge our 2014 competition.

Closing date: 16 June 2014

Competition rules at: https://mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/pcomp_rules.php

Enter the competition at:



This competition is for short collections of 20-24 pages of 18-20 poems. To enter, you need to be a women poet who does not have full-length collection published.
1st prize: Publication by Seren Books in 2015
Plus £250, 25 complimentary copies of the pamphlet and a 10 per cent royalty on sales. One or more poems from the pamphlet will be published in Mslexia magazine.
Judge: Amy Wack, poetry editor at Seren Books
Florida-born Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor at Seren since 1992. Amy is a poet herself, and her bincluding the title Women’s Works.
Closing date: 16 June 2014

Enter the competition here: https://mslexia.co.uk/shop/pamcomp_enter.php

Not quite ready to enter? See exercises provided by Mslexia to give you inspiration and support:

MSLEXIA’S THIRTY EXERCISES FOR POETRY: https://www.mslexia.co.uk/magazine/workshops/workshops.php

Insight, process, opportunities, competitions, TanzKongress

I originally started this blog to write about process from the inside, making three projects and bringing them to production in 2012. Since those furiously creative days, I’m relieved to say my work has been different (I would easily have burned out otherwise!) and I’ve been engaged in several other writing projects, all at different stages in development, more of which, below.

This blog initially was about documenting various processes for a playwright/dramaturg/co-creator, working towards production  (these posts are still available in this blog’s archive). This is still a focus, for I’m interested in exploring the breadth and diversity of the skills a writer may need within any creative process – and it is something I will document again, when in production.

I think there is a myth that we do just one thing – write – (as though that weren’t demanding and challenging enough!). I’m curious about the other elements required for a writing life – the other tools we may need to survive, which include everything from accountancy skills and being able to write outstanding grant applications, to the social skills required for collaboration in the rehearsal room. This is an area I intend to blog about in the future. But I am even more curious with how other artists do it – how do we survive a bad review, little success, disappointing sales, and that doubting dark night of the soul..? This is one reason why I started ’20 Questions…’ to learn from other artists, writers, actors, sculptors and those engaged professionally with creativity how and why we continue to do this. And to be reminded of the inherent value – even necessity – of this compulsion.

And so this blog has continued to evolve, bringing in other voices and opinions rather than being focused solely on my own process when in the doing (although I will for sure do this again, when the opportunity arises). I also have been using it to highlight certain political debates (‘cripping up’, the use of black face in German theatres, ageism and sexism within the profession, etc), and also highlighting certain opportunities and competitions for writers within the UK as well as internationally. When I began this blog, I always wanted to create something that would be useful – and hope this will be the experience for those who trouble to read it.

In the spirit of this, I want to draw attention to the approaching deadline on 31st May 2013 of The Bridport Prize, whose mission is ‘to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence through its competition structure.’ Well established, it offers £15,000 in prizes for poetry, short stories, and flash fiction, with judges including Wendy Cope and Michele Roberts. For details of the competitions, please go to: http://www.bridportprize.org.uk

As to me…. so far 2013 has been primarily about completing one large long-standing prose project, delivering the first draft of a theatre commission and initiating new projects in media drama and live performance. Some are my own projects as a solo writer, but others are international collaborations with the Llanarth Group: an Irish/Welsh/Singapore-Chinese/American/South Korean co-creation in the Summer and the other a cultural exchange in Japan late in the year. Meanwhile I will be continuing my fellowship at Freie Universitat’s international research centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ in Berlin, reflecting on the relationship between ‘mainstream’ and disability cultures.

As part of this, I will be presenting at dance conference  TanzKongress in Dusseldorf on Saturday 8th June: ‘Border Control: Framing the Atypical Body. “You say radical, I say conservative, you say inclusive, I say subversive.”’

The schedule is overwhelming and looks incredibly exciting. For further details go to: