East Midlands-based BME Writer needed for graphic novel

I’ve not been posting much on this blog of late because my life has been taken over by a graphic novel I’m producing/editing together. But it’s worth sharing this news here as there’s an opportunity for a BME writer from the East Midlands to write our final chapter. I’ve tried to get a balance between established and up-and-coming writers so far so don’t worry if you haven’t been paid £5 for a story yet. The only thing that matters is your idea. Anyway, here’s a copy and paste job to get you thinking…

Dawn of the Unread is an interactive graphic novel that is available across all media platforms (iPad, Android, iPhone, website) and aims to raise awareness of Nottingham’s literary history. The narrative is a loose twist on the zombie genre: ‘When the dead go unread there’s gonna be trouble. Writers from Nottingham’s past return from the grave in search of the one thing that can keep their memories alive: boooks’.

On the 8th of each month a new comic is released and is created by different artists and writers. These include: Alison Moore, Eddie Campbell, Hunt Emerson and Nicola Monaghan. Each writer explores one iconic figure from Nottingham’s literary past that includes: The 5th Duke of Portland, Slavomir Rawicz, the fictional hybrid Byron Clough, Alma Reville (Mrs Hitchcock) Alan Sillitoe, D.H Lawrence and many more. This is literature in its most diverse sense, exploring medieval ballads, black-letter verses, poetry, philosophy, literature, and reportage.

Dawn of the Unread was created to raise awareness of the importance of libraries and independent bookshops. We wanted to raise the question of what happens to writers if their work is not preserved and accessible. However, one thing that became pretty evident early on was most of the writers resurrected from the dead tended to be Caucasian males. This got us thinking: what happens to all of the stories of BME writers who never made it into the library in the first place. How can we celebrate their lives? How can we ensure their stories are preserved and celebrated?

Writer needed

We want you to pitch a small synopsis of a story that involves a real BME literary figure for our final chapter. Your story must address the following issues:
• Your synopsis should be no more than two paragraphs. It should also include an additional paragraph on your chosen literary figure. As a general guide, all the information should fit on one page.
• Your story must feature a library, bookshop or reading in some capacity. This doesn’t have to be on the nail. For example, in Nicola Monaghan’s story Psychos, a disused library is used for an illegal rave. That’s it.
• Your character needs to fight the cause for black/Asian writers, pointing out their absence from our story so far. One thing I am particularly interested in is a story that addresses the concept of ‘zombie’. This can be traced to Haiti and voodoo culture. Perhaps your literary figure is sick of other culture’s narratives being hijacked by the West…
• Your literary figure needs to be from Nottingham. Duh!
• Also include a small biog. Tell us who you are why you want to be involved in this graphic novel.

General information/criteria

• You will be given a script editor to help you through the process so don’t worry if you haven’t been published before. Your idea is what matters.
• You must be based in the East Midlands (we will cover travel costs for editorial meetings)
• You must be from a BME background. Age and gender are irrelevant
• The fee is £250 for 8 pages (remember this is a graphic novel so words are precious)
• The publication date would be 8 May 2015 but we need the approved script by 8 January 2015
• Closing date for your synopsis is 8 October 2014.
• The shortlisted writers will be announced at the Festival of Words event Zombie Mastermind (with Lydia Towsey), in the spoken word tent ‘Word Space Two’ at Old Market Square, 3 – 4pm on Sunday, 19 October
• Send your synopsis to info@writingeastmidlands.co.uk
• The successful writer will be notified via email on 23 October 2014

For further information on this project see the Dawn of the Unread website

LeftLion Kickstarter Campaign


For the past ten years I’ve worked my nuts off for LeftLion for nowt because it is such an important publication in helping to change perceptions about Nottingham. The magazine was created for many reasons but mostly to offer an alternative to negative perceptions of Nottingham as ‘Shottingham’ after a spate of random shootings in the early noughties. My proudest moment was when we had the balls to run with the front cover ‘Another Shooting in Nottingham’ – referring, instead, to our thriving film industry.

As the Literature Editor I have hosted spoken word events such as Scribal Gathering (see the above video with Chester P at Gunpowder, Treason and Pot) at the Nottingham Contemporary, literature podcasts and created and developed the WriteLion brand which at present dedicates two pages to literature in its many myriad forms. With a readership of around 40,000 we easily offer more exposure to poetry than say specialist publications. We really do play a vital role in promoting your work.

Each issue I try to get a balance of reviews so that we feature a mix of genre fiction, self-published work, non-fiction as well as zines and emerging presses. We are the only publication that reviews the entire shortlist of the East Midlands Book Award as well as running interviews with all of the shortlisted authors. We also run illustrations of featured poems, have our own literary cartoon strip Readers’ Wives, and so that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, occasionally unleash Katie Half-Price, Nottingham’s orangest reviewer, onto the world.

We have been particularly keen to promote and support self-published authors, ensuring a minimum of one review every issue. Online we have run interviews as well as extracts from books. Knowing that certain bookshops refuse to even stock self-published novels and most magazines won’t even entertain reviews, we have become a vital platform for a new generation of writer prepared to go it alone.

Now we need your support. To celebrate our tenth anniversary we are running a Kickstarter campaign to help raise £10,000 so that we can go monthly. This will mean even more reviews and even more of my time given up for free. Not one penny of this campaign will go into my pocket or that of other writers. It is all for the additional cost of printing and distribution, as we aim to broaden our circulation by delivering to towns on the outskirts of the city.

This now all boils down to a very simple equation. If you support us we can support you. So put your money where your mouth is. I’d also like to thank Nicola Monaghan and Alison Moore for helping support our campaign by donating signed copies of their books.

More info on the Kickstarter campaign at LeftLion

Visit our Kickstarter page