News from 26

There’s no hibernating for 26’s members; the month is brimming with creative projects, conferences and book launches. And after work, comes play with news of sunny Spain.


Mudlarking on the Thames foreshore

The other day, Andy Hayes gathered together his 26 Milers at the Samuel Pepys to celebrate the project’s online launch. The pub’s right on the river with a dazzling view of the Shard. I spotted a ladder at the end of Stew Lane going down to the foreshore. A few days later, I was down there, scrabbling about in the mud, finding old clay pipes, a million discarded oyster shells, sheep’s teeth and a couple of jawbones. It was strangely relaxing, mucking about with centuries old rubbish.

Fiona Thompson


norwich26 Norwich latest

It’s fast approaching: 1st April, the deadline for submissions! The 26 Writers Norwich project editors John Simmons, Sara Sheridan and Elise Valmorbida are champing at the bit (cf Black Beauty) for your stories of medieval bishops, mystic muses, dissenting preachers and culture collectors. In the months ahead, an interactive literary map will appear, with Norwich heritage hotspots that lead straight through to your creative works. And the launch fandango is now a date to ink in your diary. Norwich (NEED HYPERLINK) needs YOU on Monday evening, 17th June. More details to follow…

Elise Valmorbida


One 26er ponders Norwich

A couple of weeks ago, I journeyed down from south-west Scotland to Norwich to research Thomas Browne (1605-82) for the 26 Writers project. Fascinating to see the landscape change on the journey, from the snow dusted hills of Cumbria to the sea-washed coastal marshes of Essex and the farmland of East Anglia. As I write about Browne and Norwich, the journey there and back lingers in my mind; the sense of place can be strong.

Sandie Wilkie


26 Miles – from the street to the sofa

On May 8th, we’ll be taking off our trainers and putting on our slippers to talk about 26 Miles, in a cosy living room just off the Old Street roundabout. This is part of Universettee, a series of lectures that happen in people’s homes with a variety of speakers from different walks of life. Entry is free but you’re asked to bring some food or drink to share. Our lecture will be approximately 45 minutes followed by time for questions and discussion. If you want to attend you’ll need to book a place in advance, as spaces are very limited.

Andy Hayes


180px-AudreyNiffeneggerHow writers can profit from the digital age

The Literary Consultancy is running a conference on Writing in a Digital Age, 7th to 8th June, for writers at all levels. The theme is ‘quality in a digital age’ – and how authors can make the latest tools, platforms and opportunities available work for them.

The conference features more than 30 speakers, including best-selling author of The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger, the Observer‘s Robert McCrum and literary agent Gordon Wise (Curtis Brown), and Andrew Franklin (Profile Books). Participants can take part in the Audience Story-time and the Pen Factor Writing Competition, run this year in association with Book Hackday.

TLC is delighted to partner with Times Literary Supplement and BookFlower and work in association with the Society for Editors & Proofreaders, The Writing Platform, the Alliance of Independent Authors, Media Futures, the Free Word Centre and Perera.

Early Bird Offer until 31st March.


Pecha Kucha goes global

I got hooked on pecha kucha-style presentations through various 26 events, and now I am taking it global – in April I’ll be hosting a session on ‘Disruptive Communication in Disruptive Times’ at the EuroComm Conference in Brussels.

Ezri Carlebach

distractionHow to stay focused in this digital world

26er Frances Booth’s The Distraction Trap: How to Focus in a Digital World comes out at the end of the month.

“I wrote the book after I noticed everyone was staring down at a screen”, says the former Daily Telegraph and Guardian journalist, and self-confessed expert in digital distraction, attention and switching off. She adds that,,“Our ability to focus is fading fast in the digital world. It’s become normal for us to be constantly wired, half in and half out of virtual conversations. We’re not only diluting our brain power, we’re increasing our stress levels, damaging our relationships and getting much less done.”

Frances Booth


Who needs copywriters?

This is a one day conference organised by A Thousand Monkeys and the UK Speechwriters Guild, hosted by Bournemouth University. We’re offering 26 members a 52% (geddit) discount to hear leading UK copywriters dispense insights on: writing sticky headlines, tone and Twitter, sales letters, and brand language. Book here and the code for 26ers is WNC26.

Richard Spencer


Retreat to Catalonia

If any 26-ers fancy a novel writing retreat in Catalonia, I am offering one in a beautifully renovated stone farmhouse with swimming pool (8 – 15 June). Morning workshops, 1-2-1s and Open Mike nights. An “Early Bird” price until 30.03.

Anne Aylor


writint-astley-hallAstley Hall

26er Alan Whelan’s writing group THE WORD has published its first book, which came out of our first one-day writing festival – WRITING ASTLEY HALL, a collection of 26-word stories about the beautiful objects and furnishings in Astley Hall, an Elizabethan house in Chorley, Lancashire.

Alan Whelan

The Poetry of Computer Games

Our press Sidekick Books is nearly ready to print Coin Opera II, an anthology of computer game poetry. We went to Margate’s GEEK 2013 in February, dressed as Spy and Scout from Team Fortress II, and read some extracts there to a great reception.

Kirsten Irving

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