Yet more amazing news to come from Writers HQ HQ… it is with joyous joy and gleeful glee that we announce that we have been awarded a (significantly sized) Arts Council England grant to help us develop a series of online courses for time- and finance-poor writers. Like you. And you. And us.
The courses will cover the entire lifecycle of writing, from idea generation, to plotting, to editing, to short stories, to submitting your work, to actually getting that first draft down on paper. Thanks to the grant, we will also be able to offer five excellent people an Access All Areas pass for one year to all of the courses. (Psst: sign up to our newsletter to keep updated on that, yo)
Our online courses are designed to be done in the short chunks of time that most of us have to work with, are affordable, and presented in the practical, hands-on, productivity-driven, stop fucking about WHQ styleee. Also coming your way will be: online communities, beta reading help, shoulders to cry on and so much tea we’re buying stocks in PG Tips.
Over the next few weeks you’ll see the ACE logo appear on our website as well as some other changes, all of which will let us bring these amazing courses to life. You also might find the swearing toned down here and there, just a little, but don’t worry, we still have our fucking integrity!
We are, of course, immensely grateful to the wonderful folk over at ACE for the opportunity to develop our work to the next level, as well as New Writing South who in the beginning wrapped us in a big warm blanket and held our hands, and everyone who has turned up to our retreats, got their heads down, turned out the words, made us laugh, and eaten cake alongside us.
Writers HQ is an idea that started with a frustrated Sarah trying to run away from her VERY LOUD family for five minutes peace to write. When Jo arrived at that first Brighton Writers Retreat, an equally time-starved, height-starved, sweary, and tea-obsessed writer, the future really was a done deal.
Over the last three years WHQ has evolved and grown in ways we didn’t imagine right back in them there early days (like, five minutes ago). In that time, Jo has won the Luke Bitmead Bursary, had her first book and a bunch of short fiction published, nabbed a (different) ACE grant to write the (shitty) first draft of her next novel, is attempting a screenplay adaptation of the first book, and is currently elbow-deep in an MA in Shakespeare because she’s a literary badass/masochist. Sarah graduated in the top 20% of her MA creative writing class at UEA, won the David Higham Award, won a (different) ACE grant to complete her first novel under the mentorship of critically acclaimed author Peter Hobbs, was one of the NWS10 talented early career writers, and gained a rarely given special mention in the BBC Short Story Award. She also had another baby, and is on the millionth iteration of her first novel because her mean agent keeps sending it back for the never ending tinkering of doom. We’re not bestselling authors (yet!) but we are as deeply embedded in the journey towards literary greatness as you, and gaddamit we’re not leaving you behind.
We’ve also seen our retreaters publish their own books. Alexa Radcliffe-Hart has her book of short stories out in August 2016. Paul Macauley has two plays at the 2016 Brighton Fringe. Mark Cassell is killing it on the self-pub scene. And there have been a number of other short story competition wins along the way.
We’ve helped you lot produce over 300,000 words, drunk over 1,000 cups of tea, and said “fuck” at least 500 times.
This grant gives us the opportunity to develop and share the things we’ve learned about being productive and creative in among the general chaos of life, and bring a huge gang of buddies along with us on the writingy journey. We cannot wait.*[CUE SOFT MUSIC AND LONG WISTFUL LANDSCAPE SHOT INTO THE SUNSET] [Jo & Sarah look back to camera and say together:] We love you guys! [air kisses and hugs] [theme tune & credits roll]
*We’re actually not waiting. We have to get these courses online in the next three months. PANIC!
PS In case you missed the link the first time, sign up to our newsletter here for all the updates wot are to come about online courses, competitions, special offers and freebies. Lovely lovely freebies.