10 Great Resources for Writing in Birmingham

Looking for some literary inspiration in brilliant Birmingham? Look no further. Not only do we run the very best procrastination-busting writing retreat in Birmingham but we’ve collected 10 great reasons to write your socks off in one of the most culturally diverse city in the UK.

1. Just look at all these local Birmingham writers!

J.R.R. Tolkien grew up, went to school and found inspiration for parts of Middle Earth in Birmingham. And he’s not the only great author to have lived, worked and been inspired by the city. Others include John Wyndham, Jane Louden, Washington Irving, Barbara Cartland, David Lodge, Jonathan Coe, Clare Morrell, Catherine O’Flynn and more recently the wonderful My Name is Leon author Kit de Waal who also has some very important instructions for you:

Birmingham also has a vibrant community of aspiring authors, supported locally by Writing West Midlands who provide training and organise the annual Birmingham Literature Festival.

2. Brum is great for screenwriters, too!

Two Words: Peaky Blinders. This smash hit, cinematic, TV epic, written by Brummie Steven Knight, has shone the spotlight on Birmingham and not before time. Based on his family’s stories about the post WW1 gangsters that hung out in Small Heath, this gritty, gripping and beautifully shot drama shows Birmingham can be the inspiration for great screenwriting.

A gif of Cillian Murphy from Beaky Blinders walking slowly towards the camera looking grim-faced.

But it’s not all about Peaky Blinders. Documentary TV makers Maverick (Embarrassing Bodies) are based in the city and the BBC makes Doctors and The Archers here. There are also many independent production companies doing great things and screenwriters can access support, networking and training from Film Forum West Midlands.

3. . . and poets

There’s a shed load happening for poets too! The city has its own Poet Laureates, Nyanda Foday and Matt Windle (Poet by Day, Boxer by Night) and its where the great Benjamin Zephaniah was born and raised. There’s regularly poetry workshops and readings across the city. The Emma Press is based here and there are two annual poetry festivals: Verve and the Birmingham Poetry Festival.

4. . . AND playwrights!

The Rep has been producing theatre and supporting new writing in Birmingham for a century. There’s also a dynamic community of theatre makers. Theatre Cuppa WM offer networking events and Friction Arts are keen to facilitate table reads, scratch nights and development workshops. And of course, the Bard lived just down the road in Stratford upon Avon. In fact, Birmingham’s library holds one of the world’s best collections of works by or about Shakespeare. What better place to hone your craft or find inspiration?

5. Birmingham library – nuff said

Talking of the library, have you seen our freakin’ library?! It’s a massive, golden ‘people’s palace’ full of books (obv), desk space and snazzy escalators. When you need a break from the reading or writing, you can take a stroll on its terraces which provide amazing views across the city.

A photo of Birmingham library against a bright blue sky. The exterior of the building is covered in a complex pattern of golden rings.

6. Brum’s peeps are the best peeps

Birmingham’s residents brought the world heavy metal, Cadbury’s chocolate, the balti, and Britain’s first St Patrick’s Day Parade. The stories nestled here provide rich pickings for any writer.

7. Get inspired by Birmingham’s places and settings

Diversity isn’t just found in our people. Birmingham is home to a variety of landscapes from industrial to countryside and we’ve more canals than Venice! Tolkien found inspirations for his settings here and you can too.

Photo of a Birmingham canal at night

8. So much arts, culture and heritage, homg

Birmingham is home to a number of world class venues. There’s the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Town Hall and Symphony Hall, the Hippodrome, the Alex and the MAC all showcasing art, artefacts, music, dance, theatre and cinema to move your emotions and get your creative juices flowing.

9. Get writing in Birmingham with a WHQ Writers’ Retreat!

Our monthly writing retreat in Birmingham is one of the most popular across the whole UK! Hosted at the super spacious and accessible Alpha Works, our Brum retreat offers a whole day of blissful writing time, complete with bottomless caffeine, endless snackage, a tasty lunch, and gold star stickers for motivation. Writers’ HQ writing retreats are THE most productivity-boosting, procrastination-busting, supportive environments a writer could ever hope for — come join us!

10. It’s time to tell Birmingham’s story

In the past, Birmingham has been much criticised, but the brilliance of Birmingham and the creativity of its residents is finally — and deservingly — being celebrated. Brum-based creatives are uniting to showcase their work with pride and orchestrate change. We’re in the midst of a revolution! It’s time for Birmingham’s voices and stories to be heard.

So let’s be a part of it.

Book your place on the new Birmingham Writers’ Retreat now!

Want to be a better writer?

Or just to laugh at bum jokes? Either way, you need the famous Writers’ HQ newsletter. You know what to do – put your thing in the thing.