What is Nottingham Writers' Studio?
NWS is a members’ organisation run by and for writers who are committed to improving and publishing their writing. We are not a “service organisation” in that the benefits we offer to members come from helping each other, rather than from paid employees providing services.
Where is Nottingham Writers' Studio?
NWS is based at the bottom of Hockley, between the Lace Market and Sneinton Market, in the heart of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter. Our premises are extensive, allowing a variety of activities to take place simultaneously – live literature events, workshops, meetings, social events, critique groups. There are also offices which writers and other creative artists can rent on a monthly basis.
When can I use the writing spaces?
Members have free access to the writing spaces 24 hours a day, even when critique groups are meeting or workshops are in progress. The entrance has a combination padlock used to secure the premises when empty, and a combination key pad which provides additional security when the premises are empty and ensures security for members working alone or in small groups.
What facilities does the studio have?
The studio has a large writing area on the ground floor, with individual desks and a communal space, as well as a ‘library corner’. There are offices which are available for rent by writers or other creatives. A ramp leads down to a basement performance area and our meeting room, with a basic kitchen and all the usual facilities.
How much is membership?
Membership is £60 per year.
Do you have to be published to be a member?
No – about a third of our membership is not yet published in any form, another third have started to publish stories and poems or have performed their work locally, and the rest have had books or collections published.
What are the criteria for membership?
There are three criteria: you should live in or have some connection with Nottingham, you should be committed to developing your writing skills, and you should be working towards reaching an audience with your work (publication or performance).
Are students welcome?
Yes, students are welcome. We have several students from local universities or who live locally among our current membership.
Is there a student discount?
No, there is not a student discount. There is a bursary scheme, however, which may be appropriate for students.
Are all types of writers catered for?
Yes, we include a wide variety of writers among our membership. We have novelists (literary fiction, science fiction, magical realism, historical, young adult), poets, picture-book writers, copywriters, journalists, playwrights, screenwriters… we even have a few publishers and editors.
What does membership include?
Membership includes 24-hour access to the writing spaces, use of the facilities, attendance at our monthly writers’ socials, the option to join a critique group, opportunities to perform at NWS Word of Mouth events, discounts on our workshops and courses, a regular members’ newsletter, and last but not least, being part of a strong and supportive writing community.
How many members do you have?
We currently (May 2014) have 145 members, and membership is rising. This time last year we had 110 members.
How can I get to know other members?
Through our monthly socials, where all members are welcome. These typically start with a short talk from a member, a visiting writer or writing industry professional, which is followed by informal chat. The socials are held on the 6th of the month, starting at 7.30pm and continuing until the wine runs out!
How can I find out what other members are interested in?
Talk to them! All our members have joined because they want to be part of our writing community, and part of being in this community is communication with other members for inspiration, support, and collaboration. Most days there will be members using the studio space, there is a forum in the members’ area of the website, and members are welcome to come along to the socials.
What sort of activities do members take part in?
NWS provides workshops and courses which members can deliver or attend. We stage live literature events roughly quarterly, which members can read or perform at. NWS initiated and managed the Nottingham Festival of Words in 2013, and is a partner in the Festival going forwards, which gives members opportunities to be involved. Some members apply for grants to run projects through the Studio. Others are happy to join critique groups and focus on their own writing. It’s a members’ organisation – so the activities members take part in are driven by them, and we’re open to any ideas!
How can I get involved in helping to run NWS activities?
We welcome any involvement from members. Contact the Development Director or any member of the board, and we’ll do everything we can to help you get involved – whether it’s in an existing activity, or an idea for a new project or activity.
Do I have to get involved in helping to run NWS activities?
You don’t have to, but NWS is a membership organisation – we only have one part-time paid member of staff, so we’re dependent on our members to make things happen.
What opportunities are there for developing my writing career?
There are several critique groups covering most areas of fiction, playwriting, poetry and non-fiction. Many of our members value these groups above all other opportunities for writing development. We also run workshops and courses which are either given by members or by experts from outside NWS. And we can’t over-emphasise the value of networking – it really does make a difference, and it’s not as bad as it sounds. At NWS you’re in the company of other writers – people who share your passion – it’s easy to strike up a conversation!
What workshops and courses do you run?
Our workshops and courses are aimed at intermediate and advanced level writers (Writing School East Midlands provides a comprehensive and excellent set of courses for beginning writers). They cover all aspects of writing, from building characters to structuring novels, from progressing your poetry to social media, and from writing reviews to graphic fiction.
How often do critique groups meet?
Most critique groups meet monthly, some meet twice-monthly. Typically two or three members of the group present a piece of work for constructive criticism at each meeting.
How often do you have talks from visiting writers?
We try to bring in a visiting writer or industry professional at least once every two months.
Who has come to talk to the members?
Recently, we have heard from Dennis Stovall (Emeritus Professor of Publishing at Oregon State University, Fulbright Scholar, literary activist) and Penny Luithlen (of Jennifer Luithlen Agency, representing YA/children’s authors).
Can you help me get published?
We can provide you with opportunities, such as publication in our showcase journal which is sent to agents and publishers, talks from and a chance to meet with industry professionals, courses, workshops and critique groups to improve your writing, social events where you can meet and talk to other NWS members to find out how they got their writing out there, our newsletter which includes opportunities for publication… it’s up to you to make the most of those opportunities!
Do I have to share my writing?
You don’t, but the only way to get better is to invite constructive criticism, and there is absolutely no way to get published without sharing your writing.
How can you help me improve my writing?
We run courses and workshops aimed at emerging writers – these cover a wide range of topics, and we’re always open to suggestions from members for course topics. Our critique groups are invaluable to many members – critiquing other people’s work and getting in-depth feedback on your own work is a sure-fire way to improve your writing craft. We have a library of writing-related books which members are free to use.
What is “Creative Brews"?
These are our daytime socials – currently running on Thursdays between 11am and 2pm – where members sit together and write, or talk about writing, with a cup of coffee.