This year as part of the festival’s programme we have commissioned new work from a range of artists and writers.
The festival celebrates the written word in all its forms and these commissions are a showcase of the diverse nature of how the written word can be interpreted.
Reportage Storytelling with Laura Fitton
Artist Laura Fitton has been commissions to create an exhibition, which will run throughout the festival, which represents life in South Tyneside through reportage drawing.
Laura will draw a series of images and these will be on show in the exhibition and will have been created on location in various places across the borough, working with a range of people to illustrate different local stories.
Laura Fitton is a reportage artist and educator based in London, working on projects around the UK to document everyday life in the 21st century.
Vlogger in Residence – Jen Campbell
Jen Campbell will be our Vlogger in Residence – she will attend a range of events and vlog her experiences and stories of her time at the festival to share with her own YouTube subscribers.
Jen is a bestselling author and award-winning poet. Her books include The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night, The Girl Aquarium, Franklin’s Flying Bookshop and Weird Thing Customers Say in Bookshops. She worked as a bookseller for ten years and now runs a YouTube channel with a following of over 50,000 where she talks about books, the history of fairy tales, and the representation of disfigurement. She also runs a book club for TOAST, reviews books monthly on BBC Radio 5 Live, and produces a podcast called BOOKS WITH JEN.
Science-fiction and fantasy stories – Anthology commission
In late 2019, The Word, in partnership with Sixth Element Publishing, launched a writing competition for writers to submit their own science-fiction or fantasy short stories. The stories could be up to 3,000 words in length and the winners will receive a cash prize.
The shortlisted entries have been published in a bespoke anthology. This anthology will be launched during our WRITE Festival, along with the winning entries announced, on Sunday 24 May.
Each shortlisted entrant will receive a copy of the anthology and copies will be available to purchase at Shop @ The Word, or to borrow from South Tyneside Libraries.
Contemporary dialect songwriting commission with Jen Stevens
Local singer/songwriter, Jen Stevens, has been commissioned to write and record three new dialect songs. Jen will use our Word Bank of Lost Dialects, a collection of 2,400 words and phrases donated by visitors to our Lost Dialects exhibition, and be inspired by them to create new contemporary songs.
These will be performed for the first time on our Wor Dialect Day on Saturday 6 June.
Jen in an experienced and passionate live performer, often compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Regina Spektor, and is an award-winning singer/songwriter based in North East England. Her debut solo album, ‘Little One‘, is a collection of songs documenting a journey of mistakes and misdemeanours, of love and loss, of healing and of hope.