Past Writers in Residence

Jen Stevens

Songwriter in Residence

Jen Stevens is a local singer/songwriter who we commissioned to write 3 new songs using the bank of dialect words that had been collected during our Lost Dialect exhibition from 2016-2018.

The commission, which is sponsored by the Northumbrian Word’s Project and supported by Arts Council England, aims to celebrate the North East dialect and used the vast library of words donated by the public and gathered by us. In total over 2,400 words and phrases were collected and turned into the Word Bank of Lost Dialects.

Jen has used the Word Bank of Lost Dialects to write 3 new songs.

*Photo by Jordan Embleton 

Rowan McCabe

Poet in Residence

Rowan is a poet, playwright and performer from Newcastle upon Tyne and was our Poet in Residence in the run up to WRITE Festival 2019.

During his residency Rowan explored the idea of what South Tyneside meant to the local people by visiting local landmarks and areas, speaking with the public and recording his experience of being there.

He worked alongside a local historian who gave him a better understanding of the history of the area and the changes that happened over the years.

Rowan completed his residency by creating seven poems based on his experiences and the stories he has heard throughout his journeys. The poems included a selection of words from the Word Bank of Lost Dialects, donated by visitors to The Word. The poems were then filmed and are available to see on YouTube. Find out more:

Tom Kelly

Writer in Residence

Tom Kelly was in residency here at The Word from March 2018 until WRITE Festival (May 2018), where he culminated his residency at a special presentation event.

Tom worked with young people from South Tyneside to write a series of short stories inspired by ‘Our Town’, which he showcased as part of his presentation.

He also launched his own short story collection ‘Behind The Wall’ which features 12 stories set in North East England with titles including The Running Boy, Mother Teresa of Jarrow and Elsie Rides Again.

During the presentation he was joined by Ian Ravenscroft and Ted Cuskin, as Men of the Tyne returned to The Word where they sang songs about ‘our’ river and the men who built the ships of the Tyne.

Jenni Pascoe

Writer in Residence, Poetry

Jenni Pascoe was our Poet in Residence from mid-March up until our WRITE Festival 2018 where she worked with various groups to develop their poetry skills.

Jenni hosted four workshops for aspiring amateur poets to build upon their poetry slam skills, performance techniques and get them ready to compete in their very own poetry slam.

The amateur slammers took to the stage at The Stags head, South Shields, at our WRITE Festival Poetry Slam where they showed off their skills. Jenni also showed off her own skills.

Celia Bryce

Writer in residence, Poetry and Songwriting

Celia worked together with South Shields Community School, Horton Grange Primary School, The Autistic Unit Workers Education Authority and Singing for Dementia as part of her residency to create celebration poetry, which she performed during The Word’s 1st Birthday weekend.

Celia spent a lot of her residency in The Word talking to people about their ideas of what a celebration is and the words they associate with a celebration to get inspiration for new poems.

As part of her residency she held a series of poetry workshops looking at various forms of poetry to inspire budding poets to create their own.

At the residency presentation on Saturday 21 October Celia shared her poems and performed with her band to a jam-packed audience.

Kate Fox

Writer in Residence, Poetry

Kate Fox was The Word’s Poet in Residence during our WRITE Festival 2017.

Throughout her time at The Word, Kate got involved in many things including school poetry sessions, hosting our Poetry Slam and adult poetry workshops. She was also asked to write a poem relating to her time in residence at The Word.

She performed her poem as part of the closing ceremony.

About Kate Fox

Kate Fox has made a living as a stand-up poet for 10 years performing her solo comedy shows from Edinburgh Festival to the Southbank Centre; she has also been broadcast on Radio 4. She is a regular speaker on panels and radio shows and a writer of poems, stories and journalism. Kate is two years into a full-time PhD at the University of Leeds, looking at class, gender, Northernness and solo stand-up performance and is folding her new research into her practice as a comedian and poet, and her poetry and comedy into her research.

Andy Waugh

Writer in Residence, Comic Writing

 Andy was commissioned to produce an 8 to 12 page comic about life in The Word. His work was on display during the WRITE Festival.

“I intended to create a fun and engaging exploration into the evolving idea of what a library is and can be, using The Word as a case study – part comic reportage, part diary strip. I wanted to talk to the people involved – from those who operate The Word to those who use it – and present their thoughts and opinions alongside my own experiences during the residency. I hoped to draw out the more humorous side of the topic and the people I met and to create something that will make them laugh as well as think.” Andrew Waugh

About Andy Waugh

Andrew Waugh is a Scottish illustrator, cartoonist and arts educator living in north east England. He has a Masters degree in Illustration & Design and has been freelancing as an illustrator for over eight years. His comics have appeared in a number of national and international anthologies and he has been self-publishing and promoting his own comics for over a decade. To date he has co-edited two volumes (with a third on the way) of BOO! The Horror Comic For Kids, which was shortlisted for a British Comic Award in 2014. In addition to his own work, he has taught comics in workshops, summer schools and night classes to everyone from young children to retirees and currently spends his days helping college students develop their own creative ideas.

Niel Bushnell

Writer in Residence

“I wanted to use my time as the Writer in Residence at The Word to explore the relationship between the building and its location, and to find out what people who use this fantastic building think about it. I wanted to explore the idea of change, of how a location – or a person – can be split in two by a major event. The building represents the future, but what’s left of the past in the foundations? I wanted to gather as many stories as I can and use those ideas to create a new piece of fiction inspired by The Word.”

About Niel Bushnell

Niel Bushnell is an author and artist. He has two children’s books published by Andersen Press in the UK called Sorrowline and Timesmith, both are fast paced time-travel adventures that mix elements of fantasy and science fiction with mythology and Arthurian legends. His first novel won the Northern Promise Award in the 2011 Northern Writers’ Awards.

Niel’s books are aimed at boys and girls aged 7 to 14 and upwards. The themes of time travel, action, adventure with elements of fantasy and science fiction make it appealing to older teens as well. History plays a big part in Sorrowline and Timesmith, specifically 1940 and World War Two.

When he’s not writing, or talking about writing, Niel is animating. He’s worked on numerous film and TV projects including The Dumping Ground for CBBC and the Doctor Who DVD range. He lives in Hartlepool with his wife and two daughters. He has completed two stand-alone novels and is working on the third instalment in the Timesmith series.

Faye Hanson

Writer in Residence, StoryWorld

Faye was tasked with creating a story for StoryWorld with a pirate theme. As well as writing the story she also be produced the illustrations. Her story was titled ‘The Great Pirate Plot!’

StoryWorld was transformed into a watery wonderland, with critically acclaimed children’s author, Faye Hanson, telling daring tales of adventure on the high seas!

The immersive and interactive session took children on an amazing adventure – making Jolly Roger flags and following the secret map to find buried treasure!