Teenage Kicks!

Welcome to February 2017! And not just any day in February – it is exactly one month today until The Next Page’s next workshop: Teenage Kicks, on Saturday 4th March.

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We’re in our usual spot in Whitley Bay Library, and having found our previous inspiration in words and art, this time we’ll be using music. Come along and be inspired by your favourite pieces, discover some possible new ones, and enjoy plenty more idea to tease out poetry, prose and more.

There’ll be plenty of ideas to spur you on, both during the workshops, and to keep you going at home too.

Tickets are just £15 for the session, 1330-1600, and there may well be biscuits…

Visit the event’s Facebook page to keep up to date with details, or click here to book your place.


Final workshop of the year…

The Next Page’s final creative writing workshop of the year takes place in just over a week on Saturday 3rd December in Whitley Bay’s library. The afternoon workshop is called Ekphrasis workshop: Finding Words in Pictures. The Greeks used ekphrasis to describe writing about art. The aim was to make the reader imagine the work of art as if it were physically present.

jasperWorkshop co-ordinator Jennifer C Wilson takes the word as a springboard for next Saturday’s workshop. Come and find inspiration from paintings, sculpture and other artworks. Jennifer will guide you through a number of exercises and there’ll be chances for feedback throughout the afternoon.

Ekphrasis workshop: Finding Words in Pictures. Saturday 3rd December Whitley Bay library 1.30pm to 4pm Cost: £20. Book your place online




Meet L.A. Craig

With just over a week to go before the next Pure Fiction it’s time to meet L.A. Craig who will be reading alongside Carol Clewlow.

la-craig-1L.A. Craig (Lisa, when she’s not being all writery) is from Sandancer stock. After a detour via London, Milton Keynes and Oxford, she now lives in Whitley Bay. Lisa describes herself as a late starter. She completed a degree in her thirties and plodded through several too-dull-to-mention jobs for another ten years before giving herself permission to write. She has since been published in the National Flash Fiction Day anthologies Jawbreakers and Scrapand in the Words with Jam prize winners’ anthology An Earthless Melting Pot. She received a New Fiction Bursary from the Northern Writers’ Awards in 2014 for her children’s novel, Hosannas and Sleeping Bags, and her short story Flour Baby was selected for broadcast on Radio 4’s Opening Lines programme. Her work also appears online.

Since agreeing to perform at Pure Fiction Lisa’s had the following good news. Her children’s novel Hosannas and Sleeping Bags, has been longlisted for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition 2016. The judges include Anne Fine and the shortlist will be announced next month.

Lisa’s also heard that Flour Baby has recieved an Honourable Mention in US literary mag Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Competition

 Come and hear Lisa  and Carol Clewlow read from their work and answer questions at Pure Fiction on Saturday 12th November at Whitley Bay Library. Tickets cost £4 and are available from our Ticketsource page


Pure Fiction meets… Carol Clewlow

In three weeks’ time, the second Pure Fiction will take place in Whitley Bay Library (visit the Facebook event here). To whet your appetite, I caught up with one of our readers, the lovely Carol Clewlow.


Throughout your varied career, which piece of work / element of your career are you most proud of?

I’m not. And I know this sounds like a curmudgeonly answer but I’m not proud of any of them. I just see the flaws which frankly seem major and grow with time.

Are there any of your early novels / other works which you would like to revisit, or to be able to ‘rewrite’ now? Is there anything you would do differently?

Loads I would do differently ( see above). Characters/situations where I was just getting my rocks off at the time ( we do a lot of this as novelists and sometimes it works out really well. See D.H Lawrence Sons and Lovers).   But I don’t want to slag the books off too much. Because some people have liked them. And some people have liked them a lot.  And for that I am grateful beyond belief.

Can you tell me about your writing residency at the medical school, how it came about, and how it led to Operating Theatre?

This is something I remain eternally grateful for. The placement was advertised and I just felt it had my name on it. I am rubbish at interviews so for this actually went for training ( never done it before or since) but I got the job.  Newcastle University Medical School already had a good history in the humanities, i.e. running courses for interested medical students in fiction, poetry etc., the idea being that many students have had to give up English studies early on to concentrate on science subjects, a pity since a good  novel/play can teach them plenty about human beings. My job was to run workshops on these courses plus creative writing sessions for anyone interested. Julia Darling who many will remember was working at the University itself and was very interested in things medical. She and I were approached by a wonderful far-seeing GP who was also a lecturer, and who was a theatre-goer, and felt drama could be a useful tool in teaching medical students. And Operating Theatre was born. That was in 2001 and 15 years later we perform 4 plays  a year for Newcastle medical students, as well as drama on a variety of subjects to do with health and social care at conferences and events throughout the country.

Did seeing “A woman’s guide to adultery” made into a mini-series alter the way you saw future characters, or wrote your future works?

Frankly, now it can be told, it wasn’t a good adaptation.   There were good moments, thanks to the actors, but the script was pretty dire. It also managed to entirely turn on its head anything that was being said in the novel. I didn’t complain at the time, being starry-eyed about the whole thing, not to mention the cheque.

Where do you find your inspiration? Has it changed at all during your career?

I love the writer who asked where he got his ideas said Harrods. I think I’m more of a Co-op girl. Inspiration has changed dramatically I think. The first books were written in wonderful rushes of This Must Be Said, This Book Must Be Written. It’s not like that now. Now I sit waiting and hoping. For the last two years I’ve had an idea kicking around refusing to come properly to fruition. I think it has now. I touch wood as I say this, knowing the Gods are listening and dying to thwart me.

What else are you involved in at the moment that you’d like to share with us?

See above.. But keep it under your hat. Like I say, The Gods Are Listening.

Can you give us a sneak preview of what you’ll be reading at Pure Fiction?

I’d love to… but I never make up my mind until the last moment.


Finally, the history-nerd cannot help coming out – if you could sit and chat with any historical character, who would it be, and what would you take the chance to discuss?

That’s tricky.  Be a toss up wouldn’t it: Shakespeare or Jesus? Probably have to be Jesus in the end. I’d say, Ok.. really need to know. Was it a clever scam? I mean did you actually survive the crucifixion… get spirited away? I mean that has to be worth knowing..ie if medicine was available then which  actually could have healed him? Also, I’d want to tell him, you’ll never guess what’s happened since.   What they’ve done with your ideas. I mean do the words Westminster Abbey or The Vatican have any significance for you at all?  And Shakespeare..? You and Anne Hathaway? Went back to Stratford in the end didn’t you? What was that about? And that whole second best bed thing.

Thanks for joining me, Carol – looking forward to Pure Fiction! For those who want to find out more, tickets are available now…


Inspirational Saturday

Buzzzzzz! That’s the sound of my body and soul buzzing after yesterday’s Creative Writing Mentoring sessions at Whitley Bay Library.

I organised a day of one to one mentoring sessions and sliced the day into five hourly sessions. Four out of the five sessions were booked and resulted in a day of inspiration, surprises, insight, laughter and creative thinking.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to and talking with my visitors. I was struck by the wide range of writing styles, aims and expectations. We all came away with homework and plans of action.


I’ll be running more of these sessions at Whitley Bay Library on the first Saturday of every month. Future dates are 1st October, 5th November and 3rd December. For more information and booking visit https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/thenextpage

Feel free to ask questions via this blog or The Next Page’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheNextPagePresents/


The Next Page’s First Page


Welcome to The Next Page’s very first blog post, fuelled, on this rainy Saturday afternoon, by red wine and chocolate crispie cakes. What better way to kick off a creative venture…


It’s been five weeks since our first workshops, and three since the first Pure Fiction, so it felt about right to finally launch our blog. We have plenty of things coming up in the next few months:

  • Saturdays 3rd September / 1st October – Mentoring sessions with Elaine;
  • Saturday 15th October – Age Takes Centre open workshop (more info to follow);
  • Saturday 5th November – Mentoring sessions with Elaine;
  • Saturday 12th November – Pure Fiction featuring Carol Clewlow and L.A. Craig; and
  • Saturday 3rd December – Mentoring sessions with Elaine and Ekphrasis Workshop.

More information, as it becomes available, will be posted here on our blog, on our Facebook page, and tickets will be available on our TicketSource page.