wemconf logo

The Writers’ Conference is almost here!

Following the success of last year’s event, Writing East Midlands brings The Writers’ Conference back to The University of Nottingham on Saturday 28 March 2015.

This one-day conference gives the East Midlands’ writing community access to leading professionals from the industry.  Panel events, debates and activities cover a range of writing disciplines including fiction, poetry and scriptwriting for screen & theatre, and explores topics and trends on all aspects of writing and publishing, from writing in the digital age to reaching audiences.

Whether you’re an established or emerging writer, The Writers’ Conference is an invaluable opportunity for you to make new contacts, learn more about getting published, take part in workshops, be guided through the murky waters of funding, and apply to have your work read by a nationally-acclaimed literary agent or critiqued by a professional writer.

Keynote Speakers for 2015

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Keynote Speakers are Maureen Duffy and Kerry Young

Maureen Duffy is a novelist, non-fiction author, poet, playwright and Human Rights activist, whose 33 published works span six decades. Her new poetry collection Environmental Studies was published by Enitharmon in 2013 and her novel, In Times Like These, was published in the same year. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded the CISAC gold medal from the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers in 2004 and the Medal of Honour by the Portuguese Society of Authors in 2009.




Kerry Young is the author of two novels Pao (2011) – shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Book Prize – and Gloria (2013) longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and nominated for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has been shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award twice and is currently working on her third novel for Bloomsbury.




There will be book signings with Maureen and Kerry on the day, and you can purchase their latest titles from the Conference Bookseller, Five Leaves.

The Writers’ Conference 2015 Programme

It’s arrived! The Writers’ Conference programme is now available for you to download here:

CLICK HERE to download The Writers’ Conference 2015 Programme


Times of the Conference

9.30am (registration and refreshments) to 5.30pm

Conference Workshops

Book your place on the following workshops:

photo: Hannah Fox

photo: Hannah Fox


Behind the Scenes: Playwriting Workshop
with Kevin Fegan

Imagine an empty stage… a character enters, carrying flowers. He/she tells us how much they love their wife/husband/partner. That’s nice, the audience thinks, taking it at face value. He/she kneels down and lays out the flowers. Now it appears as though he/she is at a grave and the person they love has died. All is not what it seems as a drama unfolds…

In this workshop Playwright, Kevin Fegan, will take you back to first principles in writing for the theatre.


Cathy Grindrod  2pm – 3.15pm

Development Planning for Writers: Taster Workshop
with Cathy Grindrod

Are you satisfied with the time and attention you give your writing? What would writer paradise be for you? Does a lack of confidence, poor motivation or isolation hold you back? If so, you are not alone! This workshop will give you a taste of writer development planning – a guided process to help you take stock, set new goals and begin to explore your writing future.

Please note, places are available on a first-come-first serve basis.


Join the Waiting List at the link below.


CLICK HERE to join the Development Planning Taster Workshop WAITING LIST CLICK HERE to join Behind the Scenes: Playwriting Workshop WAITING LIST


Places for all of the other panel events and seminars at the Conference are to be offered on a first come first serve basis on the day.

The panel rooms have a capacity of 60 or more but to avoid any disappointment, please ensure you come to the allocated panel/seminar room in good time for the start of the event to get a place.

The following seminar has a limited capacity:

12.15pm – 1pm

Knowing Your Book – The Importance of the Synopsis with Hannah Ferguson

The Writers’ Conference 2015 Venue

Portland Building and lakeThe Writers’ Conference is to be held once again in the prestigious Portland Building at the University of Nottingham, once home to DH Lawrence, who studied there in the early 1900s.

The University now houses the DH Lawrence Research Centre, which provides a focus for research and hosting Lawrence-related activities such as readings, conferences and events. The Manuscripts and Special Collections section at the University includes one of the world’s major international collections on DH Lawrence among its extensive historic archives and literary papers. The University’s public arts venue, Lakeside Arts Centre, plays a keyrole in Nottingham’s cultural life attracting thousands of visitors every year.

University of Nottingham, Portland Building, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ.

Make a weekend of it

rebelsSpend a few days in beautiful Nottingham with its wealth of literary and cultural myth and history. Get to know our Rebel Writers: Byron, Lawrence, Sillitoe, explore our fantastic spoken word and literary events, gigs and venues, while away a few hours in our wonderful bookshops, and even have a look in the Dukki shop (where you’ll learn the meaning of the word mardy!)…


Where to stay?

We have some lovely hotels and B&Bs, some of which are offering special prices over the Conference weekend. For a more detailed list please click here.

The Orchard Hotel
Holiday Inn, Nottingham Castle Marina
P & J Hotel – Bed & Breakfast
The Grove Guest House – Bed & Breakfast
Saco Apartments – Self Catering


Writing East Midlands have teamed up with East Midlands Trains and DG Taxis (Nottingham) to support Conference travel.

train icon-01BY TRAIN

to Nottingham or Beeston (Beeston is the nearest station to the Conference venue)


EMT-Logo-NEWWriting East Midlands have teamed up with East Midlands Trains to support delegate travel to/from The Writers’ Conference on journeys that are made directly on East Midlands Trains. The flexible East Midlands Trains’ Conference and Events Ticket, which you can book up to 7pm on Friday 27 March, is available for following journeys and prices:

East Midlands Trains are offering the following Conference ticket fares to Beeston or Nottingham station:

London St Pancras – 1st £62 / Std £44
Bedford – 1st £ 30/ Std £20
Wellingborough– 1st £25 / Std £18
Kettering – 1st £20.50 / Std £15
Market Harborough– 1st £20 / Std £15
Leicester– 1st £17 / Std £12
Loughborough– 1st £17 / Std £12
Chesterfield – Std £14
Sheffield – Std £14

How to book:

To book one of the above journeys, please contact the East Midlands Corporate and Events Team:
Mon – Fri 0800 – 1900
Telephone: 08457 125 678 option 4
or e-mail corporateandevents@eastmidlandstrains.co.uk and a member of the team will call you back to take your credit/debit card details.

Please quote – Writers15

Terms and Conditions

Valid for all services arriving into London St Pancras at or after 0956 and for trains departing London St Pancras until 1626 and at or after 1825 on weekdays.
Travel at anytime during a weekend.
On Liverpool – Norwich route tickets are valid after 0901 Monday – Sunday. These are the services from Sheffield and Chesterfield.

Collecting your tickets:

Please collect your tickets from the departure machine at the station prior to your journey. If booked more than a week in advance, tickets can be sent out to you in the post.


bus icons-01BY COACH

to Nottingham Bus Station (near Nottingham Train Station)

National Express – advance tickets are available from London to Nottingham

from £10 return: www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx




DG TAXIS are offering £1 discount taxi fares to the venue, booked through them.



  1. Print the vouchers and bring them with you on the day
  2. Call DG on T: 0115 9 500 500 in advance of your arrival at the train station
  3. Ensure you get a receipt from the driver for you to return to Writing East Midlands

Download your CLICK HERE to download your TWC 2015 TAXI Voucher

Where to find DG Cars at Nottingham Train Station




car icons-01


From M1 motorway to University Park

Leave the M1 motorway at Junction 25 to join the A52 to Nottingham. Follow the A52 for approximately 4 miles, at the Toby Carvery pub roundabout turn right onto the A6464, turn left at the next roundabout to enter the University’s West Entrance.

We recommend that you access the campus from the West Entrance (please note there is a one way system on campus so you will need to drive round the campus to access the designated car parks). 


access via the North Entrance

The South Entrance is only accessible (on University Boulevard) via the Beeston/Derby direction due to the ongoing tram works.

Please see the campus map at the link below for more information.


parking icons-01Where to Park?

Parking is FREE ALL DAY on the day of the Conference (Saturday 28 March) in the designated car parks at the University Campus. There are also a number of Blue Badge parking spaces near the Portland Building. Please see the University Campus map provided (CLICK HERE) or visit the university website on: www.nottingham.ac.uk


Unfortunately the University of Nottingham is unable to offer cloakroom facilities for The Writers’ Conference so please be aware of this and here’s hoping for a sunny Spring day so you won’t need a big coat!



To join the Waiting List, please click on the button below. We will then contact you if a place becomes available prior to the event. Places will be offered on a first come first serve basis.

Here’s a few of the highlights from #wemconf 2014


Matt Haig’s moving keynote address talking about his depression and the impact it has on his writing and vice versa.

Jon McGregor’s keynote in which he shared his faith in the writing community and the importance for writers to stay connected with one another.

Jon’s introduction to The Letters Page journal.

Matt Haig’s list of 30 things a writer should know.

The Agent One-to-Ones with Carole Blake, Sheila Crowley, Penny Luithlen, and John Jarrold. Duncan Pile, author of The Nature Mage was taken on by John Jarrold on the day.

Rob Gee, The Writers’ Conference Poet in Residence, striding the halls of the Portland Building covered in post-it-notes filled with lines of poems, scribbles and thoughts from delegates that went into his wonderful poem at the end of the day.

A delicious buffet lunch in the beautiful Atrium of the prestigious Portland Building followed later in the day with tea & cake.

Our Books Are My Bag goodie bags filled with notebooks, pens, books, fliers, newsletters, journals and many good things.

The chance to meet up with old friends, make new ones and chat to professional writers. editors, agents and publishers.

Fantastic panel events including writing in the digital age, funding, everything you’ve ever wanted to ask an agent, young adult fiction, writing in residence, writing for screen, self publishing and many more.

Our sponsors and supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the support of:


Arts Council England

Major Sponsors



University of Derby
Silbercow Design
The Writers’ Guild
Russell Press
DG Cars
East Midlands Trains


Five Leaves Bookshop
Nottingham Writers’ Studio
Writers’ Online / Writing Magazine
Usborne Books
Nottingham Trent University
Virtual Office Solutions
Troubador Publishing Ltd / Matador
Student Wordsmith
Lowdham Bookshop

The Writers’ Conference 2014 #wemconf

The Writers’ Conference Terms and Conditions

VOTING: The voting system (Voice your Vote) is to provide Writing East Midlands with an indication of which activities, of the chosen selection stated, are of public preference. To avoid disappointment, please note that the voting selection is not reflective of the conference programme and whilst we hope to provide something for everyone, there is no guarantee that the stated topics will be included.

REFUNDS AND CANCELLATIONS: Every effort will be made to run the advertised programme, we reserve the right to make changes should this become necessary. In the unfortunate event of cancellation by us, a full refund will be made. Refunds are not normally made in other circumstances. In exceptional circumstances consideration will be given to a request from a ticket holder who wishes to cancel. If a refund is agreed, a £10 administration fee will be charged.

If you wish to contact us about a booking, please call 0115 9597933 or you can send an email to: annabel@www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk

PRIVACY: Writing East Midlands Ltd takes the privacy and security of our customers very seriously. We comply with the requirements of the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 1998 relating to the personal information you supply on this site. We do not sell, release, rent or share any customer information and will not do so unless required to by law. Contracts between you and Writing East Midlands are governed by English Law.

ONLINE SECURITY: Secure servers offer to Writing East Midlands’ customers the highest level of security when entering credit card details over the Internet. All credit/debit card purchases are subject to the normal validation checks and authorisation procedures adopted by the card issuer. Any refusal by the issuer of any payment card to authorise the payment to us, for any reason, will not render Writing East Midlands liable for any delay or non-delivery.

The Writers’ Conference is brought to you by Writing East Midlands in partnership with The University of Nottingham. Supported by Arts Council England.