Call out for Poets of Colour for Waterloo Press mentoring & publishing scheme

Brighton & Hove based publisher Waterloo Press invite submissions for LIT-UP, their new Arts Council England-funded mentoring and publishing scheme for emerging poets of colour. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2018.

The two-year project will provide 10 poets with a digital platform on their new website as well as the necessary mentoring and editorial support to produce a pamphlet or poetry collection, all to be celebrated with a live closing event in the Spring of 2020.

Waterloo Press encourages submissions from faith, LGBTQI, disability, Roma, working class and/or additional perspectives.

There is no age restriction (from 18+) and no entry fee. Poets should have a track record of publishing and/or performing, and a portfolio at least 20 publishable poems.

  1. In the first instance please contact LIT-UP Project Manager Monika Richards on and request the application form for completion, stating LIT-UP in the subject line.
  2. Along with the completed form, submit up to 5 poems in no more than 8 pages in a pdf format. Each poem must be single spaced (except for stanza breaks) and start on a new page. Font type must be 12. Please do not write your name on the poetry pages. Please number and state LIT-UP! in your header/footer on each page. State your name and LIT-UP in the subject line of the email.
  3. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2018.
  4. The shortlist will be decided by 15 September.
  5. Shortlisted poets will be asked to submit a further 15 – 45 poems. The final decision and the successful 10 poets will be announced on 15 Oct.

Photos and videos from INCUBATE Live Lit Industry Scratch Night at Nightingale Theatre

four people making a toast
INCUBATE participants Umit Ozturk, Lynne Blackwood, with Stuart Silver, and participant Priti Barua. Photo Bip Mistry

I’m very happy to present to you photos from Paul Jackson and Bip Mistry and film from Joel Shepherd featuring the live lit performances from creative writers Priti Barua, Umit Ozturk and Lynne Blackwood. They performed for the first time on 24 January 2013 at Nightingale Theatre as part of our new live lit programme called Incubate.

Since 14 December, they’ve had the opportunity to work with BAFTA-nominated, Perrier award winning writer and acclaimed producer Stuart Silver to turn their original writing – everything from one-page scripts, a short story and an even flash pieces – into live lit performance fit for the stage. They rehearsed for 4 days in the studio, and I know put in a lot of time and hard work to produce some excellent results. See Lynne Blackwood’s account on our site about what the experience was like.

Stuart Silver, Producer, says: ‘Working with such obviously talented writers is a thrilling process, and Priti, Lynne and Umit have leapt into the challenge of turning their wonderful writing into performance as a first step to developing live literature works with dynamic shifts, risk, surprise, wit and warmth.

‘For the two days we’ve spent together, there is of course so much to explore with such richly nuanced texts and we’re thoroughly looking forward to seeing these three pieces performed for an audience for the first time.  It’s obviously an essential experience from which, with continued mentor support they can further develop the pieces and explore the performance techniques we’ve all been setting in place.’

The night of 24 January was packed out with audiences – yes, a sold out night! – and we saw moving, daring, and humorous performances from all three writers. If you missed it, not to fear, as we have videos of Umit, Lynne and Priti, plus a special 2.5 minute promo video of all three. Plus we also have photos on our Facebook page and on Flickr, so have a look and enjoy.

We expect to see more from these three writers in the near future!

A final thanks to Steven Brett at the Nightingale Theatre for supporting this programme, Akka Ali, who was the INCUBATE coordinator, and Sarah Lee, who is mentoring all three writers to help them get funding to continue their writing developments.

Umit Ozturk performing ‘Who do you think they are not?’


Umit’s humorous short play “Aunt’s Agony” is about a person working in a call centre who’s trying to sort out people’s problems from around the world and tackles the issue of cultural diversity – and cats!

Umit Ozturk says of the residency: ‘Incubate helped the flames of my passion for stage to reincarnate! In this piece of stage performance, I am hoping to have a witty look at the perception of the diversity of cultures in the society, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region. I would like to ask the audience this question with a loud smile: “who do you think they are not?” and help them in finding the answers.’

Lynne Blackwood performing ‘The Lesson in Dhansak’

Lynne’s piece is based on a short story called “The Lesson in Dhansak”, which is the only piece of Lynne’s writing to be drawn from a personal experience. Her story powerfully combines her Anglo-Indian community’s loss with being different in a hostile country and her father’s valuable lesson to her as child about life and how to overcome difficulties.

Lynne Blackwood says: ‘Working with Stuart has been a liberating experience for me. His nurturing brought out talents I wasn’t yet aware of and allowed me to express myself in a confident way, despite the physical limitations. His observations also allowed me to look at my work in a different manner and to see where improvements to the original short story could be made. Thank you INCUBATE, Amy and Stuart!’

Priti Barua at Nightingale Theatre

Priti Barua says of her experience on the residency: ‘I have been positively inspired by the INCUBATE residency, the insights and guidance of Stuart Silver and the support of fellow writers and mentorship is invaluable. As a result I am becoming more conscious of the power of the spoken word and my deeper desire to connect with the audience in effective dialogue, both silent and spoken. It is both daunting and exhilarating to think that the words written in silence will take on new meaning in the theatrical space and I hope give me the courage and confidence to keep writing!’

INCUBATE 2012 promo video

Thank you INCUBATE: a post from Lynne Blackwood

Portsmouth writer Lynne Blackwood was one of three successful applicants for our first ever Incubate live lit residency, working with Stuart Silver, coordinated by Akkas Ali, and now working with mentor Sarah Lee to develop an application for funding to support her talent. Lynne writes about what the experience has been like – the challenges, the fears and the excitement at unfolding inner strength, beauty and ambition – on the stage and off.  

This is probably going to be one of those posts where you think, “Oh goodness this is really too long to read,” but please continue, because I wish to demonstrate just how the INCUBATE programme changed my life as an isolated, disabled and struggling writer (of many talents, as I can now proudly say!).

How did it all happen?

I was writing like a fury, entering competitions and desperately seeking professional development.  But without a ‘track record’, doors were more or less closed.  I submitted a last minute application, thinking, “No, not me, never in a million suns.” But how wrong I was.

Several days later, I had to change all pre-Christmas plans and jump on a train to Brighton for a two full-day residency.  I should perhaps explain an essential fact as to why this post is longer than usual.  Isolated, disabled and living off benefits, yet a committed and passionate writer. That’s who I am.

What does that mean?  Daily struggles, believe me.

Continue reading →

Rounke Coker reads at Writing Our Legacy/Afrikaba event, Hastings Museum

This Friday, Nigerian storyteller Rounke Coker delighted us with this story, set in Lagos, about a main character’s brother who has a strange fascination with insects, animals and particularly a pet crocodile. The story is rich in detail, aliveness and a visceral sense of language – as well as being plain damn funny.

The evening’s reading was set in the captivating Hastings Museum – a place highly recommended for a visit. The event, partnered with local African festival of arts and culture, Afrikaba, also featured Kent poet superstar Patience Agbabi, who is on the brink of publication for new work, tentatively titled Canterbury Remix….watch this space. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this incredible story from Rounke, who we are sure to hear again at future readings in Sussex (14 October, Nightingale Theatre)….and read in print very soon.

Rounke Coker  – Friday 5 October, Hastings Museum – Part 1

Rounke Coker – Friday 5 October, Hastings Museum – Part 2