Summer 2010

Big changes ahead. I’ll be winding up all my current work projects through June and July as I prepare to devote myself to a single very important project: My second child is due in mid-August, and I expect to be on maternity leave from August 4 until early 2011.  I have arranged maternity cover on all of my ongoing projects, but I’ll be picking up emails intermittently, so go ahead and drop me a line if you feel like it.

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the meantime:

It’s been a fabulous month for Creative Tourist, the web magazine I do editorial work on. We bagged two coveted Big Chip Awards: the award for best online brand development, and a special commendation for best public sector project. It’s lovely to see all of our hard work recognised.

The literature and technology organisation I run, Openstories, has been awarded a £10,000 grant for the arts from Arts Council England to fund our activities through summer 2011. This means we can develop our current slate of projects, including the Manchester Blog Awards and Rainy City Stories further while investigating some intriguing new ideas we’ve cooked up for future projects.

I’ve organised another successful Rainy City Stories creative writing workshop series. This one was our most ambitious yet, with sessions covering every district in Greater Manchester.  I am delighted to have worked with our wonderful and talented workshop leaders (Nick Royle, Jenn Ashworth, Suzanne Batty and Shamshad Khan) and big thanks to AGMA for funding it all.

It’s been a busy time for Rainy City Stories. We’ve also teamed up with Creative Tourist for a summertime urban short story contest, Rain Never Stops Play. I’ll be helping organise and judge this and am really looking forward to reading the entries. We’re also planning a great event for the Manchester Literature Festival in October.

In other writing news, the Speculative Fiction Writing Group I started up at MadLab has been growing quickly, with 15 people now involved. It’s encouraging to learn that there are so many hardworking writers in Manchester, and it’s great to get stuck in to writing some short stories again.

It’s been great to see a trio of impressive new websites launch in Manchester: Visit Manchester, Creative Times and Go See This. I contributed writing to the first two and was heavily involved in developing the content for Go See This, an incredibly useful and user-friendly new what’s on guide for the city of Manchester.

I’ve also been working on a number of interesting copywriting projects. It hasn’t been all hard work, though. Some of my work has been downright enjoyable, like researching this article for Creative Tourist about wild swimming spots near Manchester. What a fabulous way to cool off!

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