Spelt News

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Good Morning Readers

This is the first blog I’ve written for quite some time, but with all the new initiatives happening at Spelt I thought it time to resurrect the blog, and make it a regular occurrence. Welcome back to the Spelt blog.

What’s happening at Spelt?

Spelt is now half way through its second year and going from strength to strength. The current issue of the magazine, issue 6, is for sale in the shop (link to shop) and you can also subscribe to the magazine and buy back issues there too. Subscribers are Spelt’s lifeblood. A subscription to Spelt allows us to plan and expand, bringing lots more ways to interact with the rural environment through creative writing.

Spelt Nature Writing School

Speaking of which, I’m pleased to announce the Spelt Nature Writing School. The school has three terms per year, each term is three months long and includes a range of four week courses, two hour workshops and morning writing groups. We’ll be bringing some live author events and masterclasses as well as some retreats soon too. You can browse all of the courses in the first term by following this link: link to writing school.

September Courses

Our first four week course is with Electra Rhodes. You might remember Electra as one of our very first columnists. Electra Rhodes is an archaeologist whose short prose has been widely published, most recently in Parthian Press’ anthology An Open Door – Travel Writing for a Precarious Century. (Which I keep seeing in Waterstones and really must buy). Her current projects include a hybrid nature/family memoir and an intersectional biography of the British landscape.

El is a rising star, she’s a writer who has been longlisted for the Nan Shepherd prize and she’s one of the London Library’s emerging writers, which you can read about by following this link: London Library Emerging Writers.

It’s a genuine privilege to be able to welcome Electra back to Spelt to run our first Creative Non Fiction course. The course is zoom based and will run on Sundays 2-4pm (UK time) from September. Here’s a short description:

Real like the daisies, or real like I love you – writing your story for real

Over this four week series of workshops we’ll look at what makes for a good nonfiction story, column, or blog piece; use several starter prompts to draft the beginnings of a piece; explore some revision and editing strategies; and discover a range of venues for your work. 

Focussing in on the fundamentals of character, events, voice and context, these online workshops will work for anyone who wants to write about their own experiences – travel, memoir, food, nature, media, place – in jump-off-the-page ways, whether you’re just beginning to write creative and narrative nonfiction or have thousands of words under your belt. 

Over the series of sessions there will be opportunities to write, revise, ask questions, and share your writing. Come with a blank page each week, leave with several new drafts and plenty of inspiration.

This is a zoom based course which will run on Sundays 2-4pm (UK time) in September . The dates for this course are:

4th September 2-4pm 

11th September 2-4pm 

18th September 2-4pm 

25th September 2-4pm

The cost is £70 for all four weeks of the course

This course has one bursary place attached to it for a writer in recept of benefits.

Spelt remains unfunded, but we are making a commitment to pay our facilitators properly, which means that if we don’t get enough bookings the course won’t run. If you know someone who might enjoy the courses, please share them so that we can reach a wider audience.

I’m going to be running the early morning writing sessions – The Dawn Chorus – a peaceful way to start the day and a good way to build your writing practice. Join me for an hour 7-8am –

The Dawn Chorus Writing Group

The Dawn Chorus is an early morning writing session with a nature theme which takes place once a month over five days. Sessions are run over zoom and all you need to take part is a zoom account and a desire to set some time aside to write. Sessions are just one hour long and are designed to keep your writing motivation ticking over. The Dawn Chorus is run by Spelt Magazine and facilitated by Spelt editor Wendy Pratt. Each session begins with an inspirational poem or extract of creative non-fiction and an optional prompt for you to use, but please feel free to work on your own long term project. 

You will not be asked to share anything you are working on, but there will be five minutes at the end of the session set aside to check in and share if you want to. The aim of the group is community and pressure free writing in a friendly and supportive space. 

You do not have to have your video or audio switched on, and you will not be asked to introduce yourself or perform any ice breaker or group discussions, this is purely a place to write in a community of other writers. 

Further information

The Dawn Chorus runs once a month, usually at the beginning of the month, 7-8am, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

The cost is £7 and this includes all days within that week. 

You are free to attend every day, or just the days you want to, the fee is the same and covers all five days. You do not need to send apologies if you are unable to attend, this is a relaxed, no pressure writing group.You can book your place by following this link: Dawn Chorus

I’ll also be running a two hour workshop in September, The Autumn Nature Table.

The Autumn Nature Table

In this two hour workshop we’ll be taking inspiration from the Autumn nature table – a selection of natural items that you might find on an autumn nature walk. Using these, alongside discussion around poems with an autumnal theme, we’ll be writing poems that reflect the seasonal change and how that change might be reflected in our own lives. 

This workshop is open to any level of writer. 

This is a zoom based workshop which will run on Saturday 10th September 11am to 1pm (UK Time) 

The cost is £17.00 

You can sign up for the Autumn Nature Table by following this link: Link to eventbrite

And also in September we have co-ed Steve running a two hour workshop aimed at helping you improve your editing skills. We’re trying to include skills workshops along with our creative writing workshops, so if you want to polish your editing skills, come and join brilliant Steve for a couple of hours.

Editing Your Poems: The Basics

Join creative writing lecturer, poet and Spelt co-editor Steve Nash for a two hour workshop exploring the art of editing your poems. Steve will lead you through the basics of getting your poems from first draft to finished. 

This workshop is open to any level of writer. 

This is a zoom based workshop which will run on Saturday 24th September 11am to 1pm (UK Time) 

The cost is £17.00 

This course has one bursary place attached to it for a writer in receipt of benefits.

You can sign up for Steve’s brilliant workshop by following this link: Editing your poems link

To view all of our courses for the September term, have a look at the Writing School page by following this link: link to writing school

Competition News

We had a fantastic response to the Spelt competition. Judge Polly Atkin is currently reading submissions, but we’ll soon be able to tell you who has won. After doing the admin for the competition and seeing the quality of work sent in, I do not envy her, and I am really excited to see which poems she has chosen.

Welcome Helen Dewbery!

In other news we are absolutely delighted to welcome Helen Dewbery as our Poetry Film Editor. Helen Dewbery has taught poetry film extensively, in person and online. Her poetry films have appeared internationally at poetry festivals, where she has also presented talks and curations. For seven years she delivered a programme of poetry film events at Poetry Swindon Festival, including events in the community and an outdoor projection. Helen’s work has included the poetry film collection ‘Nothing in the Garden’, the Wild Whispers transnational project and the poetry film magazine Poetry Film Live. She is an associate of the Royal Photographic Society.

I can’t think of anyone better to facilitate this new area of the magazine and I cannot wait to see the submissions, which will open for our winter edition.

And that’s it for now, all news caught up. In the next blog I’ll be talking about Creative Non Fiction in the context of nature writing, subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!

Best wishes

Wendy Pratt

Spelt founder and editor

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