The Writing Squad provides workshops, 1-1 support and investment for young writers aged 16-21 who live, work or study in the north of England. After the initial two-year programme, the support continues as the writers begin their careers. The Core team is made up of playwright Emma Adams, novelist Jenn Ashworth, poet Malika Booker, poet and maker Stevie Ronnie and Director Steve Dearden.
Founded in 2001, The Writing Squad has worked with 211 writers, 20% of them now earn their living in the writing and cultural industries, a further 28% have had publications/productions or make part of their living from writing activities.
The writers are recruited on the quality of their work, but the organisation also looks out for distinct and underrepresented voices. The team support is rigorous, long term and shaped by the constant renewal of their needs, ambitions and circumstances. They meet the writers for one to ones electronically or wherever they live, and hold the workshops in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield. They also set up and deliver projects which offer the writers opportunities to gain experience and employment in schools, galleries, museums and anywhere partner organisations engage with young people.