Go On, Give It A Go! Creative Writing Workshops

Starting on 27 January 2021, the CWU is offering members ten weeks of online workshop sessions, exploring different elements of creative writing

The CWU are once again working with our friends, Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists to offer a series of workshops covering different aspects of creative writing. All workshops are free to CWU members. You can sign up for all ten or just the one, it is completely up to you.

All sessions start at 17.30hrs. To apply contact pdovey@cwu.org

In addition to the regular team of Emma Purshouse, Dave Pitt, and Steve Pottinger, we will be joined by Heather Wastie, Michael Southan, Ben Davis and Louise Palfreyman.

During this ten week programme participants will

  • have a go at creating work in a variety of styles and genres.
  • develop an awareness of relevant outlets for their work
  • explore ways of presenting work effectively for stage and/or page.

Workshop Schedule

27th January: Poetry (with Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse)

Using simple repetition and listing techniques, have a go at creating quick effective poetry. Explore topics of interest for our future writing. Consider ways to cut out the clichés, compare yourself to a summer’s day, get up close and personal with similes and metaphors.

3rd February: Using local history as a source for writing (with Heather Wastie)

Using observation, memories, senses and imagination, create a poem about a familiar building or write an article suitable for a newsletter, newspaper, magazine or blog, describing an event. Workshop participants are invited to bring along material to inspire them. For example: photos, news cuttings, publicity leaflets, objects and relevant information relating to a chosen building/structure and event.

10th February: Autobiography and memoir (with Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse)

We’ve all got a tale to tell.  Do you have something in your personal history that you’re bursting to share? It could be a childhood remembered, confessions of a postal worker, or a ‘how I overcame’ story. Whatever your story is, this session will encourage you to explore different ways of telling.

17th February: Writing for Kids (with Ben Davis)

Are you interested in the wonderful world of writing for children? Have a go at a poetry warm up exercise. Think about plotting, character creation and dialogue. Draw upon your own experiences as inspiration.

24th February: Fiction (with Emma Purshouse)

Have a go at creating flash fiction and short stories or even a chapter for your novel! A series of activities designed to get you writing tight prose just begging to be read.

3rd March: Script Writing (with Michael Southan)

Have fun whilst delving into the basics of dramatic storytelling. Use the things around you to develop ideas and characters, before taking them forward into scripted scenes.

10th March: Biography (with Steve Pottinger)

Perhaps you want to write about your granddad, your maiden aunt, or that family member who ran off to join the circus, or hopped on the boat to Australia.  Maybe there is somebody in your local community whose story deserves to be recorded and told. Consider how to make someone else’s life story leap off the page. How to separate the wheat from the chaff.  What to leave in and what to leave out.  How to do your subject justice.

17th March Stand-up comedy (with Dave Pitt)

Have you ever wanted to have a go at stand up comedy? You know you’re funny around your mates but can you make strangers laugh? This session will look at how to get started in doing stand up, how to write and structure jokes and offer invaluable advice on performing.

24th March: Journalism (with Louise Palfreyman)

Write like a journalist: learn the tricks of the trade. Journalism is all about economy, precision and engaging interest. If you want to write for your own website or improve how you write for social media or compose emails to family and friends, this class offer top tips.

31st March: Celebration Zoom event (with Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists)

Come along and share a piece of work that you’ve created during the course. A chance to enjoy creativity from a range of voices. All workshop participants are welcome to join us (whether as audience or readers).

More information about the workshop crew:

Ben Davis is an award-winning author of children’s books, as well as a postman and CWU member. He currently has nine titles out with Oxford University Press and his most recent, the Soup Movement, has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

Louise Palfreyman is a writer and journalist who works regularly with community groups. She has worked as writer-in-residence at the University of Wolverhampton, and her short fiction has featured in a range of journals and anthologies including Best British Short Stories. She is passionate about helping everyone discover their inner writer.

Dave Pitt is a playwright, performance poet, and worked in stand-up, both as an event host and comedian.  His book ‘Starting out in stand-up’ details the first 100 gigs of his stand-up career.  He is an associate writer at Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton.  He has appeared at venues across the country and enjoyed successful run of performances at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Steve Pottinger is a  widely published poet who performs his work both nationally and internationally. His most recent poetry collection ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ is published by Ignite Books.  He is an experienced workshop facilitator, and author of three biographies focusing on the hell-raising antics of some of the stalwarts of the punk rock scene.   He’s also a founding member of Wolverhampton arts collective Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists.

Emma Purshouse is an award winning freelance writer, performance poet, novelist, slam champion, and comedienne.  She is currently the Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton.  She writes for children and adults.  Her children’s book ‘I Once Knew a Poem who Wore a Hat’ won the Rubery Book Award for Poetry in 2016.  Her most recent poetry collection ‘Close’ is published by Offa’s Press.

Michael Southan is a playwright and poet from Wolverhampton. He has a background in both Theatre and Radio drama; he is an alumni of Graeae Theatre Company’s development programme for deaf and disabled playwrights, as well as Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Foundry. He was also selected for BBC Writersroom’s Writers’ access group in 2018.

Heather Wastie  is a poet, singer/songwriter, keyboard/accordion player, actor, humourist and facilitator.  Heather is well known for her interpretations of oral history. She has been Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet in Kidderminster, turning people’s memories into poems, monologues and songs.  She has strong links with the history of canals and she co-created and toured Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways, with writer and actor Kate Saffin.  Heather’s most recent project is I Dig Canals, researching women’s involvement in canal restoration and campaigning post-war to 1970s.  You might have seen Heather on your telly as part of the popular Nationwide Building Society ad campaign!