Friday, 5 October 2007

XY Uber Alles

‘Writing Women’
The North East has developed a powerful force for creativity within women .This has flourished and diversified and created its own tradition.
In Newcastle The Poetry Virgins and their dynamo poetry centre of Julia Darling and Ellen Phethean have created a wealth of opportunity for women writers.
'WRITING WOMEN' Magazine. Main Editor : Linda Anderson.

'A magazine which publishes writing by women is actively contributing to a process of political and ideological change' Professor Linda Anderson

The Poetry Virgins first book Modern Goddess was published in September 1992 this was also the birth of Diamond Twig Press - ‘which we launched it at Live theatre wearing black t-shirts emblazoned with pink writing declaring Modern Goddess and I was being sick because I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my second son, which was announced at the launch.’ Ellen Phethean
The PVs included Julia Darling and myself, Charlie Hardwick, Kay Hepplewhite and Fiona MacPherson.Sauce was published with Bloodaxe/Diamond Twig on 6th October 1994 which was National Poetry Day, and we featured on Women's Hour, Radio 4 on that day.The first two books in the Branchlines collection were Broken Biscuits by June Portlock Waltzing off from Hand-Me-Downs by Sylvia Forrestpublished and launched 29th October 1997 at Gateshead LibrariesThe first broadcast of Ellen Phethean’s radio poem Witnessing Westgate Hill on Radio 4 was on Stanza, July 19th 1997.

The first BlueRoom was on Sunday 6th April 97 with Jadwega Billewicz, Joan Johnston, Kathleen Kenny and Lisa Matthews upstairs at The Frog and Nightgown, Waterloo Street, N/C.JULIA DARLING Born 21st August 1956 ’My first poetry reading was with the Poetry Virgins at the Side Cinema, so called because they had never read poetry before. I formed the Virgins because I was so terrified of reading in public I could hardly breathe.Now things seem to have come full circle, and I'm reading on my own again, although I still love working with musicians.’Two books coming out in 2003...Sudden Collapses In Public Places with Arc (Poetry), and The Taxi Drivers Daughter (Novel) with Penguin.
Sudden Collapses In Public Places
like buildings, people can disintegratecollapse in queues, or in a crowded street
causing mayhem, giving kids bad dreamsof awkward corpses, policemen, drops of blood
but I'm stood here, a miracle of bonesarchitecturally balanced in my boots
I feel each joint, each hinge and spinal linkjolting to the rhythm of my breath
aware of every tremor in my joists.And yet I'm scared I haven't done enough
to be re-enforced and girded. Christ, I fearthose flowers tied to lamp posts. Fear the crash.

Panurge published this collection of Julia's passionate, funny and powerful stories in 1995. Her women stride courageously through them with ambition, lust, desire and doubt. These stories frequently explore the extremes of parental tyranny and defiant existence on the urban margins. ISBN 1-898984-25-5
Although this book is now out of print at the publishers, it can still be obtained from Diamond Twig

Other Publications
One of Julia's short stories, Geographicals, was published in Biting Back, published by IronPress.ISBN 0-906228-76-X
Small Beauties: this book of poems by Julia was published by Newcastle Libraries in 1988, and is still available from Diamond Twig at the bargain price of £1.00ISBN 0-902653-71-7
Snap Shots:Angela Royal Publishing; ISBN: 1-899860-80-0The Ian St James Awards are international awards for short fiction. Julia contributed to this selection of winning stories is picked from the first ten years of the awards.
Gas and Air (Bloomsbury Books): An anthology of stories about birth.
England Calling Writing From The Regions. ed Julia Bell
New Writing Ten (British Council/Picador)
Book Of The North CD Rom. Available from New Writing North.
Unbound ~Julia Darling (Editor)Blyth Valley Borough Council; ISBN: 1-898747-00-8

All Lombard Street to a China Orange : Anthology of North East writing women,Edited by Maggie York (West Press) 1993 including poetry and prose from Margaret Wilkinson, Linda France, Gillian Allnutt, Cynthia Fuller, Fiona Cooper, Ellen Phethean, Joan Johnston, Kath Kenny, Andrea Badenoch amongst others.

Women and Children First Poems and prose by Celia Bryce and Vera Kulkarni (Seafield) 1992. Foreword by Margaret Wilkinson
‘The two strong voices preserved here, find, in both the domestic and the more exotic settings of women’s experience, humour, pathos, sensuality and, most of all strength’ - Margaret Wilkinson

GARLANDS (an extract) by Vera Kulkarni
Holding hands we were cautious
Standing straight by the couch
With the same careful stare,
Communicating our fear
Through fingertips,
Now I am here, and Joan is no more.

SMALL MERCIES (an extract) by Celia Bryce
That night he lay staring at the ceiling. She took his hand and laid it on her breast.
You were meant to find this you know. At least that’s what the good books say. I seem to have read them all.
He remained staring at the ceiling. She nudged him.
We’ve got spiders up there.
They don’t scare me, he said

ELLEN PHETHEAN Born 25.1.1952
has broadcast her poetry on Radio 4 and Radio 3. In 1996 she won an Arts Council/BBC North writing award to develop a long sound/text poem about the West End of Newcastle "Witnessing Westgate Hill" for radio which was broadcast on Stanza, Radio 4 in July 1997.Ellen also works with The Poetry Virgins, a women's performance poetry group. They have three collections Modern Goddess, Modern Riddles (Diamond Twig Press) and Sauce (Bloodaxe Books). She now writes plays for them including Journey With A Golden Lady, a verse play about mothers, daughters, broadcast on Radio 4 as the afternoon play in May 2000, and a verse play Cast Off, about old ladies in a Residential Home with memories of former lives as pirates and sailors, which was performed in a short regional run in July 2002.
The University of Northumbria commissioned two plays for the Drama Students: Olympia in June 2000. A Life in Shadows, combined the texts of Jane Eyre and The Wide Sargasso Sea, performed in Belsay Hall, Northumberland, May 2001. She adapted and expanded Victory Harvest, a Julia Darling play about The Women's Land Army, for the first year Drama Students performed at Live Theatre in May 2002.
She runs Diamond Twig Press, with Julia Darling, which promotes and publishes new writing by women in the North. She also runs The Blue Room, a monthly reading giving opportunity for new writers in a pub in Newcastle.
She works as a sound artist and poet, playwright and editor. She completed a Poetry Film KEEPING TIME about the photographer Jimmy Forsyth, with International Media Productions and is working on a Year of the Artist CD rom exploring Female Pirates, which inspired the play Cast Off! with digital artist Sneha Solanki.
She is writer in residence in Byker for The Centre for The Children's Book, Ouseburn, until May 2003 and combining this work with Writing on the Wall project exploring communities who live along the line of Hadrian's Wall.

Vane Women - the Darlington women’s writing and performing collective, officially constituted in 1994 with 12 members and the aim of promoting and supporting the work of NE women writers. An A4E lottery grant in 1997 enabled a series of masterclasses with professional writers, and the publication of 4 pamphlet collections by new women writers from the Northern Arts area. We have now published a total of 9 pamphlets, and our most recent publication is the acclaimed Northern Grit, a book of photographs by VW member Pat Maycroft, with poems by Pat and the rest of the group. Our current project is a collaboration between Vane Women and the Isle of Wight’s Shore Women, and a book of writings arising out of exchange visits in 2002 is due for publication towards the end of 2003. Visit our website on
Northern Grit is a compilation of photographs and poetry by the Vane Women collective. Pat Maycroft, one of County Durham's finest photographers has provided a selection of photographs capturing the essence of the North, particularly the landscape of South West Durham where she lives. The collective, including Pat, has provided the poetry. A book where the North comes alive with images and voices.

Marilyn Longstaff born in Liverpool on May 29th 1950. Poems published in magazines. Started writing in about 1994), websites (eg Write on Tyne) and my first small collection ‘Puritan Games’( 36 pages) was published by Vane Women Press in 2001. Some poems in Northern Grit too (Vane Women anthology to accompany Pat Maycroft's photographs). Vane Women are in the final stages of a north south collaboration with Shore Women from the Isle of Wight ( anthology to be published in the autumn).
‘A significant event in my writing life was joining a writing class at Darlington Arts Centre run by Jackie Litherland - from that has sprung everything else. Barry McSweeney came to run one of the classes and his tutoring provoked me to write Lament, which is in my collection - and for which he gave me a small prize.

Eyes dim, slates gone and losing hairOnce proud, now figure of disgustShe should be taken into care
She's old. She's suffered wear and tearWe know she wouldn't want a fussEyes dim, slates gone and losing hair
We've always tried to do what's fairOf course we love her but it's justshe should be taken into care
She cannot manage step or stairLost balance how can we trustdim eyes, slates gone and loss of hair?
She's frozen, given to despairShe'll soon be ruin, rubble, dustShe should be taken into care
I fear she's gone beyond repairDried up, her engine's turned to rustEyes dim, slates gone and losing hairShe should be taken into care
Marilyn Longstaff

The East Durham Tradition
From the early eighties the women of East Durham had a writers group that was all women. Instigated by a WEA course led by Cynthia Fuller amongst others. This group of women brought out a book of poems entitled ‘Womens Words’ in the mid eighties, later in the early nineties the writer Vici Wreford instigated a group which called itself ‘Pandora’s Box’ which had an anthology titled ‘Lifting the Lid’. From this group came Michelle Robinson , who changed her name to Elle Ludkin and read her poetry in the North East and beyond and was co-organiser of ‘Origins’ music and poetry club with Kevin Cadwallender which ran at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle in the late nineties.

‘A Feather behind the Ear’ Vane Women (Vane Women Press) November 1995.
Second anthology by this active and talented group which started in 1990.Includes work by S.J.Litherland, Pat Maycroft, Joanna Boulter, Vicki Thomas, Allison Agius, Misty Ashton, Wendy Iliff, Margaret Rule, Irene Stacey, Louise Watson and Annie Wright.

'It was the brain child of Ellen Phethean. A discussion took place between Ellen, Lisa Matthews and I where the idea was put forward' 'Gillian Allnutt came up with the name.' Jane Wood

The venue moved from the 'Frog & Nightgown' to the 'Head of Steam' and then on to the 'Bridge Hotel' in Newcastle Upon Tyne. The Blue Room was shortlisted for a Northern Electric Award in 1997.
The readers are ostensibly women although ' Men's nights' and 'Genre Swap' nights have become a regular item. The Blue Room continues to thrive and added Sheila Mulhern( Prose Writer) and Kath Kenny (Poet) in turn to their team of organisers.

The monthly blue room writers group
for new women writers, meets on the first Sunday of the month at The Bridge Hotel, before the Blue Room at 5.30 - 7.30. Tutored by Sheila Mulhern and Kathy Kenny, cost £3 or £2 which gets you into the Blue Room reading afterwards as well. Any women interested should ring either Sheila on 0191 281 8939 or Kathy on 07909 766 572.
New writers and readers always welcome to submit work for consideration. If you would like to submit your work send it to or post it with sae to The Blue Room 5 Bentinck Road, Newcastle NE4 6UT. Anyone is welcome to submit their work for consideration at The Blue Room or attend the readings, contact Diamond Twig for details.


Diamond Twig is a small press that was first launched in 1992 to publish new writing by women in the North East of England. We like to promote poetry and other writing in innovative, exciting ways, such as the Blue Room readings and the Poetry Virgins and to develop and encourage audiences too.
Books available from Diamond Twig are;
Small Beauties £1.00 ISBN 0902653 71 7Newcastle Libraries 1988 - poems by Julia Darling
Modern Goddess £3.50 ISBN 09520090 0 5Diamond Twig Press 1992 - virgin collection by the Poetry Virgins, the popular performance poetry group.
"Women not afraid to open their big mouths, break taboos, stand up and be wise and foolish" Linda France
Sauce £5.95 ISBN 1 85224 316 3Bloodaxe Books and Diamond Twig 1994 - The Poetry Virgins second collection, edited by Linda France, with a foreword by UA Fanthorpe.
Modern Riddles £5.00 ISBN 0 9509797 6 7Diamond Twig & The Artists Agency 1995 - explores the changes to post industrial Tyneside and River through poetry and photography. Poems by Julia Darling and Ellen Phethean . Editor Stephanie Brown. Bloodlines £6.99 ISBN 1 8988984 25 5Panurge 1995 - a collection of short stories by Julia Darling.
Even The Ants Have Names £5.00 ISBN 1 9539196 3 3Diamond Twig Press 2002: a new anthology of short stories by Linda Leatherbarrow, Mary Lowe, Janine Langley McCann, Susannah Rickards and Betty Weiner. Guest Editor - Gerry Wardle.
The Blue Room Anthology £4.00 ISBN 0 9520090 5 6 1999 - first in a new series of reading from the Blue Room '99, poetry and prose.Editors: Lisa Matthews, Sheila Mulhern, Ellen Phethean and Jane Wood.
Blue Room Postcards a set of twelve colour postcards by the Blue Room writers' group, designed by the Community Photography Group. £6.00 a set of twelve poems (say how many sets you want) 50p each (say how many cards you want and list which ones on a separate sheet of paper)

BRANCHLINES A series of first collectionsAll books £3.95 (series editors Julia Darling and Ellen Phethean)
Broken Biscuits - ISBN 0 9520090 2 1 - June Portlock 1997
Waltzing off from Hand-Me-Downs - ISBN 0 9520090 1 3 - Sylvia Forrest 1997
Glee with a Blue Background - ISBN 0 9520090 4 8 - Liz Atkin 1999
What You Want ISBN 0 9520090 3 X - Joan Johnston 1999
Lip Reading - ISBN 0 9520090 7 2 - Fiona Ritchie Walker 1999
BRANCHLINES FICTION ISBN 0 9520090 6 43 new stories in one volume Marion Husband, Sheila Mulhern, Jane Wood 1999Sex & Death ISBN 0 9520090 9 9 - Kathleen Kenny 2000
Glass Tales - ISBN 0 9520090 8 0 - Marlynn Rosario 2000
1956. ISBN 0 9520090 0 9 - Margaret Wilkinson 2000
Colours/Colors - ISBN 0 9539196 1 7 - Angela Readman 2001
Postcard from a Waterless Lake - ISBN 0 9539196 2 5 - Lisa Matthews 2001
International Women's Day Postcards six poems on postcards by North East Women, printed for the Amnesty International Campaign in March 1996. 50p a set of six poems (say how many sets you want) 10p each (say how many cards you want and list which ones on a separate sheet of paper)
Love Poems Postcards a set of eight in typically irreverent Poetry Virgins style. 50p a set of eight poems (say how many sets you want) 10p each (say how many cards you want and list which ones on a separate sheet of paper)
Blue Room Postcards a set of twelve colour postcards by the Blue Room writers' group, designed by the Community Photography Group. £6.00 a set of twelve poems 50p each
Forecasting £1.00 A3 poster of a popular Poetry Virgins poem, text Julia Darling, illustrated by artist Anti Hachler
A graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle.Co- Founder and organiser of the Blue Room.

Lisa Matthews is a poet and Novelist, Worked for Mslexia at one point. Co-founder of 'The Blue Room' . Poetry includes 'Postcards From a Waterless Lake' (Diamond Twig). Co-Founder of Proudwords Literature Festival.
"Lisa Matthews is an immediate and distinctive poet; her tone can be passionate, witty or dislocating by turns. She draws you effortlessly into very human, very complex atmospheres and moods - a rare skill." W.N.HERBERT

In 1999 the First Gay Literature festival held at Newcastle University Centre for Lifelong Learning. Writers included Lisa Matthews, Julia Darling, Barry Stone, Michael Wilcox, Brighid Morrigan and Sarah Waters.

MSLEXIA ‘ignite the writer in you’
Debbie Taylor . The founder and editor of Mslexia, now in its fifth year. She previously worked as an editor of the New Internationalist and as a researcher-writer for Channel 4 and BBC2. She is a writer of fiction and non-fiction and one of her novels 'My Children, My God' was shortlisted for the Fawcett Prize.
Mslexia is a magazine written by women essentially for women but is also an indispensable read for anyone who considers themselves to be a writer of whatever gender. The website is also top class.
Mslexia is read by top authors and absolute beginners. A quarterly masterclass in the business and psychology of writing, it's the essential magazine for women who write. Mslexia is a vibrant and growing organisation committed to furthering women's creativity. Our independent research into the biases in book reviewing, book buying and poetry publishing have been featured on BBC2's Newsnight, Radio 4's Today programme, in the Independent and elsewhere. More knowledgeable than any other literary organisation, Mslexia has been engaged by the Arts Council of England to furnish the bulk of information on their national website.This year we have been on the road with Fay Weldon, Michèle Roberts, Selima Hill, Wendy Cope, Julie Myerson and others, touring the top literary festivals with the Mslexia Roadshow.
'diverse and brilliant' Fay Weldon
'intelligent and creative' Time Out
'my favourite women's magazine' Wendy Cope
'the best I've read on the subject' Independent
'full of essential information' Daily Mail
'astute, invigorating and above all an excellent read' Helen Dunmore

Sparklers:A Celebration of Writing for International Women's Day, 8 March 2003From Diamond Twig, Mslexia and Independent Northern Publishers.Women writers from Newcastle, Gateshead and the North East are comingtogether on Saturday 8 March for a celebratory event on Newcastle Quaysideto mark International Women's Day and the region's bid for European Capitalof Culture 2008.This will be a unique opportunity to hear some of the best Tyneside womenwriters reading from their work and talking about the challenges andopportunities facing women writers in the region. Readers include AndreaBadenoch, Julia Darling, Linda France, Chrissie Glazebrook, JackieLitherland, Margaret Wilkinson and many more. The evening will also includemusic from Jane Beacher and a DJ set.Many women from all walks of life write, but too many are self-deprecatingabout their talent and modest in their aims, believing that their writing issomething to keep quiet about, or even secret. Two Tyneside publishersworking to promote women's writing and encourage individuals to seek a wideraudience for their work are Diamond Twig and Mslexia, who are organising theevent with Independent Northern Publishers.Diamond Twig and Mslexia have been fundamental in developing a community ofwomen writers in the North East over the past decade. Andrea Badenoch, acrime writer from Tyneside, comments that 'Mslexia gives a sense oftogetherness and support for women writers, a sense of belonging tosomething, both with their magazine, and the events they organise, such asthe Mslexia Roadshow and the forthcoming International Women's Daycelebration." It's not just 'sisterhood' that's offered by Mslexia.Badonoch continues 'Mslexia provides a platform for women to get published -each issue has a generous number of pages devoted to new work, and there arenot really many other publications like that. It's a tremendous boost tounknown writers to see their work in print for the first time, and givesthem the confidence to submit their work to other publishers. Mslexia offersa space for new voices that is becoming increasingly rare."Paul Collard, Head of Programme Development 2008 said: "Many innovativewriting projects and women writers have expressed their voices in the NorthEast. This evening celebrating talent and achievements confirms the region's growing reputation as a hotbed of new writing. But most of all itconfirms why, with the creative talent in the region of this quality, wewould be a worthy European Capital of Culture in 2008.""It is impossible to imagine a world without MSLEXIA. It's a must-readmagazine for every woman who is, or is interested in becoming, a writer. Itinforms, entertains and, equally importantly, gives hope and encouragementto anyone who has torn out her hair, strand by strand, over a blank page."Chrissie GlazebrookMargaret Wilkinson, a creative writing tutor and regular columnist forMslexia, agrees with Badenoch on the importance of local publishers inhelping women writers develop. Her collection of short fiction '1956' waspublished by Diamond Twig as part of their Branchlines Fiction series."Diamond Twig's idea of publishing first collections of women writers isinspirational. It allows women to see their work in print, giving them theconfidence to stand up and call themselves writers. This 'can do' aspect isvery empowering".Sparklers is one of the many events to be held across the country and acrossthe globe as part of International Women's Day, which takes place on 8 Marchevery year. "There's going to be a real party atmosphere, as women writersfrom the region get together to celebrate their achievements and futurepossibilities. We're asking people to bring a quote from their favouritefemale author, either something they've written or something they've said.These will be read throughout the evening. It's a good way for everyonethere to mark the achievement of women writers all over the world, both pastand present." Ellen Phethean, co-founder of Diamond Twig.EVENT DETAILSSparklers: A celebration of writing for International Women's DaySaturday 8th March 7.30 pm 2003with glittering women writers including Andrea Badenoch, Julia Darling,Linda France, Chrissie Glazebrook, Jackie Litherland, Margaret Wilkinson &many morewear something spanglybring a dazzling quote from your favourite female authorenjoy free cake and sparklers, plus pay barwith bijou readings of poetry and prosemusic to scintillate and dj to shimmer to later onVenue: OWSA Ouseburn Boat Club, Spillers Quay, Newcastle£5.00 and £4.00 on the doorwith Mslexia, Diamond Twig and Independent Northern PublishersFor more information, or to subscribe to Mslexia magazine, call 191 261 6656INTERNATIONAL WOMEN"S DAY March 8th.International Women's Day (IWD) is a major day of global celebration for theeconomic, political and social achievements of women. The firstInternational Women's Day was held in 1911 and is now always celebrated on 8March. The day is celebrated by women's groups around the world, andobserved at the United Nations. For further Information, visitwww.iwd.auroravoice.comWRITER BIOSAndrea Badenoch was born in Tyneside and lives in Newcastle. She has hadfour crime novels published by Macmillan, including her two most recentbooks 'Blink', set in a pit village in County Durham in the 1960, sand'Loving Geordie', set in the Benwell area of Newcastle. She is currentlyworking on her next novel, about a poet that goes missing on the borders ofNorthumberland and Cumbria.Chrissie Glazebrook has worked in a zoo, a vegetarian restaurant, and as aradio and television presenter. Her short stories, poetry and journalismhave been widely published in magazines and newspapers, and broadcast onradio. The Madolescents, her first novel, was published by Heinemann in 2001and by Arrow in 2002. Her second novel, Blue Spark Sisters, will appear inMay 2003.She has conducted writing workshops with, amongst other sectors, womenoffenders, people living with mental distress, and adolescent groups,including excluded pupils, and recently wrote a short film with studentsfrom an all-girls' school. The film was premiered at a cinema in Liverpooland will be shown at the National Film Theatre in March. Her readingsinclude appearances at Oxford Literary Festival, proudWORDS, WOW Liverpool,Ways With Words, Durham Literature Festival, Words by the Water, and CùirtInternational Literary Festival in Galway. She is currentlywriter-in-residence with 'Firing the Imagination,' South Tyneside's Arts andMental Health project.Extract from 'Blue Spark Sisters'
Chapter 1
Destination: Haemorrhoid Oil
Toosh, toosh, toosh.
When I first spot the rabbit, it doesn’t register as odd. It doesn’t strike me as even a hundred decimal-points of weird, not until later, when I’m on the aeroplane. This is how I know I’m on a mad tip.
I’m sitting on the top deck of the early-morning bus, gazing out of the grimy window. A zillion bees swarm in my stomach. My head’s whizzing in that switched-off stratosphere on the far side of panic. Why? Because I’m running away from the place I laughingly called home, heading for a new life. Big, big deal. And there's the rabbit, a black and white affair, shuffling, sniffing, twitching its nose. Aaahh, cute, is all I think.
The point is, the rabbit’s on top of a bus shelter. On the roof. That's not something you see every day. Well, not ever. I’m seeing it all right, but my brain’s spinning at 100 mph, too fast to file it under strange.
Toosh, toosh, toosh.
What’s my reaction? Do I whizz round in a double-take like Chandler out of Friends? Do I push the emergency button? Yell for the RSPCA?
Uh-uh. Jesus. I mean, how does a rabbit come to be on the top of a bus shelter anyway? Rabbits aren't mountaineers, like those hairy-arsed goats; they don't fall out of the sky, like frogs; and once they're up there, they can't abseil to the ground yelling ‘hut-hut-hut’, like the SAS. Anyways, nada, nix, big fat nothing, that's what I do, because it seems such an unstrange occurrence.
This is how I know the madness is still on me.
Crazy or not, I'm sane enough to spot the CIA agents they've put on my tail.
Toosh, toosh, toosh
Copyright Chrissie Glazebrook 2003 Used with permission.
Margaret Wilkinson is a prose writer who also writes for radio, screen andstage. Shis a lecturer on the Creative Writing MA at Northumbria Universityand a regular columnist for Mslexia. Her first collection of short fiction,1956, was published by Diamond Twig in 2000. A selection of the stories werebroadcast on Radio 4 last July under the collective title I Decided to KillMy Brother-in-law After Dinner, starring Maureen Lipman. She is therecipient of BBC Northern Exposure and New Writing North drama awards and aNorthern Stage Drama Attachment.Betty Weiner was born in Vienna in 1936. At the age of 2 her family wereforced to leave Austria. After six months of journeying and hiding inEurope, they arrived in Britian where Betty grew up in North Wales. Shespent twenty years as a social worker in North Tyneside and Newcastleworking with families in stress and with all kinds children with problems -offending children, orphaned children, disturbed and abused children. Sinceretirement her attention has turned to her writing. Two of her short storiesare included in Diamond Twig's latest prose collection Even the Ants HaveNames; and she has had pieces in Northern New Writers, Northern Tales, TheBlue Room Anthology, Mslexia, and broadcast on Radio 4's short story slot.EVENT ORGANISERSDiamond Twig was founded in 1992 by writers Ellen Phethean and JuliaDarling, with the aim of promoting new writing from new women writers in theNorth. The Branch Lines series promotes exciting, unusual work that deservesa wider audience, and for each writer it is a first collection. It nowincludes nine books of poetry and three books of short fiction. A new seriesof drama written by and for women is launching soon.Mselxia first launched in 1997 as a magazine 'for women who write' and hassince become one of the top writing magazines in Britain. Mslexia aims toprovide a platform and playground for women writers. Its intention is toprovide information, guidance and inspiration for published and unpublishedauthors, and improve the quality and standing of women's literature.Published quarterly, each issue includes writing from new authors and aguest editor. Previous guest editors have included Jackie Kay, Fay Weldon,Maggie Gee, Carol Ann Duffy and Adele Geras.

Independent Northern Publishers are a consortium of fiction and poetrypublishers from the North East, working together to promote the best newwriting in the region through events, collaboration with libraries and otherorganizations, and a forthcoming website. INP includes Mslexia, DiamondTwig, Vane Women, Flambard, Iron Press, Mudfog, Biscuit Publishing,Arrowhead, Other Poetry and Liar Republic.

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