Spark Summer Writing Challenge


Spark Young Writers by Writing West Midlands introduces the first ever Spark Summer Writing Challenge

Are you – or do you know – a young person (school years 7 – 12, aged 12 – 17) who loves writing or wants to be a writer?

This summer, we are running our first Spark Summer Writing Challenge for young people like you!

Come and join us on Monday 27th – Friday 31st July for five days of writing, inspiration, and quality feedback all from your own home.

You’ll write new genres following writing prompts set daily, and you’ll get a chance to get one-on-one feedback at least twice in the week, if you want it. You can try your hand at writing a range of styles from poetry to audio drama to flash fiction to wordplay.

You’ll be writing for fun, being as creative as you want to be, and you’ll meet a whole network of other young writers.

You will have the option to submit pieces created during the week to our anthology, gathering together some of our favourite poetry, prose and plays of the Spark Summer Writing Challenge.

This is your chance to take the first step in becoming the writer you want to be.

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With Ruth Stacey and Rick Sanders, you will flex your writing muscles and have an opportunity to work with experienced poets and writers to review your own work, discover your creative strengths and find out what you need to do to take your writing to next level!

How it will work:

The Spark Summer Writing Challenge will share interactive writing prompts every day, starting on Zoom from 9.30am. There will be time to ask the lead writers questions and for additional information. You will then be allocated a slot for your one to one feedback sessions where the lead writer will read and discuss your work with you. A member of the team will be on hand between 10.30am – 3.30pm for the week to answer any questions that arise during the day.

Due to the nature of the Spark Summer Writing Challenge, and to ensure the young writers get the most out of this experience, we will send some questions to be completed ahead of time which will inform how the week unfolds. We will also circulate a booklet containing some extracts of writing to support the course content. Keep an eye on your inbox (and check junk folders!).

There are a very limited number of bursary places available. Please contact Emma Boniwell to find out more.

Equipment needed:

Participants will need to have access to the internet, a device with a microphone and webcam for the feedback sessions. Young people under 18 should not be signing up to Zoom as participants and it is possible to use Zoom without being an account holder – as long as you have access to an email address.

We would also ask that any writing which is to be submitted is saved either as a Word document, or as a pdf so our Lead writers can view it. We will also circulate a code of conduct for our participants and their parents to sign up to. This will need to be agreed before any Zoom meeting invitations are sent to participants.


About the writers:

Ruth Stacey

Ruth Stacey is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Worcester. Stacey’s second full collection, I Ursula, was published Jan 2020, by V.Press Poetry. Her first poetry collection Queen, Jewel, Mistress was published by Eyewear Publishing, 2015, and her pamphlets include Inheritance (Mothers Milk Books, 2017). A duet with another poet, Katy Wareham Morris, this explores 19th century experience of motherhood, contrasted with a 21st century mother’s voice. Inheritance won Best Collaborative Work at the 2018 Saboteur Awards. A poetic memoir, How to Wear Grunge, was published by The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press in 2018 and was shortlisted for best pamphlet at the Saboteur Awards 2019. An experimental pamphlet, Viola the Virgin Queen, is forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons. Stacey is currently writing an imagined memoir in poetry of the tarot artist Pamela Colman Smith, as part of her PhD study.

Rick Sanders

Rick Sanders, aka Willis the Poet, is an established comedy stand-up poet based out of the mighty West Midlands. As well as being a regular on the Birmingham poetry circuit, Willis also actively supports the flourishing spoken word event scene in the region, his sticky sausage-fingers in as many pies as he can.

Willis has set up a monthly poetry slam event in Dudley to bring more spoken word to the Black Country and hosts a series of Comedy Poetry Nights in the Midlands and beyond. He is also co-host of Tilt on the Mic in Birmingham and presents Brum Radio Poets, both on the monthly radio show and at the quarterly live showcase event in Waterstones. He also hosts Whisky & Words at the Birmingham Whisky Club, bringing together two of his favourite things.


Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends?

Please make the booking in your name, to match the person paying for the place. There is then a separate question asking for details of the child attending.

My child will be 18 before the course starts – why can’t they come?

As 18 year olds are legally adults, this raises problems with safeguarding the young people who are under the age of 18. There are other short courses and our National Writers’ Conference that they could attend instead. Please see our website for further information

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