This week is ‘Shout it Loud!’ week, and we will be giving shout-outs to some of the amazing people who have walked through The Writers’ Block wardrobe. Every year we work with writers from all walks of life, whose words lead them to all manner of places and whose experiences support them in all manner of roles. We thank you all, and are excited to share some of these stories with you.
photo credit: Steve Tanner
Shout-out for Felicity Tattersall!
We would like to Shout it Loud for writer and illustrator Felicity Tattersall. Felicity first attended workshops at The Writers’ Block a few years ago, and now is a regular reader at our Speakeasy. Her smiling face and rich, imaginative words always brighten up The Writers’ Block. Here, she speaks about her experience working with us:
‘The Writer’s Block is an amazing resource for writers in Cornwall, I feel really lucky that it exists. I first attended some excellent workshops three years ago. I then attended the speakeasy, (where writer’s share their work). I started writing short stories and was continuing to write (and illustrate) stories for children. I was incredibly nervous about sharing my work in public when I first attended, but decided to sign myself up. So I shared my work at the next Speakeasy, (nearly running away with nerves just before it was my slot), but I can honestly say it was the best thing I’ve ever done, as suddenly it gave my work a real place in the world, outside of my head. It made it suddenly seem real, instead of something I worked on privately and kept to myself. The support and encouragement from other writers was incredible too. Next (through the Writer’s Block) I was invited to share my work at the Great Estate Festival. Again I was abjectly terrified, to stand on a stage and read my own words, there was going to be nowhere to hide! But again, staff from the Writer’s Block gave me some public speaking coaching, (which helped enormously, as my biggest problem was reading so fast that I didn’t leave time to breathe, and nearly fainted!) Reading at the festival presented a major turning point for me, providing that platform gave me the chance to believe that writing (and illustrating) could actually be my professional job rather than a hobby. During lockdown I’ve done a fabulous play writing course run through the Writer’s Block, which I absolutely loved. Doing that course has really changed the way I plan and develop my writing, as I think a lot more about structure, speech patterns and the importance of editing. I would say The Writers’ Block has impacted upon my illustration work too, as many of the exercises we have worked on in the Write Club (a creative writing group for writers organised by WB) have had a visual element, and I think a lot more about narrative storytelling when I create an illustration now, as well interactive word and image storytelling within children’s books. Most recently I did a workshop organised by the WB led by Anna Wilson, which was absolutely fantastic, and also really helped me to realise that I want to concentrate on nature based children’s books. The feedback and comments from that workshop have really helped me to shape and develop a new children’s book idea that I’m working on. The WB has made an enormous difference to me as a writer, I now consider myself to be a writer (which helps!), and have been shown the tools to develop my craft, as well as the confidence. Writing is not always an easy journey and there are no free tickets to success, but with fantastic peer support, amazing workshop leaders and opportunities to share your work offered through the WB, these things make a huge difference.’
Shout-out for Sarah Connors!
We would like to give a shout-out to playwright and Creative Writing workshop facilitator Sarah Connors. Sarah leads our primary creative writing club, writing for wellbeing workshops, and more! Her playwriting was shortlisted for the 2020 Papatango prize. This morning she shares her experience with us at The Writers’ Block:
‘I’ve worked in primary education for the best part of twenty years. Despite loving every moment of teaching, for many years I’ve dreamed of writing for theatre. In 2018, the first place I turned to for advice was The Writers’ Block. With trepidation, I signed up for several workshops and a short course on playwriting with the wonderful Jane Pugh. I immediately fell in love with the place. This was only two years ago and since then I have become part of the furniture at The Writers’ Block, working with the primary after school club, leading workshops for adults, participating in the many writing courses they offer and eating vast amounts of their biscuits. It’s difficult to put into words how inspirational I find the space. There’s something magical about it that brings out the child in me and allows me to dream that I could be a writer. I finally took the plunge and retired from education in 2019. In just over a year, I have written two plays, been shortlisted for the Papatango Prize 2020 and sponsored by the Bush Theatre as a participant of Sphinx Theatre’s Sphinx30 lab, where I have my first professional commission. None of this would have been possible without the warmth, support and encouragement from Amanda Harris and her brilliant team at KEAP. The Writers’ Block is a treasure trove of writing opportunities for all ages, all stages and all dreamers like me. I think of it as my spiritual writing home.’
Shout-out for Jane Pugh!
Shout it Loud for playwright, creative writing lecturer, and our Community Facilitator at The Writers’ Block, Jane Pugh. Jane worked for the BBC in London before moving to Cornwall, and we are so very glad she did! Her passion, wisdom and humour are a much-valued part of The Writers’ Block programme. She runs our writing for wellbeing workshops, playwriting course, and much more. Here are her own words:
‘I’ve been given so many opportunities to turn my belief in the value of story creating and sharing as a fundamental need for individuals and communities. It’s the reason I get up in the morning.
The Writers’ Block values, promotes and acts on its belief in the importance of story creating and sharing as a fundamental need in all our lives. I’ve been fortunate to be given countless opportunities to work with this organisation on teaching and practice schemes. I love being part of this community, it’s engaging and affirming, and this continuing relationship enables me to examine and improve my story creation and teaching skills.’
Photo Credit: Steve Tanner
Shout-out for Brenda Callis
give a shout-out to Brenda Callis. Brenda started with us a member of our Young Writers group and has gone on to run workshops with The Bristol Old Vic and have her plays performed at the likes of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This morning she shares with us how her experience with The Writers’ Block impacted her progression to the writer she is today.
‘I joined Writing Squad Kernow a nervous, unsure 13 year old who wanted to be a writer. Through being a part of it for 4 years I became more confident, sure of myself and developed my voice as a writer. Just as important, if not more, it introduced me to like minded people who became my first true friends. It was a truly unique experience and a real turning point in my life -. I would look forward to it all month and plan my outfits weeks beforehand (I cringe to think of them). It was full of opportunities to meet successful writers and perform our work in so many places, and the confidence it gave me in my style really meant I hit the ground running once I moved to Bristol. I had my first full length play performed in 2016 in the Room Above in Bristol. Since then, I have taken a production to the Pleasance at the Edinburgh Fringe, which received 5 star reviews and was shortlisted for the Mental Health Fringe Award, and at the moment am a Bristol Old Vic Open Sessions’ writer. I am working with a new writing theatre company, Theatre West, in Bristol to develop my play Gluck’s Flowers with the hope to tour the South West next year. Last year, with this company, I organised and led a series of introductory playwriting workshops in the Bristol Old Vic. I would introduce these workshops by talking about how Writing Squad Kernow developed my voice as a writer, hoping I could deliver something similar. My writing has been majorly formed by those years, and I am very grateful for them.’
Shout-out for Neal Megaw!
shout-out to Neal Megaw. Neal is a filmmaker who graduated from Falmouth University this summer with an already brim-full portfolio. He has been integral to our online development and shot and edited our Story Republic digital stories. He says of his time working with us:
‘My experience with KEAP & The Writers’ Block has helped me to create the work that I am passionate to make. Working with them to shoot short films, photograph events and workshops has given me the opportunity to network in a way I would never have expected. This has given me the opportunity to thrive and grow my own creative business and working on projects with people all over Cornwall.’
Photo credit: Connie Crosby
Shout-out for Jowan Jacobs!
This week’s final shout-out is to Jowan Jacobs. Jowan is one of our Story Republic team and can be found bringing life and joy to poems and stories around Cornwall. He is a writer, actor and performer and we are so proud of what he has achieved. He says of his time with us:
‘KEAP have given me so much as a young performer since I joined The Story Republic two years ago; whilst also giving me some great opportunities to grow as a writer. They have been very supportive with my spoken word work, giving me ideas and showing me ways I can improve my work. They have made me a more confident and expressive writer and I am now excited to look for writing work and pursue spoken word performances alongside acting. I am currently sat at home writing a children’s story for them that I’m looking forward to performing for the ‘Little Story Seeker’s’ online next month.’
Look out for his Little Story Seekers video this October, and for more performances from Jowan.
We hope you enjoyed seeing some of the people who have walked through our door. If you would like to share your story, do get in touch!