April 26th 2005
At a very entertaining and well attended event to celebrate the launch of the Manchester Metropolitan University Association for Creative Writing and Education (ACWE), an audience of about a hundred English teachers, tutors and LEA advisors from across the North West heard Carol Ann Duffy and other MMU English staff and students read and perform their work. The launch took place at MMU’s Geoffrey Manton building on Tuesday, 26th April. Professor Janet Beer, Dean of the Faculty, introduced the evening and, in between readings and performances, guests heard details of the Association’s planned programme of events for the coming year from organisers Alf Louvre and Kaye Tew.
The readers and performers were much enjoyed: MA student Avril Heffernan read a piece of work which was published in MUSE2, the English Department’s creative writing journal; dramatist Julie Wilkinson, who teaches on the Department’s undergraduate writing courses read from her recent play, Scorcher and poets Jeffrey Wainwright and Carol Ann Duffy read from their works, Out of the Air and The World’s Wife. The evening concluded with a performance of classic American songs by English tutor, Les Berry accompanied by guitarist Roland Jones. They will be featured in an evening of words and music which the Association hopes to host in the future.
Head of Lifelong Learning for the Faculty, Alf Louvre said,
"The evening’s performances reflect the diversity of creative work that goes on here in the English Department and its range of expertise. We hope that schools, colleges and LEAs will collaborate with us to help foster creative writing by young people across the region."
Head of English, Sue Zlosnik was delighted by the turnout and by the responses of the teachers attending.
"The aim of the Association is to share the resources of our English Department and our Writing School and host events for teachers and pupils in schools and colleges in an effort to break down barriers between HE, and Further and secondary education."
On the evening, a large number of teachers and LEA advisors signed up for masterclasses in creative writing which will run in June as part of The MUSE Project, the first Association activity.
Many also took posters to publicise the writing competitions in schools.
The MUSE Project, has been funded by the Arts Council England, North West and is a creative writing competition for young writers from North West schools and colleges. Winners will see their work printed in special editions of MUSE and will be invited to attend creative writing workshops at MMU.
The competition isn’t just about the young writers selected for publication.
All schools who participate in the competition will be invited to a celebration event in November to hear their peers’ work, read alongside that of professional writers such as Paul Abbott and Melvin Burgess.
Competition organiser Kaye Tew says, "We hope that the competition will give all participants the opportunity to write for pleasure, without the normal pressures of time constraints or the worry of being tested.
If one young writer discovers that they have a talent or that they enjoy writing, then the project will have been a success."