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Review: PowWow Festival of Writing 2016


Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the PowWow Festival of Writing. The event took place in the beer garden at the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley, Birmingham. Even though the weather was cold outside, we were kept comfortable under a heated marquee. 

Kicking off the event was a panel discussion with magazine editors: Kate Pemberton (Ambit), Carly Holmes (Lampeter Review), and Trini Decombe (Streetcake). They discussed what they looked for in a submission, and why writers should submit to them. They all agreed that originality was what they looked for in a submission. Following the panel discussion was a talk by writer Rob Cowen. He talked about his nature and memoir writing, and how he likes to blend the two together. He also gave us an insight into his writing journey, from idea to publication. 

During the regular breaks, writer Dan Powell entertained us. He read out his short stories. One of his stories had Morse code included, which was very interesting to hear. Then there was a chat with the Head of BBC Writersroom, Anne Edyvean, and Claire Bennett, who is a core writer for the BBC series 'Doctors'. They discussed the opportunities for both new and experienced script writers at the BBC. Anne gave some valuable advice to those who would like to submit to the BBC. She told us to submit something different instead of what you think the BBC wants or already has.

After the talk with BBC Writersroom, David Savill and Georgina Bruce talked about the pros-and-cons of teaching creative writing. Both Georgina and David are writers and creative writing teachers. It was an interesting discussion and gave many writers something to consider before deciding that an MA in Creative Writing is for them. 

Following on from another reading by Dan Powell, we had a talk from Courttia Newland, who is a novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He shared his experiences of how he started his writing career. After allowing his teacher to read some of his work, his teacher told him that he would be a novelist. Courttia laughed off the idea because he wanted to be a rapper; however, his teacher was proved right. 

Author Ros Barber ended the event with readings from her two novels, The Marlowe Papers and Devotion. She also explained why she will never stick to just one genre, and how it is important to write what you want to write. 

At the end of the event, my head was swimming with so much information that I was thankful that I had my notebook to hand. Just like the first time, I felt inspired to continue on my writing journey.  The PowWow Festival of Writing is a great event for writers who want information, advice, inspiration, and motivation. It is an event that all writers should consider going to next year. I can assure you it is definitely worth the ticket price.

Written by Nicole Simms


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