This year I officially graduated from The Writing Squad, after two years of workshops and events. However, the great thing about the Squad is that even as a graduate you stay a part of the community and can be very much involved.
This year, one Squad moment really stands out, and is one of my proudest achievements as a writer. I was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to write an original piece about what reading means to me, to encourage young people - and older ones - to read for enjoyment.
I was incredibly proud to share "On stories and snow" at the Take Ten event at Manchester Central Library, and it felt like a major milestone for me as a spoken-word performer.
I also attended two Writing Squad workshops, which both happened to be in Leeds. The first was with Hannah Silva, who taught as about performance techniques and technologies, such as using a looping pedal.
She also performed for us, and her work blew my mind in how different and brave it is, and how precise her timings have to be for the pieces to work. I was really inspired to try new things and grow as a performer.
The second workshop was led by Stevie Ronnie, who shared his passion for making books and pamphlets. We learnt how to make precise cuts and folds in paper, and basic book-binding stitches. This workshop included a number of Squad members I hadn't met before, so I made some new friends.
It was interesting to be so hands-on in a publishing process, making these precious, limited-edition items, and it made me much more aware of the possibilities in putting my work out there. I would definitely consider creating a small run of handmade zines or pamphlets.
I discussed with Stevie how I wanted to work on the structure and presentation of my poetry on the page, and he was really helpful. Hopefully we can talk more about this in the future.
I also met with Steve Dearden, the Squad Director, to generally discuss my writing and what will come next. I'm really looking forward to 2019 and moving forward as a creative.
Thanks for reading, and thank you to everyone who has followed my writing career so far.