This year marks the sixth edition of Essex Writers House, hosted by annual festival partners Metal. Across this month-long programme, there will be workshops, events, sharings and socials, all of which offer supportive time and space to writers from across our county.
Whether you are hoping to share your work for the first time, editing your third novel, or gathering up the notes on your phone, we’d love to support you on your writing journey.
Come along to Chalkwell Hall and make yourself at home. Storytellers, screenwriters and scribblers all welcome!
See below for some of the highlights in the Essex Writers House Programme.
Book a free writing desk in the Attic Studio and take some time to focus on your work, whether it be a short story, coursework or your memoirs.. You are guaranteed a changing view across the Estuary and the grounds of Chalkwell Park, along with some space to think.
The desks are accessible via lift or stairs from the ground floor and there are bathrooms on all floors. Chalkwell Hall has a ramp at the front entrance. Please ring the bell on arrival! There is a free car park on site, which is open 24/7.
There are two desks available per day – we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment. If you miss out, please check back regularly on Eventbrite for cancellations.
Please note – we are restricting bookings to a maximum of two days per writer, to ensure that the opportunity is afforded to as many writers as possible!
Writers in Residence
We’ll be hosting local, UK and international writers in residence this June, some of whom you might meet during the wider festival.
We look forward to hosting:
Lora Aziz – British-Egyptian artist, author and wildcrafter
Wioletta Greg – Polish-British writer and poet
Maciej Hen – Polish writer, translator and journalist
Every Wednesday in June – 12:00pm – 12:45pm
Children aged 6 months to 4 years (and their grown-ups) are invited to enjoy lunchtime storytelling with the Jacqson Diego Story Emporium team!
Bring your own picnic lunch and join us at Metal’s Chalkwell Hall for some storytime fun, every Wednesday lunchtime in June.
It’s free to come along and everyone is welcome.
Books will be available to buy after this session if you’d like to carry on telling tales at home.
Tuesday 6th June 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
RLF Reading Round is a unique network of reading groups, each run by a published author. The group leaders, or ‘Lectors’, may be playwrights, poets, writers of fiction or non-fiction: all are able to offer a unique ‘insider’s’ perspective’ on the texts under discussion.
For almost 2 years, Metal have hosted a regular group led by acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Syd Moore.
To mark Essex Writers House, a programme which Syd was instrumental in developing, we are excited to offer a limited number of spaces to join her Reading Round for the evening.
What to expect from the Reading Round
There’s no reading to be done either before or after the sessions. Instead, each week the group listens to different pieces of writing that the Lector reads out loud. The selected writing might be a short story, poem, speech, memoir or piece of narrative non-fiction. The pieces are then discussed at some length to get under the skin of the text: What effects does it have on us as we read? How does it achieve those effects? Guided by the lector, participants consider the text in detail, looking at tone, choice of words, viewpoint, the effect of a certain image or turn of phrase, and so on.
Groups are run loosely along the lines of practical criticism, whereby readers are encouraged to respond afresh to the words on the page in front of them, rather than relying on preconceived ideas about a text. All that is required of participants is a willingness to listen, discuss and be open to new ideas. For many participants, the group provides a valuable opportunity to meet with other book-lovers in a friendly, stimulating and relaxed environment.
Saturday 17 June, 11.00am-1.00pm
A walking workshop exploring place-based writing through techniques such as concrete poetry, psychogeography and mark-making. Led by Bella and Elaine from London based publishing project Fieldnotes, this session will focus on process and conversations, capturing our settings through a blend of writing and drawing. All levels of experience welcome.
Saturday 17th June, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
If you’re aged 12 – 18, and have an interest in writing or performing, this is for you!
Dig into your roots with Jake and Hazel, part of the poet led team behind lively spoken word night Words In Chalk. Together, we’ll be exploring self-expression, emotive language, figurative phrases and performance tips, with time to write and work out new ideas.
Beginners are very welcome in this fun and friendly space.
Saturday 17th June, 7:00pm – 11:00pm
A lively and popular spoken word poetry event which brings together an eclectic line-up of writers and performers from Essex and beyond. Come along and see who takes the stage at this Essex Writers House special, hosted by Southend born and bred poet Hollie Dee and headlined by Hazel Mehmet and Bethany Down. With many more acts raring to go…
Sunday 18th June, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
£5 for non-members of Essex Film Collective
Everyone has a story to tell. Come and explore how you can shape your personal stories for screen.
Essex Film Collective is collaborating with George Morgan of Essex Visual Arts to bring you a dynamic workshop on on dramatising personal stories for the screen.
George will lead writing exercises and use case studies, including his own animated short film ‘The red ball’ to facilitate how stories can heal and how the process can lend itself to healing for the artist.
No prior knowledge needed, just a willingness to be open.
Wednesday 21 June, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
A writers’ social with a twist! Come along to meet new people swap notes and be entertained. With an opportunity to share your own projects and original work, ideal for any emerging writers or local creatives looking to reach a friendly audience. Expect an element of surprise from our guest host, who will take-over the Essex Writers House stage!
We’re excited to host Alice Roots, a performance artist (and 1/5th of Figs in Wigs) to share her new project, BANK OF HOPE which invites you to think, write and play. We’ll also be spinning our artist-made tombola, created especially for Southend by the brilliant Sally Chinea.
Thursday 29 June, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
The first novel from Essex writer and author Rose Cleary, published by Weatherglass Books. An opportunity to hear from Rose and purchase your own copy on the night. “a fierce, disturbing and funny debut novel about desire, art and what we’ll risk to change ourselves.”
Metal is currently active in Essex, Peterborough and Liverpool. Founded in 2002, they aim to help build stronger, healthier and happier communities, through art, culture and creativity. They believe that everyone deserves a rich and cultural life, and where you live should not be a barrier to this. They hold time and space for artists of all ages and backgrounds to forge new ideas and realise their potential. Their approach celebrates place, builds local connections and nurtures talent, encouraging experimentation, collaboration and co-creation.