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Pen to Print creative writing programme

At Pen to Print we’re passionate about helping people discover what their stories are.

Vision

We believe everybody should have a chance to tell their story and aim to build a network of expertise and support for aspiring writers in Barking and Dagenham and sharing this with a wider national and international community.

Mission

Pen to Print provides a safe, collaborative environment that attracts and supports a network of diverse writers and genres. By learning to develop their authentic voices, aspiring writers are encouraged to reach communities with their stories reflecting not just their own journeys but also inspiring potential in others.

Objectives

Our birthplace in libraries has taught us that the best results for a diverse and relevant service can be achieved by being the welcoming heart of a community, allowing all to learn, discover, create, and connect. Pen to Print has translated this ethos into a relevant library service for writers and readers which, irrespective of their background or circumstances works towards creating a shared storytelling experience accessible to different markets and communities.

We are committed to:

  • giving our network the skills to document, influence and make history through their writing
  • promoting the value of diverse voices to the widest possible audience
  • making our network innovative, measurable, creative and enjoyable
  • collaborating with educational, corporate and charity partners to create funded universal access to our services

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

For news on the Pen to Print classes, workshops and events sign up for the newsletter:

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Find out more

Pen to Print website

The programme is funded by Arts Council England and has these elements:

The Book Challenge - Write a novel in a year! Toggle accordion

Pen to Print is looking for budding authors to work with them with the aim of getting their work published.

The Book Challenge is a programme of support provided by established authors working with participants to create a book-length piece of creative writing. The work can be in any fiction genre.

Support for writers will come in the form of monthly workshops and enhanced by master classes and author talks in a wide range of genres. Sessions will be open everyone.

Submissions will be evaluated and the best, as judged by creative writing experts, will be allocated a professional writer who will be their mentor for 12 months and will guide them through the process of getting their work written and ready for publication.

Workshops, master classes and author talks take place throughout the year and there will be scope to connect you to other opportunities for the duration of the whole project and everyone will continue to be able to benefit from them.

Prizes

First prize is a tablet PC.

All finalists have the opportunity to get their completed book published.

How to enter

The competition will be open to new entries on 27 June 2019, details of how to enter will be available then. 

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

Poetry and Short Story Competition Toggle accordion

If you enjoy writing short stories or poetry this is for you! 

We will be offering support through our programme of free creative writing classes with the aim of developing your work so it is suitable for publication in magazines and other media.

The best short stories and poetry produced during the project will be chosen for inclusion in an anthology for publication.

Prizes

First prize is a tablet PC.

How to enter

The competition will be open to new entries on 27 June 2019, details of how to enter will be available then.

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

Michael Feld Creative Writing Competition for Young People Toggle accordion

This is an annual competition for young people who are residents of the borough or pupils who attend a Barking and Dagenham primary school in Years 4 to 6, or a secondary school who are in Years 7 and 8.

The competition is held in memory of Michael Feld who owned a jeweller’s shop in Barking and did much to promote the prosperity of the town. He was a great supporter of libraries until his death in 2007 and was keen to encourage young people in all aspects of education. 

Categories and prizes

There are 2 categories in the competition and entries can be a poetry, fiction or non-fiction. 

The first category is for primary school pupils in Years 4 to 6 (age 8 to 11 years). The first prize is a Kindle Fire and £100 of books for their school. Four runners up win a £25 book token each.

The second category is for secondary school pupils in Years 7 to 9 (Age 11 to 14 years). The first prize is a Kindle Fire and £100 of books for their school. Four runners up win a £25 book token each. 

How to enter

Michael Feld creative writing competition (PDF, 229 KB)

The closing date for this competition is Friday 7 June 2019, 5pm.

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

Playwriting competition Toggle accordion

Write a one-act play

Are you a budding playwright? This year, as part of Pen to Print, we held a new one-act play competition which closed to entries on 28 March 2019.

The shortlisted entries will be performed as part of an evening of script-in-hand performances at the Broadway Theatre, Barking on 23 May 2019. The winning play to be announced on the night.

The winner will receive a tablet PC.

How to enter

The competition will be open to new entries on 27 June 2019, details of how to enter will be available then.

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

ReadFest - Our annual literary festival Toggle accordion

ReadFest 2019 will be from Monday 9 September 2019 to Friday 27 September 2019.

Full details will appear here when available.

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

Pen to Print courses and workshops Toggle accordion

Pen to Print includes a series of free courses and workshops including:

  • creative writing for beginners
  • creative writing advanced
  • poetry
  • playwriting
  • comic book writing

New courses and workshop opportunities are being added throughout the year.

Search and book free places online at Pen to Print events

For enquiries, contact the Pen to Print team.

In addition to the main competition elements, there will be a series of ongoing author events and workshops.

These events are open to all residents and are aimed at inspiring and encouraging aspiring writers, as well as providing entertainment to the wider reading public.

Pen to Print and our annual literary festival ReadFest are supported by National Portfolio funding through Arts Council England with £180,000 per year until 2022.

Pen to Print team

pentoprint@lbbd.gov.uk