6 - 14 October 2018
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Call for Commissions

22 February 2018

Durham Book Festival invites proposals from writers, for creative commissions to be premiered at the 2018 Durham Book Festival (6-14 October). We are offering three commissions of £1000 each and are interested in approaches that are inspired by one of this year’s festival themes:

  • Are we living in an age of anxiety?
  • Freedom of Speech: what does this mean in the twenty-first century?
  • The 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage and the Representation of the People Act

We expect these suggested themes to be taken as inspiration rather than interpreted literally.

We are open to written pieces in any form and across literary genres from poetry to journalism, and which can be shared digitally, as well as live at the festival. The festival uses a range of venues in Durham, from 30-seat spaces to a 500-seat theatre.

We would particularly like to encourage projects that could use our commission fee to lever broader resources for the project. We will work with recipients to maximise resources for the work.

Alongside more traditional author events, Durham Book Festival is known for commissioning exciting new writing each year. Previous festival commissions have ranged from, a dance-theatre retelling of Rapunzel from Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and Notes from Underground, a major musical collaboration by the poet Sean O’Brien and composer Agustín Fernández; to journalism grounded in the region, from writers including Ross Raisin, Anne McElvoy and Richard Benson. Durham Book Festival has also commissioned performance pieces from emerging northern artists including Carmen Marcus, Matt Miller and Kamal Kaan. You can find out more about our most recent Durham Book Festival commissions here: http://durhambookfestival.com/programme/commissions/

What to send us:

  1. An explanation of your project in up to 500 words
  2. An CV with examples of previous projects
  3. A budget
  4. A draft timescale demonstrating the feasibility of your proposal, which must be delivered in time for the festival

To be eligible to apply, writers must live and work in the North of England. We particularly welcome applications from County Durham residents.

Durham Book Festival and New Writing North support Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity and welcome applications from under-represented groups.

The proposal must be for an original piece of work, though it may be based on an existing piece of writing.

The commission must be able to be presented on the Durham Book Festival website but also be suitable to be featured as a festival event.

Deadline for proposals is 11.59pm Sunday 18 March 2018.

A selection panel will commission three proposals, to be selected by Friday 20 April. Projects should aim for completion by Monday 3 September 2018.

For more information, please contact Rebecca Wilkie at New Writing North: rebecca@newwritingnorth.com Tel: 0191 204 8850

You can apply for a commission by submitting your proposal here.

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