Preston’s excellent live-lit night Word Soup is one year old this month! And to celebrate Lancashire Writing Hub will be presenting the cream of Lancashire’s writing talent plucked from previous Word Soup nights and launching the first ever Word Soup publication. Jane Brunning from Lancashire Writing Hub gave us the lowdown….Advertisement
Who set up Word Soup & what was the inspiration behind it? They Eat Culture is the core to the whole caboodle – the arts organisation which was set up to make the most of the events venue attached to The Continental. The Continental Arts Space opened in 2008. They Eat Culture developed a literature ‘wing’, led by Jenn Ashworth and this developed into the Preston Writers Network and this is where Word Soup was first cooked up – to give local writers the opportunity to network and get their work out into the public realm.
They Eat Culture & Preston Writing Network developed further events these and Word Soup began to attract writers from a broader area, the Preston Writers Network evolved into the Central Lancs Writing Network, and then quickly spread its wings further to become the Lancashire Writing Hub. Word Soup is still a key event in what Lancashire Writing Hub have to offer, and has now started touring Lancashire with Live Lit events in Blackpool and Ormskirk amongst others, and will be happening in East Lancs too this year.
Is there a healthy & supportive literary scene in Preston? I would say yes, and growing! The Lancashire Writing Hub is intended to increase both the health of and the support for the literary scene in Preston and across Lancashire, and the reason for this will probably be best answered in the next question…
I read that Word Soup has evolved into the Lancashire Writing Hub. What is the Lancashire Writing Hub, what does it do & who does it help? The Preston Writers Network was at the heart of Word Soup, and the Network was expanding organically in response to what we were offering and what the literary scene across Lancashire wants… we have recently set up a new website which we want to offer a broad range of resources to new and established writers – from getting positive feedback on writing to offering professional and writing development resources – forming a hub of news and information and resources.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers in Preston? Don’t get bogged down in isolation, climb down from your lonely garret and see what’s out there for you and use it. The Hub and Word Soup and the other events we run also give writers the opportunity to become a part of the thriving literary community in Lancashire too – although this isn’t compulsory! Becoming known amongst other literary bods could lead on to useful developments in your writing, and in your career if you’re hoping to write professionally, though, so well worth getting involved with.
Can anyone perform at Word Soup? Yes! We always have an open mic slot where anyone who turns up on the night can get up and do their thing to a friendly and welcoming and supportive audience. Having said that, we have occasionally had so many eager writers that we haven’t been able to offer everyone a slot that night but we do our best!
What have been the highlights of the past twelve months been at Word Soup? The highlight is that Word Soup is a dynamic yet friendly and supportive event – and it is what it is because the participants and the audience are all part of the same writing community, whether as writers or just interested in the local literary talent.
What shall we expect at Word Soup’s First Birthday? A great night out! We have the novelist Nicholas Royle as the headline act. His latest novel Antwerp has received great reviews – it’s ‘A chilling and exhilarating read’ according to Peter Guttridge of the Observer, plus new novelist A.J. Duggan (author of Scars Beneath the Skin) and emerging local talent such as Rachel McGladdery, Sandy Calico and J.A. Brunning, and will of course feature other local writers at the open mic slot.
We also have music from Ottersgear who performed at our first ever Word Soup a year ago, and every audience member will receive a free copy of the taster preview of our first ever publication too, which is due out in May. It should be a great night, we’re really looking forward to it. Nicholas Royle said ‘I can’t imagine there’s a Live Lit scene anywhere in the country livelier than that in the North West – and I don’t mean north-west London. Happy Birthday, Word Soup.’
Word Soup First Birthday Party, The Continental, South Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8PJ Tuesday 20th April 8pm – late £3 on door includes free publication
Image Credit: Word Soup Logo