Friday, 5 October 2007



‘The Lit & Phil’
Vires acquirit eundo (it gathers strength as it goes)

The Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society was founded in 1793.
It stocks about 150,000 books.

Sid Chaplin 1916- 1986 was Vice President of the Society from 1976-1985

Joseph Skipsey 1832- 1903 (The pitman poet) worked as an assistant librarian for about a year before returning to coalmining. See January th


Started in 1967
Fellows since that time............
Tony Harrison 1967-68 and 76-77
Basil Bunting 1968-70
Barry Cole 1970-72
Paul Bailey 1972-74
John McGahern 1974-76
Edward Bond 1977-79
Fleur Adcock 1979-81
Anne Stevenson 1981-82 and 1984-85
Barry Unsworth 1982-84
Dick Davis 1984-86
U.A.Fanthorpe 1987-88
Carol Rumens 1988-90
Fred D’Aguiar 1990-92
Sean O’Brien 1992-94
W.N.Herbert 1994-96
Bridget O’Connor 1996-98
Jo Shapcott 1998-2000
Ian Duhig 2000-2001
Jackie Kay 2001-2003
Colette Bryce

Some 'Literary Fellows'

TONY HARRISON He lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Tony Harrison was born in Leeds, England, in 1937. He is the author of more than fifteen books of poetry, including recently Permanently Bard: Selected Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 1996) and V. and Other Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990). He is also a noted translator, dramatist, and librettist whose works have been performed by Britain's National Theatre and the New York Metropolitan Opera. His honors include a Unesco fellowship, the Faber Memorial Award, a U.S. Bicentennial fellowship, and the European Poetry Translation Prize. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984.

SEAN O’ BRIEN Lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne

‘No poetic reputation has firmed up more solidly than Sean O'Brien's since 1994. As if goaded by his exclusion from New Generation (he was just the wrong side of the age cut-off point), he seems to have been intent on fulfilling a hegemonic master plan. He published a critical book The Deregulated Muse and the anthology The Firebox in 1998. Together, these books established him as the poet-editor-critic of his generation. His poetry has gained in power, winning the Forward Prize for Ghost Train in 1995. In his piece in Strong Words he says: "Work, John Kinsella will do that for us". But, in fact, a list of O'Brien's own recent activities is dizzying; he has recently been writing plays: Laughter When We're Dead broadcast on R3 ; Downriver, a jazz musical co-written with the composer Keith Morris, was premiered at the Newcastle Playhouse . He is now writing Keepers of the Flame, a verse play, set in the 1930s / 1990s, about fascists, poets and gunrunners and Is that a Fact, another verse play. Plus reviews for the Sunday Times, the TLS and the Guardian.’ POETRY REVIEW

Sean O'Brien read English at Cambridge and taught English for several years after graduating. His first book of poems, The Indoor Park, appeared in 1983 and won the Somerset Maugham Award. Its successor, The Frighteners (1987) received the Cholmondeley Award. In 1993 HMS Glasshouse received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 1995 Ghost Train won the Forward Prize for best collection. A selection of his work appears in Penguin Modern Poets 5 and his poems have been widely anthologized and broadcast. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

W.N.HERBERT Lives in North Shields
W.N. Herbert is a highly versatile poet who writes both in English and Scots. Born in 1961 in Dundee, he established his reputation with two collections from Bloodaxe, Forked Tongue (1994) and Cabaret McGonagall (1996). His other books include a critical study, To Circumjack MacDiarmid (Oxford University Press, 1992) and The Testament of the Reverend Thomas Dick (Arc, 1994). His is co-editor with Matthew Hollis of Strong Words: modern poets on modern poetry (Bloodaxe). He was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1994-96, has held other residencies, with Dumfries and Galloway (1993), Moray libraries (1993-94) and Dove Cottage (1997-98), and has been Writing Fellow in the Creative Writing Department at Lancaster University since 1976.All three of his Bloodaxe collections have won Scottish Arts Council Book Awards. Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Saltire Awards, Forked Tongue was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation as well as a selected title in the New Generation Poets promotion. Cabaret MacGonagall was shortlisted for the Forward and McVities prizes. .

ANNE STEVENSON Poet, Critic and biographer.
Lives in County Durham
Winner of the Inaugural Northern Rock Literary Award 2002.
First book of poems in 1965 followed in 1969 by REVERSALS (Wesleyan)
CORRESPONDENCES (a family history in letters in 1974), Nine collections with Oxford University Press including COLLECTED POEMS 1955-1995)

Joined Bloodaxe books in 2000. GRANNY SCARECROW published.

Prose books include
BITTER FAME, A LIFE OF SYLVIA PLATH (Viking, Houghton Mifflin, 1989)
BETWEEN THE ICEBERG AND THE SHIP Selected Essays (University of Michigan Press 1998)

FIVE LOOKS AT ELIZABETH BISHOP (Bellew /Agenda Editions, 1998)

Anne Stevenson was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1981-82 and 1984-85 only herself and Tony Harrison have held the post twice.

Franks Casket is a poetry webzine produced by Newcastle University's School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics . It aims to provide a platform for creative writing within the university and throughout the north.
It is named after the ivory book-box made in this region in the 7th Century, a box supposed to contain the codex cosmographiorum mirandi operis (the book of cosmographies and wondrous work) While we can't promise precisely those contents, you will find poets from Newcastle's Creative Writing MA alongside new and established writers from one of the most thriving poetry scenes in the country. Please feel free to browse the site and to submit work or comments.
We are interested in receiving work from student poets, especially writers on Creative Writing courses, and poets based in the North of England. That said, we are happy to look at good poetry from anywhere, and to publish what we can.

"First Eleven"Poets from Newcastle University's MA course in Writing Poetry reading from their work atthe Lit and Phil Library23 Westgate RoadNewcastleonWednesday February 5th, 2003, Introduced by Desmond Graham.
Poets Included in the book produced Julia Darling, Heather Young, Joanna Boulter
Maureen Almond, Monica Cheale, Rima Handley, Joyce Hodgson, Jeanne Macdonald, Alison Rowell, Anne Ryland, Fiona Ritchie Walker.

Writing Poetry, MA at Newcastle University
MA: 12 months full time; 24 months part time
This unique programme will suit those wishing to develop their own creative writing, teach poetry or go on to further study of poetry. It combines writing poetry with reading and studying it.
We have strong links to the vibrant literary culture of the North East and the programme is taught by practising poets and editors as well as literary scholars. You will be helped to develop your own writing through workshops and consultations (poetry workshops 1 and 2, 30 credits each).
Critical engagement with writing will be encouraged through the study of contemporary poetries and their backgrounds, and through the exploration of how poetry lives today in magazines, anthologies, reading, and the activities of publishers (the life of poetry, 20 credits).
These compulsory practical modules will be complemented by two more academic modules, drawn from a list which might include: twentieth-century American women poets; introduction to modern poetry; postwar American poetry; poetry and propaganda - poetry from the North of Ireland (20 credits). You also take compulsory modules in research methods and skills (20 credits) and either submit a portfolio of poems or write a dissertation on an appropriate literary topic (60 credits).
MA Creative WritingCourse Length1 year full-time (also available on a part-time basis) LocationLipman Building, Newcastle City CampusEnquiriesAdmissions OfficeContact Details TEL: 0191 227 4925FAX: 0191 227 4630EMAIL:
Standard EntryUsual requirements are a degree and strong creative writing ability.
Additional NotesThose without formal qualifications will be considered on the basis of their creative writing. When applying, prospective students should submit samples of creative work. Prospective applicants should complete a standard University application form and submit it. Along with examples of their creative writing, to the School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, Lipman Building. Application forms should be submitted by the end of August in the proposed year of entry. Teaching usually begins at the end of September.
COURSE INFORMATIONThis was the first Masters degree of its type in the North East of England. The MA in Creative Writing is a challenging postgraduate course which allows the student to specialise in either poetry or prose, or to work in both forms. This is a practical degree, designed for people who wish to become published creative writers, as well as for those involved in teaching creative writing or in other areas of the writing industry. The MA offers the opportunity for either full-time or part-time study. Teaching sessions of 3 hours take place during the evenings (usually 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.), twice a week for full-time students and once a week for part-time. The sessions are usually made up of a writing workshop, followed by a seminar. Seminar topics include: Contemporary literature The writing industry (including editing) The writer as tutor. The writing workshops are taught by experienced creative writers and make up the backbone of the degree. During some workshops students might produce a piece of creative writing, while other workshops (critiquing sessions) involve discussions of work by members of the group. Students also have regular one-to-one tutorials with staff members.
COURSEWORK AND ASSESSMENTThroughout the programme students produce portfolios of creative writing for assessment, and the final MA is based on the production of a substantial body of creative work. APPLICATION DETAILApplicants should complete a standard university application form available from the enquiries office


Born in Surrey and educated at Leeds University. He has lectured in Africa, Germany and since 1971 in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Professor of Poery lecturing on the MA in Poetry at Newcastle University. Reviwer for STAND. Books include
'Not Falling' (Seren), 'The Lie of Horizons' (Seren), 'The Marching Bands' (Seren) and his latest from FLAMBARD 'After Shakespeare'. He was Editor of 'Poetry of the Second World War'(Pimlico) and has edited the works of Keith Douglas and written a biography of that poet.

Now defunct Arts organisation which is replaced by Arts Council: England : North East.

HELIX ARTS (formerly Artists’ Agency) seeks to bring artists working in all disciplines into direct contact with people, primarily those who have had little previous experience of or contact with the arts. For example, projects have taken place in prisons, in hospitals, in the community and with special interest groups. Projects are mainly residencies and national/international exchanges. Helix Arts also undertakes consultancies and delivers education/training programmes to those in the voluntary, public and private sectors.

New Writing North exists to create an environment in the North of England in which new writing in all genres can flourish and develop. The company was launched in September 1996 and is core funded by Northern Arts (now Arts Council:England : North East) through the Literature, Film and Media and Performing Arts Departments. We raise money for core costs and projects by working with producers, sponsors, local authorities, through charitable means and through operational management fees. The North of England has a strong track record for producing and being the adopted home of, writers of extremely high quality. Recently the region has been the focus of two major feature films: Lee Hall's Billy Elliot, and Purely Belter based on Gateshead writer Jonathan Tulloch's first novel The Season Ticket. Both of these writers were nurtured via theatre and writing initiatives in the Northern Arts region prior to their successes in the national and international arena.
New Writing North is a unique organisation. As the writing development agency for the region it is the primary force for the development of new writers in all genres (poetry, fiction, theatre, film and new media) from the region. We work closely with writers, producers, theatres, educational establishments, publishers and others to achieve our objectives
Ambitions for the arts
In the summer of 2002, after a period of radical reform, a new Council of Arts Council England was appointed. This is the Council's manifesto for the years from 2003 to 2006. It sets out our ambition, to promote the arts at the heart of our national life.This is the start of a new era of significant expansion for the arts in England. The financial case for the arts is being won with Government. In 2002's spending round, we achieved a major increase in public investment in the arts. Now we intend to capitalise on that success by backing the country's artistic talent and winning further support for the arts.It is our central belief that the arts have power to transform lives, communities and opportunities for people throughout the country.From 2003 to 2006 we will:
· prioritise individual artists
· work with funded arts organisations to help them thrive rather than just survive
· place cultural diversity at the heart of our work
· prioritise young people and Creative Partnerships
· maximise growth in the arts
as well as creating a modern and progressive Arts Council.
The Arts Council and 'the arts'
We will adopt a more modern definition of the arts, one that is open to current trends in emerging (and often challenging) arts practice, in arts and technology, and in breaking down the boundaries between art forms, and between the arts and other disciplines.We will be unabashed about excellence in the arts. By excellence, we mean the highest possible achievement, not a value system placed on one group by another.We will take a contemporary, international approach to the arts. We will promote our artists internationally, encourage international exchange and co-production, and do all we can to ensure that audiences and artists in this country benefit from the best of the arts from outside the UK.We will argue that being involved with the arts can have a lasting and transforming effect on many aspects of people's lives. This is true not just for individuals, but also for neighbourhoods, communities, regions and entire generations, whose sense of identity and purpose can be changed through art.We will create more opportunities for people to experience and take part in life-changing artistic experiences, through:
· making, doing and contributing
· watching, viewing, listening and reading
· performing, playing and publishing.
We believe that access to the arts goes hand in hand with artistic excellence. Participation, contribution and engagement in the arts are the bridge between access and excellence.That bridge is especially crucial in a society which is itself subject to ongoing change: more culturally and ethnically diverse; more educated and informed but also more distracted and cacophonous.Placing artists at the centre
The artist is the 'life source' of our work. In the past, we have mainly funded institutions. Now we want to give higher priority to the artist.We can do this indirectly through training, legislative change, or in stimulating the economy for artists. Or we might provide direct assistance through more funding, or help with spaces to work, with equipment, time, or travel and opportunities for international exchanges.We believe artists, at times, need the chance to dream, without having to produce. We will establish ways to spot new talent; we will find ways to help talent develop; we will encourage artists working at the cutting edge; we will encourage radical thought and action, and opportunities for artists to change direction and find new inspiration.Our relationship with arts organisations
Most of our funding will continue to go to our portfolio of 'regularly funded organisations'.We are looking for a new, grown-up relationship with arts organisations; one that is based on trust, not dependency. We will expect hopes, aspirations and problems to be shared openly with us. We consider this new relationship to be fundamentally important to the future of the subsidised arts.Arts organisations provide the foundation for the arts in this country. Because of this, these organisations must play a leadership role in terms of artistic innovation and experimentation, as well as in how they are managed and governed. They are crucial to all our priorities and we will ask them to make a major contribution to our ambitions in cultural diversity.At the same time, we will not ask them to take on any agendas that are not consistent with their fundamental purpose and ambition. We want to lighten rather than add to their burden.We want a new relationship with arts organisations based on mutual trust. We have changed, and will change more, but they must also.We will be fair in what we expect of organisations. We will help provide training for their employees and we will help to produce more cultural managers and leaders for the future. We will help organisations make the most of their capacity, but we will not ask them to do more than their funding allows.In return, we expect arts organisations to be open and clear in their dealings with us. We expect them to be well managed and to deliver using our investment. We want them to thrive and not just survive. But we will exercise the right to withdraw our investment from those who repeatedly mismanage or fail to deliver.Cultural diversity
The arts provide spaces to explore differences. The results can be greater understanding and tolerance or, at their best, a sense of shared excitement and celebration of the miraculous richness and variety of cultural identity and endeavour. We want cultural diversity to be a central value in our work, running through all our programmes and relationships. The term 'cultural diversity' can be interpreted in many different ways. We will take the broadest interpretation - as meaning the full range and diversity of the culture of this country - but with a particular focus on race and ethnic background. We can achieve much in cultural diversity through persuasion, illustration and by identifying and sharing good practice. But we also need to take positive action if we are to share our riches and achieve greater equality of opportunity. We will at the very least make more funding available specifically for culturally diverse arts. We will also take steps to change the employment profile, governance and activities of both the Arts Council and the funded arts sector. The arts and young people
We recognise the transforming power of the arts in relation to young people. We value the wealth of arts and education activity that has taken place and will continue to take place in schools and other settings up and down the country. We see Creative Partnerships as a highly valuable extension of our previous arts and education work, and embrace the Creative Partnerships initiative with much excitement and enthusiasm. Creative Partnerships can bring about profound change in how education relates to the arts and vice versa. We will give it a very high priority, evaluate it thoroughly and we will do all we can to turn it from a pilot into a mainstream activity. We want to see the same principle - putting people and high quality artists and art together to create transforming experiences - applied to other sectors and ages. Given the significant growth in the population in the 50-plus age group in the next decade, we would like to explore initiatives that apply the Creative Partnerships principle to that age group. Growth in resources for the arts
As an organisation, we will be focused on growth. We will bring the transforming power of the arts to bear on issues of health, crime, education and inclusion. Many artists are naturally drawn to those fields. Without compromising our main purpose - the arts - we will make the most of growth by establishing healthy and effective partnerships with a range of national, regional and local organisations. Nationally, these include government departments for health, education, trade & industry, and the Home Office as well as agencies such as the Youth Justice Board and national broadcasters. Regionally and locally, these include regional development agencies, regional government, regional government offices, local strategic partnerships, regeneration agencies and, of course, local authorities. We will draw up a plan for growth nationally and regionally, with some clear and challenging targets. We will place added emphasis on marketing and communicating the value of the arts. This will include marketing of the 'transforming power' of the arts - all the arts, not just the arts we fund - and more specific marketing, for example, in relation to new opportunities to raise extra resources for the arts. A modern, dynamic Arts Council
In order to fulfil our ambitions we need a dynamic and effective Arts Council. We will build staff morale, deliver some early wins, and allow people to get on with their new job. We will create a sense of progress, momentum, excitement and achievement. This will involve focusing on our organisational culture and working methods and making the most of our new organisation's strengths. We will form project teams to drive forward new programmes with clear goals, drawing on people across the organisation. Overall, we will improve our operational performance and responsiveness, for example through our much simplified grants for the arts. In summary, we believe that the new Arts Council will be able to:
· position and market the arts publicly throughout the country so that the case for government funding in future will be immeasurably stronger
· make operational changes that deliver a much improved service to the arts at considerably less cost
· lever resources for the arts from a wide variety of national and regional sources at a level far greater than was possible previously
· work to one agenda, joining up our programmes and policies with action, and delivering against clearly stated ambitions
Arts Council England will be bold and set ambitious targets in order to maximise these advantages. Where there are major gains to be made, we will take risks and encourage the arts community to take risks. In the past, the Arts Council had many policies and strategies. Now we have this manifesto. It states clearly what we want to do and replaces other general policy statements. Now is the time for action. How we will measure our success
Our corporate plan, which we will publish in March 2003, will set out our detailed investment and describes the practical steps we will take, in partnership with others, to bring about our ambitions. That plan will include measurable 'success factors'. By way of illustration, these might include:
· more people saying that the arts play a valuable role in their lives
· more people from ethnic and cultural minorities taking part in the arts
· the majority of school children having had direct contact with the professional arts
· an enhanced reputation for England and the UK as a world centre for critically acclaimed art
· a marked improvement in the management and governance of our funded organisations
· significant growth in the number of artists who have previously received direct funding from us now enjoying an ongoing economic return from their work
· cultural institutions more open to people from diverse backgrounds as performers, audiences and staff
· more teachers, health professionals, probation officers, youth workers, social workers and carers reporting the value of the arts in their work
· the arts community reporting that we have broadened our range to show a clear interest in new and emerging arts practice
· the arts community recognising that the we speak up more effectively for artists and for the value of the arts
· our own evaluation showing a creative and valued workforce
· a further significant increase achieved in the 2004 government spending round - as a result of the successful marketing and promotion of the transforming effect of the arts
We invite artists, organisations, partners and colleagues to join us in this bold adventure. Peter HewittFebruary 2003

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