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Preparing for Pulp Idol, with novelist and children’s author, Sally-Ann Tapia-Bowes

Pulp Idol is a unique writing competition for novelists. Many previous finalists have gone on to have their debut novels published by mainstream and independent publishers. Pulp Idol focuses on supporting new original voices and getting them heard by providing platform for up-and-coming writers, helping with exposure to new audiences and providing contacts with key publishers and agents.

Pulp Idol has had many successes, but few so quickly as the outcome of the 2017 competition when runner-up Ariel Kahn’s debut novel was snapped up almost immediately after the final by North-east based award-winning independent publisher Bluemoose Books. So, well done to Ariel – look out for his debut novel Raising Sparks, which will be published in 2018.

This year we are offering new novelists the opportunity to take part in Preparing for Pulp Idol, a course led by novelist and children’s writer Sally-Anne Tapia-Bowes.

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Rest in Peace Linda Meagor

We are so, so sad at hearing the news of Linda Meagor’s death, a sadness that we know is being shared across the whole of the artistic and cultural community in Merseyside. We first met Linda in late 2014, when she was working for Culture Liverpool, and was helping us find a venue for one of our festival events. We were struck by her enthusiasm, commitment and shining personality. From then on, we – I say we – all the WoW team past and present, collectively and individually, became friends with Linda; how could you not be friends with her? She had a unique ability to be knowledgeable about the arts, an astute and highly organised organiser, and always retain her sense of balance, never ‘losing it’ as is so often the case when we’re all under the usual insane pressures of festival and event delivery, and keep her sense of fun, with her own great laugh.

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Pulp Idol Winner Laura Bui Interview

Writing on the Wall’s Lauren Buxton interviewed Pulp Idol 2018 winner, Laura Bui

Have you always wanted to be a writer? And was there a specific moment you thought, ‘I can do this’?
It was only recently that I considered writing fiction. When I was younger I didn’t think I had this option of ‘being a writer’. Part of this had to do with the idea instilled in me that writing was not a feasible or practical career— sitting around and writing made-up stories? What a farce. The assumption was that being a writer was reserved for people of leisure, and fiction writing was this simple exercise in the insincere: it was believed that anyone could sit around and make up lies if they could afford to. Of course this isn’t true. Later, about six or seven years ago, I developed a kind of obsession with being a good thinker. Being so requires original thought and a lot of creativity. One outlet has been fiction writing. I admire writers, particularly literary fiction writers, for their thoughtfulness and accurate observations about us and life. I want to be like that but it is still a work in progress.

Do you have a writing routine; if so what is a typical writing day for you?
My routine is in the form of phases if that makes sense. I try to treat (fiction) writing like a project with a deadline alongside projects/ tasks related to my profession. So the phase could last for several weeks, end because of another project, then I might return to it months later and work on the writing again for a few weeks or days. Sometimes it can even be alongside another piece of work. A problem, sometimes, is I reason to myself that the fiction writing and reading are a hobby and can be pushed back whenever I feel like it. Then, of course, nothing gets done.

What was your motivation for entering this year’s Pulp Idol competition?
Acknowledgement I guess? I’m surprised I even got as far as I did. I think many who have written a lengthy piece of work will empathise: you spend so much energy and effort in creating this piece. Alone. This can go on for months or years. The end result is completely unknown: will it get to be out there or will it just go in a drawer never to be seen again? I entered just to give my story a chance to be out there, an opportunity for my voice, and the perspective that forms it, to be heard.

Could you tell us about your novel Someone You’d Admire, and what your primary inspiration for the novel was?
Certainly. The story takes place in 2015, forty years after the Fall of Saigon. It focuses on Hien who has to decide whether to return to his homeland, Vietnam, for his father’s funeral after having settled in America since the fall. The bulk of the Vietnamese-American literature comprises stories about what happened to characters during war and shortly after, or about the experiences of the children of these refugees growing up in the US. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizers was an exception because it was the first book I read to have addressed this relatively unknown history about the anti-communist group that developed in the Vietnamese-American community after many had settled in America. It was different and expanded the literature. I wanted to contribute to this expansion by writing about the refugees themselves, four decades after. I wanted to focus on the lingering effects of loss well into the twilight years, and explore resilience and hope despite major adversity.

How do you feel about your overall experience of Pulp Idol?
Very positive. Generally I’m really impressed by the scope of projects that Writing on the Wall (WoW) has and the effort the WoW team invest to include and support anyone who is interested in sharing their voice and story. They sponsor and create events where people, whose voices are likely to be seldom heard in mainstream publishing and literature, can have a platform. They even publish books of these unheard stories and distribute them widely.

Since winning Pulp Idol talk to us about what your experience is like now?
It has provided me with some new and exciting experiences: winning a writing competition for the first time; reading what I wrote in front of audiences; being interviewed about my writing whose first chapter has been published; and gaining some exposure for my writing.

If you could pass on a single piece of advice to writers who would like to enter next year’s Pulp Idol Competition, what would it be?
Do not let the reading part, where you read out loud your story in front of a bunch of strangers, put you off. Yes, it is an atypical competition where you need to be present to participate. This, actually, is a good opportunity-- not just for building confidence but to be there, in-person, with other writers. The competition provides this sense of community and it was wonderful to witness this diverse and thriving world of local and not-so-local writing. I think just to participate in the competition is enough. It makes it real to you that you have expressed your unique perspective through fiction and you are sharing it with others: you are here. 


You can buy a Kindle Copy of Pulp Idol 2018 by clicking here

You can buy a hard copy book of Pulp Idol 2018 by clicking below

If you are an agent or publisher email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a free copy of the e-book.  


Pre-order Your Copy of Rap Vs Rhyme LIVE

Missed the finale of our project Rap Vs. Rhyme on Wednesday at Studio 2? You can pre-order your own filmed copy of the event. Featuring exciting performances from C-Two and TL himself and  new work from the young participants of the project, this DVD is an absolute steal for £2.99 (exc. postage and packaging).

Enterprise Hub: Tony Schumacher in conversation with Mike Morris

Our first Enterprise Hub event for 2018 was on Wednesday 24th January at Central Library, and featured acclaimed novelist Tony Schumacher in-conversation with WoW Co-Director Mike Morris. They talked about his latest novel, An Army of One, which concludes his enthralling John Rossett trilogy and Tony's own journey of how he became a writer. There was certainly a buzz for this event. This event was part of Enterprise Hub's Start Up Festival that took place all over the city. There was also a chance to sign up for the next Enterprise Hub drop in session at Writing on the Wall, which focuses on giving creative, business advice. 



Pulp Idol Firsts 2018

Click on the image or here to buy your own copy online

Pulp Idol has had many successes, but few so quickly as the outcome of this year’s competition. Runner-up Ariel Kahn’s debut novel was snapped up almost immediately after the final held in May during WoWFest 2018 by North-east based award-winning independent publisher Bluemoose Books. So, well done to Ariel – look out for his debut novel Raising Sparks, which will be published in 2018.

Congratulations also to all our finalists whose opening chapters are published here for the first time. The quality of writing in this, the 11th year of our annual competition, is as good as any in previous years, and we wish them all the best of luck in finding publishers for their work.

Pulp Idol was born out of a desire to achieve two things: to give a platform to the literary talent across the region and find an outlet for it by building a bridge between the national publishing industry and Merseyside. We have achieved this and more, with over ten writers finding success through publication and commissions, and more and more agents and publishers looking out for the latest batch of Pulp Idol finalists and signing them up. We now also welcome the many writers taking part from across the country.

Writing on the Wall is grateful to all the writers who entered the competition. We encourage them to keep on writing and enter again in the future - Deborah Morgan found success the second time she entered with her superb debut novel Disappearing Home being published by Tindall Street.

New Project - Liverpool 8 Archive Project - Call for Participants

The Liverpool 8 Law Centre was one of the most significant community organisations in the city. To a community who bore the brunt of high unemployment and government spending cuts combined with institutionalised racism, it provided support, legal advice and sanctuary. The exciting new Heritage Lottery funded L8 Archives Project will explore, collate and catalogue the collections of the Liverpool 8 law centre and other key community organisations. Using existing material and through the creation of new audio and visual recordings, a unique and important archive will be produced, charting the history, events and influences that have led to the diversity of cultures which make up the Liverpool 8 community and BAME Communities across the City. Writing on the Wall are currently recruiting participants to support this exciting project who wish to gain new skills.

Participants will:
· Take part in a 10-week taught course on the historic context of the archive led by local writer Emy Onuora and WoW Co-Director Madeline Heneghan
· Receive training in archiving, cataloguing and video interviewing
· Catalogue and archive community material under the guidance of a professional archivist
· Interview key individuals related to and inspired by the archive
· Deliver their own Local History project

- The first session will be take place on Wednesday 10th January 2018 at Toxteth Library (Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XF) from 6-8pm. 

To get involved please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0151 703 0020.

Tapestry & Hope and Two Sugars available to buy online

Hope and Two Sugars and Tapestry are now online to buy on Amazon. Get a copy, support new writing and read these innovative, heartfelt stories. 

Hope and Two Sugars features the stories of kinship carers - grandparents caring for their grandchildren. The book highlights the simplistic things in life, from first jobs and cinema trips to wishes of hope and heartwarming poetry, written by the grandparents and their grandchildren too. 

The writers in Tapestry have found their voice, have created stories, memoir and poems and, during this creative journey, found they had something worth saying. The course is funded by the Liverpool City Region ESF Community Grants. 


Liverpool 2018 – Ten Years in the Making

Final plans are being put in place for Liverpool to stage an ambitious and forward looking culture programme to mark the tenth anniversary of its reign as European Capital of Culture.
Details of Liverpool 2018 - the year-long celebration of the city’s thriving creative scene - will be announced in January. This will be when the city gears up to once again step into the international spotlight and showcase its extraordinary culture offer, while looking forward to the next decade of cultural innovation.
A number of major projects within the programme have already been announced including;
-       China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors - coming to the UK for the first time in a generation
-       The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta linking Liverpool, Dublin and Bordeaux on 25 – 28 May
-       The finale of the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race which is set to race back onto the Mersey in late July
-       The Clothes Show which returns to the city for a second year from 19-21 October
-       Tate Liverpool’s 30th anniversary programme including an Egon Schiele retrospective
-       Liverpool Biennial’s 10th edition presenting leading visual artists from across the world takes place over 15 weeks
-       Rewire – A major new art and technology commission led by FACT with Invisible Flock, working with artists from across the globe and communities in Toxteth
Alongside this, Liverpool 2018 will also showcase premieres across the worlds of entertainment and sport, new major public artworks, some extraordinary one-off music moments and four artistic seasons each bursting with new commissions exploring:
·         China Dream – showcasing the best of modern Chinese culture  
·         The Future World of Work - what does this mean for society
·         The Art of Football - the global relationship with the beautiful game
·         Nineteen Eighteen (working title) - the centenary of the end of the First World War
The city’s unrivalled festival offer - from Africa Oye and Liverpool International Music Festival right through to Milapfest – will mark the year with some of their most ambitious line ups ever, while brand new music events - including a piano festival like no other - will reinforce Liverpool’s position as a UNESCO City of Music.
To add to that, the team behind Liverpool 2018 can reveal plans for Easter Fire - a collaboration with renowned live event creators Walk the Plank. Easter Fire at St George’s Hall will take place during the Easter holidays, creating a world of fire, entertainment and gastronomy. Famous for their spectacular live performances, Walk the Plank are promising to create a unique experience in one of the hidden gems of the city. Tickets for the event and further details will be available from Friday 8 December.
Mayor Joe Anderson OBE, said: “European Capital of Culture was an extraordinary year for this city, but it was never just about 2008 – it was about the legacy that followed.
“Culture has been the backbone of Liverpool’s renaissance over the past decade, and Liverpool 2018 is a chance for us to recognise the growth in confidence, ambition, creativity and cultural engagement which is seen in every corner of Liverpool – putting us quite rightly as a cultural exemplar on a national and international stage.
“Liverpool 2018 is an opportunity for us to once again roll out the red carpet for people to come and visit for the first time, or to rediscover what we believe is the most exciting destination in the UK.
“Some of the projects which we will be announcing in the New Year really do raise the bar and it will be an incredible time for residents and visitors who will undoubtedly travel from across the world to experience how Liverpool puts on a show.”
Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said: “The City Region Combined Authority is delighted to be supporting Liverpool 2018 with £5 million from our Single Investment Fund.
“It will kick-start a new cultural journey for the whole of the city region and it is my ambition that all areas feel the same benefits as Liverpool has done in the last decade. This region is blessed with a huge depth of talent and it is our job to provide the platforms to showcase that creativity and encourage participation. I was Lord Mayor in 2008 and saw first-hand the impact celebrating culture had on people and communities.
“I very much look forward to another outstanding year of culture that will hopefully enrich and improve the lives of all who live and visit here.”
Claire McColgan MBE, Liverpool’s Director of Culture, said: ‘Liverpool has been defined by culture for centuries, from our incredible architecture and galleries to major live events which turn the city into a playground. It is the most powerful way to tell our story across Europe and the world, and is central to the image of modern Liverpool.
“The last decade has seen such incredible growth in our cultural scene, it is right that we use this anniversary to celebrate the extraordinary organisations which make this city the most exciting in the UK, but also it is crucial that we use it as a chance to look forward to the next ten years and challenge ourselves to imagine what we might look like and can achieve by 2028.”
John Wassell from Walk the Plank said: “We worked on the opening event of European Capital of Culture and have watched on admiringly as Liverpool’s cultural sector has grown from strength to strength ever since. Walk the Plank perform all over the world, and Liverpool’s name is synonymous with ambitious cultural events wherever we go, so it’s exciting to return a decade since we were last here and to bring something never seen before as part of this truly bumper year!”
The official launch of the first half of the programme will be made on 11 January 2018, ten years to the day since the ‘People’s Opening’ which launched European Capital of Culture in 2008. 
The GREAT Britain campaign is an official partner of the Liverpool 2018 programme and will use its impressive reach across the tourism, culture, investment, export, trade and education sectors to promote Liverpool’s programme and position it as a must-visit destination.
For more information on already released projects and to help plan your visit to Liverpool go to www.visitliverpool.com/2018.
For more information, please contact Sarah Latcham, Communications Officer, on 0151 233 0071 or 077936 60570.  
For the latest news from Liverpool City Council, visit www.liverpool.gov.uk or www.twitter.com/lpoolcouncil
Visit www.liverpoolexpress.co.uk to find out all the good things happening in Liverpool, or follow @lpoolcouncil on Twitter.
Liverpool City Council, 4th Floor Cunard Building, Pier Head, Liverpool, L31DS