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North West’s leading creative development organisation to bring writing festival to Oldham Library

Oldham Poetry Competition judged by Shobna Gulati (L) and Carmen Walton (R)

The Oldham Writing Festival will celebrate the Oldham Poetry Competition winners judged by renowned actor Shobna Gulati and talented writer Carmen Walton.

Oldham-based creative writing development organisation Commonword aims to celebrate the joy of community and provide new opportunities for aspiring writers and poets at its upcoming event. Attendees will get a chance to watch performances from Oldham writers, meet other writers, read at the open mic session, and learn about the creative industries.

Commonword is one of the North West’s leading organisations in creative writing development. Since being established in 1977, Commonword has worked with hundreds of writers, including Lemn Sissay, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Keisha Thompson.

Commonword’s chief executive, Dr Pete Kalu, said: “We have a long history of supporting writers and creatives from the area. We hope this pilot festival will be the first of many.”

In November last year, the organisation successfully hosted the Black and Asian Writers Conference at Hack Oldham, which saw local creatives from diverse backgrounds come together.

Oldham Writing Festival will take place on February 17, 2024, from 2pm to 4:45pm at Oldham Library. Speeches from Oldham Poetry Competition judges, performances by the Oldham Poetry Competition entrants, a prizes and awards ceremony, a creative showcase with Oldham-based singers and poets, and open mic for creatives are on the day’s schedule.

Competition judge Shobna Gulati is an award-winning actor, dancer, choreographer and presenter, working across theatre, dance, film, radio and television. She became a household name for her role as Anita in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and as Sunita in Coronation Street. Her film credits include the BAFTA award-winning Shadowscan and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. She is the author of the memoir Remember Me? published by Brazen.

Carmen Walton is a freelance writer and workshop facilitator from the North West, living in Oldham. Her decades of work have included playwriting, articles, course content, advertising copy and fiction. As a creative writing tutor, she has worked with developing writers and performers, people in rehabilitation, English language students and storytellers.



*Info: Oldham Writing Festival 



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