Getting writers to find inspiration outdoors

Sitting in a lonely garret seeking inspiration is one image of the author, but personally I prefer writers who get off their backsides and head out into the world.

This year’s Festival offers authors chances to do just that. Baiku, on Saturday, June 6, is an opportunity for writers (established or aspirant), using either their own bike or a hired one to head off on a 20-mile ride along the coast and through the countryside.

They’ll be led by poet David Bateman and armed with their own notebook plus background information on their route prepared by Simon Laing of the Bike & Kayak Centre.

David Bateman will later that day run a haiku workshop at the Centre café for the writers/cyclists and it’s hoped enough good short poems will emerge to make possible an IRON Press book.

Sunday, June 7 is Cullercoats Murder Day. Hopeful crime writers, primed by best-selling crime novelist Ann Cleeves (who that evening gives a reading at the community centre) and supported by a retired chief inspector and a forensic expert, will be shown a body in the Watch House, given various facts on Cullercoats locations which they are invited to explore and then asked to start writing their own Cullercoats murder story or novel. Again, IRON Press will be interested to see what eventually emerges. Limited numbers on both these events, so early booking advised.

Another offbeat event is Writers on a Rock. We’ve selected north east authors Joan Johnston and Sandy Chatwin each to spend three hours perched on a low tide Cullercoats rock, denied the modern trappings of mobiles, iPads etc and armed with a notebook and pencil.

They’ll talk about the experience on Sunday, June 7, in our late night Festival Club at The Salt House.

For details visit www.ironpress.co.uk. Festival brochure available this week.