Friday, March 30, 2012

Blog North launches

Bloggers of the world, meet Blog North, a project I've been working on with our own lovely Creative Tourist and Leeds' magnificent The Culture Vulture. It's a new network for culture bloggers in the North, and an accompanying series of tasty blogger events at art venues, festivals and cultural organisations. We kick things off on 12 May in Wakefield, home to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (home to the Miro image pictured above) and The Hepworth.

What's the idea here? Well, as bloggers, we're pretty much on our own. We often start writing on the side, for fun, in our spare time. Many of us begin without formal training in writing for the internets (or otherwise), and often, writing about arts and culture is something we are doing as art lovers writing from a place of unschooled enthusiasm rather than years of training as an artist, art historian or cultural critic. The thinking behind this series is to provide Northern bloggers with an arts journalist's level of access to exhibitions and cultural events (guided tours, artist/curator talks, etc.) alongside a series of workshops and masterclasses where they can hone their writing and critical skills.

But that's not all! There will be fun schmoozing-with-other-bloggers time and the opportunity to join our Blog North network (and get shiny badges for your blog.) For all the details and booking stuff, head over to the Blog North page. And please note that we are offering six free places for established bloggers who can make a good case for why they need to be there. See you in Wakefield...

Image courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

NALD conference and blogging workshop

A couple of things to quickly tell you about:

With my Openstories hat on I'll be taking part in a panel discussion at the National Association of Literature Development conference, The Space Between Us, in London next week (still tickets if you hurry). Really looking forward to talking over the many changes happening in the field of literature development, and the evolution of blogging, online publishing and creative writing websites such as Rainy City Stories and The Real Story are right at the centre of these changes. But there's also the new forms of experimental literature happening on new platforms/devices, the self-publishing revolution, e-books and a host of other changes to talk about. It's an exciting time for readers and writers.

Also, I'm running another session on The Art of Blogging at Cornerhouse on 17 April at 6pm. This will be an informal, conversational session (rather than a lecture) so places are limited. We'll be sharing tips on developing a writing style and identity for your blog, finding the right platform, building an engaged community of readers and getting your posts to a bigger audience among other things, and looking at some particularly successful blogs in detail. It will be suitable for new and more experiened bloggers alike. Please note though that this will not be a hands-on "how to start a blog" session; Cornerhouse runs separate beginning to blog sessions that cover the nuts and bolts.

If you're interested, be aware that events in this series tend to book up very quickly.

Underwood illustration from the amazing Le Pen Quotidien.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New blogs: The secondhand edition

Hey. Been a while, hasn't it? And all that while I've been quietly collecting new Manchester blogs...

New blog Secondhand Safari is the brainchild of Suzy Prince (above) who used to run the excellent Nude Magazine. Suzy has set herself the task of buying no new items for a year (with some reasonable exemptions for food and the like.) It's a mission that I totally support, as a passionate lover of charity shops and buying things that come with their own mysterious history. Suzy's challenge starts on May Day, but there's plenty of good content on her blog already.

Bernadette Hyland is the woman behind Lipstick Socialist, where she writes about culture, women's issues, trade unions and grassroots campaigns.

Laura Moulden's personal blog is at laura em.

Nice to see a food blog focusing on the humble caffs and cafes of Manchester: Angie Harrison's Cafe Reviews. And journalist Louise Bolotin blogs about cooking for one at The Lone Gourmet.

Sheesh. How on earth did I forget to link to David Bailey's mindbendingly gonzo food blog Food Legend? A bit strange as it only won a blog award last year, and I have been telling people to go read it for months. Anyway, this has now been corrected.

Lots more food blog action this time around (finally Manchester wakes up to the food blogging revolution. Huzzah!) Get your teeth around Foods to try before you die, Hungry Hoss, Good Egg Foodie, Lady Nom, Good golly good gobble!, North/South Food, Mangechester and The Hungry Manc. Burp.

Spancunian Andrea Perez Arduna writes Me, Myself & The UK about her experiences living in Manchester, and her partner Daniel writes Simply Sport.

Writer Ebba Brooks blogs at Jenny Wren and Bella Wilfer Her latest post is about Manchester novelist Alexandra Singer and her remarkable story.

Liz Postlethwaite writes the Organic Allotment blog, about monster truck-driving kittens. No, it's about gardening. Just messing with ya.

Jamie Alun Price blogs at The Etched Mirror, which documents the photographer's adventures in Manchester and elsewhere. He also took the photo of Suzy above.

SACStyle is a fashion blog.

Rochdale blogger Seamus Kelly writes a poetry blog Thinking Too Much and also a biking blog, It is so about the bike.

Melanie King writes art catalyst about her arty adventures in London and Manchester.

threadsandletters is about stitches, writings, DIY publishing and photocopies.

The Fiction Stroker
reviews books, comics, radio, TV and events.

Outtasound is a new music blog.

Pencil it in is a new culture/digital/design/food blog by Jen, a digital marketer living in Manchester. Like the design.

Curious Christina is a Manchester-based travel blogger.

Dry Goods wants to know what's in your cupboards.

Manchester travel and fiction writer Rhonda Carrier blogs about her journeys and traveling with kids at Rhonda's Travels.

Finally, Bury-based artist Coreen Cottam blogs at Cottamart. Happy readings everyone. And as always, if I've left you out, drop me a line and I'll fix it.

UPDATE: No sooner had I published this than a few people got in touch with additions...

Carolyn Hughes, or the blogger also known as Manchester is Ace has started a new blog about things to do in South Manchester with babies and toddlers, Little Dudes.

Didn'tsbury is "an unusual local photo blog which features photographs taken in Didsbury accompanied with surrealist short fiction. It aims to celebrate Didsbury alongside creative writing which will both bemuse *and* amuse the reader." Nice idea. Submissions welcome.

Finally, James follows the fortunes of Bury in Life, love and third division football.