Tuesday, May 22, 2012

TEESSIDE POLYTECH WRITERS GROUP /Middlesbrough Writers Workshop

TEESSIDE POLYTECH WRITERS GROUP /Middlesbrough Writers Workshop


1983 - after development through various intakes of students to Middlesbrough Writers' Workshop, finally ended about 1994 / 5 (I think) - maybe a bit later.


The group originally formed out of the Multi-Media Society Poetry and Music Workshop at Teesside Poly in 1983 run initially by Trev Teasdel , Dave Wood, and Amelia Ward as an offshoot. Some of the members wanted a writing for the page group as well as the performance orientated group and linked up with Humanities Department English Lecturer John Carthew. John was a drama critic for Radio Tees at the time and on the board of the Dovecot Arts Centre in Stockton. The group met in the Humanities department and John arranged for some creative writing elements to be included in the English Literature programme. Shortly afterwards - through the work of Gordon Hodgeon, the Folk singer and poet  (from Mr Fox) - Bob Pegg was engaged as a writer in Residence at The Dovecot Arts Centre for two years and during that time worked with the Polytechnic writers as a part of his remit.

By 1986 a new intake of students carried the group on, especially Richard Briddon and Mark Rutter. Richard set up a competition - Entertaining Hope and with Mark Rutter organised the and developed the group at the Polytechnic. By 1989 they had produced their first anthology Over the Border and after Richard graduated began to meet at Richard's House at 35, Percy St. Middlesbrough.

Early members included - John Quinn (a Lakeside performance poet from the Multi-Media Society), Dave Wood (Singer songwriter and Co-founder of the Multi-Media Society), Ann Atkinson, Gwen Major, Gerry Moran, Kay Castle, Vera Davies, Pauline Thompson, Paul o'Neill, Mike Shepard, Ann Pyke, Fiona Richards, Melanie Davies, John Carthew, Bob Pegg, Adrian O'Tool,  

Later Members from1986 included -

Richard Briddon, Mark Rutter, AnnMarie Hopper, Mark Hadlett, Tanya Bentham, Sarah Haddlett, Adrian Sanderson, Barbara Coulson, Chris Pickett, Glen Darlow, Irene McDonald, Janet Le Huquet, Julie Hadlett, Keith Pickett, Michael Spencer, Patricia Stamp, Peter Curry, Steve Harrison, Stan Wells, Sandra Thompson and from 1989 Trev Teasdel and Margaret Weir.

Although the group was originally an offshoot of the Multi Media Society at the Polytech which Trevor co-ran, he never joined in the group meetings in the early days owing to other commitments but after inviting Richard Briddon to join the Outlet and Write Around committees, joined the Middlesbrough Writers Workshop for a short while.

Richard Briddon had been editor of  The Mind's I in Bath prior to coming to Teesside Poly and as well as Outlet as a Co-editor, Write Around and from there formed the Paranoia Press in 1990
organising the NSPCC Children's poetry competition in 1986 on Teesside, went on to become involved in

Some early members of the group were published in Bob Pegg's anthology Crossing the T'S in 1985 and Richard Briddon produced the 1989 anthology Over the Border.

Richard Briddon's Preface to Over the Border tells us more about the group -

"When as a first year undergraduate (1986) at Teesside Poly I first encountered the writers Workshop; they
seemed a rather cliquey lot at the time, almost all being Poly students, though with a nice range of age and experience. At the time they were suffering from the loss of their titular leader, Bob Pegg, and were expecting John Carthew, as a senior lecturer at the poly..to take his place. John didn't want it to become the John Carthew show and so the next longest surviving member Mark Rutter filled the vacuum. Once off the ground that academic year's workshop proved so successful that it lasted half into the next academic year, even though John and I were the only writers who hadn't finished with the Poly altogether, and though some, like Mark had to commute from their new lives in different places just to be there.

There were two workshops running in parallel which were totally different. No publication was published during those two years as things were too hectic but the 1989 anthology contained examples of work from 1986 through to 1989."

The anthology is to come to this as a PDF file soon.

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