grayson perry

Braintree-born artist Grayson Perry: famous or infamous Essex?

How often have you thought you might have a book in you? Well, now’s your chance to prove it and put pen to paper …

If you like writing or just want to have a go at writing, then our Arts Council-funded Essex Belongs To Us creative writing project could be right up your street.

It offers a wealth of ways to develop your creative skills – and with opportunities of seeing your work in print.

We’ve based the project around the theme of Essex and its infinite variety.

The people and places of Essex make the county one of the most diverse and exciting and sometimes controversial in the country. Urban Essex. Rural Essex. Suburban Essex. All are part of the county’s fascinating make-up.

Quiet and peaceful Essex. Bustling and dynamic Essex. On-the-edge Essex. Famous, even infamous, Essex. We want you to give us your own word picture of the county. Essex as you see it, past, present or even future.

Some of us are long-term residents, others are newer arrivals and may have stories about our journeys getting here.

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry, we want to hear about your Essex and how Essex belongs to you.

Moving, funny, sad, informative, how you write it is up to you – you can be as straightforward or as creative and risk-taking as you like.

It’s an ideal chance to experiment and discover the best way to express yourself.

All we ask is that whatever you write is a maximum of 1,500 words (but can obviously be shorter)  and is sent to us as a Word document by email with your name. It could be part of a longer piece you’re writing but, please, only send us the maximum word length. The project is open to all writers over the age of sixteen.

Our deadline for entries is Tuesday 1 November 2016 (but we’d be grateful if you could send in your contribution as early as possible to make the process easier for us!)

There’s a maximum limit of two entries per person. Please send your entry or entries in Word document file format, clearly marked with your email address and telephone number,  to: essexbelongstous@btopenworld.com  We will acknowledge your entry.

The project is open to all residents of Essex, Southend and Thurrock.

We’re hoping to include as many submitted pieces as possible for an Essex Belongs To Us book, to be published  in a limited edition short print run in March 2017. This will include a special tie-in event at the Essex Book Festival 2017 with readings from the book.

Essex Belongs To Us is a non-profit making project with no funding for contributor payment. But every successful contributor will receive a free copy of the book. We also reserve the right to edit contributions for publication.

We’ll let you know if your work is being included by 31 January 2017.

We’ll be offering special workshops across the county in Essex, Southend and Thurrock libraries throughout the summer and autumn, if you’d like to develop your ideas with our creative writing teacher Heather Reyes or would like to talk to us in person. But please note: you don’t have to attend a workshop in order to submit material.

Remember too that you can always get inspiration from some of the best Essex writers we’ve interviewed for this site.

Essex writers like Martina Cole, Rachel Lichtenstein and Lee Rourke show how they’ve written about the county and offer you some invaluable tips.

Check out too our other resources on the site that could help you with your writing. It’s also your chance to see the wealth of writer development opportunities from writer groups to creative writing courses on offer across the county.

We’re really looking forward to reading your work and wish you lots of luck (and inspiration)!

Heather Reyes and Malcolm Burgess  essexbelongstous@btopenworld.com








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