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NewcastleGateshead secures bid to host the first English event of its kind


Jun 21, 2017

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau’s award-winning Conference Ambassador Programme has secured another significant win.

Around 600 writers, critics, academics, teachers and linguists from around the UK will be heading to NewcastleGateshead this July to attend English: Shared Futures, the first ever event in which all branches of English – literature, language and creative writing – have come together to celebrate their subject.

Organised by The English Association, University English (the body for HE Departments of English) and the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), with support from the Institute of English Studies and the Higher Education Academy, the conference will take place at Newcastle Civic Centre from 5-7 July 2017.

The bid was led by Professor Jennifer Richards Professor of English Literature at Newcastle University and Chair of English Association Higher Education Committee, who commenting on the win said:

‘This is the first conference of its kind in the UK, organised by all of the national associations supporting the study of English and Creative Writing. I am delighted that the city of Newcastle was chosen to host it – there is no better place for this festival! I would like to extend a warm welcome to the more than 600 delegates who will be celebrating with us.’

Newcastle University’s bid was actively supported by Departments of English from universities across the region: Northumbria, Durham, Teeside and Sunderland, whilst NewcastleGateshead’s Convention Bureau worked with the organisers to help secure the conference venue and accommodation.

The Conference Ambassador Programme (CAP), held in partnership with Newcastle University, works with academics, researchers and medical and business professionals to bid for and bring international and national events to the North East. Re-launched in 2014 the programme has been hugely successful attracting a range of events the economy.

Paul Szomoru, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said:

“This conference really demonstrates the importance of our ambassador programme and its role in attracting a range of key educational conferences to the region – successfully promoting Newcastle’s reputation as a world-class civic university, and showcasing both the university and destination.

“Newcastle University’s English Language and Literature department is one of the leading research departments in the country, ranked 3rd in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and 1st for impact, and the region is well recognised for its lively literary and artistic culture, all making Newcastle the natural home for this innovative event. We’re looking forward to welcoming people from all parts of the English subject here to NewcastleGateshead next month.”

Part conference, part festival, the event will celebrate the discipline’s intellectual strength, diversity, and creativity, and explore its futures in the UK and across the world.

Showcasing the excellent literary culture of the region, its writers and publishers, a cultural fringe will take the conference to the heart of Newcastle with readings and workshops from local, national, and international writers and groups taking place around the city. It will also be joining in with the 50th anniversary commemorations of Newcastle University awarding Dr Martin Luther King an honorary degree in 1967.

Alongside 150 panels, readings and workshops there will be a series of ‘literary salons’, masterclasses, and talks from leading figures in the discipline including Martin Stannard, Kathyrn Hughes, Andrew Hadfield, Deborah Camerson, Bernardine Evaristo, and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in conversation with Jackie Kay.

By Emily