Our Story .
Out on the Page was set up in 2018 as an experimental project to bring together emerging LGBTQ+ writers to support each other in their writing and to share information and experiences.
On a writing journey that included course and writers groups, Paul Bradley-Cong sometimes met other LGBTQ+ writers, and, when they shared their experience, common themes came up. Being a writer can be isolating, being an LGBTQ+ writer can be even more isolating. It seemed that there were very few places, especially in person, to come into a safe and supportive space to write and network, and be yourself as an LGBTQ+ writer. This was coupled with a preceived lack of visibility and visible support for LGBTQ+ writing across large parts of the publishing industry and academia.
The idea, therefore, was to do something to reduce isolation, increase visibility and provide support to emerging LGBTQ+ writers to develop their writing and bring more of it to audiences by encouraging and facilitating networking, collaboration and mutual support.
In the summer of 2018, Paul set up a basic website and that Autumn began running small one-day retreats in Bristol, Manchester and London.
By the end of 2019 Paul, with other LGBTQ+ writers he'd met along the way, had run more than a dozen one-day retreats across England, hosted cafe-casuals in Manchester and Bristol, experimented with a writing group in Bristol and run a queer poetry and prose workshop at Birmingham Literary Festival. We also introduced a members' area to our website and developed our first LGBTQ+ Writers' Resource List.
The Arts Council Funded Project 2020
We successfully applied to the Arts Council England National Lottery Grant Fund to support and develop our project through 2020. A core aspect of our funding was to run 12 one-day writing and network retreats, with established LGBTQ+ Guest Writers. It was going well, between January and March we held four retreats with great Guest Writers including Okechuckwu Nzelu, Mia Violet and Jonathan Kemp. We'd lined up Rosie Garland, Meg-John Barker and Natasha Carthew for the summer. And then came Lockdown.
Supporting LGBTQ+ Writers Through Lockdown and Covid-19
The UK national lockdown began in late March; by the first week in April, we had moved completely online and secured permission to vary our programme to best respond to the crisis and most importantly to try and be there for our member writers, to help keep them connected.
We made all our events free for the next five months and focussed on connecting, casual, networking events. We ran Cafe Casuals, Live Forums' and Bringing Together genre networking events. We upheld our commitment to the Guest Writers we had booked and ran successful online Q&As with Paul Mendez, Michael Amherst and Rosie Garland. We experimented with some 'industry' discussions, writing workshops and introduced the popular Micro-Retreats where you can come into a safe online space to write and also meet other LGBTQ+ writers. We also linked up with UK Silver Pride and Leeds LGBTQ Literature Festival. All in all, over those five months, we ran 50 free events; planned and delivered by Paul and Associates Jo Whalley, Helen Dale and others, providing a much-needed connection for hundreds of LGBTQ+ writers.
What now for the remainder of 2020 and beyond?
We have agreed with Arts Council England to remain online for the rest of 2020, and we're proud of the programme we have put in place; a blend of some of the best events we ran earlier in the year alongside the introduction of new experimental events and workshops; often by drawing upon the fantastic skills and experience of our member writers.
Paul, Jo and our Advisory Panel are also looking at the feedback we have received throughout the year and developing plans for the next phase of Out on the Page's development; including to seek funding for 2021-22.
What about the WRITERS that join Out on the Page?
To find out more about some of our member writers and recent guest writers, with links to their writing
To find out more about Paul, some of our Associates and our Advisory Panel, keep scrolling down.
Founder | Project Director
Paul set up the Out on the Page in 2018 as a way to connect with and find support from other emerging LGBTQ+ writers in and around Bristol. He is an experienced writitng event and workshop facilitator. He oversees the artistic direction of the project. In Dec 2020 Paul joined the Board of Trustees of Literature Works, the Regional Writing Agency for South-West England.
Writing under the name Sam Jenks, he writes fiction, auto-fiction, creative non-fiction, often a mash-up of all three. His writing has appeared in Litro and Fruit Journal. He is currently writing a series of connected stories set in contemporary Japan. He is an Associate Member of The Society of Authors
Associate Programme Facilitator
Jo discovered her passion for writing during her teens. Unable to talk to anyone about her sexuality, writing provided Jo with an outlet to express herself. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, Jo has worked in a variety of jobs ranging from painting ceramic plaques to managing the communal areas of apartment blocks.
It wasn’t until turning forty that Jo rediscovered the joy of writing when she started volunteering for the radio station Gaydio. During her four and a half years at Gaydio, Jo wrote the brief for the nightly current affairs discussion programme The Exchange and then worked as a broadcast journalist for Gaydio’s arts and culture programme The Sunday Forum. One of her short stories The Visitor was selected by Commonword for their upcoming anthology ‘Indivisible’ which is an exploration of hidden disabilities.
As well as assisting in developing Out on the Page's events programme, Jo is a member of the Manchester International Festival People's Forum and is an Associate with Castlefield Gallery, Manchester.
Shaun Hill has held creative space for adults for a broad range of organisations, including Exeter Pride, The Belgrade Theatre, Birmingham Buddhist Centre, Birmingham Literature Festival, and the University of Birmingham.
He is a Young Poet with the Birmingham Hippodrome, a Nine Arches Press mentee; and has performed to crowds across the country at festivals like WOMAD, Shambala, and UK Young Artists Takeover 2019. You can find his work in Magma, Radical Art Review, and on BBC Radio 4.
‘Fresh and visionary writing’ – Cheltenham Poetry Festival
‘Like lying in bed with a lover’ – Malaika Kegode
Find out more at https://warmbloodedthing.co.uk.
Kit is an indie-published YA author who writes speculative fiction centring underdogs, mental health and girls who kiss other girls. Her debut novel Blackout was shortlisted for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Award and longlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award, while her work in progress Girl Made of Thorns was also longlisted for the Mslexia award.
She is passionate about contributing to LGBTQ+ and mental health representation in YA, and believes firmly that everyone deserves to see themselves represented in fiction (and to get a happy ending!) Having worked as a mental health nurse since 2009, she brings her day job experience in facilitating groups and workshops to Out on the Page. She lives in Bath with her girlfriend and their two cats.
Powder is a writer, a PhD student, and a researcher of all things pursuant to bargains, exchanges, and compacts of a faery nature. It is inadvisable to attempt to make a deal with him. He has been, in the past, a reluctant cowboy, an Ivy League collegian, and an itinerant marketing professional. Mostly harmless.
He is currently a student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. As a result, books on folklore and fairy tales frequently threaten to gobble him up as he strikes out into the woods of academia. The things he’s found so far in the shadows are furnishing the pages of a novel comprised of unequal parts fairy tale and alternate history, somewhere on the border between steampunk and gaslamp fantasy.
Powder writes fiction as Trip Galey. You can find him online at tripgaley.com or on Twitter @tripgaley