As part of our Festival Focus Day, Poverty: How can we tell a new story to inspire change?, we ask how we change the way we talk about poverty. What are the solutions to the challenges we face?
Our speakers include journalist and documentary filmmaker Billie JD Porter, who will deliver a keynote speech on how we start to change the narrative when it comes to poverty. Learn how she believes the media can influence people and help us re-think how we tackle the issue of poverty.
Billie will be joined by Kerry Hudson, author of Lowborn, and writers Jodie Russian-Red, Shaun Wilson and Chris McCrudden, who are involved in Common People, an initiative to get working class voices into print. Wale Shittu talks about his film Council in Me which explores life on council estates and challenging stereotypes. The session is chaired by Claire Malcolm of New Writing North.
Our Focus Day, presented in collaboration with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, includes discussions throughout the day. Why not stay for a special film screening of the documentary A Northern Soul? And don’t miss the Beats Bus which will be parked in Parliament Street from 11am to 5pm.
About the speakers
Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Before He Stole My Ma, was published in 2012 by Chatto & Windus (Penguin Random House) and was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award while also being shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst, was published in 2014 by Chatto & Windus and won France’s most prestigious award for foreign fiction the Prix Femina Étranger. It was also shortlisted for the European Premio Strega in Italy. Her non-fiction book, Lowborn, took her back to the towns of her childhood as she investigated her own past and what it means to be poor in Britain today. Kerry founded The WoMentoring Project and has written for Grazia, Guardian Review, Observer New Review and the Metro newspaper.
Claire Malcolm is the founding Chief Executive of New Writing North and created many of its flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional and the Gordon Burn Prize. As well as leading the company she also works directly on projects with HE and commercial partners, produces Durham Book Festival, is editorial director of the publishing venture Mayfly LLP and writes a regular column for the trade publication BookBrunch. Claire is a trustee of the national reading charity BookTrust and the Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear. @nwnclaire
Chris McCrudden was born and raised in South Shields and now lives in London. Over the years he's been a butcher’s boy, a burlesque dancer and a hand model for a giant V for Victory sign on Canary Wharf. He now splits his time between brand strategy and writing, and is the author of two novels, Battlestar Suburbia (2018) and Battle Beyond the Dolestars (2019).
Billie JD Porter is a British journalist, presenter and documentary filmmaker. She began her career as a music writer, contributing to titles such as NME, Vice, Wonderland and Dazed & Confused. She went on to front documentaries for BBC3 and Channel 4, including the 2017 series, Sound and Vision which she Created and Exec Produced. Billie is the founder of Use Your Voice - an initiative which seeks to make politics more accessible to young people. Alongside the Guardian journalist and author Mary O'Hara, Billie helped launch Project Twist It - a hub for untold stories, trying to change the poverty narrative.
Jodie Russian-Red is a part-time administrator, part-time writer in Nottingham. Over the past few years she has primarily focused her efforts on writing for spoken word and has had small writing and performing commissions for Freedom Festival in Hull, Wordlife in Sheffield, and was invited to be a featured guest at the spoken-word event Women of Words in Hull in 2017. She currently writes a weekly newsletter in the form of a personal memoir blog for the School of Culture, Languages and Area Studies at the University of Nottingham, where she also holds a completely unrelated day job processing invoices, ordering stationery and monitoring coffee levels. She is author of The Wedding and the Funeral.
Wale Shittu is a filmmaker and videographer who has experience working with global brands such as Google and EON. He also works on short films, music videos and branded content together with his media collective Our Notion Works. Most recently, his directional debut Council in Me, was selected to be screened at the London Short Film Festival 2019.
Shaun Wilson was born in 1980 and raised in Wigton, Cumbria. In 2011, after 15 years as a guitarist and lyricist in various rock-and-roll bands, he began learning to write prose. He currently works as a postman and studies towards an MA in creative writing at Northumbria University. In his spare time, he co-edits the University’s creative magazine, Edge. He was shortlisted for a Northern Writers’ Award in 2018. He is the author of Passengers.