Gallery: Jacob Sam-La Rose / Northern Sky – a benefit for Nepal

On 16th May, we held a benefit gig for Nepal at Penrith Old Fire Station: featuring poet Jacob Sam-La Rose & duo (trio!) Northern Sky.

Here are a few photos from the event.

You can also reserve tickets to our next events on Eventbrite:
Katus & Yankuba Conteh / Virtuoso West African Kora player and Griot singer
Liz Lochhead / Somethings Old Somethings New

Coming Soon: Jacob Sam-La Rose / Northern Sky: benefit for Nepal

Poetry from Jacob Sam-La Rose and music from Northern Sky at Penrith Old Fire Station. Event by Eden Arts and New Writing Cumbria.


It’s a ‘pay what you want’ event, so you pay what you think it was worth at the end of the night. This event is also a benefit to support the work of the LED and Junipert Trust Charities who have collected a fantastic 7 tonnes of tents and sleeping bags for Nepal in Penrith Old Fire Station.  All money raised will go towards the releif effort.

A night of poetry, music – and a quiz! Featuring poet Jacob Sam-La Rose, musicians Northern Sky, and (as always) a chance to win the famed Map of Shap.

Jacob Sam-La Rose’s poetry has been characterised as vivid, masterly and carefully structured. He’s widely recognised as an indefatigable facilitator, mentor and supporter of young and emerging poets, and as an advocate for the positive impact of new technology on literary and artistic practice and collaboration. He lives in London.

Northern Sky are Abby Colombi (vocals) and John Osborne (guitar & vocals). Once upon a time, they formed a little covers band in order to play a gig to raise money for charity.  As it turns out, they were rather good and have continued ever since!

They play a mixture of our own work (listen & watch here, if you fancy) plus unlikely choices of great songs by Kate Bush, Everything But The Girl, Gnarls Barkley, New Order, PJ Harvey… the list goes on!

The quiz will be cheesy – in the best possible sense.

The events are relaxed and informal and tickets are ‘sold’ on a pay what you wish (on the night) basis.

Brainsex: a night in pictures

Brainsex, electric shocks and a live rat: pictures from the latest New Writing Cumbria and Eden Arts event at Penrith Old Fire Station (funded by Arts Council England):


Event snaps: ‘366 Days of Kindness’

A few snaps from Event No. 4 at Penrith Old Fire Station: music from Elaine Davidson, 366 Days of Kindness, and of course a quiz, with the grand prize of a Map of Shap:


Poetry by the Lake

We’ve partnered up with Theatre by the Lake to offer an opportunity for Cumbrian poets to have their work performed at the theatre in October.

Words by the Water

To tie in with the Theatre by the Lake’s upcoming production of The Lady of the Lake, a new play by Benjamin Askew, we’re inviting you to create poetry about specific Cumbrian places (see below), which feature in the play.

Selected poems will be performed by actors from Theatre by the Lake’s summer season, at a special event at the theatre on Saturday 10th October.

We will also publish our favourites in The Carrot: New Writing Cumbria’s digital magazine.

We are looking for poems by Cumbrian writers of any experience. Poems should be no longer than 40 lines, and you can submit as many poems as you like, for as many of the locations. There is no restriction on style of poetry, but please be aware that we will favour work that takes an original view of the Cumbrian landscape.

The locations are:

  • Blencathra (from Castlerigg)
  • Blencathra (from Walla Crag)
  • Bowder Stone
  • Carlisle Castle
  • Castlerigg Stone Circle
  • Derwent Water
  • Fairy Glen, Borrowdale
  • Jaws of Borrowdale
  • Lodore Falls
  • Castle Cragg
  • Honister

Please email your poems to: by Saturday 6th June 2015. Please include a short writer’s bio (approx. 50 words).

Callout: The Carrot Issue #2

The Carrot online literary magazine

Kill the mood. Kill the moment. Kill your darlings. The theme of Issue #2 of The Carrot is: killing.

Whether that’s an exploration of the Death of the Author, or a good old-fashioned who-dunnit, we want your words, and other things, for The Carrot: New Writing Cumbria’s digital magazine of new writing.

Who can submit? Anyone from or living in Cumbria.

What can I submit? We’re looking for writing, as well as for other types of artwork: poetry, prose, crosswords, reviews, scripts, memoir, journalism, photos, pictures, video, music, animation… The list goes on. The only rule? It has to fit in some way with the theme.

When’s the deadline? Thursday 30th April 2015.

How do I submit my work? Email your work to, with the subject line ‘The Carrot issue 2′. Make sure you include a short writer’s bio (approx. 50 words).

How long should my work be? This is entirely up to you, but bear in mind that this is a magazine featuring a number of pieces of work, so we’re unlikely to include your whole novel.

Anything else I should know? We favour work that’s accompanied by an image, whether this is an illustration, artwork that sheds some light on your piece, or just a (quality) photo of you. This isn’t a prerequisite, and we won’t disregard any piece because it doesn’t have an image – it just makes the magazine look more visually exciting.

Where can I find out more about The Carrot? Right here. Learn about the project and get a feel for the magazine by perusing Issue #1: Cumbria-Land.

An evening in pictures: Joan Shelley & Simon Sylvester

On Thursday 5th March, Simon Sylvester and Joan Shelley performed at Penrith Old Fire Station.

From Kendal: Simon Sylvester. From Kentucky: Joan Shelley.

And as always, there was a chance for one quiz team to win a Map of Shap…

Joan Shelley & Simon Sylvester @ Penrith Old Fire Station

joan shelley

7pm – 10pm . Although its still a Pay What You Want night (how generous are we?!) its still best to register for entry through the eventbrite link to make sure you get in

We are delighted (dancing around the office delighted!) that Joan Shelley will be joining us once again from the USA.  We met the utterly amazing Joan a couple of years ago when she played a gig for Eden Arts with Daniel Martin Moore – who in turn we had met as he was half of the Ben Solee/Daniel Martin Moore duo who supported Billy Bragg at the Penrith Leisure Centre. Any of these artists are welcome back any day of the year! Here’s Joan and Daniel – now you know why we love them!

Joan Shelley‘s music is startling. It startles because of its closeness, the near-instant sense of familiarity we feel when we hear it. Her songs fill up the air around us, echoing like a voice lost in the later American and British folk revivals – some Anne Briggs here, a little Hedy West there. But none of them are “trad arr. Shelley.” Joan wrote them all. Listen to her sing and it’s evident. You’ve never heard that voice before, either.

Electric Ursa was recorded in Louisville, Kentucky and marks Joan’s first release for No Quarter. It includes collaborations with new labelmate Nathan Salsburg, as well as several other of Louisville’s fine musicians. In the eight songs that make up this record, we are seeing an artist in her stride, able to move seamlessly between darkness & light, attempting to reconcile the wild expanse of the future with the burdens of memory. And at the center of it all are songs of a nature beautiful, precise, and clear, delivered to us by her singular voice.

Over the past five years, Shelley has recorded several albums, toured with her band, on her own, and as a duo with Daniel Martin Moore, playing concerts for spellbound audiences all over the globe.

She has a similar woebegone beauty to Sharon Van Etten and Torres, and First of August showcases her voice quite sublimely- The Guardian 

Shelley’s beautiful voice sounds like it belongs to a lost talent from the folk revival of the early 60s….she shapes her melodies with precision and clarity. Chicago Reader

VideoElectric Ursa


Simon Sylvester

Simon is a Kendal based writer, teacher and occasional filmmaker.

After years working as a camera assistant and then a magazine journalist, he started writing fiction in 2006. His short stories have been published in journals, anthologies and magazines including Dark Mountain, Gutter, Valve, PANK, Fractured West, Fire Crane, Southpaw and Smoke: a London Peculiar. He won the Flashtag short short story slam in 2014, and he has written more than a thousand very short stories on Twitter. His debut novel The Visitors is published by Quercus Books. It was joint winner of the2014 Book Box prize, winner of the 2014 Guardian Not The Booker prize, and there’s a round-up of reviews right here. He is now working on his second novel, which is called The Hollows.

He lives in Cumbria with the painter Monica Metsers and daughter Isadora.


Valentines Day event at Penrith Old Fire Station: run by New Writing Cumbria and Eden Arts; featuring Lady Layton, Les Melheureux and a quiz!

Valentines Day Massacre / Love-in @ Penrith Old Fire Station

Lady Layton, Les Malheureux and a quiz!

Just a few shots from our Valentines Day Massacre / Love-in @ Penrith Old Fire Station:


Get your manuscript professionally read:

Want to hTLC logoave your manuscript professionally read and critiqued?

As some of you may remember, we’ve offered this before. We’re part of The Literary Consultancy’s ‘Free Reads’ scheme. This means that we can offer a number of these critical reads, from professional readers at The Literary Consultancy, for free.


Here’s what to you need to know:

The Free Read scheme is for low-income, high-quality writers. It is open to writers across all forms and genres: fiction, poetry, short stories, scripts and screenplays and radio plays.

Deadline: postmarked Saturday 28th February 2015

Who can submit?

We’re looking for low-income writers, living in Cumbria.

Proof of low income could consist of (but is not limited to) proof of pension, or student ID, or proof of unemployment. If you have any questions about what constitutes low income, please email.

What should I submit?

This is largely up to you. You can submit complete or partial manuscripts, but bear in mind that we will be looking for pieces that are as close to completion as possible, so that the feedback will be as useful to you as possible.

You can submit: fiction / poetry / short stories / scripts / screenplays / radio plays.

How should I submit it?

Post your manuscript to:

New Writing Cumbria
c/o Eden Arts
Old Fire Station
Bridge Lane
CA11 8HY

Your manuscript needs to reach us by Saturday 28th February. We are sorry, but we are unable to accept email submissions.

Please see below for formatting requirements, as The Literary Consultancy are unable to accept incorrectly formatted work. Also please read the Submission Guidelines before:

Submission Guidelines:

  • All clients must complete the Application form at: and attach two copies to their manuscript, along with two copies of their proof of low income status.
  • One application is filed with New Writing Cumbria and the other application is sent along with the manuscript to the TLC office.
  • Never send an original copy and always keep a copy of what you send. We do not accept responsibility for documents lost in the post.
  • Include a SAE if you want TLC to return your manuscript. We will not return a manuscript if you have not included an SAE. (Make sure that the value of the stamps attached covers the weight / size of the manuscript to be returned.)
  • Formatting for short stories and all fiction and non-fiction submissions - Double spaced and in a 12 point standard font.
  • All extracts should be consecutive and numbered. Starting from page one, and NOT comprised of several extracts. These will not be accepted.
  • For all fiction and non-fiction entries – please include a 1-2 page synopsis or basic outline of your ideas and a description of your intended audience/ market. Please also indicate what genre you are writing in.
  • For short stories - please include the total word count of each short story separately if necessary on the cover letter.
  • For poetry – clients must include a total word count for each poem at the bottom of each poem, and include total word count of all the poems added together on the cover letter. Poems should be formatted in their intended publication format.
  • Once TLC has received and processed your manuscript, you will receive a confirmation email along with a due date for your report. Please do not contact the TLC office about your report before the due date.
  • Please note that the assessment report will be sent within 6-8 weeks although this is not a formal guarantee.
  • Please note that all material, both the information about the writer and the submission, is kept confidential.
  • Please complete the evaluation survey which TLC will send per email when you receive your report after 6-8 weeks. We ask that writers take some time to properly consider the assessment before going ahead with the evaluation.
  • More submission tips from The Literary Consultancy.