Courses and Events

Here you will find out about readings I am giving, courses I am running and other projects I am taking part in.

Jump In to a creative New Year!

Creative Writing for Children, Young Adults and Crossover with Ellen Phethean

A ten week course on Tuesdays 2 – 4pm at the Lit and Phil, Newcastle 

Beginning 17th January – ends 21st March 2023

Whether you want to try your hand at a novel, short stories or poetry with a younger audience in mind, or simply stretch your creative writing, this course will help.

Using examples of popular and classic texts, we’ll examine the ‘How To’ of dialogue, character, world building etc.

I will set inspiring writing exercises and give you the space to experiment and develop your own skills. We will share work, and give and receive positive feedback.

Fee: £120 payable to me at the first session.

Book via the Lit and Phil telephone 0191 232 0192

or email me for more details: phetheanellen237@gmail.com

ellenphethean.com

Winter Warmer! Invitation to a free evening of short readings at the Lit & Phil

Thursday 8th December 7pm – 9pm

Please join us for a celebratory evening of prose and poetry 

from some of the Lit & Phil’s talented creative writers. 

Hosted by tutors Ellen Phethean and Kathleen Kenny 

Free nibbles. Wine available. 

Raffle proceeds to the Lit & Phil library. 

8 Week Creative Writing Course at the Lit & Phil  

6 – 8pm Monday 17th October – Monday 5th December 2022 

Tutors Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean

A perfect time to delve a little further into our creativity.

Join us for a wide ranging exploration of text, techniques and styles in both poetry and prose. We will use inspiring examples from published writers and set writing tasks to be started in class, and developed between workshops. We will engage with giving and receiving positive feedback from each other, while the tutors will offer encouraging and helpful comments on work produced.

Book  the course via Lit and Phil, telephone 0191 232 0192. 

Or, contact Kathleen at kbkenny1899@yahoo.co.uk for any additional information.  

Course cost is £96 payable to the tutors.

Exciting news to start my Autumn – my next YA novel Human Immunity has been shortlisted for the Yeovil Children’s and Young Adult Novel prize. Even if I don’t win, it’s encouragement to keep going with it.

Autumn Poetry Course – Wednesday 7th Sept – 26th October 2022 6 – 8 Lit and Phil

A Poetry Writing course for all, whether you’re experienced or starting to explore and want to improve your skills. 

Led by two experienced tutors Kathy Kenny and Ellen Phethean, using existing examples of poems, we will look at form, free verse, layout, technique, content and more.

Why do we read poetry? What draws us to a poem, how does it work and why does it make us want to re-read it? We will examine these questions and set prompts for your own writing and give helpful feedback. 

Book via Lit and Phil, tel: 0191 232 0192

Fee £96 payable to the tutors

Two New Spring Courses 

10 Week Creative Writing Course at the Lit & Phil  

6.30 – 8.30pm Wednesday 27th April to Wednesday 29th June 2022

Tutors Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean

Get It Written

A 10 week course at the Lit and Phil

This course will focus on getting words onto the page and is for anyone whether you are writing a novel, a collection of short stories, a children’s book, or putting together a sequence of poems.

We’ll offer creative prompts and give advice when stuck, plus help with overall feedback and how to critique your work.

There will be short talks from successful writers about ‘How I did it’ to inspire you.

This is a space to come and focus, set goals and word counts, work to deadlines and the group support to keep going.

Led by Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean, published writers of poetry collections and novels.

Book  the course via Lit and Phil, telephone 0191 232 0192. 

Course cost is £100 payable at the first session.  

For further info email: kbkenny1899@yahoo.co.uk

8 Week Creative Writing Course at the Lit & Phil  

6 – 8pm Monday 9th May to Monday 27th June 2022

Tutors Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean

Join us for a wide ranging exploration of text, techniques and styles – poetry, prose, long or short fiction. We will use inspiring examples from published writers and suggest writing tasks to be started in class, and further developed independently.  

We will give encouraging and helpful feedback on work in progress. Suitable for 

both new and experienced writers.

Book  the course via Lit and Phil, telephone 0191 232 0192. 

Course cost is £80 payable at the first session.  

For further info email: kbkenny1899@yahoo.co.uk

I have two poems in the Spring Issue of The High Window, available online. Lots of wonderful poems and critical writing.

Book Jive live event 18th February:

Book Jive is a quarterly event run from Manchester with readings via zoom from writers of Children’s and YA books, I will be one of the participants, reading from my new YA novel Human Immunity on Friday 18th February, starting 7pm.

The headline this month is a live reading and Q&A from BAFTA-winning children’s author and scriptwriter, Ciaran Murtagh. In the past decade Ciaran has published over 50 books including The Fincredible Diary of Fin Spencer, which has been translated into 14 languages. He is also a prolific writer of children’s television, having written over 500 episodes of everything from Numberblocks to Danger Mouse to PJ Masks to Mr Bean and The Amazing World of Gumball.

All profits will go to Book Trust, a charity that works year round to get children and families reading.

Here’s the link to buy tickets: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/532457

Morpeth Book Festival is happening the weekend of 9th/10th April and I am reading poetry at 2.05 on the Saturday with Barbara Ross and a wonderful group of poets. There’s a really great line up of local crime writers, too, including Ann Cleeves and Mari Hannah. Follow the link for tickets on Eventbrite.

Are you looking for some inspiration? Try this

9 Week Creative Writing Course at the Lit & Phil  

6 – 8pm Monday 14th February to Monday 11th April 2022

Tutors Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean

Spring is just around the corner. Time to explore our creativity. 

Join us for a wide ranging exploration of text, techniques and styles – poetry, prose, long or short fiction. We will use inspiring examples from published writers and set writing tasks to be completed in class, and developed on your own.  We will give encouraging and helpful feedback on work.

Book  the course via Lit and Phil, telephone 0191 232 0192. 

Course cost is £90.  

More Christmas Shopping? Don’t do that, do this instead:

10am – 4pm at Brunswick Hall in the heart of Newcastle (next to Fenwick’s) on Wednesday 1st December from 10am – 4pm 

join us to create your own special Box of Gifts.

Leading this day of fun and inspiration will be experienced writers and tutors Ellen Phethean and  Kathleen Kenny who will be offering a mix of exploratory creative writing exercises designed to engage all six senses in devising original pieces of poetry and prose. 

Cost £40 payable in advance. Contact kbkenny1899@yahoo.co.uk

or  ellen.phethean@virgin.net to book a place.

Experienced and new writers welcome. 

My writing for children course is now starting on Tuesday 5th October and carrying on straight through to December 7th ring the Lit and Phil to book a place on 0191 232 0192.

I will also be down in Cornwall for the Porthleven Arts Festival where I am running a poetry workshop 3.30 – 5.30 Sunday 26th September in the Shipyard Market and then going to the Nick Hardcastle Celebration poetry event 6.30 in the Breageside Net Loft, where I shall join others reading some poetry. Do come along if you’re in the area.

I’m planning a ten week Writing For Children course starting Tuesday September 21st 10.30 – 12.30, at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle. We will look at examples of children’s literature from picture books up to Young Adult novels and I will set writing exercises during the class. I still have places left if anyone is interested. £100 payable in advance. Message me if you want to know more.

Creative Writing Course

9 weeks Monday nights 6 – 8 from 13th September to 8th November at Lit and Phil

£90 for the 9 weeks, payable in advance.

Tutors Kathleen Kenny and Ellen Phethean 

Join us for a wide ranging exploration of text, techniques and styles – poetry, prose, long or short fiction.

We will use inspiring examples from published writers and set writing tasks to be completed in class, and developed on your own.  We will give encouraging and helpful feedback on work.

We will finish with a public launch at the Lit and Phil on Monday 15th November of Kathleen Kenny’s two new pamphlets from Dreich titled:

I.D. and Forbidden-by-the-Sea.

Everyone is welcome to attend and, if they wish to, are invited to read work in progress, alongside Kathy.

Book  the course via Lit and Phil, telephone 0191 232 0192.

General Jane tells the story of real life Jane Bogey who inspired the original demonstrations by gathering women and children together to march down to Newcastle quayside to prevent grain being loaded on to ships to be exported elsewhere. I’ve written the script and the lyrics of the songs, and I’m performing as one of the women.

The two performances, 12 and 3pm in Heaton Park on 19th June, are free, but we’re asking for donations to the Trussell Trust. If you’re in the Heaton area, why not come along with the family, have a picnic and enjoy the show? It’s only 30 minutes or so long, and you’ll be entertained with music, dancing and an inspiring story.

Here are the details for the Creative Writing workshops – do drop in if you fancy trying writing something, no experience necessary:

Here’s a project I’m involved with and there will be opportunities for writing workshops that I’ll be running via zoom. Details for follow, but for now, here’s a taster:

Autumn Classes 2020

I’m delighted to say that I’ve secured the use of a large space in Commercial Union House, Pilgrim Street (centre of town) from which to run a Writing for Children workshop this autumn. 
The room (Steve Cohen Lecture Room) is spacious enough to happily seat 10 – 15 writers, giving each enough table space to keep safely distanced from each other. Being on the 4th floor there are amazing views up Northumberland Street and out over town. And there are 2 modern lifts for those preferring not to take the stairs. 
I will run a 10 week course, starting at 10.30 till 12.30 to avoid travelling in rush hour times, from Tuesday 22nd September to Tuesday 1st December with a half term break on Tuesday 27th October.
The fee will be £55 per half term face to face or £60 per term via email including 2 reads and one crit. Please email me if you want to sign up at ellen.phethean@virgin.net. Or if you want further information. The Class is designed to accommodate all writers, new or experienced, and whatever age range you’re interested in writing for – picture books, middle grade or YA. We will use classic texts as examples, and I will offer stimulating starting points for your own writing, in class. There will be the opportunity to share work and get constructive feedback. What are you waiting for? why not give it a try!

I will also be running a class with experienced tutor Kathleen Kenny: 8 week creative writing course Mondays 6-8pm from 5th October – 30th November (half-term break 26th October). Fee £90. Workshops available via email for £50 (including 2 reads & 1 crit). 

Hello everyone! Before you slip into the oblivion of the festive season please note in your diaries that my Writing For Children course will be starting again on Tuesday 21st January 2020 at 10.15 at the Lit and Phil. Book now via Lit and Phil, 0191 232 0192. A 10 week course for £100. Happy Writing.

Keep 2nd December Free – special event – see below!

Here is the cover of my last book in the trilogy of Ren and the Blue Hands. I am launching both this and the second book Ren and the Blue Cloth together on Monday 2nd December 7pm at The Lit and Phil – all welcome, free entry. There will be refreshments, books to buy and I will be reading from the books. There will also be a reading by Tom Kelly (he tweets as @tomkelly60) who is launching a poetry collection. Both are being published by Red Squirrel Press, from whom you can buy the books if you can’t make it to the launch.

1st of September – the new school term starts here! There’s lots on: Poetry and Writing for Children – see below:

Reading and Writing Poetry at the Lit & Phil this Autumn 6pm – 8pm Monday 16th September to Monday 28th October 2019

Lead by experienced poets and tutors Ellen Phethean and Kathleen Kenny, this 7 week course will explore various examples of contemporary poetry, using these as a way of inspiring our own writing. The sessions are open to anyone with an interest in poetry and are tailored to suit both new and experienced writers. The course will offer writing exercises designed to build creative confidence by providing imaginative keys to unlock and ignite ideas. To reserve a place telephone the Lit & Phil on 0191 232 0192 Course cost is £70 payable at the first meeting.  

Writing for Children with tutor Ellen Phethean

Tuesdays 10.15 – 12.15 at the Lit and Phil Library, Newcastle. Starting Tuesday 24th September – 3rd December 10 weeks with a half term 29th October. Do you love reading books to your children or grandchildren? Do you have a story to tell? Why not try writing one down? 

This course will take you through the huge variety of literature for children from picture books, early readers and to 8 and nine year olds to young adult. Whatever age you’re interested in writing for, I welcome new writers or those with ideas and books already in progress. I use a variety of texts, classic and modern, to explore technique and subject matter, then offer stimulating exercises to kickstart your writing. There’s an opportunity to learn how to critique texts, and get helpful feedback on your own, including advice about getting published.

Book a place via the Lit and Phil Library – £100 in advance or, for those who wish to pay as they go, it’s £30 for 1st session then £10 per session.

Book via Lit and Phil Tel: 0191 232 0192  Contact me – ellen.phethean@virgin.net

Celebrate National Writing Day! Birtley Library Wednesday 26th June 2 – 4 I’m running a creative writing workshop, free and no experience necessary. This is part of Art Diamonds, creative activities for those of retirement age, happening in 7 Gateshead Libraries. Check them out.

I’m reading at the next New Art Social on 10th June at 7pm at Ernest in the Ouseburn, all welcome and it’s only a few quid to get in. There’s always an inspiring mix of prose, non-fiction and poetry, and sometimes discussions on cultural events. If you’re a writer why not come along and talk to Guy Mankowski about reading yourself at a future Social?

Writing for Children with tutor Ellen Phethean

Tuesdays 10.15 – 12.15 at the Lit and Phil Library, NewcastleStarting Tuesday 23rd April – 2nd July 10 weeks with a half term 28th May.

Every fancied writing a book for children? Then this is the course for you: from picture books, early readers and to 8 and nine year olds to young adult, there’s a huge and varied world of literature for children to explore. I welcome new writers or those with ideas and books already in progress. I use a variety of texts, classic and modern, to explore technique and subject matter, then offer stimulating exercises to kickstart your writing. There’s an opportunity to learn how to critique texts, and get helpful feedback on your own, including advice about getting published.

Book a place via the Lit and Phil Library. £80 in advance or £27 for 1st session then £7 per session. Book via Lit and Phil Tel: 0191 232 0192  or contact ellen.phethean@virgin.net

Poetry: form, layout and line breaks – 30th March NCLA Creative Writing course. “Edges,” writes former US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, “are the most powerful part of a poem. The more edges you have, the more power you have.” I will be exploring the differences made to sound, rhythm and sense by line breaks, and how manipulating white space adds meaning – and power – to poetry. 10am to 4pm Newcastle University. Follow the link to sign up.

Free Flowing Words – Hexham Library Thursday 7th February 2019 at 7pm with fellow poet Joan Johnston

Reading and Writing Poetry at the Lit & Phil

6pm – 8pm Mondays 25th February to 15th April 2019 

In this 8 week course we will look at and discuss various examples of contemporary poetry, using this as a way of inspiring our own writing. The course will be led by Ellen Phethean and Kathleen Kenny, two experienced writers and poetry tutors who will offer writing exercises designed to break through creative barriers and ignite fresh ideas. These sessions are open to anyone with an interest in poetic form are tailored to suit both new and more experienced writers. 

To reserve a place telephone the Lit & Phil on 0191 232 0192

Course cost is £80 payable at the first meeting.