Wonderful day had by all at the National Creative Writing Grad Fair 2016

Last year over 100 participants took part in the first ever National Creative Writing Graduate Fair, in partnership with Comma Press and Manchester Writing School at MMU, for a day of pitching sessions, panel sessions, and talks. On Friday 4th November 2016, over 130 delegates took part in a whole day event full of opportunities to develop themselves as writers, and get an insight into the publishing industry.

Building upon that brilliant line-up of authors, agents, and editors, this year's fair was even bigger and better, with more delegates, agents and panels, as well as the addition of workshops for delegates to enjoy. The day began with an inspiring keynote speech from author Kit de Waal, who discussed race, gender and class and answered a number of audience questions. Her invitation to the delegates to diversify the industry and trespass into new narrative areas really set the tone for the day. 

The delegates attended morning panel sessions on topics ranging from Disruptive & Digital Publishing to You, The Author, with a number of great and gifted guest speakers. During lunch break, delegates had the chance to peruse the stands set up by New Writing North, SYP North, Waterstones, Aspidistra Books and MMU Careers while they settled their nerves for the pitching sessions that afternoon.

Each delegate had two 15 minute pitches, one-to-one with an agent, across the afternoon. While they waited for their pitching slot, there were a number of workshops they could attend on a broad range of topics, including spoken word performance and elevator pitching.

So far we've had fantastic feedback verbally and on the #NCWGradFair hashtag, with delegates forging connections with industry professionals and receiving valuable personalised feedback on their work. If you attended we would love to hear your thoughts on what you enjoyed and what can be improved on for Grad Fair 2017, and we are already looking forward to and even bigger and better Fair next year. Thanks so much to everyone who attended, who worked hard to make it a success, the agents for travelling to rainy Manchester for the day, and MMU, the Manchester Writing School and the Arts Council, without whom the event could not have taken place. 

We've included some of our favourite #NCWGradFair tweets about the day below:

"Yet another wonderful event. All the speakers full of great insight and information. #NCWGradFair so much talent." @FinCGray

"A theme I'm picking up on today - join in, do something, start something and give back." @whereiskfr

"A great day. So many useful contacts & interest from an agent. Result! Thanks to @commapress & @ManMetUni for organising." @cj_harter

"Clarity found at #NCWGradfair, well worth the trip. Thank you @commapress & team." @millymollymo

"On way home from a great day at #NCWGradFair -well done to all those who pitched, I can't wait to read. Thanks for organising it @commapress" Rachel Conway, Georgina Capel Associates

"Had a great day at #NCWGradFair - very impressed with the strength of the pitches and looking forward to my reading for the train home." Emily Yau, Commissioning Editor at Ebury Publishing