Sunderland Creative Writing CIC is a non-profit community interest company led by Iain Rowan which was formed in 2021 to act as an umbrella for creative writing and creative writer development in Sunderland. This is aimed at those exploring creative writing for the first time, through to those looking to professionalise their writing and move to publication and performance. In April 2021 we launched our first project as SCW – DRAFTED: a development programme for writing for the stage.


SCW builds on our previous successful work in this area over the past seven years. This includes:

Two month-long Festivals of Creative Writing in the city, the last of which drew over 500 people from all over the north east to masterclasses, workshops, and performances.

The Holmeside Writers group, which has now run continually for seven years, and regularly draws over twenty people to its meetings, and has included masterclasses and discussions with novelists, playwrights, performance poets, graphic novelists, and directors of physical theatre.

Collaboration with Sunderland Culture and the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust in the development of the Festivals, and in Sunderland Stages, a programme developing writers for the stage.

Collaborations with the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, working with a contemporary visual artist, with the BBC working to find and support storytellers for a regional event, working with the University of Sunderland’s Forward Press in a project bringing together artists and found objects in their studio and writers producing creative work inspired by it, working with a project run out of Newcastle University’s Geography department about how place is expressed through different art-forms, and more.


Our first funding application was successful, and you can read more about it on the DRAFTED page – an exciting new step in developing and professionalising creative writing in the city, giving aspiring writers for the stage an intensive development week with professional actors, a director and mentor, a production in front of an invited regional audience, including commissioners and producers, and a period of ongoing mentoring.

More projects will happen in time.


If you’re an organisation looking for a partner to work with in Sunderland to develop writers and their writing, or you need some help to reach a community of writers, or you would like to offer an opportunity to writers, please do get in touch.

For now our first planned events will draw upon talent that we will be identifying. If wider opportunities do come up we will make an open call-out and advertise it here and on social media, and would be interested to hear from writers who might contribute. At this point though, we’re not looking for individual submissions from writers. 

Please also note that we are not a literary consultancy, and do not offer any manuscript appraisal opportunities or editing services, or promotion of work.