Writing West Midlands

Professor Leadbetter is a Trustee and member of the Artistic Policy and Finance Sub-Committees for Writing West Midlands (2013-present), the organisation behind the Birmingham Literature Festival and the National Writers' Conference.

Professor Leadbetter’s extensive involvement with Writing West Midlands has played a major part in strengthening the University’s profile within the cultural life of Birmingham and the region. This is borne out in the close relationship the University enjoys with Birmingham Literature Festival and the many events that he runs for the benefit of our students in partnership with Writing West Midlands, which include the popular annual Creative Writing Careers Panel.

Professor Leadbetter has chaired many headline events over the last eight years for Birmingham Literature Festival, including the former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay, the Scots Makar. He has conducted many ‘in conversation’ and panel sessions with other writers for the Festival and the National Writers’ Conference, including Will Self; a Man Booker Prize shortlist event with Tom McCarthy and Sunjeev Sahota; Jenn Ashworth; Sathnam Sanghera; Anjali Joseph; Kerry Hudson; Nikesh Shukla; Lottie Moggach; Brett Westwood, Matthew Oates and Mary Colwell; and many others. Professor Leadbetter has also appeared as a poet and dramatist in his own right at several events for the Festival.

In recent years the Birmingham Literature Festival has used the University as one of its principal venues, and the University’s sponsorship of the Festival has given ten students a year free tickets to the opening headline event of the Festival.

In 2019 Professor Leadbetter led the development of a successful bid for a highly sought-after Collaborative Doctoral Award from Midlands Four Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, in partnership with Writing West Midlands. In 2020, this was awarded to Amélie Doche, to conduct research – in close partnership with Writing West Midlands – on the qualitative conditions for the reception of new literary works, within and beyond the region.

Several graduates of our creative writing programme have gone on to win places on the prestigious Room 204 Writer Development Scheme, run by Writing West Midlands.

In organising public literary events through the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing, of which he is the Director, Professor Leadbetter works in close partnership with Writing West Midlands to bring those events to as wide an audience as possible.

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