A warm and springtime welcome back to Red Sky Sessions. Throughout five workshops, participants will explore themes and techniques to improve their writing, develop their craft and hone their skills through a series of workshops and talks from some of the country’s leading poets and facilitators.

This free programme is designed to accommodate emerging writers who have been unable to apply for other programs due to their age. It’s also for those who have taken a break from writing and are looking to reengage or those who have been traditionally underserved by development opportunities. So, if you’re aged 18-infinity and looking to get writing, then this is for you.

Lead Tutor – Bohdan Piasecki

Bohdan Piasecki is a poet from Poland based in Birmingham. A committed performer, he has taken his poems from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, from underground Tokyo clubs to tramways in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany, from niche podcasts to BBC Radio. He enjoys the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events. Bohdan was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem: Performed in 2023, the category’s inaugural year.

Bohdan founded the first poetry slam in Poland before moving to the UK to get a doctorate in translation studies. He has worked as Director of Education on the Spoken Word in Education MA course at Goldsmiths University, and was the Midlands Producer for Apples and Snakes between 2010 and 2017. He is Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He also works as Creative Producer, and sits on the board of the Poetry Translation Centre.

Guest Tutors

Every week, a new guest will lead the session alongside Bohdan. We have confirmed guest tutors: Laurie Bolger, Cecilia Knapp, Deanna Roger, Rachel Long and one more TBC:

Laurie Bolger

Laurie Bolger is a London based Writer. Her work has featured at Glastonbury Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, TATE, Sky Arts & BBC platforms. Laurie has been running creative workshops for the past decade & is founder of The Creative Writing Breakfast Club bringing people to write together every Sunday morning 10am via Zoom. Laurie has written for major brands, charities and visual artists. She is currently working on her second book Call Me Lady a collection of poems celebrating autonomy, love and her working class Irish heritage.

X @lauriebolger | Instagram @lauriebolger_ | http://www.lauriebolger.com

Cecilia Knapp

Cecilia Knapp is a poet, playwright and novelist and the Young People’s Laureate for London 2020/2021. She was shortlisted for the 2022 Forward prize for best single poem. She is the winner of the 2021 Ruth Rendell award and has been shortlisted for both the Rebecca Swift Women’s prize and the Outspoken poetry prize. Her debut poetry collection Peach Pig was published by Corsair in 2022. Her poems have appeared in  The Financial Times, The White Review, Wasafiri, Popshot, Ambit, Magma and bath magg and anthologised. She curated the anthology Everything is Going to be alright: Poems for When you Really Need Them, published by Trapeze in 202

X and Instagram: @ceciliaknapp

Deanna Rodger

Deanna Rodger is an international writer, performer and facilitator.  She won the UK Poetry Slam aged 18 and quickly established herself as a leading force for contemporary poetry, securing titles such as ELLE UK’s ’30 inspirational women under 30′, The Female Lead’s ‘20 in their 20’s and Cosmopolitan’s No.1 Trailblazing Woman, as well as winning a Rising Star award from the Hospital Club. She is currently the third recipient of the Kevin Elyot Award at the University of Bristol’s Theatre Collection. Deanna teaches Writing Poetry for Performance with Benjamin Zephaniah at Brunel University and tutors at the School of Communication Arts. Her collection ‘I Did It Too’ is out now.

X and Instagram: @deannarodger

Rachel Long

is a writer, and the founder of the Octavia Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, which was housed, for six years, at the Southbank Centre, in London. Her debut collection, My Darling from the Lions was published by Picador in the UK, in 2020, and by Tin House, in the US, in 2021. It was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, The Costa Book Award, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, The Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Jhalak Prize Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour. The US edition of My Darling from the Lions was a New York Times Book Review and named one of the 100 must-read books of 2021 by TIME.

X: @rachelnalong

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer and performer based in Bristol. She has won over ten slam titles including The Roundhouse Slam 2014, Hammer and Tongue National Slam 2014 and the Nuoryican Poetry Slam. She has been featured on BBC iPlayer, Radio 1, and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Blue Peter, Don’t Flop and TEDx in Vienna. She has appeared at an array of literary and music festivals and was Glastonbury Festival’s Resident Poet in 2019.  She has been invited to perform all over the world from Belgium to Brazil to Bangladesh.

Vanessa is also a workshop facilitator with years of experience working in schools, universities, corporate events, prisons and youth centres. She is also available for one to one mentoring and support with writing projects. Both the approach and the end goal of the mentoring can be tailored to your needs, with an emphasis on holistic as well as creative growth.

X: @Vanessa_Kisuule

Key Dates

  • Session 1 Wednesday 3 April – Laurie Bolger
  • Session 2 Wednesday 10 April – Cecilia Knapp
  • Session 3 Wednesday 17 April – Deanna Rodger
  • Session 4 Wednesday 24 April – Rachel Long
  • Session 5 Wednesday 1 May – Vanessa Kisuule

All sessions will be online, via Zoom, 6.30-8.30pm.

Please note your Zoom link will say 6pm, but that’s for the tutors to join. We will open the room at 6.30pm.

How to Register

Sign up using the button below.

If you’ve previously been part of a Red Sky Program you are welcome to sign up again as every iteration is different. No need to ask us, just sign up!

If you are having issues with the Zoom link, or any questions, please contact [email protected]