Going up north

I feel I can safely say that anyone you ask who came to the Northern and Midlands SYP on 29 February would call it a great start to 2012.

Held at The Adelphi pub in Leeds in our own upstairs room, a friendly group of publishers, authors, freelance editors, students and performers gathered to talk about the industry, enjoy some great local food including some lovely fish goujons and have a few pints of  locally brewed beers along the way.

Unfortunately, our first speaker, Simon Linacre from Emerald, who was going to talk about open access publishing, was called away at the last minute for the birth of his third child—a real shame for us but massive congratulations to Simon!

Laura Beddows, from Ilkley Literature Festival, was the first to take to the stage as she told us all about her exciting and varied role as the administration assistant for the festival, which covers everything from organising unruly authors, to liaising with publishers and even some unusual pest control in the attic! No day sounds the same, and I know I speak for several people when I say there was a little bit of job jealousy in the room. The Northern group will be organising a few trips to the festival this year and Laura has kindly offered us a group discount—yet another reason to become a member! So watch this space.

Following Laura, we welcomed Lee Barnes, an actor, writer, director and all-round talented guy that I have known going back a fair few years from our home town of Halifax. Lee did a great talk on his experiences as a young person discovering performance and writing and how discovering his love of both acting and creating plays had a great effect on his life and ambitions. Lee followed this by treating us to a piece he wrote and performed on prejudice, racism and some of the common attitudes found in different sections of our society. The performance was engaging, powerful and extremely thought-provoking, giving a good insight into Lee's talent as both writer and actor. We look forward to hopefully see Lee again at some of our future events.

The evening was lively, engaging and full of an interesting and passionate group of people from all areas of the publishing and literary industry. Fingers crossed our April event will be just as successful; we will be welcoming three fabulous poets from the North—Char March, Atar Hadari and Andrew McMillan on 26th April. Do come along, it will be a night to remember!