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Writing Challenges

29 June 2020

If you're looking for inspiration, our INSIDE WRITING poets have created a series of lockdown-inspired writing challenges.

Jane Clarke considers how daily life has been affected by the pandemic in her writing exercise 'Rituals', and talks you through the writing of your own poem about rituals.

Sean O'Brien borrows a still from 1955 Film Noir, Kiss Me Deadly, to inspire the writing of 20 line poems written in 'laconic monochrome', in 'The Bezzerides Box'.

Inua Ellams calls for poems that give directions to a place in a city where something incredible happened, and reads his Billy Collins-inspired poem, 'Directions'

Jackie Kay introduces 'Chickenhead', her writing talisman, and asks you to write a new poem about your own talisman, an object in your home that has a secret life or a special story to tell.  

We'd love to read any poems you write that are inspired by these prompts, or by the work of any of our INSIDE WRITING poets. Send your poems to and we'll publish your responses alongside our festival poets on our online archive. 

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences