What have we done?

We’ve done some amazing things at Cuckoo Young Writers. Here’s a selection of some of the best stuff.

Glitches in the Stream

Over the summer of 2014, 6 Cuckoo’s were commissioned by Juice Festival to produce a film-poem about the journey around the River Tyne. The group worked with John Challis and filmmaker Alan Fentiman to produce Glitches in the Stream, which was shown as part of the Juice Festival programme launch.


In October 2013, Cuckoo Young Writers, in partnership with Juice Festival and Changemakers, staged one of our most ambitious projects to date: TEDxYouth@TyneBridge. The projects was inspired by two things: the inspiring, challenging, thought-provoking spirit of TED and our knowledge that the young people of the North East have important things to say. TEDxYouth@TyneBridge gave a platform for their voices to be heard.

The young people who spoke at our event at The Lit and Phil in Newcastle upon Tyne were from the local area, aged 16-23 and from a variety of backgrounds. They were asked to think about what it means to be a young person today and how they’d change things. They weren’t short of ideas; our TEDx team wanted to talk about mental health, society’s definitions of success, the post-uni slump, why universities have outlived their purpose and need to be radically re-thought….

However, it wasn’t just an event: for months before the young people taking part worked with writer and curator Jake Campbell to develop their ideas, and theatre director Amy Golding to turn those ideas into a TEDx-worthy performance. For us, the success of this TEDxYouth@TyneBridge was as much in this process as the final event.

From City Sounds to We See Not What They See

In June 2013, our Newcastle Cuckoo Young Writers group had City Sounds, a poetry radio programme, broadcast on BasicFM. The programme, commissioned by Apples and Snakes, is a journey in sound down Newcastle’s Northumberland Street and features poems developed in a series of workshops with writer and producer John Challis. The young writers went out in the city to gather sounds which also featured in the final piece, along with original music by Field Music’s David Brewis. Listen here.

Then, because the young writers liked it so much, they worked with digital artist Stevie Ronnie to create a film-poem as part of the Wonders of the North festival.

Hexham Young Scribblers at Hexham Book Festival

In 2012, our Cuckoo Young Writers group in Hexham turned roving reporters at Hexham Book Festival and wrote previews and reviews of events. They also interviewed top authors, such as Meg Rossoff and Simon Scarrow. They called it Hexham Young Scribblers and you can have a look here: https://hexhamyoungscribblers.wordpress.com