Grrrl Con 2021

In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, Grrrl Con 2020 has been postponed until 11th-13th July 2021. All tickets remain valid for the 2021 event.


📣💥✨Back by popular demand… Write Like a Grrrl and For Books’ Sake are thrilled to announce the triumphant return of GRRRL CON, a three-day celebration of women and non-binary writers.💥📣

Presented by Write Like a Grrrl and For Books’ Sake, Grrrl Con is back, and it’s bigger than ever!

We’re building Grrrl Con 2021 around “the three Rs”: rebellion, revolution and response. We understand that it’s hard to keep up your creativity in a world that sometimes feels like it’s coming apart, but creativity is an act of rebellion! It can revolutionise the ways in which you and others view the world and the things and people in it — and art and creativity can be a vital response when times are hard. How can we best use our words to rebel, revolutionise, respond and take responsibility? These are our central questions for Grrrl Con 2021.

Grrrl Con will take place in Manchester from 11th-13th June 2021, and we’ve planned an incredible, inspiring programme of speakers just for you. There will be keynote talks from women and non-binary writers who are out there changing the worlds of writing and publishing, along with workshops from Write Like A Grrrl‘s core trio of tutors: Kerry Ryan, Jane Claire Bradley, and Claire Askew (see below for more details of our planned programme).

There will be writing time built into the weekend, so you can begin to create new work in reaction to what you hear and learn, and there’ll be a chance for you to hear from Write Like A Grrrl alumni who’ve found success in their own writing ventures since our last Grrrl Con.

Please read on for programme and ticket details. We’re still confirming additions to the line-up, so you can also join the mailing list to be kept up-to-date about programme announcements.

The Details


Grrrl Con 2020 takes place on Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June 2021.



Arrival and registration takes place from 9.30am each day.

Sessions each day will run from 10am, with an hour’s break for lunch, which will be provided.

Friday and Saturday will finish at 6pm. Sunday will finish at 4.30pm.



Thanks to a brilliant partnership with the MMU Writing School, our venue for Grrrl Con 2021 will be MMU spaces in  Manchester city centre (nearest train station: Manchester Oxford Road). The venue is wheelchair accessible, and we will accommodate all other accessibility requirements as best we can. If you have an accessibility question or concern you want to discuss, please get in touch.




Bernardine Evaristo is the Anglo-Nigerian award-winning author of several books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, real, imagined. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker Prize in 2019. Her writing also spans short fiction, reviews, essays, drama and writing for BBC radio. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London, and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. She was made an MBE in 2009. As a literary activist for inclusion Bernardine has founded a number of successful initiatives, including Spread the Word writer development agency (1995-ongoing); the Complete Works mentoring scheme for poets of colour (2007-2017) and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (2012-ongoing).




Travis Alabanza is a writer, performer and theatre maker based in London, via Bristol. In the last four years, much of their work has been about documenting and archiving the experience of gender non conforming people of colour, with their work being noted for its reach and impact by Dazed, ID, The Guardian, BBC, Gay Times and many other publications. Their theatre show Burgerz recently completed a sold out European tour, winning the Total Fringe Theatre award and being nominated in the Guardian by its readers as one of their favourite shows. Their writing and performance has been shown and seen internationally, including at The Tate, Harvard University, Royal Exchange Theatre, Barbican, Bristol Old Vic & More – with the Evening Standard recently listing them as one of the most influential Londoners 25 and under.


Jenn Ashworth



After taking Grrrl Con 2017 by storm, Jenn Ashworth is back! Jenn’s first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. On the publication of her second, Cold Light (Sceptre, 2011) she was featured on the BBC’s The Culture Show as one of the UK’s twelve best new writers. Her latest book is a memoir-in-essays, Notes Made While Falling. She lives in Lancashire and teaches Creative Writing at Lancaster University.




Hear Me Roar: Voice in Creative Writing

Delivered by Kerry Ryan

Voice is often an elusive and anxiety-inducing concept for writers. What is it and how do you get it? This workshop will provide you with the tools and confidence to trust your voice so that you can write from a place of true power. Writing in your own voice may feel frightening, exposing, shameful and even dangerous. We’ll look at creative techniques that allow you to write authentically from the heart without fear of exposure and rejection hampering your writing. This workshop will give you the courage to avoid self-censorship while allowing your unique voice to emerge so you can truly connect with readers in the best way possible. It’s taken me some time to free my authentic writing voice and I want to share the approaches that helped me so you can avoid potential pitfalls, ensuring that your story is told your way.


The best words in the best order: what fiction can learn from poetry
Delivered by Claire Askew

Many of us love fiction, but loathe poetry – or at least, we try to avoid it.  We’ve been scarred for life by a traumatic exam experience involving Larkin, or worse, Wordsworth.  Poetry’s difficult, poetry’s weird, poetry just isn’t our cup of tea. What’s more, we’re fiction writers – poetry just isn’t really relevant to what we do.

Or is it?

I am both a commercial crime fiction writer and an award-winning poet.  In this workshop, I’d like to show you the ways in which my “long apprenticeship in poetry” has massively informed and improved my fiction writing.  You don’t have to love poetry for it to be a vital addition to your writing toolkit. Study, discuss and try out the crafty stuff that poets do every day, and take away tricks you can apply to your fiction to make it quicker, lighter and more evocative.
(And there will be no Larkin or Wordsworth in sight.  Promise.)



I’m Not Okay: A guide to responsibly writing trauma and trauma survivors

Delivered by Jane Claire Bradley

From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (and a million other stories inbetween), we’ve all read, seen and maybe written protagonists who’ve been Put Through It: characters who’ve experienced violence, abuse, loss, illness, injury, poverty and/or political and environmental upheaval. We’ve seen traumatic experiences used for plot purposes: to catalyse action, set someone on a quest for revenge or to explain someone’s actions or emotions. But if trauma is a part of the story you’re writing, how can you make sure you’re writing it responsibly? Can your characters’ trauma be written in an informed, ethical and multi-dimensional way while still driving plot and character? I’m a prizewinning fiction author and a qualified therapist, and in this session I’ll be exploring the above questions, highlighting some common pitfalls to avoid, and giving you tools to write trauma and trauma survivors with knowledge, empathy and confidence. We won’t be using personal experience in the session, but you’ll get approaches you can apply to any writing – whether your project is based in truth or fiction.


➡️ Early Bird tickets were released in November 2019. These are now SOLD OUT.


➡️ Remaining tickets are available now, and cost £230 for the full weekend programme of activities. You can buy them below. Payment is via Paypal to keep your details safe and secure, but you don’t need a Paypal account to complete your purchase. If you have any questions, please get in touch via email to


What They Say...

At our previous Grrrl Con celebrations in Edinburgh (2016) and Manchester (2017), we welcomed a vibrant and diverse group of upcoming writers to hear talks and participate in workshops with incredible speakers from the world of words, including Denise Mina, Jackie Kay, Jenn Ashworth and Patience Agbabi.

Here’s what some of our past attendees had to say about their experiences…


“Before Grrrl Con I thought I’d never have a book but now apparently I’ve got two to finish. It showed me the ability I have, and how not to shy away from it!”


“I love you all for putting this together. I needed to boost my confidence, and you’ve given me self-belief. For someone with none, that’s an unforgettable feeling. Thank you.”


“I love you all! I’ve said before that Write Like a Grrrl has changed my life for the better; that has been echoed over and over again from other people I’ve spoken to this weekend. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done.”


“I’ve gained confidence, new techniques and ways to improve my writing, a list of women writers I want to read, and a fantastic community. An amazingly useful weekend that has motivated and inspired.”


“I’ve learnt to trust my instincts and gained confidence, as well as a clear idea for a novel and an almost complete synopsis. I am very inspired and also want to acknowledge how friendly, helpful and motivational the Grrrl Con organisers and volunteers were throughout the weekend.”


“The talks were incredibly amazing, engaging, life affirming, practical, inspiring and empowering.”


“Wonderful weekend. I feel overwhelmed and in awe of all the talented women writers at the event. I look forward to continuing to learn and develop with such a fantastic support network.”


“I feel so inspired, so supported and so lucky to be in this nurturing environment.”


“Realistic but encouraging – makes everything feel more reachable. Each session had knowledge, encouragement and inspiration to offer. Thank you for all your help and understanding, for us as people as well as writers. It’s done so much for my confidence and motivation, and makes my pursuits feel legitimate and feasible.”

Grrrl Con Scholarships & Expenses Fund

We’re putting aside a number of free tickets for women and non-binary writers who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend Grrrl Con 2021. We also have a small fund available to support with the expenses of attending Grrrl Con, such as travel, accommodation and/or childcare. If you’re interested in applying for either or both of these, please fill in this application form by the deadline of 30th March 2021. If you have any questions, please email us.

And the Rest...

All attendees must take responsibility for coordinating their own travel and accommodation: by booking your ticket to Grrrl Con, you confirm you understand that these are not included in the ticket cost. Lunch will be provided each day, with drinks and snacks available to purchase throughout the weekend.


Purchased tickets for Grrrl Con are non-refundable, but are transferable. If for any reason you become unable to attend, we will support you as best we can in transferring your ticket to another buyer, but please be aware that this is not guaranteed.


Delivered by Write Like a Grrrl and For Books’ Sake, Grrrl Con is open to all self-identifying women and non-binary writers of all backgrounds, abilities and ages over eighteen. The advertised programme may change but we will notify all attendees of any changes as soon as we’re able.


Accessibility: We will aim to accommodate all access requirements to the best of our abilities. If you’re concerned or have questions about accessibility, please get in touch by emailing