Residencies & Festivals

I’ve appeared as a speaker at most of the main literature festivals including recently Hay on Wye, Cheltenham, Ikley, Warwick, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, London, Latitude, Hong Kong,  Mumbai and, of course, the brilliant Birmingham Book Festival.I have also been writer-in -residence at many universities and arts organisations both in the UK and abroad.


Most recently I was Radio Writer-in-Residence at Birmingham City University where I developed a new audio writing initiative, The Birmingham Radio Workshop, with the School of English and the School of Media.

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I was  Writer-in-Residence for the brilliant EXEtreme Imagination Festival in Exeter where I created a range of dramatic performances with local schools.

The Cube at Cove Park

In July and August 2012 I was Writer-in-Residence at Cove Park. This inspiring artists’ centre  is situated in 50 acres of unspoilt hillside overlooking Loch Long on Scotland’s West Cost. I lived in a converted shipping container, shown opposite, known as a Cube.   It was a memorable time, despite the atrocious weather.

In 2004 I was awarded an Arts Council of England International Fellowship to become Writer-in-Residence for three months in the Leighton Studios at the Banff Centre in the Rocky Mountains in Canada.  My studio was the converted fishing boat, shown opposite, suspended from rafters in the pine woods.

In January 2007 I traveled to India to be the British Council’s Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mumbai.  My students, despite having no experience of creative writing, produced  incredible work. Many stay in touch and I’m expecting great things from them.


In February 2009 I was Writer-in-Residence at Shandy Hall in Coxwold,  former home of one of my favourite writers,  the legendary Laurence Sterne.  While on residency here  I devised an experimental writing project for a group of KS3 ‘reluctant reader’ boys. They did indeed prove to be very reluctant, but we all did our best – in three foot of snow.       Between 2009 and 2010 I worked for First Story as Writer-in-Residence at Cheney School in Oxford. The students, aged between fifteen and eighteen, were wonderful young writers, several of whom are already making waves in the literary world.


Recent festival appearances include:



In March 2018,  I appeared at the Festival British Screen des Ecrans Britanniques in Nimes, France.

Speaking in 2017 at Hay Festival with illustrator Carol Adlam, about our new graphic novel, Ministry of Women.

At the Reel Books Festival in Hong Kong. Pictured here with author Peter Jinks and the staff of the British Council.

At the Leeds Raw Festival.

‘I’m just writing to say thank you once again for coming to Kenilworth Library last Wednesday, and what a pleasure it was to have you there. All the audience had such an enjoyable and interesting time, and I have had 100% good feed back from them.’ – Kate Mackie, Senior Librarian  Reader Development, Warwickshire Library & Information Service


  1. Lydia Cooper

    Dear Helen,
    I attended your ‘Teacher as Writers’ course this year in conjunction with Writing West Midlands at The Custard Factory. I was wondering if we could discuss your availability and prices for workshops as I would love you to come to our Arts Week at Hagley school.

  2. Leigh Channing

    Hi Helen
    I attended your workshop on Creating Effective Characters at last week’s Bath Literature Festival. I wanted to thank you again for a really positive experience – I learnt lots, thoroughly enjoyed myself during the process and as an added bonus, I felt supported by you and my new workshop friends throughout. I went away with lots to think about including some new ideas and inspiration for the future. Who could ask for anything more?! Thank you again, Leigh

    • HelenCross

      It’s very kind of you to write to say so Leigh, thank you. I very much enjoyed teaching the class – you were all talented and generous students. I haven’t taught a class just on writing dialogue before, so it was heartening to see so much good work produced. Keep on with your writing, and best of luck.

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