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It’s March, it’s not snowing yet, the spring bulbs are emerging from the cold ground so it’s time to get inspired!

There are three exciting events for writers happening in Leicester this month.

Firstly, the University of Leicester will be hosting its third annual creative writing lecture, featuring author Jonathan Coe, on Wednesday 5th March, 6.00 – 7.00 p.m. See the website at http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/events/2014/march/third-annual-creative-writing-lecture for up-to-date information – at the time of writing the venue is still to be confirmed.

Secondly, on Saturday 15th March, States of Independence will be taking over the Clephan Building at De Montfort University (Oxford Street, Leicester LE1 5XY). This event is free of charge and starts at 10.30am, finishing at 4.30pm, and is open to all. This event focuses on independent publishing, and to steal from their website at www.statesofindependence.co.uk :

This year there is a strong emphasis on fiction – with three fantastic women writers – Leicester’s Kerry Young, Booker-shortlisted Alison Moore and, returning to her old haunts, Sarah Butler. We have sessions on short fiction and poetry – from the Chartists to modern times. There is weird stuff on offer (literally…) and the announcement of the East Midlands Book Award shortlist.

Reflecting the support of Creative Leicestershire, we have asked each and every session to include something on marketing – we want all our writers, presses and organisations to be artistic and financial successes! Or at least, in these hard times, to survive.

States also includes a free bookfair representing dozens of publishers from the region and beyond.

This event is very friendly and a great chance to meet new people and learn lots of new exciting stuff!

Secondly, on Sunday 30th March, it’s the second Self-Publishing Conference organised by Troubador Publishing. This is at the Stamford Court Conference Centre at the University of Leicester, from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., and costs £55 (it’s well worth it!) – see their website at www.selfpublishingconference.org.uk for further details and to register. This event was a sell-out last year so get in quick! If you want to self-publish this event is an absolute must – I came away last year with my head spinning, so excited by all that I’d learnt. I’ll be posting an interview with Sarah Taylor, Editor of the excellent Self Publishing Magazine, soon!

The conference brings together key figures in the self-publishing industry in one place, giving authors the chance to meet with other self-publishers and specialists in the field, and providing a series of excellent workshops to really get your self-publishing career off the ground. This year’s Keynote Speaker is Alysoun Owen, editor of the Writers’ &Artists’ Yearbook.