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Port extends Writer in Residence project08 Sep 2010

Tell me more tales of the River Tyne - and your family, says the Port of Tyne's writer-in-residence Michael Chaplin.


Over the last year, Michael has been gathering stories about the connection between the people of Tyneside and the river that runs through it. And now he wants to hear from the many people in the area researching their family history to get in touch with him.

"Over the last year, many people have sent me written material about the river - short stories, poems, memories and reflections - which we've published on the residency website (access via and very happy I've been to get them and read them," says Michael. "A few people have sent me material about their forebears and there've been some fascinating and inspiring stories. I'd love to see more."

Following the success of the Port of Tyne Writer in Residence project, the Port has decided to extend the project for a further twelve months to June 2011.

Michael says, "I am delighted that the Port of Tyne has extended the project as there's still a huge amount that I want to achieve - it's such a massive subject".

The residency was designed to connect with people and tell the story of the great river Tyne, past and present, and there's been no shortage of material.

"I've been fortunate to meet some of the most interesting people on Tyneside, and been inundated with people sharing their memories of the river, childhood stories, rhyme and verse. The residency has really made a connection with Tynesiders and I get a buzz every time I open an email or receive a parcel," says Michael.

The fascinating and heart warming stories that people have submitted to the project and some of Michael's own work are published on the Port of Tyne website. Since the Writer-in-Residence website was launched earlier this year, there have been hundreds of visitors from all over the world.

Over the next twelve months Michael hopes to connect with local writers groups, work with school children and plans to host an evening of entertainment to share and celebrate the stories that many people have contributed to the project.

Michael adds, "My time as writer-in-residence has provided a wealth of inspiration and I've started writing a TV drama set in the riverside community of North Shields. I'd also like to write a prose piece, about the fascinating story of the SS Baikal, a ship built in the 1890's for service on the Trans-Siberian Railway."

Andrew Moffat, Chief Executive Officer Port of Tyne says "The River Tyne is steeped in history and this project enables the people, the communities and the businesses that have played a part in its history, to tell their story. I am delighted that as a result of the response and feedback received we are extending Michaels residency for a further year."

Michael says, "We all know it, but it needs to be shouted from the top of the Tyne Bridge, Tynesiders are great storytellers, so if you have a story then get in touch, I would love to hear from you can contact me at"


For further information please contact:

Lisa Donohoe, Port of Tyne Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel: 07912 390 777 Email:

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