Rachel New is an aspiring writer currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at University of Birmingham and hosts the Heart West Midlands breakfast show alongside Ed James.

Photo of Rachel New

No stranger to challenges (she once licked a hundred West Midlands landmarks in a month for a bet!), Rachel has agreed to push herself to the creative limit for the Birmingham Literature Festival. For 10 days, Rachel will be stationed in the new Library of Birmingham, writing. Her interactive challenge is to produce a 30,000 word novella in just ten days. Writing for up to six hours a day, this in itself is enough of a test. To make it harder, Rachel’s creativity is at the mercy of the public - anyone can get involved with the storyline, adding or naming characters, suggesting plot twists and helping her kill people off or beat writers’ block.

You can visit Rachel in person, tweet her @rachel_new, follow her progress and read her day’s work on her blog, and see her writing appear on the big screens around the library as well as other digital interactions. See photos and video clips of Rachel meeting Festival writers as they drop by to answer her ‘question of the day’ - the only outside help she will be allowed!

Rachel will be making herself at home in the beautiful Book Rotunda, trying to create the right conditions for continuous prose (two cushions or three? Socks or shoes? Tea or coffee?) but will have freedom to wander through all the public areas of the new library.

Logo of the Birmingham Literature Festival