An introduction to the first edition


Jonny, Ralph and Nick met on Sheffield Hallam University’s Creative Writing Masters course. We all arrived with very different experiences, tastes and disciplines, but we were united by a desire to read great work, to experience what is truly possible in writing, and to understand a little of where such greatness can come from.

We founded Northern Gravy with a similar aim. We quickly found, thanks to the hundreds of submissions that we received, that great writing really can come from anywhere. From any background, identity, anybody. Writing is as diverse, purposeful and alive as one could ever wish it to be, and while we can only present a small selection of voices, we’re certain there are countless others that we will be seeing much bigger and brighter things from in the very near future.


A word from our Poetry Editor, Ralph Dartford

The poems our poetry editor, Ralph Dartford has selected for our first edition are diverse in style but are all connected by the theme of ghostly isolation faced in a fragile modern world. These poems give a sense of longing for things mourned, passed or unattainable – of people drifting within their own interiors (as if a subject in a Hopper painting, perhaps).

A word from our Fiction Editor, Nick Jones

The pieces our fiction editor Nick Jones selected for inclusion are diverse in their styles, voices and forms, but all elicit a strong and potent emotional response. Be that horror, sadness or a hopeful sense of triumph and escape, each is a fantastic example of how to transport the reader through prose

A word from our Middle Grade/Young Adult Editor, Jonny Syer

Jonny Syer has selected a wide reaching and diverse selection of voices. Linked by universal themes of what it means to understand and be understood, he believes the stories told in this first edition are a powerful portrayal of what is possible within MG/YA writing.

This editions guest blog

Our very first article is written by Chris Jones in which he discusses the right to say nothing.

We hope you enjoy reading our first edition as much as we have enjoyed curating it. Northern Gravy is the culmination of two years work and a testament to what writers can achieve with team work and perseverance. 

As ever, we would like to thank our friends and advisors: Arts Council England, Sheffield Hallam University, New Writing North, Writing on the Wall, Spread the Word, Harper North, Writing East Midlands and Bradford Literature Festival.

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