10 new writing commissions @ £1,500 each, plus additional production budget to tell episodes from Amy’s life in innovative and engaging ways.

As Hull’s aviation heroine, Amy Johnson is without doubt one of the city’s most famous women. Her remarkable life is rich with inspirational stories. Amy Johnson Festival now plans to capture these stories through a number of commissions, to celebrate Amy’s amazing life and to leave a legacy, not only for her home city of Hull, but across the world.


Living Amy is one of the festival’s many exciting strands, developing new creative and cultural activity inspired by Amy Johnson and her incredible achievements.

Amy Johnson’s life is a story packed with many episodes, which can be told in any number of ways, and the festival is delighted to be working in association with Hull Libraries on the Living Amy project commissions. The suite of 10 innovative Living Amy commissions gives us an excellent and varied media gateway, for people of all ages, but especially the young, into Amy’s inspirational life. Our target audience is teenagers whom we aim to enthrall and inspire with Amy’s life story, whilst introducing them to the expanding range of services that our libraries have to offer.

There are three full biographies of Amy Johnson, and much archived news audio and film footage, along with a bio-pic, a TV documentary and an animated film. See Appendix A.


2016 is the 75th anniversary of the death of Amy Johnson, Hull’s flying heroine.

Born in Hull in 1903, Amy Johnson CBE was one of the most influential and inspirational women of the twentieth century. She was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia and set a string of other records throughout her career.

During the 1920s and 1930s aviation was dominated by the rich and famous and most female pilots were titled women such as Lady Heath, the Duchess of Bedford and Lady Bailey. But Amy was the first woman to gain a ground engineer’s “C” licence and, whilst working as a secretary, she took flying lessons. In 1929 she was awarded her pilot’s licence and just a year later set off solo for Australia!

Amy Johnson Festival will mark this anniversary and celebrate Amy’s life, achievements and legacy with an ambitious international programme of the arts and engineering sciences appealing to all interests and ages. The festival runs for two months from 1 July to 6 September 2016.


Writers, animators, film makers, bloggers and podcasters are now invited to submit their ideas for new, creative narratives that will bring Amy Johnson to life for the young people of today.

We are looking for fresh, short and accessible re-telling of scenes or key moments, and are open to narratives focusing on any aspect of Amy’s remarkable story. There is a rich seam to tap into here, ranging from her rebellious school days, her teenage love affair, her record breaking flight to Australia packed with incidents, to her tragic and untimely death off the North Kent coast.

We have used the term ‘story’ broadly: you are welcome to propose any means of telling your narrative of Amy, from traditional to new media. Some examples are listed in Appendix B, though we are happy for you to surprise us!

As part of our selection process, we are seeking to cover the full span of Amy’s life, and will be giving strong consideration to the following:

  • the extent to which the story engages teenagers.
  • the means by which the story brings about this engagement, allowing teenagers to relate to Amy and to feel truly inspired by her.
  • the story’s ability to work, either directly or indirectly, with new technology and digital platforms, allowing young people to access and discover Hull Libraries’ online presence.

We expect to award 10 commissions.


The basic commission fee is £1,500 (plus VAT if applicable). We are happy to consider collaborative proposals as well as individual ones.

A separate budget will be available for production costs, whether traditional or otherwise. These costs will be agreed with successful applicants and the fee enhanced accordingly.

Fee payment will be in two phases: 50% on appointment, with the remainder on completion.


Your submission should include:

  • Your proposal for Living Amy, clearly stating which episode of Amy’s life this focuses on, your narrative approach and perspective, and an outline timetable (no more than three sides of A4 including any images)
  • Your vision of how the story would be shared/transmitted.
  • If your proposal is for an online narrative, please include relevant additional information, e.g. whether the work is in real time, its duration, any opportunities for interaction.

Deadline for Submissions – Thursday 18 February 2016

Please email your proposal to: glynis@amyjohnsonfestival.co.uk

Writers whose proposals have been shortlisted will be notified by Monday 29 February and contacted about production costs.

Successful commissions will then need to be delivered by 30 April in order for us to move into production phase and for the project to ‘go live’ in early July 2016.

Download a pdf of this information Here


Glynis Charlton, Living Amy Project Manager

Email: glynis@amyjohnsonfestival.co.uk

Mobile: 07884 478912
Office:   01482 224334
Amy Johnson Festival Ltd
Unit 8, Danish Buildings
44-46 High Street

Festival Director: Rick Welton

Facebook: Amy Johnson Festival 2016


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Appendix A – Amy in Books, Film and Audio


Amy Johnson, by Constance Babington-Smith, Wm. Collins (1967)
Amy Johnson, Enigma in the Sky, by David Luff, Airlife (2002)
Amy Johnson, Queen of the Air, by Midge Gillies, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (2003)
Amy Johnson, Queen of the Air (a juvenile biography), by Gordon Snell, Hodder & Stoughton Children’s Books (1980)

You will also find chapters about Amy in other books, such as Roy Conyers Nesbitt’s Missing, Believed Killed, Sutton Publishing (2002).

Most recently, Hull historian Alec Gill has published a short e-book, Amy Johnson, Hessle Road Tomboy – Born and Bred, Dread and Fled, which looks at her early formative years in Hull and her relationship with her home city.

Film and audio

Most of the news audio and film footage of Amy’s exploits is held by the BFI in their archives. There has been one bio-pic, They Flew Alone (1942) starring Anna Neagle as Amy, although local film producer Chris Hees has a dramatised story of her life in development.

As part of their new display, Sewerby Hall has a short video of Amy’s story and her flight to Australia (http://www.fuzzyduck.eu/portfolio-post/sewerby-hall). In addition, Hull School of Arts and Design student, Darryl Farr, recently completed a delightful animated film, which can be seen at Hull’s Street Life Museum (https://morningstaranimation.wordpress.com/tag/amy-johnson).

The best TV documentary about her – Amy, Wonderful Amy – was produced by Patrick Taggart in 1988 for BBC North, with script and narration by Brian Thompson.

Appendix B – Means of communicating stories

As well as its traditional routes, Hull Library Service has online platforms, offering access to podcasts, video services, such as Vimeo and You Tube, and an ebook loan scheme.

Some ideas you may wish to consider:

  • the traditional medium of short story writing published as a book or pamphlet, also accessible through the ebook service
  • a short play or performance in the Library or toured to branches.
  • an animated short film that can be shown at the libraries and also accessed online
  • an audio diary or blog, giving Amy’s adventures contemporary relevance, perhaps following one of her journeys with daily postings
  • an interactive games-based story using an open-source tool
  • a comic, accessed as an ebook or via other online platforms

This list is by no means exhaustive and we are open to innovative proposals.