Where Are You Now?

Matt Reilly

Matt Reilly

BA Media and Cultural Studies 2000

Matt works as a Marketing Officer at Newcastle Tenants and Residents Federation. He has worked in marketing and communications roles for more than 11 years, but his real passion has always been writing.

“I’ve written features for local newspapers, corporate magazines for a number of companies and more press releases than I can remember. Outside of work, it’s the more creative side of writing that interests me, and I write short stories, flash fiction and poetry. The poetry side of things is currently what most of my personal focus is on, and I have my own Facebook page”.

For many years the Sunderland graduate read rhymes in greetings cards and thought: “I could do better than that.” Unable to find an obvious career path into the role of greeting card writer, Matt took a chance and paved the way to his collaboration with North East designer Jo Burrows (aka Bykerlass).

“I’d admired the range of cards with Geordie phrases on that Jo Burrows had designed and produced. And for years I’d been writing poems for friend’s cards, but wanting to do it in a professional capacity. I contacted Jo in October 2013 with the idea of fusing her Geordie phrases with my rhymes, and thankfully she loved the idea. By the summer of 2014 the first range of Geordie rhyme cards hit the shops, and they’ve been selling well ever since.”

Matt says proudly: “Seeing the rhyme cards stocked on the shelves at Fenwick, Waterstones and loads of boutique stores across northeast England feels like a major achievement. And having one of my stories picked for a paperback anthology of short stories a few years ago was quite a big deal too.”

However his biggest challenge is still ahead of him as he explains: “I’d love to find a way to concentrate purely on my creative writing and generate a sufficient income from it. To be able to focus on writing poetry, and eventually a novel, would be the dream. But the challenge is that those opportunities are few and far between and, with a mortgage and bills to pay, I think it’s fair to assume that I’ll be working in communications for the foreseeable future.”

He adds: “It’s easy to believe that if you don’t get your dream job within a set timescale, then you’re a failure. But life doesn’t work like that. I think that as long as you have a dream, and work hard to fulfil it, then you’ve got something in your life to sustain you.”

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