Archive by Author

UoG students launch the 2018 Cheltenham Poetry Festival in style

21 Apr

Bar room bards 1Creative Writers at the University of Gloucestershire last week kicked off the 2018 Cheltenham Poetry Festival with two great events in Cheltenham bars. Scores of people attended Bar Room Bards at the Railway Inn, hearing performances of classic bar-themed poems, including readings from a disheveled Bukowski, an elegant Yeats, and a mustachioed Rudyard Kipling whose rendition of “Gentlemen Rankers” involved a mass sing along.

bar room bards 2There were several competitions on the night, and congratulations to the winners who have now been contacted by email. See the bottom of this post for the answers.

The evening also produced a poem, based on “things you only say or do after you’ve been drinking”:

 

I say I love you, I love you, I love you
I say let’s go to Cotswold Kebab
I say I’m totally straight
I say let’s make plans to do that thing
I chat breeze, flossin
I say let’s get cocktails
I fall over, like, 17 times
I talk to you about Dumbledore
And I am crying!
I’m doing the Lounge dance
I hug people
I say Tinos and don’t even know what it means
I say I’m totally straight
I say I want egg fried rice
I say Regina Spektor broke my foot
And I say I love you
I say I love you
I say let’s get cocktails
I say, I’ll message you in the morning

Oh, and there was this collectively written… poem:

One night I went to the Railway Inn
And I heard the most terrible din
It used to be a famous sausage kitchen
Alrig’ me loven!
You’ve got a lush ass, oh wow!
When I see it, my mind goes pow.
And stops, sees, minds – gazes
Gosh. I haven’t felt like this in ages
Felt as if my stomach imploded
My heart melting, or my intestines exploded
Hair is brown, eyes are blue,
I wonder how much of this is true?
Order me a Maker’s Mark and coke
Get over ‘ere cuz u is woke
One day I saw her clear as night
And stepped up close to hold her tight
She gave a laugh. She gave a cry.
She said, I’ll never say goodbye
But I knew that was a bluff
You know that fake beer? Duff
She said, Sometimes I follow through
If you get too near it’ll be on you
Then the barrel of Skinner’s gun kissed my cheek
And he told me my Duff was [illegible]
I said, “You really missed the meme there.”
And he: “Eh, what do I care?”
“I love democracy, I love the republic,” said I.
“Have you ever played Devil may cry?”
Cells dovetail in strange cravings,
And leave us cracked in love’s crazy pavings.

Hmmm.

story slam 3

story slam 1Then, on Thursday night, attention turned to the inaugural Cheltenham Story Slam (above), where a number of UoG stars competed for the prizes. It was a splendid evening, hosted excellently by performance poet Chloe Jacquet. We were well represented with Rod Griffiths, Hannah Stubbs, Elliot Dallow, Eleanor Winterbottom, Isabella Gartside, Asha Sutton, and Claire Harrison all performing superbly. Eleanor Winterbottom qualified for the final, and special congratulations to Isabella Gartside, who was overall runner up, and to Claire Harrison, who won the whole competition!

slam 2Thanks to everyone who attended and supported these events. There are still loads of great events to come at the Poetry Festival, so do check out the full programme. Two UoG lecturers are in action soon: Lania Knight will be reading at 7pm on Sunday 22nd, and Angela France presents her multimedia poetry show, The Hill, at 7pm on Wednesday 25th. Both events are at the Cheltenham Playhouse.

Here are the competition answers:

The correct last lines for Emily Dickinson’s “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” are:

To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – sun!

The correct last lines for James Thomson’s “The Wine of Love: are:

He reeleth with his own heart,
That great rich vine.

The missing words from William Aytoun’s “The Empty Bottle” were:

A: bottle
B: beer
C: gush
D: shell
E: temple

The missing words from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Tavern” were:

A: crest
B: chill
C: traveller
D: tend
E: good

Congratulations to all the prize winners who have been contacted by email this morning.

Advertisements

Tyler Keevil and his No Good Brother are coming to Cheltenham

7 Apr

Local legend Tyler Keevil, until recently the Course Leader for our BA in Creative Writing, is returning to Cheltenham to promote his new book, No Good Brother. Tyler will be at The Suffolk Anthology in Cheltenham on Saturday April 14th at 6pm. The event is free, and he’d love to see you there.

He’ll be teaming up with his brother Jonathan Keevil, a musician and filmmaker who composed the soundtrack for Bellflower. Together, they’re delivering a unique combination of music, dramatized readings, and discussion of the book’s creation, in a not-to-be-missed rollicking literary road show. Saddle up!

No+Good+Brother+Tour+Poster

Be part of the 2018 Cheltenham Poetry Festival!

27 Mar

Bukowski-1.jpgThe 2018 Cheltenham Poetry Festival is nearly upon us, and UoG students will be leading the way. We’re proud to be kicking off the Festival with two great events.

On Wednesday 18th April, we’re bringing the Bar Room Bards to the Railway and the Bottle of Sauce. From 8pm-10pm, we’ll have a bawdy bevy of bards performing pub-related poems from writers including Bukowksi, Ben Jonson, and Baudelaire. There will be drinking games, dressing up, and a sing along. We’re still looking for performers, so to get involved please email mjohnstone@glos.ac.uk to find out more – the only qualification you need is enthusiasm.

The following night, Thursday 19th April, is the inaugural Cheltenham Poetry Festival Story Slam, taking place at Copa from 7pm. We’ve auditioned some of UoG’s finest to compete against other local authors for the chance to be crowned flash fiction champion. We have a few wild card entry spots still available, so if you missed out on the auditions but are interested in performing your flash fiction in front of the Festival audience, please contact me at mjohnstone@glos.ac.uk for more information.

And whether you’re performing or not, don’t forget to come along and cheer for your friends.

Shadows Launch Reminder

11 Dec

Shadows Banner

That’s right, folks: the much-anticipated moment has arrived, and we will officially be launching this year’s University of Gloucestershire Creative Writing anthology, Shadows: New Writing VI this Wednesday, December 13th.  The doors open at 6.30 for drinks and snacks in TC002A, and at 7.15 we’ll be moving into TC001 for readings from the anthology contributors.  Included in the proceedings will be the announcement of the winners of the 2017 UoG Novel Writing Contest.  From there we’ll move into town for the after party.  It will definitely be one to remember, and we hope to see you there!

UoG Novel Contest 2017 Shortlist!

30 Nov

static1.squarespace.com

Following on from our previous announcement about this year’s anthology launch, we’re pleased to follow it up with equally exciting news: the shortlist for this year’s UoG Novel Writing Contest is here.  The six worthy contenders have had their submissions forwarded anonymously to literary agent Becky Thomas, of the Johnson and Alcock Agency in London.  Becky will pick our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners, who will receive cashes prizes of £100, £50, and £25 respectively.  These will be announced at the launch of Shadows: New Writing VI, on Wednesday December 13th, in Week 12.  In alphabetical order (by name) the shortlisted entrants are…

  • ‘Siren Call’ by Rachel Clements (MA)
  • ‘Neon Princess’ by Oli Cowmeadow (BA)
  • ‘I Am Not Naked: A Novel of Lebanon and Syria’ by Sleiman El Hajj (PhD)
  • ‘The Prodigal Adventures of Medard and Levine’ by Sam James (BA)
  • ‘Coffee and Midnight’ by Jemma O’Donovan (BA)
  • ‘Gerald Comes of Age’ by Mark Webber (MA)

Congratulations to all the shortlisted entrants, and thank you very much to everybody who entered.  We look forward to launch night, and the announcement of the winners!

V-Day coming to UoG

28 Nov
VDaylogo1

Logo text reads ‘VDAY until the violence stops’

The Creative Writing department are delighted to announce that we will be putting on a special dramatic writing event in February 2018 in collaboration with V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Our students will perform a collection of monologues called A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer, written by the likes of Maya Angelou, Edward Albee, Jane Fonda and other icons of literature, drama and political activism, as part of a global celebration of the 20th anniversary of V-Day and as a fund-raising event for a local charity operating in this field.

 
V-Day was founded in 1998 by Eve Ensler, the playwright, actor and activist behind The Vagina Monologues phenomenon, which The New York Times called ‘probably the most important piece of political theatre of the last decade’. Since then, V-Day events and campaigns have raised over £100m in over 200 countries in over 48 languages, benefiting 13,000 community anti-violence programs. 
 

Shadows Anthology Launch

25 Nov

Shadows Banner

It’s that time of year: the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.  The world is sinking into an extended twilight…and the shadows are falling.  That’s right, folks: this year’s UoG Creative Writing anthology, Shadows: New Writing VI is at the printers, and launch preparations are underway.  Dare we say that it is the biggest, baddest, boldest, and most audacious anthology that UoG has seen since Smoke: the one that started it all.  The format is new, the look is stunning, and the student work is outstanding: you will be drawn so far into the shadows you won’t remember what it’s like to see the light.  What’s more, it’s a brilliant excuse to celebrate the achievement of our students.  We’ll be holding the annual launch in Week 12, on Wednesday Dec. 13th, in just under three weeks time.  The doors open in TC002A at 6.30 and readings commence in TC001 at 7.15.  We’ll also be announcing the winners of this year’s UoG Novel Writing Contest (more on this shortly!).  From there we’ll move on to the after-party, from 8.30 till closing.  So come along and celebrate the end of the semester.  See you there!

 

Vineleaves Short Story Competition: exclusive to UoG students

20 Nov
vineleaves competition

Promotional poster featuring prize details, as listed at https://vineleavespublishing.wordpress.com/competition/

We’re pleased to share this call for entries to the inaugural Vineleaves short story competition. Vineleaves is a new publishing business launched by one of our Master’s students, Carina Mitchell. To be eligible for the competition, you must be a current student at the University of Gloucestershire (whether campus-based or distance learning), studying at undergraduate or Master’s level. You’re invited to submit stories of 2000-4000 words by December 1st. The best stories will be selected for a print collection, and there are great prizes on offer, including £75 (or local equivalent) of Amazon vouchers for the winner. For full details and submission guidelines, see here. Good luck!

Open Mic and magazine launch!

6 Nov

microphoneThis Tuesday, 7th November, don’t miss the launch of the latest edition of the Creative Writing student magazine, Show, Don’t Tell. Issue 12 is hot off the press and free to everyone who comes along to Smokey Joe’s Cafe at 7:30pm on Tuesday. That’s already pretty exciting, but in addition to grabbing a copy of the new issue, you can celebrate the launch with the open mic night being held in conjunction with the LGBT+ society. If you need inspiration, the theme is diversity and inclusion, but readings and performances on other themes are welcome too. What a night! Be present or be a pheasant!

UoG Creative Writers’ Successful Autumn

1 Nov
Flash fiction literature Crawl

Bewigged students read flash fictions at Libertine’s Barbers Shop

It’s been a busy Autumn for the Creative Writing staff and students at UoG – go team! The new academic year started with the Cheltenham Literature Festival and for the second year in a row, students did an amazing job performing flash fictions as part of the LitCrawl. The quirky show involved visitors hearing private readings of micro-fiction from bewigged performers in a barbers shop. Different!

And our course’s involvement with the Festival was cemented by drama lecturer Miranda Walker who, as this year’s Writer in Residence, starred in a range of events, including a Writing Funny workshop at Parabola Arts Centre, the Young Writers Showcase, and the Famous Five Story Trail. She also wrote the brilliant Wishing Fish Clock picture book, which sold out at its launch! (It’s on general sale, available in Regent’s Arcade and Waterstone’s, from November 11th).

Wishing Fish clock book Miranda Walker

Cover for Miranda’s Wishing Fish Clock picture book

Speaking of dramatists, huge congratulations are also due to one of our alumni, Chloe Biggs, who recently won the BBC Essex Playwright of the Year Competition. Her winning play was broadcast on the radio – go Chloe!

The Hill by Angela France cover

Cover for Angela’s poetry collection, The Hill

The poets have been busy too. Lecturer Angela France won an Arts Council Grant to tour the UK with her new collection, The Hill, which was published by Nine Arches Press in July. The book has already garnered critical acclaim, with Sheenagh Pugh writing “Everyone knows somewhere like the Hill, though few could memorialise it with such verbal energy. Exuberant, controlled, angry, elegiac, this is a poetry of landscape, politics, witness.”

Congratulations are also due to recent graduate Charlotte Appleby and current student George Helder who both had poems published in Ink, Sweat and Tears this August. And huge congratulations to two of our new first year poets: Caroline Juskus and Callie Walsh have both published poems on I Am Not A Silent Poet. I’m sure there will be many more successes to come from this bright year group!

Speaking of bright, well done to 2nd-year student Carol Hilton who has won an Ede and Ravenscroft Scholarship in a university-wide competition recognizing outstanding academic achievement. And there is exciting news from one of our MA students, Carina Mitchell, who is launching her Vineleaves Publishing business with a short story competition – more to come on that soon!

E and R-scholarships

Carol Hilton and other scholarship recipients with staff at Park Campus

Last but not least, the prose writers have been busy too. Lania Knight is celebrating the UK release of her brilliant first novel, Three Cubic Feet. You can get it here! Senja Andrejevic-Bullock, a drama lecturer wearing her prose hat, has published her short story ‘The Party’ at Storgy Magazine.

Three cubic feet

Cover for 2nd Edition of Three Cubic Feet

And it’s only fitting that we should end by celebrating the achievements of our newest member of staff, Bea Hitchman. Bea has recently been one of the judges, along with Philip Hensher no less, for the Bath Spa Flash Fiction competition ‘A Place in Words’, which challenged entrants to write a novel in 25 words. The competition attracted more than 1500 entrants from all over the world, and the prize was awarded by Jeremy Irons at a special ceremony at the London Library. Bea has also written a chapter for a forthcoming book on Sylvia Plath, ‘Plath in Context’, to be published by Cambridge Uni Press in 2018, discussing lesbian contexts for The Bell Jar (there are, she informs us, a surprising number). Congratulations to everyone!

Remember that it makes us incredibly happy to hear good news, so if you have a success to share please drop a line to mjohnstone@ you know the rest.

Join the 2017 Chelt Litcrawl!

4 Oct
litcrawl 2017This Saturday evening, staff and students from the University’s Creative Writing programme invite you to take a seat in the barber’s chair, for a literary event with a difference. They’ll be providing entertainment at one stop on the Cheltenham Literature Festival’s 2017 Lit Crawl. For one night only, the Literature Festival will take over a section of Cheltenham for a fast-paced evening of pop-up events and quirky literary happenings. It’s a chance to get drunk on words, and it’s all completely free. Created in San Francisco in 2004 and now in Boston, Brooklyn, Portland, Chicago, New Zealand and beyond, Lit Crawl blends a bar crawl with bookish content – a riotous evening of the written and spoken word in some surprising venues around town.http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/festival-village/lit-crawl-/
 
You can catch the University of Gloucestershire staff and students at Libertine’s Barber Shop on Bennington Street, from 5pm-6pm, on Saturday October 7th. Lecturer Mike D.D. Johnston, who is organising the performance, said “The students performed flash fictions at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival in May, and their set went down a storm. We’re doing something similar this time, but with a twist that makes use of the quirky venue.” Subsequent stops include the chance to see UoG Lania Knight performing as part of the “Who do we think we aren’t?” event at 7:30, a Harry Potter quiz at 8:15, and ‘Feminism, Poetry and Gin at 9pm. The Litcrawl continues until late and ends with a party at Hotel du Vin, where you can hear music from the brilliant Kansas Smitty’s House Band. Checkout the Facebook event here.

Happy new (academic) year!

12 Sep

Yeah, yeah, yeah! We’re back, they’re back, you’re back, or maybe you’re arriving for the very first time – welcome! The new academic year is upon us and we can’t wait! We’ve got some exciting transfer news for you; we’re sorry to have released Tyler Keevil (who moved on deadline day to Real Madrid), but we can’t wait to introduce you to his replacements (they’re awesome!). Plus, we’re keeping our Canadian connection alive as we look forward to welcoming Master’s students who have graduated from Humber College in Toronto. Anyway, much more to come on that, but for now we’re excited to share the new program from the brilliant people in the Creative Writing Society!

creative writing society 2017-2018

[Text of image reads: September
26th. Open Mic @ Smokey Joes
October
5th. Humanities Mixer Event
10th Quiz @ Smokey Joes
17th Lit Games Night @ FC HC201
24th Film Night @ FC TC007
November
2nd Halloween Party @ Frog & Fiddle
7th Magazine Launch Open Mic @ Frog
14th Quiz @ Smokey Joes
21st Poetry Slam @ Smokey Joes
28th Gameshow @ Frog & Fiddle
December
5th Open Mic @ Smokey Joes
12th Magazine launch Christmas Party @ Joes
19th Winter Social @ FCH Student Union
Join the magazine. Submissions open for articles, prose, poetry, scripts, reviews.]

RE: Generate showcase, June 8th

3 Jun

Never mind the ballots, don’t miss this! Our final event of the 2016/2017 academic year will feature readings and discussion with poet Lesley Ingram, short story writer Daisy Johnson, and novelist Sarah Walton. They’ll be speaking at our afternoon panel at 3pm in FCH TC002.

Then, in the evening, those authors will read from their work alongside UoG students at the Frog & Fiddle, from 7pm. Both events are free and open to the public. See you there!

Regenerate poster

UoG Novel Contest Deadline Looming!

29 May

bookThe academic year here at UoG for 2016-17 is almost over, and students on Team UoG have been working hard.  You’ve met all your assessment deadlines, produced over 10,000 words of work (or twice that if you’re a third year, and had a dissertation to submit), and were no doubt looking forward to your summer break and a well-earned respite.  Except there’s one more thing.  The UoG Novel Writing Contest is still open for submissions – but only for another 48 hours!  That’s right, folks.  We’ve already got some stellar entries in our judge’s inbox, but we’d love to see more.  So it’s time to polish off that opus (or at least a 3,000-word extract) and send that to us along with a short synopsis.  Full details are available on the contest guidelines page.  The deadline is midnight on May 31st: good luck, and we look forward to reading your work!

Don’t miss this special, final open reading on Tue 9th

8 May

Open reading gold editionAll good things must come to an end, and so it is with Mathias’s splendid reign as open mic host. Mathias will be graduating this summer, and so Tuesday’s event – the Gold Edition Open Reading – which starts at Smokey Joe’s at 7pm, will be his final event as host. It will also be the Creative Writing Society’s final event of the 2016/2017 academic year. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty emotional. They say:

It’s time to celebrate the year that has passed,  and the future soon to be lived. It’s also time to say goodbye to some of the society members and society committee members who will go on to new adventures. As always, every kind of writing and performance is welcome. Mathias will host. There will be high-quality writing, speeches, gold, and fireworks.

All friends of the society are welcome.

UoG Student Dramatic Writing Showcase at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

3 May

It’s certainly a busy time of year for Creative Writing students here at UoG; this week, not only are lecturers and students contributing to various events at the poetry festival (check out our blog post below), but our second year dramatic writing students are having their plays showcased at the renowned Everyman Theatre.  The pieces have been developed under the tutelage of lecturer Miranda Walker, in collaboration with industry professionals at the Everyman, as part of our 2nd year module, HM5103: Advanced Drama.  The cold readings will be performed by professional actors, and are open to tutors, fellow students and the public – though places are going fast, so you’ll need to book a seat soon!  The performances are on Thursday May 4th from 2.30-4.30 p.m., and Friday May 5th from 3-5 p.m. in the Everyman’s Studio space.  Anybody interested in grabbing a seat, please email Miranda asap at mwalker7@glos.ac.uk.

everyman-theatre

Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2017 begins on Thursday 4th May

27 Apr

CPF brochure 2017It’s just one week until the Cheltenham Poetry Festival kicks off with appearances from UoG’s own D.D. Johnston and Tyler Keevil. They’ll be talking from 7pm to 8pm at Smokey Joe’s on Thursday 4th May, and you can book your tickets here.

But, wait, it gets even better. Stick around! After that, it’s the turn of some of our many talented students. They’ll be reading flash fictions full of laughs and tragedy, in the same venue, on the same night, from 8:30pm. Admittance to that event is free, but space is limited so please reserve your place here.

And that’s just the first night of the 2017 Cheltenham Poetry Festival! Here are three other UoG-related events to look out for: on Thursday 5th May, English Literature lecturer John Hughes will be discussing how to analyse poetry, in Oxfam Bookshop at 11am; on Wednesday 10th May, there’s a chance to see PhD student Howard Timms’ play Oscar Wilde’s Women at 7:45pm at the Cheltenham Playhouse; and on Thursday 11th May, Anna Saunders (an alumni of our Creative Writing MA and the Festival director) will be reading alongside three other poets at the Cheltenham Playhouse at  8pm.

But that’s just a small sample of what’s on. The Poetry Festival runs until May 15th, with an exciting and eclectic range of big stars and local talents. So be sure to check out the full list of events here.

 

 

Last Chance to Submit Your Work to Shadows!

25 Mar

Hard as it may be to believe, today is the final opportunity to submit your drama, poetry, and prose to this year’s UoG Creative Writing anthology, Shadows: New Writing VI. The submission window closes tonight at midnight!  The editors have received numerous standout pieces so far but there is still room for more. So if you’ve been procrastinating it’s time to take the plunge and email your submission(s) to shadowsuog@gmail.com. Be sure to check the full guidelines before doing so. Good luck and see you in the slushpile!

Rollei Digital Camera

Submit Your Work to Shadows: New Writing VI

21 Mar

After a brief respite last week, we’re hoping all our students feel refreshed, recharged, and raring to write – particularly as the submission window for Shadows: New Writing VI will close at the end of the week, at midnight on Saturday March 25th.  For those just catching up, our student editors on the MA programme are looking for prose, poetry, and drama from students studying Creative Writing or English Language and/or Literature here at UoG, at the BA, MA, or PhD level.  They are also looking for artwork, and that call is open to comrades on other arts-related courses.  Work relevant to the theme of ‘shadows’ is welcome, but the editors are very flexible and mainly want to see your best work.  So if you haven’t submitted already, take a look at their submission guidelines page and get that manuscript into shape!

 

Show, Don’t Tell – Launch party tonight!

14 Mar

Show don't tell 11The new issue of Show, Don’t Tell is hot off the press and ready to launch! Come break a bottle across the bow at Smokey Joe’s from 7pm tonight, Tuesday 14th March.

This new issue contains an interview with dramatic writing lecturer Senja Andrejevic-Bullock, tips for the Easter holidays, great flash fiction and poetry, plus the indispensable advice of agony aunt Martin Randall. They say:

It’s activity week, so you won’t have an early lecture tomorrow nor a late lecture today. Good times.

See you there!