Tag Archives: Cheltenham Literature Festival

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.

Barberous Flash Fiction & much more at Lit Crawl 2016

6 Oct


This Saturday night, 8th October, #cheltlitfest hits the streets with its very first Lit Crawl – a melting pot of words and music hosted in some surprising places. Created in San Francisco in 2004, Lit Crawl blends a bar crawl with lively literary content, taking over a neighbourhood for a night of pop-up events and performances.

Staff and students from our Creative Writing programme will be performing flash fictions at Kingpins Barber’s Shop from 6pm to 7pm, and I promise it will be a reading like nothing you’ve been to before. But that’s only one of many events, and they’re all completely free. Grab a map from Waterstone’s at 5pm, and then head for St George’s Place, around which the action is centred. You can find the full list of events here and can find the event on Facebook here. When you’re done exploring, head to Subtone for an after-party featuring a DJ collective, good vibes, and eclectic beats.

See you on the streets!


The 2014 Cheltenham Literature Festival

1 Oct

cheltenham_lit_logo_350It’s only days until the world’s oldest literature festival rolls into town. Marquees are being erected, copies of The Times are being readied, tweed suits are set to spring from hangers. Whether you want to see the famous in the flesh, pick up literary tips from the masters, or just relish the increasingly rare chance to be the youngest person in the room, there is something for you at this year’s Festival. But as the usual assortment of morally-dubious celebrities descends on Cheltenham, how are you to pick from the 500 events on offer? One false move and you could end up in a tent with Geoffrey Boycott. Or your fate might involve John Lydon talking to you about margarine. Worst of all, perhaps, you could end up listening to Boris Johnson’s dad and sister (seriously). Fortunately, help is at hand with our handy Guide to the Cheltenham Literature Festival. It’s got the times for some great events. It’s also got the times for Martin Amis and Will Self. Enjoy!

Cheltenham Literature Festival – Free tickets for Douglas Coupland tonight

6 Oct

Douglas_Coupland_Photo_of_AuthorA cult Canadaian author is appearing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and this time we’re not talking about Tyler Keevil’s gig this Tuesday: Douglas Coupland, the author of international bestseller Generation X, is on a rare visit from Canada to discuss his new book, Worst.Person.Ever, described as ‘a deeply satirical book about a dreadful human being with no redeeming value.’ He’ll be talking at The Inkpot, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, at 8pm TONIGHT (Sunday 6th October), and tickets are free with UoG student ID.

There are loads of other events at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, one or two of which even feature writers. So do check out the full programme. University of Gloucestershire students are entitled to a 50% discount on ticket prices and can benefit from other offers (including, somewhat strangely, the chance to see Johnny Vegas for a fiver). See here for more information: .

Keevil V Johnston: The Event in the Tent – Tuesday 8th October

30 Sep

Keevil V Johnston

The Drive CoverIt’s officially on: the event in the tent, the argy-bargy in the marquee, the affray in Montpellier, the… Call it what you will, Tyler Keevil V D.D. Johnston, refereed by Martin Randall, is happening. They won’t be boxing, unfortunately (that really would be worth seeing). No, they’ll be reading from their new novels, and possibly engaging in light banter. Yes, it’s the rumpus off the campus, the free-for-all at the festival, the mêlée in the tepee, the… I’m out.

Cover for D.D. Johnston's novel, The Deconstruction of Professor ThrubWhen is it? Tuesday 8th October at 6pm.
Where is it? The University of Gloucestershire Tent, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Imperial Square, Cheltenham.

It’s free and everyone’s welcome.

See you there!

Cheltenham Literature Festival Preview

1 Oct

Don’t worry if you’ve missed the ticket rush for J.K. Rowling (the well-known state-of-the-nation author, who has also written children’s books about a wizard), there’s loads more to see at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. We reckon this year’s highlight is an appearance by Richard Ford – one of the most important writers currently working in the English Language. Students will be familiar with Ford’s Frank Bascombe trilogy, and his edited volumes of American short stories are set texts on WT202. Ford will be discussing his latest novel, Canada, and his talk (2pm on Sunday October 14th) is definitely not to be missed.

Besides Ford, many of the big name writers are scheduled for the festival’s opening day. Here are some literary highlights from the opening day and the rest of the week.

Friday 5th October

2pm: Acclaimed American author Paul Auster will talk about his postmodernist masterpiece The New York Trilogy (if indeed that’s what he does talk about. There is, after all, the event and the telling of the event, and how the one relates to the other is perhaps the story itself.)

Also at 2pm: A discussion with the popular novelist Sebastian Faulks (who will talk in a sturdy white tent, across the damp grass, on a leafy boulevard, whose ample chestnut trees will provide bountiful shade from the spattering Cheltenham rain.)

6:30pm: The celebrated novelist Salman Rushdie, upon whom a fatwa was imposed in 1989, will be discussing liberty and freedom of speech. (The talk will start in the early evening; no, that’s not enough: the time matters. Well, let us say – oh, come on, come on – the talk shall cling to the coat-tails of tea time; the talk shall ride on the hump of dinner. Yes, no sooner shall cutlery be aligned like reverential hands in solemn prayer than we, the audience, shall sit in expectant silence, awaiting the wisdom of words.)

4pm: A discussion with Pat Barker, who wrote novels about working class women (in the days before she was a Commander of the British Empire), but is best known for her WW1 epic, the Regeneration Trilogy.

Saturday 6th October

11:30 am: The novelist and dramatist Michael Frayn in conversation with John Carey
8:45pm: The prolific Ian (M) Banks, who writes interesting sci-fi and mainstream fiction

Sunday 7th October

8pm: A discussion with, and readings from, those involved with judging and winning the BBC International Short Story Award.
8:30pm American novelist TC Boyle will be discussing his latest novel, San Miguel

Monday 8th October

2pm (FREE): An audience with two Nigerian-born writers, Noo Saro-Wiwa and Chibundu Onuzu.
5:30pm (FREE): The poetry cafe with Ruth Padel and Anna Saunders
8:30pm: The Gloucestershire Writers Network

Tuesday 9th October

5:30pm (FREE): The poetry cafe with Yu Jian and Pascale Petit
8:45pm: A conversation with the award-winning dramatist, Jez Butterworth

Wednesday 10th

 2pm: A potentially interesting ‘literary tour of Cheltenham’5:30pm (FREE): Poetry Cafe with Jackie Kay and Allison Brackenbury8:45pm: A one-man show by novelist and dramatist Mark Haddon (best known for writing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time)

Thursday 11th October

11:45am: Poetry readings by John Burnside and others who’ve won or been shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

Friday 12th October

12:30pm: The Cheltenham Literature Festival open mic session, at which members of the public can present a five-minute reading of their work.
4pm: Orange-Prize winning novelist Rose Tremain in conversation with Erica Wagner

Saturday 13th October

12pm: The 2012 Man Booker Prize Shortlist Event

Sunday 14th October

12pm: A discussion with the celebrated novelist Ian McEwan – one of the foremost pillars of the British literary establishment.

There are also loads of writing workshops, dry debates with morally-questionable public figures, and fun-sounding non-literary events with people off the telly. In other words, there’s something for everyone, so please check out the full programme here. Best of all, the university has some free tickets, which are currently available to first years only but will, we hope, be available to more students soon. First years who would like free tickets can collect them from the administration office (QU181, Quad East) on Tuesday 2nd October between 12.15pm and 2.15pm, or on Wednesday 3rd October between 10am and 12noon (maximum 2 tickets per student, per event).