Tag Archives: Cheltenham

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!



Creative Writing Society Quiz Night!

26 Sep

The Creative Writing Society is back and relaunching with a fun quiz at Smokey Joe’s Cafe tomorrow, Tuesday 27th October. Join your hosts, Mathias and Alice, for five rounds of fun, from 7pm-10pm. Entry is just £1 per head, so come with a team prepared or join one when you arrive – everyone is welcome. For more information, see the Facebook event page. See you there!


How to land a book deal worth millions

21 Sep

chloe-j-espositoYou know how we’re always saying that nobody gets rich through writing fiction? Well, once in a while someone does. This year, that someone is publishing sensation Chloé J. Esposito. If this is the first time you’ve heard of her, rest assured it won’t be the last. Chloé has just sold the rights to her erotic thriller trilogy, Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know, in a deal that’s already worth over £2million. In addition to that, Universal have bought the film rights and there’s already speculation that Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Stone might play the protagonist. All this and the first book won’t even be released until next summer.

So how do you land a multi-million-pound book deal? Damned if I know. But Chloé does, and she’s coming to the University to share her whirlwind experience with University of Gloucestershire students. This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear first-hand one of the most sensational stories the publishing world has known in recent years, and it’s a rare chance to meet a global superstar writer before she’s insanely famous. Chloé will be talking at Francis Close Hall Campus, in TC001, at 6:30pm on Tuesday 4th October. The event is free and everyone is welcome.

You can read more about our guest here, and find the Facebook event here. Don’t forget to book the date!

Buzzwords Poetry Event Featuring UoG Alumni Dan Sluman

30 Apr

Dan SlumanFor those who are eager for poetry and can’t wait for the huge line-up of great events at next week’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival (see our previous post, and get with it!) then a brilliant warm-up event is taking place tomorrow night, at the regular Buzzwords reading and open mic night.  This will be taking place at the Exmouth Arms, where UoG BA and MA Alumni Dan Sluman will be running a poetry workshop from 7 p.m., and reading at 8 alongside other contributors.

The TerribleDan is the author of Absence Has a Weight of Its Own and, more recently, The Terrible – two tremendous collections from Nine Arches Press.  He has received wide critical acclaim for his work and was named one of the Top 5 British Poets to Watch in 2015 by the Huffington Post.  So come along and support the event – and join the workshop if you’d like to sharpen your poetry skills.

The 2016 Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Featuring UoG Staff, Students, and Alumni!

28 Apr

There are so many amazing events going on in the last few weeks of term we’re going to have to bombard this blog with announcements.  To start with, we wanted to shout about this year’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival, since you can grab discounted tickets if you pick them up in advance.  The fest runs from May 6th to 15th and is organized by UoG Creative Writing Alumni Anna Saunders.  The fest always features a stellar line-up of professional poets, and Anna has been brilliant about including past and current students; this year schedule maintains the tradition of featuring Team UoG on the bill.  Below you’ll find some festival highlights, well worth checking out, and if you want to find out more or pre-book those discounted tickets, follow this link.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

  • Saturday 7th May, 5pm, St Andrew’s Church hall Paul Innes is giving a talk on Shakespeare’s Roman Plays £6/4
  • Sunday 8th May, 2pm at The Strand, MA alumni Lesley Ingram will read from her Cinnamon Press poetry collection ‘Scumbled’. Reading with novelist Martin Lytton. £6/4
  • Monday 9th May, 8pm at The Strand, Angela France will read new poetry exploring Cheltenham’s radical heart. Reading with novelist Kim Fleet. £6/4
  • Tuesday 10th May, 8pm at Smokey Joe’s, Tania Hershman with UoG students give a micro-fiction showcase £6/4
  • Thursday 12th May, 11am at the Oxfam bookshop, John Hughes to give a talk on Bob Dylan £7/5
  • Thursday 12th May, 6.30pm at The Frog and Fiddle, Lania Knight reading poetry with Pete Mullineaux and Alice Merry. £6/4
  • Thursday 12th May, 8pm at The Frog and Fiddle, MA alumni and Poetry Festival founder/director Anna Saunders will read from her new collection as part of an Indigo Dreams showcase £7/5
  • Friday 13th May, The 6th Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam, 8pm at Smokey Joes. Performers include UoG students Mathias Pedersen and Dani Shlosser £7/5
  • Saturday 14th May, 3.30, Oxfam bookshop, Nigel McLoughlin is giving a talk on the WB Yeats poem ‘Easter 1916’ £6/4
  • Saturday 14th May, 6.30pm at The Wilson, a poetry reading by Nigel McLoughlin and George Szirtes £8/6


Lecturer D.D. Johnston talking at Suffolk Anthology Bookstore this Tuesday 17th November

12 Nov

Cheltenham is lucky to have a lovely new independent bookstore – Suffolk Anthology. Situated in the leafy Suffolks/Montpellier area, Suffolk Anthology is a relaxing spot selling great books and great coffee. Charming and elegant, with a Victorian fireplace and a sunny conservatory, it’s also one of the few places in town that sells genuine Moleskine notebooks – an essential item for any bohemian author! But if you’re still looking for a reason to visit, why not head up this Tuesday for UoG lecturer D.D. Johnston’s talk on his new novel, The Secret Baby Room, and everything he’s learned about writing in the last ten years. The talk is at 7:30 on Tuesday 17th November at 17 Suffolk Parade. Tickets cost £3 (which covers a glass of wine or two) and can be reserved from the shop by phoning 01242 361 362 or emailing info@theanthology.co.uk. More information follows below.

dd johnston talk logo

In 2004, when he’d never have done anything as pretentious as call himself by his initials, D.D. Johnston realised it was his destiny to write. The fact he knew nothing about literature and had never demonstrated any facility with written language was unimportant; only in writing could he adequately express how alone he felt in this cruel world. He produced an eighteen-volume magnum opus of bad love poetry, a grand Künstlerroman, which he imagined was the 21st century’s answer to The Sorrows of Young Werther. But it wasn’t. It was crap.

Then, one day, he saw something that changed the direction of his literary oeuvre.  He was living in Manchester, where, because he was unemployed and had no money, he used to wander the city. One day he saw a woman cradling a baby in a boarded up council housing block. Why would anyone take a baby into a boarded up council housing block that was primed for demolition?

So he began to work on the plot of a crime thriller, The Secret Baby Room, which was finally published in 2015. The struggle to complete and publish his novel was painful but life-changing – it lasted slightly longer than the Trojan War. Along the way he published two other novels: Peace, Love, & Petrol Bombs was a Sunday Herald book of the year in 2011 and has been translated into Spanish as Paz, amor y cócteles Molotov; The Deconstruction of Professor Thrub was a Morning Star book of the year in 2013 and was longlisted for the Goldsmith’s Prize. Today he is a Dr of literature, a senior lecturer in Creative Writing, and the founder of onlinewritingtips.com. Along the way he’s learned a thousand things about writing, and he’s now ready to share everything he wishes he’d known in 2004, so that nobody need ever again take a decade to finish a book.

UoG lecturer Angela France appointed as Cheltenham Poet in Residence

30 Oct

angelaCongratulations to poetry star Angela France who on National Poetry Day was announced as Cheltenham’s new Poet in Residence. It’s the first time Cheltenham has appointed a bard, and they couldn’t have chosen anyone better. Angela is Cheltenham born and bred, much of her previous work draws on her relationship with the town, and at present she’s working on a sequence of poems that explores the Leckhampton riots and Cheltenham’s radical past. Angela studied her MA and PhD at the University of Gloucestershire, and is now a popular member of our teaching team. She’s the author of three poetry collections and has won many prizes including the Lightship International Poetry Prize. She’s a major figure in the local poetry scene and runs the popular Buzzwords poetry evening.

Speaking to the Gloucestershire Echo, Anna Saunders, the director of Cheltenham Poetry Festival, said:

“Angela has very strong links to Cheltenham and is a major figure on the local poetry scene but is also an internationally acclaimed poet with a strong record of publishing.

“Her work isn’t comic verse or performance poetry, but it’s very accessible and it often deals with real people at its subjects; her current work celebrates the rebellious nature of Cheltenham people in a very interesting way.”

And as Angela puts it:

“Poetry still has a place. People turn to it at moments of crisis or emotion – a wedding or a funeral, so it’s still important to people.”

Angela’s formal inauguration will take place at the the Civic Mayoralty event at the Town Hall in May.


Creative Writing Society autumn events!

28 Sep

CW society info poster

New play written by UoG MA students premieres at the Everyman Theatre this Saturday

2 Jun

DymockAs part of this weekend’s UoG Fringe, we’re delighted to announce that a few tickets remain for the premiere of Voices from the Forest – a play written collectively by MA students at the University of Gloucestershire. Students Ash Hartridge, Chloe Biggs, Matthew Pinnell, and Senja Andrejevic have combined their skills with those of lecturer Lucy Tyler to develop a new play exploring the lives and times of Gloucestershire’s celebrated Dymock Poets. The matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday 6th June is open to the public and a small number of tickets remain. The play will be staged at the Everyman Theatre and tickets can be booked by telephone on 01242 572573 or in person at the box office. Tickets are £4 for students and other concessions and £8 full price. Book soon to avoid disappointment!Fringe logo

Remember that this is one of ten events on the UoG Fringe Programme. It promises to be an amazing weekend and it all starts at 6pm in TC001 on Friday 5th June. Check out the full list of events here.

This is the best thing to ever happen at the University of Gloucestershire or anywhere in the South West or maybe even ever in the world

30 Apr

Fringe logoIt’s just five weeks until the start of the UoG Fringe Festival, which is going to be rib-ticklingly, jaw-droppingly, biscuit-crunchingly brilliant. From the 5th-7th of June, Cheltenham will host a weekend of events organised by second-year Creative Writing students. We have quizzes and debates and poetry and music and art and film and drama. We’ve even got an event for children under eight. We’ll be living it up on campus and off, from the SU to TC001; in the Frog, the Feathered Fish, Copa, Cheltenham Library, and the Everyman Theatre. The second years would love your help to make these events successful, so if you’d like to get involved, please contact them via Facebook, Twitter, or at uogfringe@gmail.com.

Below is the events timetable and more information will be shared here in the coming weeks.

Fringe Fest timetable

Open Mic: World Book Day Special

4 Mar

world book day logoThursday March 5th is World Book Day, and thanks to Kayleigh Moore we’re marking the day with a special event for everyone involved in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. Come and celebrate the written word with an evening of performances from your lecturers and yourselves!

It’s at the Frog and Fiddle pub from 7pm on Thursday March 5th.

The lecturers will start things off with some readings from their work, and then the floor will be turned over to you to perform your prose, poetry, and plays.

It should be a night to remember, so whether or not you choose to read, come and enjoy yourselves.

Launch party for issue 4 of Show, Don’t Tell

23 Feb

Show dont tell launchTomorrow night (Tuesday 24th February) we’ll be celebrating the launch of the new issue of the brilliant Creative Writing student magazine Show, Don’t Tell. Everyone is welcome to join us raising a glass to the new issue. You can pick up a copy for free and, who knows, this might be the night that Randall finally gets on the pole. If you haven’t been to one of these launches before then be sure not to miss this one – it promises to be a lot of fun. It starts from 8pm at Yates on Tuesday 24th February. See you there!

Creative Writing open mic – tonight!

27 Jan
Photo by Ed Schipul

Photo by Ed Schipul

We’re looking forward to the first open mic of 2015 tonight (Tuesday 27th January). Your host for the evening will be the very talented and funny Davey Evans.  There’s a birthday theme, so feel free to wear a party hat, if you’re that way inclined. As always, it’s a chance to share your prose, poems, and plays with students from different years. Alternatively, you may just want to have a listen and have a drink. It promises to be a laid back and fun night, with no pressure to perform. We hope to see you there!

Where? In The Barn at the Frog and Fiddle Pub.
When? Tuesday 27th January starting at 7:30pm.
Is there a Facebook event? Yup, right here.

Places I Remember – Theatre Performance This Friday

15 Oct

Eleven Places Logo

This Friday (17th October), for one night only, there’s an opportunity to see ‘Places I Remember’ – hard-hitting drama that was originally staged at The Everyman Theatre in the summer. The performance is brought to you by Eleven Places Theatre Company, which is run by University of Gloucestershire Creative Writing tutors and alumni.

We often define ourselves by where we’re born, where we’ve lived, and where we’ve been. But why and how does place become so important to us?

Three playwrights have each written about the profundity of place and its impact on our lives. Join them to meet a child who’s recalling the violence of a Scottish mining community, a commuter who’s unwilling to ever stop travelling, and a girl who’s determined to cross to the wrong side of the tracks.

Actress, Anwen Ashworth

Actress, Anwen Ashworth

The three plays are written by Lucy Tyler, Claire Holland, and Luke Dean, and are performed by Luke Dean and Anwen Ashworth. Don’t miss this one-off addition to the original run. Friday’s performance will be held in the upstairs function room at Copa on Regent Street. Tickets are sold on the door for £5 and the performance starts at 7:30pm. Come at 7pm to ensure a seat and a drink! We hope to see you there!

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!

Places I remember – Theatre in Cheltenham this week

23 Jun

Eleven Places LogoNeed a break from football? You’re in luck: from Thursday to Saturday this week, Eleven Places Theatre Company, in association with Dreamshed Theatre, are presenting a series of short plays about the importance of place. Eleven Places is a theatre company comprised of University of Gloucestershire Creative Writing graduates, including lecturer Lucy Tyler.

We often define ourselves by where we’re born, where we’ve lived, and where we’ve been. But why and how does place become so important to us?

Luke Dean, Claire Holland, and Lucy Tyler have each written about the profundity of place and its impact on our lives. Join them to meet a child who’s recalling the violence of a Scottish mining community, a commuter who’s unwilling to ever stop travelling, and a girl who’s determined to cross to the wrong side of the tracks.

The show is at the Everyman Theatre at 7:45 on Thursday 26th, Friday 27th, and Saturday 28th, and there’s also a matinee at 2pm on Saturday 28th. Tickets can be booked via this link. Come along – we’d love to see you there!


The Talented Dr Randall

16 May

We’ve got Randall – full Randall. A hat trick of Randall. All the Randall you need.

First up, join us this Wednesday, 21st May, for Martin Randall’s Gloucestershire Philosophical Society lecture. Randall will be delivering a talk on The Spectacle of the Void: Photography and 9/11:

9/11’s spectacular visual impact often gives rise to the belief that we have all ‘seen’ the terrorist attacks, in particular the iconic imagery surrounding the WTC Towers. But as will be demonstrated, photographs (screen grabs, amateur and professional, before, during and after) of 9/11 are intensely problematic in relation to issues of trauma, portent, aesthetics, politics and theories concerned with looking and the Real.

The talk will take place on Wednesday 21st May at 7.30pm in Room HC203 at Francis Close Hall Campus. Admission is £2, all are welcome, and full details are available here.

9-11-literature-terror-coverIf you want more then we’ve got good news: Martin’s monograph,9/11 and the Literature of Terror, published by Edinburgh University Press, is soon to be released in paperback. Reviewing the book in Scotland on Sunday on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Stuart Kelly described it as ‘an important milestone in our understanding of how culture can encompass those events.’ Those who couldn’t quite afford the hardback will be glad to hear that the paperback edition is ‘only’ £19.99!

Finally, if you thought Dr Randall was just about analysing literary representations of traumatic violence, you’d be wrong. In fact, as anyone who’s heard his lectures will attest, he’s also a fine humourist. But could he hack it as a stand up comedian? This is a question we thought might never be answered, but  for two nights only, on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June, Randall will be appearing as part of the line up in Stand up and be Counted – a live comedy show at the Playhouse Theatre. This, surely, is not to be missed. Also appearing will be experienced star of the comedy circuit, and first year Creative Writing student, Davey Evans. There’s a Facebook event page here and full details are available here.


Celebrating poetry at the University of Gloucestershire

1 Apr

Cheltenham Poetry FestivalAs part of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, there’s a chance to see some of the University’s rising stars at The Muffin Man tonight. The University of Gloucestershire Creative Writing Showcase will be hosted by Adam Magee and headlined by Caitlin Clarke and Josh Martin. Also Performing will be Emmy Summers, Dani Schlosser, Sam Last, Lesley Ingram, and more. The event starts at 9:30pm, Tuesday 1st April, so come along, treat yourself to some fresh poetry, and support our talented writers.

It’s a great time for poetry at UoG, with many publishing success stories to report. Third-year poetry students Rosanna Riches and Adam Magee have both secured their first publications outside university. Rosanna has had three poems accepted by Angle Poetry Journal: ‘Scales’ and ‘Trending Beheading’ in issue 5 and ‘Meteorology’ for issue 6. Adam has had four poems accepted for Black Light Engine Room: ‘Crabbing’, ‘The lane behind my street’, ‘Degatano farm’, and ‘Anwn’.

Meanwhile, lecturers Angela France and Nigel McLoughlin have each had four poems accepted by Black Light Engine Room. Nigel McLoughlin also has new poems forthcoming in The Interpreter’s House and The Honest Ulsterman and Angela France has three poems in an anthology edited by Rosie Bailey and June Hall as well as an article in Litro magazine, ‘Gender Disparity in Poetry Publishing: it’s about more than the numbers’ which can be read here.

Author and comedian Rob Newman at the University of Gloucestershire, Wednesday 26th March

19 Mar
Rob NewmanRobert Newman: Fiction, Politics & the Past
19:30, FCH TC001, March 26 2014
Free to students and staff at the university
Rob Newman is the author of four acclaimed novels and the star of television shows including The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, A History of Oil, and A History of the World Backwards. Since turning away from his superstar status in the 1990s, Rob has turned down most approaches for public and television appearances, so we’re grateful that he’s joining us at the University of Gloucestershire as a guest of the School of Humanities. He will discuss politics, fiction, history, and his new novel, The Trade Secret – an outrageous, continent-crossing epic that subtly blends fact and fiction, and is described by The Guardian as ‘a rollicking Elizabethan yarn that has much to say about the origins and nature of modern capitalism.’
Robert Newman read English at Selwyn College, Cambridge, before finding fame as a comedian on the BBC’s The Mary Whitehouse Experience. He was then half of Newman and Baddiel, described by The Guardian as ‘the most successful comedy duo of all time.’ But after a pioneering, record-breaking tour that famously sold out Wembley Arena, Newman turned his back on main-stream stadium comedy, pursuing a solo career as a novelist and political comedian.

His first novel, Dependence Day, won the £10,000 Betty Trask Award, and his second novel, Manners, was published by Penguin. His return to comedy saw him produce a series of erudite politicised solo shows that have toured in Britain and America, and have seen him compared to Lenny Bruce and described as ‘the funniest comedian I’ve ever seen’ in The Sunday Times, and ‘breathtakingly, heartbreakingly, goosepimplingly brilliant’ in The Scotsman.

In 2005, he finally returned to television comedy when his show A History of Oil screened on More4, and in 2007 the BBC screened a six-part series, A History of the World Backwards. 

However, Newman continues to make his name as one of the most exciting and unusual of contemporary British novelists. His third novel, A Fountain at the Centre of the World, was chosen as a book of the year by Dave Eggers and described in The New York Times as ‘the talismanic Catch-22 of the antiglobalization protest movement.’ The Guardian argued it was a ‘wonderful, big-hearted, textured, funny, moral and deeply unfashionable book’, while The Independent asked if it could ‘herald a resuscitation of the English “literary political novel”, almost dead in the water since the best work of Malcolm Lowry and Graham Greene’.

2014 Cheltenham Poetry Festival

17 Mar

Cheltenham Poetry FestivalThe Cheltenham Poetry Festival is back with another brilliant line-up for 2014. The festival will run from 28th March to 6th April, and once again it will star many poets with connections to the University of Gloucestershire.

The Poetry Festival has become an annual highlight in the cultural life of Gloucestershire; Poet Alison Brackenbury described at as a ‘triumph’ in its first year, and it has continued to delight audiences ever since. As Anna Saunders, the Festival founder and Executive Director, explains: ‘Since our launch in 2010 we have aimed to give you an all-singing, all-dancing festival – one that fuses poetry and music, film, drama and visual art. This year is no exception; we have award winning plays, cabaret nights, specially commissioned poetry cinema, poetry bands and much more.’

Anna is a graduate of the University of Gloucestershire’s MA in Creative and Critical Writing, and connections between the Festival and the University run deep. Check out the full 2014 programme here, and in the meantime here’s a guide to the events starring students, alumni, and staff (past and present) from the University of Gloucestershire:

Friday 28 March at 8:00pm  at Copa
A Matter of Life, Death and Poetry
A number of poets including MA alumni Avril Staple

Saturday 29 March at 1:00pm at The Everyman Other Space Studio
John Goodby and former UoG lecturer Kate North plus open mic 

Saturday 29 March 2014 at 4:30pm at Francis Close Hall
Laurie Lee – a celebration of a Gloucestershire poet’s work.

Hosted by UoG lecturer and graduate Angela France

Monday 31 March at 9:30pm at The Strand
Women’s Words 
With Angela France, current students Dani Schlosser and Emmy Summers, graduate Lizzie Rogers – MC, current student Adam Magee

 Tuesday 1st April 9.30pm-10.30pm at The Muffin Man
The University of Gloucestershire Creative Writing Showcase
osted by Adam Magee, with headliners Caitlin Clarke and Josh Martin

Thursday 03 April at 8:00pm at Copa
Anna Saunders & Jeremy Page – Struck
Launch of Anna Saunders’s New collection

Friday 04 April at 8:00pm at The Strand
Poetry Factory – Images from the Museum of Light 

A poetry collective which includes  MA graduate Chaucer Cameron, Anna Saunders and Avril Staple

Saturday 5th April 12.30pm-1.30pm at Copa
Poetry Pairings
Including Anna Saunders, Angela France, Adam Magee

Saturday 05 April 2014 at 5:00pm at Tailors
Peter Carpenter & Lesley Ingram – Being In Bed With Philip Larkin