Tag Archives: Prose

Shadows: New Writing VI Submission Call

3 Mar

That’s right, folks: the 2017 UoG Creative Writing anthology is now open for submissions.  This year the title and theme is ‘shadows’, in all its various guises.  And get this: for the first time it’s open to Creative Writing single honours students, CW joint students, and also English Literature and Language students.  Our MA student editors have come up with their guidelines, and here’s what they’re looking for:

The Editors of Shadows are looking for high quality prose, poetry, drama, or artwork submissions for UoG’s sixth Creative Writing Anthology. This year, we’re interested in writing of all types and genres, and particularly pieces that engage, loosely or directly, with the theme ‘shadows’. This can be interpreted however the author likes, including the hidden and peripheral – the things in our lives and relationships we don’t acknowledge – as well as our shadow-selves and the darker side of human experience, such as the gothic or transgressive. On a wider scale, we’re interested in characters who live ‘in the shadows’ or on the margins of society: outsiders, outcasts, and the unseen. And of course, we’re also accepting work on any subject or style that demonstrates the talent on our course. 

You’ll be hearing more from the MA editors, who will be dropping in to classes in the coming weeks to spread the word and further explain their criteria.  In the meantime, take a look at their guidelines page and prepare to step into the shadows.  You’ll have over three weeks (and an entire activity week) to polish up a piece to submit, as the deadline is midnight on Saturday March 25th – the very end of Week 8.  Good luck!


Reflections Anthology Launch Event

25 Nov

Hot on the heels of our recent post about the 2016 UoG Novel Contest Shortlist, we’re pleased to announced that this year’s annual Creative Writing anthology, Reflections: New Writing 5, will be launched in just under three weeks time, on Tuesday December 13th, in just under three weeks time.  The doors open at 6.15 in TCoo2(A) for reflective fun and refreshments.  Then, at 7.00 p.m., we’ll move into the main lecture hall (TC001) for readings.  The paperback anthology retails for £6.99 but will be on sale for the discounted launch price of £5.  When we wrap up, there is an after-party in the private function room (downstairs) at Tailor’s.  Entry is free, so bring your friends and come along to what’s shaping up to be a great night!


Tyler Keevil sells new novel

24 Oct

Tyler KeevilHuge congratulations to our own Tyler Keevil, prolific author and Course Leader for the BA in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire, whose third novel has been purchased by Harper Collins imprint  The Borough Press.

Tyler’s new novel, No Good Brother, follows Tim Harding, a Canadian  deckhand who is trying to make an honest living when his trouble-prone younger brother, Jake, tracks him down at the Vancouver shipyards. Tim senses trouble, but nothing prepares him or us for the wild adventure that follows. The publisher describes it as “a rip-roaring novel of loyalty, love, danger and family.”

Holly Ainley, commissioning editor at The Borough Press, acquired world all language rights from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock in a five-figure deal. She said, “I am a huge fan of Tyler’s writing and No Good Brother is an inspired story that defies expectation at every turn. It combines the beautifully controlled literary style of his short stories, with his trademark sharp-witted and heartfelt novelistic style.”

Keevil said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Borough list. No Good Brother is an important book for me and I know it couldn’t be in better hands.”

Unfortunately you’ll have to wait a while to read it: the novel is scheduled for publication in February 2018. Congratulations Tyler!

Writers Research Riot – this Wednesday!

6 Jun

wrr flyerThe sun is shining, summer is here, and it’s nearly time to head for the beach, metaphorically and actually. But before you go, we have one more brilliant day of writing-based fun. This Wednesday, 8th June, 2nd-year students and Lania Knight have organised the Writers Research Riot. The first event from 3pm to 5pm in TC002 at Francis Close Hall Campus, features surrealist-novelist and film critic Alan Bilton, acclaimed short story writer and novelist Joanna Campbell, and talented poet and short-story writer Anna Lewis.

Then, from 8pm at the Frog and Fiddle, there’s a chance to hear performances of new work from 2nd-year students. It promises to be a brilliant way to end the academic year. Everyone’s welcome, and we hope to see you there. For more information, please see the Facebook event page.

2016 UoG Novel Writing Contest Officially Opens to Submissions!

1 May

static1.squarespace.com       University-of-Gloucestershire

With all this poetry fun going on, what with the forthcoming Cheltenham Poetry Festival and various other events, we figured our prose writers might be feeling a bit left out.  Well, fear not: it’s that time of year again.  Our annual UoG Novel Writing Contest is now open to submissions.  Run in association with Becky Thomas of the Johnson & Alcock Literary Agency, the contest has become a highlight of the UoG calendar and represents an ideal opportunity to make an industry contact and kickstart your writing career.  Any student studying with us (BA, MA, or PhD) is welcome to submit, and the shortlist of six will be selected by our in-house judges.  These are then forwarded to Becky, who picks her three finalists, each of which receives a cash prize and Becky’s professional critique.  So what are you waiting for?  Check out our guidelines page and main contest page.  And don’t worry: you have two full months to get your chapter (3,000 words) and synopsis (1,000 words) into shape, as the contest is open to submissions until July 1st.

Creative Writing Lecturer DD Johnston publishes new novel

2 Jul

Secret Baby Room coverToday saw the launch of The Secret Baby Rooma new novel by UoG lecturer D.D. Johnston. Johnston has recently been described by The Morning Star as one of the country’s most versatile novelists, and certainly this book is far removed from his previous two. The Secret Baby Room is a mystery suspense thriller:

In the taut, suspenseful opening pages, Claire, just moving into her new house, looks up to see “the strangest thing. High up in the abandoned tower block that overshadowed their estate, a woman was bottle-feeding a baby.” The woman disappears, but the mystery haunts and deeply disturbs Claire. The tower is condemned, fenced off and surrounded with yellow-black warning signs, its entrances boarded “and clearly marked: DANGER”. Obsessed with breaking through into this forbidden zone, Claire fears that she is actually going mad, as she sits “staring at the concrete, as though the Secret Baby Room might somehow reappear…She suddenly saw how crazy it all was.

As her own life falls apart, Claire risks everything in her quest. It’s an investigation that leads her not only towards the dark knowledge of past crimes but towards an understanding of the damaged lives of those around her.  Johnston offers us a wonderfully gripping read, but also a compassionate and moving story of people struggling to survive at the margins of a rapidly changing city. (CrimeCulture)

This morning he discussed the novel – which he started ten years ago – with Mike Sweeney on BBC Manchester, and you can listen to the interview here. And you can read the story of his life before lecturing, and how he came to write the book, in this article in Northern Soul.

Introducing online writing tips .com

4 Jan

online writing tips logo white croppedWelcome back to all our students and warmest winter greetings to all our graduates! We hope everyone has had a relaxing and fun festive season (sorry about the assessment deadlines), and we hope 2015 is bringing you happiness. We’re looking forward to seeing you this week.

The nightmarish news is that you need never be without your dose of writing advice again. DD Johnston, supported by Tyler Keevil and Lucy Tyler, launched onlinewritingtips.com on January 1st. It’s a site for showcasing video clips about writing, and many of the clips are going to be short extracts derived from the tutors’ lectures. So if you missed a class, or need a reminder, or if – masochistically – there’s a lecture moment you want to relive, onlinewritingtips.com will soon be the place to go. It’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, You Tube, and other platforms we’re ineptly struggling to use.

Happy New Year and see you soon!

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Tyler’s Triumph: UoG lecturer wins $10,000 Journey Prize

5 Nov

Glenn gould studioOn Saturday we blogged about Tyler Keevil, the University of Gloucestershire’s BA Course Leader for Creative Writing, being shortlisted for the prestigious Writers’ Trust of Canada Journey Prize. Well… he’s only gone and won it! Congratulations to Tyler who was announced as the winner of the $10,000 prize for his brilliant short story ‘Sealskin’. The award ceremony was held at Toronto’s famous Glenn Gould Studio (pictured), and the judges said “‘Sealskin’ is a stunner. Tyler Keevil has accomplished something rare: a story about rough masculinity that brims with emotion and pathos.”

'Why the **** did I say that about the bean bags?'

‘Why the **** did I say that about the bean bags?’


It’s still the early am in Toronto, but in a few hours we imagine Keevil will be waking with a sense of achievement, a fuzzy head, and a little bit of regret. Why, he’ll ask himself, did I rashly promise that if I won I’d equip the Creative Writing office with bean bags and giant balls?

Prizes, publications, and performances: more success for UoG Creative Writers

1 Nov

Happy news, fellow writers. As the man himself would say, we’re all super-excited for Tyler Keevil. The BA course leader has been shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust of Canada Journey Prize for his story ‘Sealskin.’ The Journey Prize is a major literary award with a $10,000 first prize, and Tyler is one of three finalists alongside Lori McNulty and Clea Young. He’ll be flying out to Toronto for the award ceremony at the Glenn Gould studio on November 4th, when the overall winner will be revealed. Tyler may be getting pretty used to award ceremonies, but we’re not quite believing the claim on his official website that he’s hired a fashion adviser. There’s certainly been no evidence of that around uni.

The journey prize

You can read a conversation between Tyler and Miriam Toews in the National Post here, and if you want to read the story itself, get a copy of Tyler’s collected short fiction, Burrard Inlet – it is, as Tyler would put it, super sweet.

Our poets are riding a wave too. Last year’s third year poetry group have had more success: Adam Magee has a poem up at the ezine Ink Sweat & Tears  and has two poems forthcoming in Domestic Cherry, the annual journal of Swindon Poetry Festival. Rosanna Riches and Josh Martin both have poems in issue six of Angle Poetry Journal.

Wales Arts ReviewThe poetry lecturers are also busy publishing: Angela France has a poem in an anthology of longer narrative poems, The Other Side of Sleep (Arachne Press), has three poems in Domestic Cherry, and a poem in Wales Arts Review. While Nigel McLoughlin has had poems published in The Honest Ulsterman and Under The Radar as well as poems forthcoming in New Writing, The Wolf, and The Stony Thursday Book.  There is an interview with Nigel in Axon, which you can read online here.

Not to be out done, there’s also fresh success for one of our playwrights. Senja Andrejevic-Bullock, who is studying for a Master’s degree, recently saw her short play ‘The Bargain’ performed script-in-hand by Touring Theatre Consortium at The Everyman Theatre.

Good luck Tyler and congratulations to all our stars!

Graduates’ Publishing Successes

4 Sep

Me after you coverTime to catch up on some good news from the summer 🙂

In February, we reported that Lucie Brownlee, a graduate of the University of Gloucestershire Creative and Critical Writing MA, had sold her memoir, Me After You, to Virgin Books.  Well, it was launched over the summer and it’s every bit as funny, tragic, and beautiful as her prize winning blog, Wife After Death. For those who don’t know, Me After You recounts Lucie’s life after the loss of her beloved husband, Mark, who died, aged just 37, as they were making love. The BBC’s Andrew Marr has described the book as ‘raw, riveting and beautifully written…much recommended’, and it’s already among Waterstone’s hundred best selling non-fiction titles. You can get a copy online here or from any good bookshop (probably from some pretty bad bookshops too). It’s great!

Congratulations are also due to poet Adam Magee, who has recently graduated from our Creative Writing BA.  Adam has had success with his poetry over the summer. First, he had two poems published in Domestic Cherry anthology – his poems are brilliantly titled ‘Dear Diary I Hate Him More Than Sh*t-suit Stigmata’ and ‘Dream I am the Rake’. And yesterday his poem, ‘How to Bake Sooterkins’ was published by Ink, Sweat & Tears. You can read it online here.

And the fiction writers aren’t to be left out. Another graduate from our BA, Matthew Paul, has had success with two stories over the summer. Matthew, who’s now studying on our Creative and Critical Writing MA, has had a story accepted for the forthcoming Pea River Journaland his flash fiction piece ‘Scratch the Skin Clean’ is available to read online from Luna Luna.

Congratulations to all three authors! Remember, we always want to hear what our alumni are up to, so drop us a line at hi@newwriting.org

Tyler’s top choice again: UoG lecturer wins people’s choice award for Wales Book of the Year

16 Jul

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACreative Writing course leader Tyler Keevil has won the People’s Choice category of the 2014 Wales Book of the Year Awards for his acclaimed second novel, The Drive (Myriad). A fast-paced and hilarious contemporary odyssey, The Drive is an epic road novel, but it’s also a reflection on narrative and the act of story telling.

At the prize ceremony on July 10th, Jasper Rees said, ‘I was the first to tell the other judges they had to read The Drive. I haven’t been as excited about reading a new writer since I read DBC Pierre’s Vernon God Little.’The Drive Cover

Myriad’s Senior Fiction Editor Vicky Blunden told Booktrade.info: ‘We are incredibly proud of Tyler and his extraordinary wild ride of a novel, The Drive. It is that rare and special blend of powerful storytelling, adventure, pure comedy and all the romance of lost love and life on the road – a true page-turner. Tyler is a literary star in the making, and he richly deserves the honour of this award.’

Double Publishing Success for UoG Creative Writing Student

5 Mar

Meg & TateA big congratulations are due to 3rd year Creative Writing student Meg Paul, who has had two new publications in the last two weeks (in addition to her contribution to Fire!).  First, her story ‘Seeing Without Sight’ was selected by Charlotte Melor for inclusion on her website, Through Scarlett’s Eyes.  Ms. Melor said of the piece, ‘It’s a great resource for parents who want a young adult’s view of the world with VI eyes… thought provoking, candid, and beautifully written, it’s a must read for all parents who want to increase their depth of understanding.’  The story is available to read in its entirety here.

Myths of The Near Future 2Only a week later, NAWE released the latest edition of its e-magazine Myths of the Near Future, which includes another of Meg’s stories.  Her contribution, ‘Icon,’ is a satirical look at our increasing reliance on technology.  The issue is entitled ‘Young Blood’ and is available to download from Amazon here.  The usual cover price is £1.85, but as a promotional push, it’s free for the first few days – so snap up a complimentary copy while you can!

Graduate Lucie Brownlee signs global book deal with Virgin Books

26 Feb

Congratulations to University of Gloucestershire graduate Lucie Brownlee who has recently signed a major book deal to publish her memoir, Me After You. In 2012 she tragically lost her husband and courageously began recording her experiences in her award-winning blog, Wife After Death. Often heart-breaking, Wife After Death also sparkles with humour and intelligence and won Best Personal Blog in the Blog North Awards. Now it’s the inspiration for Lucie’s memoir, Me After You.

Lucie BrownleeMe After You charts Lucie’s first two years of widowhood. Kate Moore, Editorial Director of Virgin Books, said she was ‘blown away’ by the book proposal, while Lucie’s literary agent, Jemima Hunt (also a graduate of the University of Gloucestershire Creative Writing MA), told The Bookseller she was ‘struck by the raw honesty, humour and perfect sense of timing.’

Lucie holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire, and while studying at UoG her story ‘T-Shirt Weather’ was shortlisted for The Guardian Short Story Prize. She currently runs creative writing classes for young authors and is in the early stages of a PhD. She has published many articles, including for The Independent.

Me After You will be published in July 2014.

The Carnival Leaves Town…

25 Feb

Carnival with borderThe submission window for Carnival is now officially closed. We would like to thank everyone who contributed. Your submissions have demonstrated exceptional courage and creative flare, reminiscent of The Great Coney Island Water Carnival: ‘Remarkable head-foremost dives from enormous heights into shallow depths of water, together with thrilling and daring aquatic and sub-aqueous feats of every description…’

We are currently reviewing your pieces with great zeal and will be in contact soon. We regret that we’re unable to publish every submission, and anything that reached us after the deadline cannot be considered.

Thank you again, one and all.  We’re already hard at work crafting your anthology.

Fire Anthology, launch and after-party, on Thu 27th February

11 Feb

Display copies of the Fire anthologyThe venue for our after-partyYou are cordially invited to the launch of the University of Gloucestershire’s brilliant new anthology of Creative Writing, Fire. Join us on Thursday 27th for a wine reception at FCH Campus, with readings from the book and refreshments, from 7:15-9:15pm. Then we’ll be celebrating at the Night Garden at the Feathered Fish (pictured), a few minutes walk from FCH, from 9:30 until midnight. Everyone’s welcome at both events – students and alumni, their friends and relatives, and members of the public. There’s no need to book with us in advance, but to help us estimate numbers, we’d be grateful if those who plan to attend could indicate so on the Facebook event page. There’s a voluntary dress code of smart/ smart casual, so feel free to dress to impress. See you there!

Thursday 27th February, TC001 & TC002A at FCH Campus, from 7:15pm


Fire: New Writing II – UoG Creative Writing anthology coming soon

10 Jan

We’ve just received a preview copy of Fire from the printers, and it’s looking beautiful. The new anthology of Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire features prose and poetry from thirty-seven students and graduates. From the experimental to the classic, from the shocking to the heartwarming, it’s a book that contains something for everyone. We’re exceedingly grateful to two professional artists – both university alumni – who gave up their time to help with the cover: the image was kindly donated by the very talented Greg Farndon, while the design was created by the brilliant Sean Strong. We’ll soon be announcing a date for the launch (which will be some time in February), and please check this blog for details of how to purchase the anthology online.


UoG Creative Writing: Another student publishing success

13 Dec
Hugh Thomas

Hugh Thomas

Congratulations to Hugh Thomas who this year graduated from the Creative Writing BA at the University of Gloucestershire; on Wednesday, Hugh’s article on Gustaf Håkansson – ‘the ‘steel grandpa’ who won a 1,000-mile bicycle race’ – was published by The Guardian. As one commenter wrote online, ‘what a delightful article, never heard of the chap or his achievement, imeasurably improved my day :)’

 If you’d like to read more of Hugh’s work, check out Lebensraum – a short story now available for free on Kindle. It’s a disturbing, darkly comic satire that just might make you want to kill your parents. If you enjoy it, be sure to leave a review.

Hugh’s work is also set to feature in Fire – the new University of Gloucestershire anthology of Creative Writing, which will be launched early in 2014.

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!

Making maps and telling tales

14 Sep

The University of Gloucestershire writer in residence, Anna Lawrence Pietroni, has been busy continuing her psychogeographical explorations of place. Anna says she’s ‘exploring the idea that we’re all strangers to each other’s experience of place. While we might move through exactly the same physical space we have entirely different personal histories, motivations and needs that shape our experience of it. Give us the same coordinates, we each navigate with a completely different mental map.’

Ruby's SpoonAs part of her project, Anna’s shared a range of brilliant ideas and resources on her writer in residence blog. If you’re returning to uni and living in a new area, or moving to Cheltenham for the first time, you’ll probably have some exploring to do. You might be content to work out the quickest routes from home to uni, from uni to the pub, from the pub to the supermarket, and from the supermarket back to your home. But if you’re looking for a more imaginative way to explore your local community, all the resources you need are available here: pick an exercise, step off the prescribed path, and see what you find.

Anna Lawrence Pietroni is a novelist and creative writing tutor. Her first novel, Ruby’s Spoon, set in a fictional Black Country town in 1933, was published by Chatto & Windus in 2010 to critical acclaim in both the UK and the US.