Tag Archives: Publications and Performances

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.

 

 

Miranda Walker’s New Version of the Secret Garden Is Officially Launched

15 Nov

UoG Creative Writing lecturer Miranda Walker recently launched her latest work: a new graphic-text version of The Secret Garden, created in collaboration with artist Zosia Dzierzawska.  Miranda’s colleagues, students, and many members of the public attended the launch at Waterstones in Cheltenham, where they were treated to a performed reading by actors from The Everyman and a Q&A session with Miranda.  The book is perfect for young readers and can be picked up at your local Waterstones or online, at the place we don’t name.  Here’s the official press release, which sums it up perfectly…

The Secret Garden as you have never seen it before…

When Mary goes to live with her uncle, she discovers a secret, locked garden.  Will she ever find the way in – and what other secrets does Misselthwaite Manor hold?

This stunning new graphic text adaptation, written by Miranda Walker, illustrated by Zosia Dzierzawska and published by Oxford University Press, is an exciting fresh take on the much-loved children’s classic.  

It is part of a unique new series of Project X graphic texts, which hold great appeal for today’s young readers.  Alongside, graphic texts are an effective way for children to achieve higher-level reading comprehension including inference, challenging vocabulary, critical thinking and visual literacy.

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!

Barberous Flash Fiction & much more at Lit Crawl 2016

6 Oct

lit-crawl-2016

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!

 

2016 End of Year Student Achievement Round-up

1 Jul

As we near the end of the academic year and look towards the summer, we at Team UoG wanted to catch up on a few notable student and alumni achievements that we may have missed in the whirlwind of the teaching semester.  First up, 3rd year graduate and UoG Alumni Maz Cope has won the runner up prize for the Media Trust Breaking into News 2016 Programme.  There were thousands of applicants and in the end it was whittled down to 10 finalists, 1 winner, and 1 runner up.  An interview with our lecturer Martin Randall formed part of Maz’s entry – you can check out a picture of Maz with fellow finalists below (second from right).

Maz Breaking Into News

Current students have also been busy.  Graduating 3rd year Amy Ford has had a story accepted in The Ghastling – a super-cool genre mag that specializes in classic horror and suspense.  Amy’s classmate Heather Cripps has also placed a story, ‘A Little Less Full and a Little More Empty’, with The Forge literary magazine.  Appropriately enough, Heather developed the story on our module HM6101: The Writing Business & Getting Published.  Finally, fellow 3rd year Reece McCormack had a major success in becoming a finalist for Glimmer Train’s short story award for new writers.  His dissertation project, ‘Something With Miles on It’ was selected for the prestigious accolade: Glimmer Train is one of North America’s most highly regarded professional outlets for short fiction.

Hopefully, these student successes will inspire upcoming students to aim for the same – and we look forward to announcing more achievements and accolades next year!

 

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.

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

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Cheltenham Poetry Festival Preview Featuring UoG Students!

14 Apr

Hot on the heels of a very successful Open Reading on Tuesday night, students from the UoG Creative Writing Programme will be taking part in a Cheltenham Poetry Festival Preview this Saturday, along with some established industry professionals.  It’s a packed day taking place at two venues, with lots to offer for all poetic tastes: check out the flyer below, and drop in to any or all of the events.  Our Team UoG poets feature in the 2 p.m. slot.  Hope to see you there!

Event

Creative Writing Society Open Reading Tuesday at Smokey Joe’s

10 Apr

This Tuesday the Creative Writing Society is hosting what promises to be a brilliant Open Reading.  It will be the last of the Semester (and thus the very last for some of our 3rd years – which is hard to believe!).  So come along to read your work, or just to listen and support the cohort.  The fun starts at 7.30 p.m. at Smokey Joe’s.  You can find out more via Facebook here.  Hope to see you there!

Smokeys12

48 Hours Until Reflections Submission Window Closes!

16 Mar

Calling Team UoG!  Reflections: New Writing V submissions window closes at midnight on Friday March 18th.  The submissions are pouring in now, and the editors are anticipating the final avalanche of quality work from UoG students.  If you’ve been taking out commas and putting them back again (as Oscar Wilde would say), then you’ll have to take a deep breath and let go of your masterpiece.  If you’re still struggling for inspiration, it’s time to shatter that writer’s block and have your breakthrough epiphany (if only epiphanies could be bought, borrowed, or stolen).  Either way, remember to follow the guidelines and ensure you meet that deadline.  The main thing is to get something in: we’re looking forward to reading your work and discovering what the course has produced this year.

Show, Don’t Tell Launch this Tuesday: An essential pre-Easter party!

4 Mar

8 CoverDon’t miss the last magazine launch of the year, with free copies of the magazine and student deals on food and drinks. It’s at Smokey Joe’s this Tuesday, and it’s going to be awesome, and it’s extra special because it’s the last magazine produced by Charl & Ash.

Charl and Ash have done amazing things with Show, Don’t Tell, and this is a chance to thank them for all their work while toasting the future of the magazine.

The evening will also feature a fun book swap. To take part, simply wrap up a book, write some keywords about it and bring it to the launch! You’ll get a ticket you can use to swap it for another book.

They’ll also be introducing the new editor of Show Don’t Tell and there will be some fun wordy games. It starts at 7:30, at Smokey Joe’s on 16 Bennington Street, on Tuesday 8th March.

See you there!

The Book Swap.jpg

Catching Up on Recent Student and Staff Achievements at UoG

17 Feb

As ever here at UoG, it’s been hard to keep track of our recent student and staff successes, so hopefully a quick blog post will remedy that.  First up, 2015 BA graduate Phil Bowne continues to establish himself as a young writer worth watching.  Phil appeared numerous times in our New Writing anthologies, received the prize for best undergraduate dissertation, and also won our Novel Writing Contest (judged by agent Becky Thomas) with his novel, Eva.  Last week, Phil was down in London to read at Waterstones Covent Garden as part of the Novel London event.  Phil put in a great showing, and even bothered to shave (which he never did for our lectures).  Here he is, delivering the goods:

Phil Reading

Spectral Realms 4Current students are having success as well; our multi-talented MA student, Olly Smith, writes mind-bending speculative fiction (including a piece in Compass: New Writing IV) and has had both short stories and poetry published in a wide range of journals and anthologies.  Most recently, he has placed two new poems in the latest edition of Spectral Realms, a journal published by Hippocampus Press.  You can check out the issue, and buy one on their website (if you feel like being spooked!).

 

In addition to these student successes, Senior Lecturer Tyler Keevil had some good news recently: his short story ‘The Herd’, which was first published in Dead North, has now been optioned for feature film adaptation by director Jeremy Ball.  Jeremy comes from a visual effects background, and has worked on some major studio pictures, including Jackie Chan’s Forbidden Kingdom, Zhang Yimou’s Flowers of War, and the Twilight Saga: Eclipse.  Recently his short film Frost debuted at TIFF and turned heads on the festival circuit, picking up kudos and awards.  Tyler and Jeremy are currently working on The Herd treatment; the film will be set in a frozen Arctic wasteland, and draws on the Wendigo legend and the zombie archetype.  It’s a long-term project, but in the meantime you can check out a clip from Jeremy’s short below, courtesy of Youtube…

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.

Compass Anthology Launch & 2015 UoG Novel Contest Results

12 Nov

2015-10-28 07.58.31It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks here at UoG, with a plethora (big word alert) of exciting events and happenings.  One of the biggest was the launch of the Compass anthology, the latest addition to the New Writing series showcasing the best work by students on our BA, MA, and PhD programmes.  The event on campus included launch promotions and readings by nine brave contributors, and the turnout was tremendous.  Afterwards a large portion of the audience trekked across Cheltenham for further fun, food, and drinks at The Swan pub.  The editorial team – MA students from last year’s HM7106 module – wanted to thank all those who supported the event, and helped make the night such a success.

Phil BowneCoinciding with the launch was the announcement of the results of the 2015 UoG Novel Writing Contest.  The selections were sent to us by literary agent Becky Thomas, now of Johnson & Alcock, who picked the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners.  In what was a very close competition, graduating student Meg Paul received 3rd prize; MA graduate Keely O’Shaughnessy earned 2nd prize, and the 1st prize went to graduating 3rd year Phil Bowne.  Each received a cash prize (£25, £50, and £100 respectively) and feedback from Becky regarding their novel entries.  A big congrats to our three winners, those who made the shortlist, and all the other entrants.

Next year’s anthology will be opening its editorial office soon, and the novel contest is an annual event so keep your eyes firmly fixed to this blog for news about the 2016 submission call in the spring.

One Week To Compass Launch!

20 Oct

A week today, on Tuesday October 27th, the UoG Writing Programme will be launching Compass: New Writing IV, the latest anthology in the New Writing series, featuring the best prose, poetry, and drama by students on our course.  So navigate your way to TC002A at 6.45 p.m. and join us for snacks and beverages.  We will then adjust course and move into the main lecture theatre (TC001) for readings, before announcing the results of the second annual UoG Novel Writing Contest.  For the after-party, our hardy adventurers will make an epic trek to The Swan – a venue on the far side of the little world called Cheltenham, where we’ve booked a private function room.  The night is going to be one for the record books, or log books, so get your gear together and join the expedition!

Compass Launch Poster 3

Show Don’t Tell Issue 6 Launch

5 Oct

Launch Poster 6For those who haven’t heard about it (and who hasn’t?!) Show Don’t Tell is the UoG Creative Writing society magazine, by the students and for the students.  Begun last year, it has become a barnstorming success, so we’re incredibly excited to announce the forthcoming release of Issue 6.  This special edition has a Freshers focus, and includes tips on the town, its bookshops, and the Lit Fest, as well as an interview with new UoG Creative Writing Lecturer, Dr. Lania Knight.  Come on out to join the celebrations at the launch tomorrow night, on Tuesday Oct. 6th.  Things start up at Smokey Joe’s at 7.30 p.m.  See you all there!

Team UoG Strikes Again

5 Oct

The other week Creative Writing Lecturer and BA Course Leader Tyler Keevil was down in London to read at Waterstones Picadilly for the most recent Word Factory short story salon.  He performed alongside, and was in conversation with, Diriye Osman, Toby Litt, and Carys Davies, recent winner of the Frank O’Connor Short Story Prize for her stunning collection, The Redemption of Galen Pike.  The readings and interview with host Cathy Gavin should be on WordFactory.tv shortly, so you’ll be able see Tyler hamming it up if you’re not sick of hearing him in your classes.

More importantly, on the same night Word Factory announced the winners of its Neil Gaiman-inspired short story competition, Fables For a Modern Word.  So imagine Tyler’s surprise when he looked out in the audience to see UoG MA student Rod Griffiths in the crowd, who had entered the contest and come to support the event.  Then, to both their delight, Rod’s piece, ‘A Ghost’s Story,’ was revealed as one of the winning entries.  The challenge?  To complete a fable based on Gaiman’s opening line: ‘Long ago, in the days when there were still fish in the oceans and cars on the roads, there lived a woman who was not afraid of governments…’  Rod’s winning piece will be published on the Word Factory website, and possibly in a forthcoming anthology; he also wins a year’s free entry to all forthcoming Word Factory events.  Below is a pic of Rod with judges Toby Litt and Cathy Gavin, and other winners from the night.

Word factory

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.