Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Cheshire Prize for Poetry 2016 Awards Evening

The Cheshire Prize for Poetry 2016 Awards evening was hosted by the Chair of the Panel of Judges, Dr Ian Seed, on Tuesday 22 November. 

Talks were given by poet and radio broadcaster, Ian McMillan, and by the High Sherriff of Chester, Mrs Kathy Cowell OBE. 

The first prize of £2,000 was presented to Cheryl Pearson, from Levenshulme, Manchester, for her poem The Cartographer’s Daughter. 

Three runners-up were also announced and each received £250. They were: Helen Kay, from Nantwich, for her poem Dad: Latin at the Village School, 1969; Joy Winkler from Macclesfield, who wrote Shakkei - Borrowed Scenery and John Paul Davies, from County Meath in Ireland, for his poem The Darkroom. 

As well as cash prizes, the winning entries and a selection of other submissions will be included in an anthology produced by the University of Chester Press next spring.

Friday, 18 November 2016

First Open-Mic Night of 2016-17

The first open-mic night for the year 2016-17 was held on Wednesday, November 16.  Students and tutors read out their poems, scripts, stories, flashes, and monologues, and there was even a bi-lingual reading of some Italian poetry.

Some fun writing and performance competitions were held, with a number of prizes being awarded. The winner of the top prize – a £30 book token – was student Bjorn Ephgrave.

A healthy amount of red wine was drunk and a good time was had by all! 

The organisers of the evening were the three student editors of Pandora’s Box: Cal Buckley, Jonathan Hay and Liz Milne.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A Seminar with Poet Carole Coates

On October 26th, Creative Writing students on the course Poetry: Other Voices, Other Forms were treated to a seminar and workshop on narrative poetry with Carole Coates. Carole has published four full-length collections of poetry, the latest of which is a novel in verse, Jacob (Shoestring Press, 2016), described by Carol Ann Duffy as ‘an extraordinarily riveting narrative poem on the pain of childhood and its long reach, written with forensic care and heart-stopping empathy.’ 

Carole read from two of her collections, took questions from the students, and set a number of writing exercises. Key points included: ‘Don’t write what you know. Write want you want to find out about’; ‘with poetry you can tell a story by flashes of lightening – you don’t have to spell everything out as you would with a novel’; ‘if you are writing a narrative poem, get inside the head of your character’; ‘don’t be afraid to fictionalise to make your poem more interesting’; and ‘spend lots of time drafting’.

 The visit was organised by Dr Ian Seed.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Launch of Patches of Light: Short Stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2015

The launch of Patches of Light: Short Stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature was held at the University of Chester’s Queen’s Park campus on July 6. Authors were presented with a copy of the anthology by the High Sheriff of Chester, Kathy Cowell OBE DL. Selections from the stories were read out to an audience.

The editor, Dr Ian Seed, said that the stories of this collection ‘seek to reflect and explore the hopes, dreams, joys, fears and frailties that are common to us all, but which are revealed differently in each life. They may offer us only glimpses, but each glimpse will leave us changed in some way. Like shifting patches of light on water, they invite us to stop and look, to linger for a brief space of time, to take away something we felt we always knew, but didn’t know that we knew before.’

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

London Reading by Lecturer Dr Ian Seed

Ian Seed will be taking part in a poetry reading with Helen Mitsios, Christopher Reid and Kit Wright on 2nd July, at The Room in Tottenham Hale, London. More information about the event can be found here:

Monday, 6 June 2016

Simon Armitage, 'Putting Poetry in its Place'

The ninth talk in the Professor Glyn Turton Lecture series, organized by the Department of English, University of Chester, was delivered by one of Britain’s most distinguished writers, Simon Armitage, Professor of Poetry at Oxford University and the University of Sheffield.

In a wide-ranging, thought-provoking, and thoroughly engaging lecture titled ‘Putting Poetry in its Place’, Armitage considered the importance and pleasure of specific settings (sometimes named places) in poems by canonical and aspiring writers. He drew on his reading of various British and Irish poets, and his experience of workshopping students’ writing. Poets (and poems) discussed included Ted Hughes (‘Full Moon and Little Frieda’), Seamus Hughes (‘A Constable Calls’), James Fenton (‘Tiananmen’), Paul Muldoon (‘Duffy’s Circus’), Edward Thomas (‘Adlestrop’), and Douglas Dunn (‘On Roofs of Terry Street’).

Armitage concluded with Thom Gunn’s ‘Epitaph for Anton Schmidt’, which ends:

I see him in the Polish snow,
His muddy wrappings small protection,
Breathing the cold air of his freedom
And treading a distinct direction.

The lecture trod its own ‘distinct direction’, based on Armitage’s belief in the significance of place in poetry and the place poetry can have in our lives.

After the lecture, Armitage signed copies of his books, including his latest, a translation of the Middle English poem Pearl.

Armitage was introduced by Professor Turton, in whose honour the lecture series was founded in 2010. For information about the series, go to:

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pandora's Box launched at May open-mic night

Pandora’s Box, with its selection of the year’s best creative writing by students and staff at the University of Chester, was launched on the evening of May 9. As well as a reading of poems and flash fiction from the magazine, songs were sung, monologues performed, and prizes awarded. The evening’s events were organised and hosted by the two student editors Larissa Aziz and Edward Little. A fine time was had by all!