Monday, 13 November 2017

Uni at the Fest: Peter Blair on Flash Fiction

This Friday (17th November) at 6pm, Peter Blair will be giving a talk on flash fiction at Storyhouse, as part of the Chester Literature Festival.
Every year, Chester Literature Festival welcomes lecturers from the University of Chester who share their expertise in a series of popular free talks.

This illustrated talk will introduce the meteoric rise of the contemporary flash, its many varieties, and the myriad names by which it is known. It will consider definitions of flash fiction, including identification by word count and formal characteristics. And it will explore humorous examples to illuminate how little stories can resonate long after their last words.

The event is free, but you’ll need to book online:

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Poet Carole Coates Runs Seminar with University of Chester Creative Writing Students

Students on the course Poetry: Other Voices, Other Forms were treated to a seminar with poet and workshop leader Carole Coates. 

Carole asked the students about their own creative work and interests, read from her books of narrative poetry, Jacob and Swallowing Stones, discussed the techniques used in the poems, took a number of questions, led the students through a series of writing exercises, and gave out some top tips for writing narrative poetry. These tips included: 

1. You can find material for writing narrative poetry anywhere and everywhere, for example in history, myths, films, real stories and even TV series.  Take ideas from wherever you can.

2. Convey emotions, for example loss, through showing the emotion in concrete detail rather than stating it.

3. Use short lines to emphasise details.

4. Use space on the page to create shapes in the text to reflect and evoke emotion and atmosphere, if this will enhance the reader experience.

5. For poetry which tells a story from another time, be prepared to do the research to find out in concrete detail what life was like at that time.

6. Consider the best narrative point of view for your character, for example the ‘restricted omniscient’ point of view in Jacob.

7. Making lists can be useful for creating material to draw upon for your poem.

8. Use the narrative poem to explore other voices than your own. This can be quite liberating.

9. Use your poem to show a story through flashes of light. You do not need to bother with all the descriptions of a novel, but the detail you do use should have a high degree of concentration and emotional charge.

Carole Coates is the author of four collections, all published by Shoestring. The last two – Swallowing Stones, 2012, and Jacob, 2016 are narrative poems. Jacob has been 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’. She also has a pamphlet Crazy Days ( Wayleave 2014 ) and has been published regularly in the literary press. Her poem ‘Daughters’ is in The Forward Book of Poetry 2006 and she has been placed in major competitions such as The Peterloo and the Arvon. She has just won second prize in The Mslexia Poetry Competition. You can find out more at .
The visit was organised by Dr Ian Seed.  
Photography: Jan Gibson    

Friday, 27 October 2017

University of Chester Creative Writing Student Launches New Magazine

Third-year Creative Writing, Literature and Politics student, Joshua Cialis, has launched Foxtrot Uniform, a new poetry and prose magazine, inspired by the example of the Beat poets to publish writing which, as the editorial states, ‘forces us to question the way in which we live and write’. As Joshua goes on to say in his ‘Letter from the Editor’, ‘the publication of this magazine crosses form, crosses politics, and crosses the ideas of individual minds’.

Students Reece David Merrifield, Holly Royle and Jade Wolf join Joshua on the editorial board. 

To find out more, go to  

If you would like to submit  your poetry and prose, please email  

You can follow Foxtrot Uniform on Twitter @_FoxtrotUniform

Posted by Dr Ian Seed

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Creative Writing Lecturer's Story Included in The Best Small Fictions 2017

Programme Leader and Creative Writing Lecturer, Dr Ian Seed, is delighted that one of his short-short stories has been published in the international anthology The Best Small Fictions 2017, published by Braddock Avenue Books. The story was taken from Ian’s book, Identity Papers  (Shearsman, 2016).

The anthology includes Pamela Painter, Brian Doyle, Frankie McMillan, Karen Brennan, Stuart Dybek, Robert Scotellaro, and W. Todd Kaneko, and spotlights Joy Williams and SmokeLong Quarterly.

Further details can be found here and here.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Creative Writing Lecturer wins Above and Beyond Award in the Category of 'Most Helpful Feedback'.

Programme Leader and Creative Writing Lecturer, Dr Ian Seed, is delighted to receive the Above and Beyond Award  for ‘Most Helpful Feedback’.

Student comments included: ‘Ian gives very helpful, honest feedback, being both positive and critical in his comments. His feedback has helped me and other students to improve our work dramatically.’
The Above and Beyond Awards allow ‘students to applaud those that have made their university experience the best it can be’ (Ethan Wade, Vice President of Student Union Activities).

Monday, 15 May 2017

Pandora's Box Launch May 2017

With the sunlight streaming in through the windows, Pandora’s Box 2017, featuring some of the best creative writing by students and staff, was launched in front of a live audience. The evening was brilliantly organised by the three student editors Cal Buckley, Jonathan Hay,  and Liz Milne.
This year, thanks to an award from the NSS (National Student Survey), we were able to announce well-deserved prizes in the form of book tokens to students from the Department of English. 
The winners are as follows:
Pandora’s Box Poetry Competition
First Prize: £150 to Courtney Thomas for ‘Little Tucker’
Second Prize: £100 to Sarah Kissack for ‘An Ode to Tinder’
Third Prize: £75 to Sheila Jones for ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’
Pandora’s Box Flash Fiction Competition
First Prize: £150 to Natalie Webster for ‘Old Dog, New Tricks’
Second Prize: £100 to Rebecca Metcalfe for ‘Manor Park’
Third Prize: £75 to Alex Robinson for ‘The Godfather’
Pandora’s Box authors
£10 prize to all student authors included in Pandora’s Box.
Many congratulations from the Pandora’s Box Editing Team!
For information about Pandora’s Box: 

For details about the English Department and the BA Creative Writing: 

Dr Ian Seed


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Creative Writing Lecturer's Translation Longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award 2017

The Thief of Talant, the first translation into English of Pierre Reverdy’s Le Voleur de Talan, has been longlisted for the prestigious Best Translated Book Award for Poetry 2017.

For further information, click here. 
Dr Ian Seed is delighted to be nominated for the BTBA. He believes that translation is one of the best ways to learn the craft of creative writing. It challenges us to consider the ways in which we can shape language for best effect.