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!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Visit to Chester by Prize-Winning Poet Andrew McMillan

On 15 April, Creative Writing students on the module Writing Poetry for Publication spent a seminar and workshop with poet Andrew McMillan (in centre of photo). Andrew was born in South Yorkshire in 1988; his debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win the Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for autumn 2015. In 2014 he received a substantial Northern Writers’ Award. He currently lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University and lives in Manchester.

The focus of the seminar was ‘routes to publication’. Andrew advised first becoming familiar with literary magazines, many of which can be found in the University of Chester’s library, such as The North, Poetry London and Shearsman. ‘Once you have found a magazine whose poetry you enjoy and which suits your style, read the submission guidelines carefully, then send off your poems.’ Andrew’s first published poem was in The North when he was still an undergraduate; his second was in the online journal Shadowtrain. Andrew believes that sending work to magazines is a better bet than entering competitions, and that your poem in a magazine will actually be read by people who care about poetry. If you are very lucky, your work may even be selected from the magazine for an anthology. No book publisher is likely to consider your poems unless you have first had your work published in literary magazines. Andrew advised not to worry about rejections (he says he could fill a suitcase with all the rejections he has had), to be persistent, and to make your writing the most important thing in the world when you are doing it.

Andrew then went on to take questions, read from his collection physical, talk about the nature of ‘confessional poetry’, and finally got us all writing a confessional poem of our own.

The visit was organised by Dr Ian Seed.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Peter Blair - Runner-up in Bath Flash Fiction Award

‘Shadowtrain’ by Peter Blair, Senior Lecturer in English, was a ‘commended’ runner-up in the Bath Flash Fiction Award. You can read the story and an interview with Peter by clicking on the following links:

Monday, 21 March 2016

Dr Ian Seed on BBC Radio 3

Last Friday, Ian Seed was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, where he discussed prose poetry and read from his latest collection, Identity Papers. 

Ian’s contribution was part of a wider discussion around the changing representation of new towns in film, music, history and literature. 

The programme can be heard here: