Monday, 23 September 2013

‘In Praise of Paving’

Kelly Mercer, a former student of Chester’s English Department, has just informed us that she’s done a recording for her friend’s SoundCloud site of Dr Ashley Chantler’s short poem ‘In Praise of Paving’, from his collection of the same name. To hear Kelly reading the poem:

Treading the Boards at Chester


As a first-year Creative Writing and Drama student, I was immediately on the alert, on starting at Chester University, for any drama productions that I could get involved with. It was amazing to find that, within the very first term, there would be auditions for Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Myself and two friends, who also studied in the English and Drama departments, put our names down right away, as we each shared an interest in Shakespeare. We then convinced a fellow English student to audition as well. We never looked back. All four of us were successful in securing the roles we wanted, and every rehearsal was a welcome break from academic study. We met some excellent people, not only from our own year but from those above us. I was also involved in a separate production with the University of Chester Drama Society, and often had to juggle my studies with two lots of rehearsals. It was tough, though ultimately rewarding!

When we heard that the director, English lecturer Dr Graham Atkin (whom we all came to love), was going to be putting on another Shakespeare play in the next academic year, myself and the two aforementioned friends signed up to be part of it once again. Romeo and Juliet was an equally enjoyable experience, and we met even more brilliant people who became very close friends. In my second year, I was also chosen for the role of Vice President of the Drama Society, so I found that not only did I have my academic commitments but those of co-running a society, and rehearsing for R&J. Stressful though it became, I wouldn’t change a thing: it was all worth it in the end, and I’m proud of everyone who was involved.

Billy Woolrich

BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Drama, University of Chester (2010–2013)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Writing and Publishing Flash Fiction

Dr Peter Blair’s article on flash fiction has recently been published in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2014 (Bloomsbury, 2013). A regular bestseller, the Yearbook is an indispensable guide to the publishing and media industries for writers of fiction and non-fiction, poets, playwrights, journalists, and commercial artists. Peter’s article includes advice on writing flashes, guidance on where and how to get them published, and recommendations for further reading.

Peter teaches the BA Creative Writing module ‘An Introduction to Publishing and Editing’ and is co-editor, with Dr Ashley Chanter, of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. For information about the BA Creative Writing, click the link on the right. For information about Flash, visit:

To find out more about the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2014, go to


Monday, 16 September 2013


Stories of exactly 100 words are known as ‘drabbles’:

Dr Ashley Chantler recently had his drabble ‘A Day in the Life of Steve’ published by 100 Word Story. You can read it at:

Ashley teaches drabbles on his BA Creative Writing module ‘Flash Fiction’. For information about the BA, click the link on the right.

Guest Speakers at the University of Chester

The BA Creative Writing website has a new page that lists the guest speakers who have visited the Department of English in previous years: novelists, poets, short-story and children’s authors, playwrights, script writers, biographers, travel writers, and editors. Go to: