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.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Creative Writing Students Get Writing and Publishing Tips from Prize-Winning Poet, William Stephenson

Creative Writing students on the Writing Poetry for Publication module were treated to a seminar with prize-winning poet, William Stephenson.

William told the story of his own road to publication through poetry competitions, literary magazines and pamphlets. He read from his collections and took questions from the students, before going on to give a number of top tips:

  •          magazines are a good place to start: do your research first (there is an excellent selection of magazines in the University of Chester library), and then send out your best work to those magazines which are most suitable to your style of writing, making sure that you read the magazine’s submission guidelines carefully;
  •          keep track of the places where you send your work with a table or spreadsheet;
  •         expect a ratio of several rejections for every acceptance – do not be discouraged by rejections: persist;
  •          in terms of putting together a collection, get feedback from your peers, use your best poems, then decide on an order linked to theme;
  •          when it comes to writing be adventurous with language – you must go beyond the merely ‘poetic’;
  •         don’t be afraid to make use of other kinds of language, such as scientific and technical terminology, which reflects the world we live in;
  •          internal rhyme and half-rhyme can help build tension and momentum, and can be subtly more effective than end-rhyme;
  •          don’t be afraid of writing garbage; you may have to write plenty of this in order to eventually find a voice which is original and interesting (this is better than trying to be ‘original’ for the sake of it);

William’s poems have appeared in Envoi, Iota, Magma, Orbis, The North and The Rialto.  His first collection Travellers and Avatars was shortlisted for the Live Canon First Collection Prize and will appear in 2017.  His pamphlets are Rain Dancers in the Data Cloud (Templar, 2012) and Source Code (Ravenglass, 2013).

The seminar was organised by Dr Ian Seed.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Dr Ashley Chantler and Dr Peter Blair to give talk at the Bath Flash Fiction Festival

As editors of  Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine, Ashley and Peter will be giving a talk and Q&A session at this year's Flash Fiction Festival, giving tips on how to submit your Flashes.
This will be at the first literary festival in the UK entirely devoted to Flash Fiction and welcomes novice and experienced writers who want to learn more about flash fiction.
Happening on the weekend of National Flash Fiction Day UK 2017, the first festival will be taking place in Bath, at the New Oriel Hall.  The programme runs from Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th of June, and more information can be found on the Festival website here:

Friday, 17 February 2017

Creative Writing Students Enjoy Seminars with Visiting Poet Jeremy Over

Creative Writing students on the courses Poetry: Other Voices, Other Forms and Writing Poetry for Publication enjoyed two workshops with poet Jeremy Over.
Jeremy ran a series of weird and wonderful writing exercises based on listening to music and use of collage, before talking about his own work and taking questions from the students.
Some comments and top tips offered by Jeremy for writing poetry: ‘Don’t be afraid to veer off into strange territory’; ‘play with other voices besides your own;’ ‘go with the strengths of your writing, but be prepared to experiment with ways of writing you do not feel so comfortable with’; ‘have fun with chipping away at the marble of your writing and seeing your poems take shape as you redraft them’; ‘remember there’s more than one way of coming to a poem’; and ‘play around and distract yourself so that different, unexpected things can creep into your poems’.
When asked whether he preferred composing with a pen or on the computer, Jeremy replied that he worked best when writing first with a pencil. ‘This feels less final and so allows for more open-mindedness to revision, rather than being satisfied with a poem simply because it looks good when typed up.’
Jeremy Over has published two collections of poetry, both with Carcanet: A Little Bit of Bread and No Cheese (2001) and Deceiving Wild Creatures (2009). A third collection is forthcoming in 2018.
The visits were organised by Dr Ian Seed.

'Crafting Flash Fiction' Workshop

Drs Peter Blair and Ashley Chantler gave a ‘Crafting Flash Fiction’ workshop for The Friends of the Chester Literature Festival at The Little Theatre on 16 February 2017.
They spoke briefly about their work for the International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), read out an exemplary flash (‘Tracks’, by David Swann), a ‘flash flop’ (by Anon) and their ‘Dos and Don’ts’, then set several exercises:
  • Write the opening of a flash that hooks the reader.
  • Write an interesting description of a character.
  • Write a sentence about a setting that intrigues the reader.
  • Write a drabble (a flash that is exactly 100 words) that perhaps draws on the first three exercises.
Peter and Ashley were very impressed with the writing, especially the pieces that focused on small details.
For information about The Little Theatre:

New Creative Writing Posted on Pandora's Inbox

New poems by BA Creative Writing student Sarah Kissack and new flashes by students Rebecca Metcalfe and Bjorn Ephgrave are now available at Pandora’s Inbox.

Pandora’s Inbox is the online home of Pandora’s Box. It publishes students’ and staff’s creative writing throughout the academic year. The best writing from the Inbox is selected for publication in the A5 magazine Pandora’s Box.

The Inbox and Box have published a wide range of poems, flashes and short stories. Several of the student authors have gone on to do the English Department’s MA Creative Writing, and to publish their work elsewhere.

Friday, 3 February 2017

New poem published by former Creative Writing student, Jake Campbell

Former University of Chester Creative Writing student Jake Campbell has a new poem in the online magazine MISO, edited by Caroline Jones. To read Jake’s poem and other creative writing of exceptionally high quality, go to
Jake’s latest pamphlet, The Coast Will Wait Behind You, was published by Art Editions North in 2015.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Another Great Open-Mic Night at Chester University


The English Department had another thoroughly enjoyable open-mic night, on 30 January, hosted brilliantly by BA students and Pandora’s Box editors Liz Milne, Jonathan Hay and Cal Buckley.

A wide range of poems and flash fictions were read out: comical, absurd, dark, weird, political, satirical, tender, heartfelt, and thought-provoking. Donald Trump and certain men would have been squirming in their seats. 

A number of prizes were awarded: Jordan Fleming won for the best overall performance; Natalie Webster won for the best impromptu poem or flash; and George Hill and Luke Cheadle won for the funniest piece. 

Thanks to Liz Milne for the photos. To see more, go to:

For information about Pandora’s Box:

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

Dr Ashley Chantler

Friday, 27 January 2017

A Seminar with Poet John Lindley

John Lindley, author of nine poetry collections, gave a talk to second-year Creative Writing students taking the module An Introduction to Publishing, run by Dr Peter Blair.  

John, who has been Cheshire Poet Laureate and Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year, shared his wealth of experience in getting poetry published and working as a writer in the community. 

You can read about John’s work on his blog:

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Flash fiction at Verbose

Drs Peter Blair and Ashley Chantler (above left and right) and author David Swann (middle) were ‘headliners’ at the Verbose ‘Live Literature’ night in Manchester on 23 January 2017.

Peter read a selection of flashes from Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Ashley read from his work-in-progress collection, and David chose a range from his chapbook Stronger Faster Shorter: Flash Fictions.

For more information about Flash:

If you are interested in Stronger Faster Shorter:

Verbose’s Facebook group is:

Friday, 6 January 2017

Literary Journal Edited by Former Creative Writing Student Caroline Jones

The literary journal MISO is edited by Caroline Jones. She founded the journal after graduating from her MA in Creative Writing, University of Chester in 2012. MISO was established in July 2013 as a platform to encourage creative writing students and graduates. The original journal was printed twice a year. MISO is now a carefully curated blog. You can contact MISO via or via twitter with any queries.
Recent work includes contributions by Rachel Allen, Libby Meredith, Dan Ryder, Sam Buchan-Watts and Martha Sprackland. Just posted on MISO is a flash essay, ‘Another Country’, by Creative Writing lecturer, Dr Ian Seed.