Saturday, 5 December 2009


Rose Cook's poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Devon and has appeared in many magazines but Taking Flight from Oversteps Books is her first full length collection. Rose co-presented the Totnes poetry performance platform One Night Stanza with Matt Harvey. Good luck with the new book, Rose. Take a look at her site here.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


The Language Club will hold their Xmas meeting at Plymouth Arts Centre on Saturday 5th December, 7.30 to 10pm. There will be the usual open mic and the special guest for December is Plymouth poet Steve Spence, one of the Language Club organisers. Steve's poetry and reviews have appeared in various magazines including Great Works, Stride, Tears in the Fence and The Rialto. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Plymouth in 2007; his first poetry collection will be published by Shearsman in 2010.
     The Language Club is a friendly and tolerant writers performance platform that meets regularly at Plymouth Arts Centre. Readers and musicians and audience are all welcome. Entry is £5, £3 concessions, your first glass of wine is free, xmas meeting with mince pies.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Catching up with recent publications by performance poet and MA Creative Writing graduate Rose Cook, I found this pamphlet Everyday Festival from HappenStance press, and discovered that Rose has recently launched her first full-length collection of poetry Taking Flight published by Oversteps Books. Rose Cook co-founded and co-presented the Devon poetry and performance forum One Night Stanza. She is one of the Apples and Snakes poets. Find Rose Cook's site here.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


The third issue of the literary journal Short Fiction was launched on wednesday 11 November with a reading by Irish author Mike McCormack to a good crowd at the Roland Levinsky Building in Plymouth. The third issue of Short Fiction features new stories from award winning writers such as Brad Watson, Melanie Rae Thon and Andrew Cowan and also New Writers Competition Winner Peter Deadman. To order a copy see the Short FICTION website.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


The Plymouth 2009 MA Degree show will take place from the 2nd to the 5th November in the Roland Levinsky Building.

Graduating MA Creative Writing students will be taking part with 20 minute readings of their work, either at Crosspoint (the middle of the ground floor) or in the Peninsula Arts Gallery.

2 November 12-1pm
Abi Alao and Philippa de Burlet

3 November 12-1pm
Hana Sklenkova and Sam Farley

4 November 12-1.30pm
Carolyn Eddy, Bill Eaton and Jean Grimsey

MA Fine Artists and others will have their work showing in the Levinsky Building through the week, so do make a point of looking around.

These events are free and open to everyone.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Screenwriter Tina Pepler has been appointed Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at the University from October 2009. Tina was born in Baghdad and during her childhood lived in the Middle East, USA and France. She originally established her reputation as a leading radio dramatist but now works mainly in TV and film. Recent TV credits include the drama documentary, The Princes in the Tower (RDF for Channel 4) and three scripts co-written with Julian Fellowes for the series A Most Mysterious Murder (Touchpaper / BBC1): The Case of Charles Bravo (2004), The Case of George Harry Storrs (September 2005) and The Case of the Earl of Erroll (December 2005). Her latest radio broadcasts include Aftershock (BBC Radio 4, August 2009) a drama documentary ten years on from the Istanbul earthquake, and The Presence (BBC Radio 4, March 2009), a dramatisation of Dannie Abse's moving memoir following the death of his wife Joan. She has several film and TV projects in development.
     The RLF fellowship is established to help the whole University community to develop their writing by providing access to confidential guidance and advice from a professional writer. Tina Pepler will be available on campus two days a week in term time and can be contacted via Learning Development.
     A special Royal Literary Fund reception has been arranged for Monday 19 October, 6pm, in the Sherwell Centre at the University. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Wendy Purcell will introduce new RLF fellow Tina Pepler and celebrate the work of the first RLF fellow, novelist Babs Horton. There will be readings from both writers. The event is open to all, booking is essential, click here for the link to book your place.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Congratulations! to MA Creative Writing graduate Andrew Nightingale who was recently awarded a three year full time research studentship to work on a PhD in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, beginning in 2010. Andrew's latest poetry collection is The Big Wheel published by Oversteps Books in 2009. I know that he was working in Italy for a while after finishing his MA, and lately I've found his work published online in Great Works, The Argotist, HQ, Poetry Salzburg, and Nth Position. I understand that his more recent poetry is forthcoming from The Text and Neon Highway

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Shane Wolfland, who publishes as S. V. Wolfland, must be among the most enterprising and productive graduates of the Plymouth MA Creative Writing programme. Shane runs the Spoken/Written Bulletin SW, a regional e-newsletter serving spoken and written word artists, promoters and venues in the South West. The free newsletter gives information on performance opportunities, magazines seeking contributions, travel writing, competitions, courses, workshops within the South West region and beyond. Shane is a member of the Cartwheels Collective which supplies all kinds of arts events, from storytelling by performance duo Widsith and Deor, to stand-up philosophy, poetry performance, willow art, and workshops in puppetry, musical instrument making, mixing music and sound, and many various kinds of arts activity. 
    Cartwheels Collective has published her poetry including The Book of Contentions, The Book of Indictments and The Book of Offences, and a children's fantasy novel Porlock the Warlock. All four books are available from the Cartwheels site here. Spoken/Written Bulletin SW was set up with the aid of a grant from Arts Council England, and Shane is currently seeking patrons and supporters for this useful writers' and spoken word artists' resource.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


The next guest reader at the Language Club, Plymouth Arts Centre, Looe Street, at 7.30pm on Saturday 3rd October, will be Giles Goodland, author of highly original poetry collections conceived as coherent books rather than arbitrary collections. His most recent books are What the Things Sang just published by Shearsman, and Capital, published by Salt in 2006. Giles works in Oxford as a lexicographer and lives in London. The Language Club is a tolerant and friendly performing writers' scene, a Plymouth open mic event with a bar. Musicians, poets and singers, and their friends are all welcome.

Monday, 24 August 2009


Gerard Donovan is an acclaimed Irish-born novelist and poet who has just been appointed Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Plymouth. Gerard's main UK publisher is Faber. He will be joining the Creative Writing programme in Autumn 2009. His career as a novelist took off when his debut novel Schopenhauer's Telescope was long-listed for the Man Booker prize in 2003. Since then he has published Doctor Salt (2005), Julius Winsome (2006) and Country of the Grand (2008). His 3 books of poetry are Columbus Rides Again (1992), Kings and Bicycles (1995) and The Lighthouse (2000). Gerard joins the English and Creative Writing team at Plymouth having recently been working in New York. Read more about Gerard Donovan in the Irish Times.
     Martin Goodman is leaving Plymouth for Hull, where he is taking up a chair in Creative Writing. Martin has made a terrific contribution to writing at Plymouth, and he is a much-loved teacher in English and Creative Writing.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


Among the new books from Shearsman of Exeter is The Honicknowle Book of the Dead, a first collection by Plymouth writer and Language Club regular Kenny Knight, the editor of the Plymouth magazine Tremblestone. Kenny has been working on this book for years and I have heard some of the poems at readings in Exeter and Plymouth, they are entertaining and unpretentious, zany and intelligent, definitely his own original and idiosyncratic voice. I recommend this collection as a necessary purchase. Kenny is an excellent poetry performer with a great sense of timing and very funny delivery, he ought to be more widely known. 

Friday, 12 June 2009


Here's the cover of Babs Horton's latest book published in Germany. Babs has been the Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at the University for two years and she has helped many writers develop their skills. I want to publicly thank Babs here for her really terrific contribution to writing at Plymouth, her tutorials with students from all parts of the University, the talk she gave for Peninsula Arts, the recent research seminar on writing a novel, and the contribution she made to the Beryl Cook exhibition catalogue. Babs lives close to the University and we know she will continue to keep in touch with the writing community in the future. Her main publisher is Simon and Schuster. We will have a new Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University in September 09.


Alexis Kirke and Hannah Silva have been awarded a collaborative commission to make new work for the Summer Sundae festival, held at De Montfort Hall and Gardens in Leicester. Alexis is a research student working on a University of Plymouth project in contemporary music and Hannah is an Exeter research student in drama who performs both poetry and dance. For more information on the Summer Sundae festival look here.
    Alexis is pictured here playing drums and Hannah at the beach.

Sunday, 31 May 2009


The Writers' Party on 26 May 09 was packed, we had to get extra chairs to seat everyone who came to the Roland Levinsky Building for drinks and live performance. There were four-minute readings with excellent stories and works-in-progress by Tom Vowler, Abi Aloa, Paul Southwood and Hana Sklenkova. Tony Jones read a chapter of his autobiography set in Wales, Jack Gardner read some of his aphorisms from his bestselling book Words Are Not Things (published by Foulsham) and we had poetry performances from Shane Wolfland, Steve Spence, Jean Grimsey and Gordon Read. 
    Ann Gray read a moving and often funny sequence from her new book At the Gate which is published by Headland. There was quite a bit of trade at the book table and Jack Gardner's new range of cards and mugs with his provocative slogans and aphorisms caused quite a stir. There were a range of books by Shane Wolfland, Ann Gray, Anthony Caleshu, Gordon Read and others.  I was really delighted with the turnout and the atmosphere, with all kinds of people attending and obviously enjoying the show. I've had lots of enthusiastic messages from people who were there and we'll try to make this a regular summer event for Plymouth writers.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Right now there's a free exhibition of Christopher Cook's graphites showing in the Peninsula Arts Gallery in the Roland Levinsky Building at the University. Christopher Cook makes extraordinary images using a suspension of graphite pigment on aluminium. His work incorporates landscape imagery and other elements but arranges them in imaginary compositions that have great poetic resonance. If you're coming to the Writers' Party at 6pm on Tuesday 26 May 2009, room 008 in the same building you might want to arrive early and see this stunning art show while you can.
    We have a full schedule of readers for the open mic, together with guest poet Ann Gray who will be reading from her new book At the Gate published by Headland.
    The Writers' Party is a free event hosted by the University and open to all. We particularly welcome students and visitors who want to find out about the Plymouth MA in Creative Writing. Wine and soft drinks will be served.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


We're organizing a celebration of writers associated with the Plymouth MA in Creative Writing: Tuesday 26 May 2009, 6-8pm, room 008 in the Roland Levinsky Building at the University of Plymouth. This will be a booked open mic event hosted by Plymouth staff. Opening the evening for us will be Ann Gray whose book At The Gate was recently published by the specialist poetry publisher Headland. Ann graduated from the programme three years ago. An award winning poet, she has been living and working in Cornwall and publishing poetry in journals internationally for some time.  
    Some of the current MA students will read from their work and our graduates are especially welcome to take part. Non-readers are equally welcome! Where appropriate, readers will be asked to say something about their writing career since graduating from Plymouth. We will have a book table where participants can show and sell their publications. 
    We would be glad to welcome any current Plymouth students or graduates who are interested in writing, and anyone in the region who would like to find out about the MA in Creative Writing at Plymouth.
    Last time we organized such an event we were over subscribed. So please contact if you would like to have a four-minute slot. There will be wine and soft drinks and time to just mingle.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Three photos from John Hall's recent exhibition Artifice and Candour at the Viewpoint Gallery, Plymouth College of Art. The photos show John Hall and Lee Harwood, John Hall and Peter Hughes, and some of the frames with texts designed for domestic display. Photos by Anthony Caleshu and John Hall. Copyright text works by John Hall, used by permission of the artist and poet, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Anthony Caleshu's latest book is Churchtown: the Tale of Suzy Delou and Faye Fiddle, a novella published in paperback by new publisher Roastbooks in their series 'great little reads'. It's a southern gothic tale of sexual jealousy and religious deception, of absent fathers, country and western music, epic hatred and small town feuding. Anthony says that Churchtown was written when he was a teaching fellow at the University of Alabama in the 90s. Roastbooks are located in Albert Embankment, London, and specialize in shorter fiction. See their 'great little reads' series here.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Artifice and Candour is a poet's exhibition by John Hall, currently writer in residence at Plymouth College of Art. He describes it as 'an exhibition that sees the look of letters as a part of the play of meaning, that responds to the way that printed words, far from being rendered obsolete in visual culture, are central to its means and displays'. See for yourself at the Viewpoint Gallery, Plymouth College of Art, Tavistock Place, Plymouth, PL4 8AT from Thursday 12 March to Saturday 21st March, admission free. The text artwork that heads this item is copyright John Hall 2009, and used by permission of the poet. 

Friday, 6 March 2009


A great opportunity for emerging writers to compete for a new prize and see their work printed in this journal edited by Anthony Caleshu and published by University of Plymouth Press. Get the details here.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Babs Horton's latest novel is coming out in Holland this spring. Recipes for Cherubs, published in paperback in the UK by Simon & Schuster in May 2008, is a mystery story with a 13 year old heroine, set in the 1960s at an old hotel on the Welsh coast. Dutch and German translations are in progress so far.
    Babs is the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University and she spends part of her time each week helping students with their writing. She sees students one to one and has helped many of them cope with essay crises and various kinds of writing block. A professional author with 4 novels published, Babs is in the second year of her fellowship at the University. See her author's page on the Simon and Schuster website. Copyright photo of Babs Horton used by permission of the author.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

THE LANGUAGE CLUB with Contemporary Music Preview

The Language Club is collaborating with the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival on a preview event Poetry in Performance at Plymouth Arts Centre, Saturday 7 February at 7.30pm. Guest readers: Simon Jenner and Norman Jope, with open mic and bar, tickets £5 and £3.
    Simon Jenner edits Eratica magazine. His latest poetry book About Bloody Time was published by Waterloo Press in 2007. Plymouth writer Norman Jope's The Book of Bells and Candles is also just published by Waterloo. Norman will be performing a contemporary music collaboration with Alexis Kirke.
    The Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival this year is themed for the Darwin 200 celebrations with special Darwin related commissions and performances. Composers, sound artists and writers in attendance will include: Michael Stimpson, Ian Pace, Maggini Quartet, Rebecca Stott, Karen Wimhurst, Eduardo R Miranda, John Matthias, Jane Grant, Nick Ryan, Miso Ensemble and Miguel Azguime, Sam Richards, Simon Ible, Ten Tors Orchestra, Roland Perrin. 

Friday, 9 January 2009


Tom Vowler is the latest in a cluster of MA Creative Writing graduates to be awarded an Arts Council grant. In Tom's case, £5000 to develop his writing and work on a novel by extending a short story 'Old Enough' that was originally written for an MA workshop. He's writing a blog about his progress with the project and hoping to interact with other writers at Old Enough Novel. Tom was an editor of Ink magazine.
    His stories have been published in the journals Brand, Words and Riptide. Last year he won first prize in the HappenStance short fiction competition.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


MA Creative Writing graduate Rupert M Loydell has had two poetry collections published by Shearsman Books of Exeter, the most recent is An Experiment in Navigation with a beautiful cover painting by the artist and poet. Jane Routh writes: 'More than ever, Rupert Loydell's new book reminds me that he is a painter. I don't mean that his writing is primarily visual, but that he rejoices in discovering what his medium is capable of . . . Echoes, alphabets, series and collage are part of the sense of play and pleasure with which Rupert Loydell makes order from disorder. These are mixed media poems. They are serious and they are full of games. Running through them all is a quiet and open-hearted voice.' 
    Rupert is editor of Stride magazine, a wide ranging online compendium of new writing and reviews, worth checking for both. He is Lecturer in English with Creative Writing at University College Falmouth and lives in Cornwall.