The Black Path free literary event, Wed 23 October.

Don’t forget that there will be a free reading of work from The Black Path by last year’s students on the MA Creative Writing course.

The reading will take place in MC0025, 12.00 – 1.00, Wednesday 23 October (2013). Work will include poems, flash fiction and extracts from longer pieces.

Everyone welcome.

The Black Path – MA students publish their first anthology.

Students on the 2012-2013 year of the MA in Creative Writing have published an impressive paperback anthology of their own work.

The Black Path 1 (a second collection is nearing completion) comprises poems, flash fiction, short stories and novel extracts written by the students during the course of their studies.

What’s special about the book is that the students took the publishing initiative themselves, building on what they had learned during the MA. All the writing, collation, editing, design, typesetting and marketing is student-driven. Overall Editor is Shirley Bell, already a well-published poet.

The Black Path 1 is 132 pages long and can be bought from Amazon at £6.58.

A reading by contributors to the anthology will take place in the University on Wednesday, 23 October, 12.00 – 1.00 in room MC0025. More details to follow.

Contributors: Shirley Bell, Cassandra Cash, Stephen Blessett, Laura Clipson, Tina Daley, Stewart Norvill, Muayyad Elwaheidi, Jennifer Fytelson, Joel Leverton, Ian Turner, Matt Ellis and Rosemary Temple.

Montaigne’s revenge: “the essayification of everything”.


It seems that, even in the proliferation of new forms of writing and communication before us, the essay has become a talisman of our times. What is behind our attraction to it? Is it the essay’s therapeutic properties? Because it brings miniature joys to its writer and its reader? Because it is small enough to fit in our pocket, portable like our own experiences?

Source: Opinionator.

Trout Fishing in America Shorty made it to the Moon.


At his best, Brautigan was “a connoisseur of the perfect moment”, with a talent for “coaxing something amusing from the mundane”. When the Apollo 17 astronauts discovered a small crater on the Moon, they named it Shorty after a character from Trout Fishing in America. One can conceive of no finer tribute to an authentic American lunatic.

Source: TLS.

Shirley’s ‘Jury Service’ story to be included in forthcoming anthology.


Congratulations to Shirley Bell, whose story, ‘Jury Service’, got an Honourable Mention in the recent Darker Times Fiction Competition. It will also be included in a forthcoming Darker Times Anthology.

More about Shirley on her blog.

Remix Culture and the Literary Mashup – Alluvium Journal.


2009 saw the release of the first mainstream literary mashup – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Graeme-Smith. This particular book has produced a prequel (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, published in 2010) and a sequel (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, published in 2011), effectively turning Austen’s classic into a commercialised franchise opportunity. All of this raises the question as to whether this particular genre of fiction can be classed as serious, or whether it is just another excuse to create a profit. Indeed, some sources have stated that ‘Quirk Books is planning to capitalise on the popularity of the genre’ (Flood par. 6). In this article, I am taking the term “literary mashup” to refer to a piece of fiction which has combined with a completely different literary genre to create a new narrative – essentially a hybrid text.

Jacob Murphy in Alluvium.

Also check out Kirby Ferguson’s video series, Everything Is A Remix.

Self-publishing and hybrid authors.


Joanna Penn, author and writer of the The Creative Penn writing and publishing advice website, spoke to a meeting of Women In Publishing recently about her experiences of self-publishing. Penn first self-published in 2008, a time when the Kindle was only available in the US and the infrastructure that we now take for granted wasn’t yet in place. Although her first book was a non-fiction title, she has since written three novels which have sold 60,000 copies, mostly in America.

Source: Forbes.

Flash fiction competition – closing date March 25.

Get your entries in for Bloomsbury’s Flash Fiction Challenge:

Can you write a story in 200 words or less?

To celebrate the continuing rise of the short story and following on from the huge success of last year’s competition, Writers & Artists andBloomsbury are delighted to announce another Flash Fiction challenge.

For this year’s competition, we’d simply like you to write a story of no more than 200 words based on the theme of ‘alienation’ and/or ‘the quest for belonging’.

And to tie in with this theme, we’ve asked Roshi Fernando, author of Homesick, to judge all of this year’s entries.

The lucky winner will receive not only a bundle of all our short story collections published from this year and 2012, but also two tickets to see George Saunders discussing his new collection Tenth of December.

Jon McGregor (IMPAC Award-winning author of Even the Dogs and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things) will be chairing the event, which takes place on Wednesday 29 May.

Info here.


The B S Johnson Journal.


BSJ is a new peer-reviewed journal aimed at promoting the work of B.S. Johnson through academic criticism, essays, interviews, review and creative work. Affiliated with The B.S. Johnson Society, the journal seeks to reflect the multi-disciplinary approach of the writer himself whilst celebrating and analysing his on-going influence within contemporary culture.

Source: A Piece of Monologue.