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Expressions of interest invited for The Creative Writing Blog!

This is the link to the form you can use to express your interest in writing and/or editing for the exciting and dynamic YSJ Creative Writing Blog –

Please complete this form if you are interested in writing for The CWB (The Creative Writing Blog.)

These are the options available to you:

Be a Staff Writer: We occasionally identify topics to be covered or events to be reviewed. These are first offered to our Staff Writers (typically a staff writer will contribute 3-5 pieces to the blog per academic year).

Be a Sub-Editor: In addition to writing regularly for the blog, co-editors also format and upload work by other students, workshop ideas for features and series and recruit fellow students to the blog team. They are also a friendly, informal point of contact for new writers.

Be an Assistant Editor. PLEASE NOTE, THIS ROLE IS ONLY OPEN TO POSTGRADUATE APPLICANTS. As an Assistant Editor you will work closely with the blog editors to shape the character and content of the blog. You will be responsible for managing Sub-Editors and commissioning and editing new posts. This is an excellent role if you are looking to acquire experience in publishing or journalism.

Historical Fiction Workshop at Beyond the Vote

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Creative Writers!

Come and join me this Saturday afternoon  to immerse yourself in the heady 1920s! As part of the wonderful Beyond the Vote Festival I will be giving a Creative Writing Workshop on historical fiction.     We will focus on the immediate aftermath of women gaining the vote; years when women’s employment, domestic lives, sexual and bodily identities were all undergoing massive changes. How can you use historical research to create interesting and believable characters and put them in a world that evokes the era for your readers? Can a knitting magazine be as important a key to your historical character as their attitude to female suffrage? We will debate such questions, look at a range of research materials and, most importantly, begin your own pieces of historical fiction.

The workshop runs from 3-4.30pm. For some of you this might be a deal breaker as you are already committed to a potentially historic football match. But, as writers of historical fiction know, there are many individual responses to ‘historic’ events and missing England v Sweden might not even have registered with you. If that is the case, please use the link above to sign up to this free public event and I look forward to seeing you there.


BA Creative Writing Student Profiles

Students on the 2nd year BA (Hons) Creative Writing module Publishing, Production and Performance compiled writer profiles from their colleagues.

Alex McGowan

I am a second year Creative Writing and English Literature student. I love studying at York St John and I have learnt so much more about my craft by coming here. Now my writing is so much stronger and I have the confidence to try new forms, for example script.

My writing tends to lean towards the spooky and macabre, but I adore grounding this in friendships and ordinary life. Currently, my favourite author is V. E. Schwab, I adore her world building and the way she develops character. At the moment I am slowly working on an urban fantasy novel known as ‘Late Nights’, here is an extract from it:

It was recommended that tourists avoid the street of Hallow Way in Barebrough. It was the site of the towns graveyard and Mason House. This building was an old block of flats overrun by ivy and virginia creeper. The house was comprised of three storeys each with its own unique style. The ground floor was made of brown brick and has blacked out windows, designed for the more sensitive guests. The first floor had bricks that appeared to be burnt black and the arched windows curved inward. The second floor was red bricked and had Georgian style windows.

Even after living here for three years Isaac still found that the longer they stared at the building the more askew it became. Though they had bigger things to worry about right then. Isaac had left their keys at work, again. No amount of bag rummaging and muttered swearing had helped to solve the problem. All their bag had coughed up was a tub of chocolate spread, a broken mug and two strips of Strattera. Isaac made the executive decision to give up searching when a shiver ran up their arms. At the obscenely large door they whispered, “Please.”

Twitter: @alex_h_l_m

Charlotte Bennett

I joined York St John University in the Autumn of 2016 to study Creative Writing. I am currently a member of the Promotional team for the launch of Beyond the Walls 2018. I am also a part-time tutor of English and maths at Explore Learning. After reading poems written by my Dad, the spark of my interest in the creative arts was lit. I enjoy reading all lengths of fiction, and my preference of writing surrounds the world of poetry and short stories.

I was published in the 2017 edition of Beyond the Walls with my two poems: ‘We March’ and ’26 Letters of Courage’ which you can read below:

26 Letters of Courage 

Always breathing

Courage does

Exist. Forged

Godlike her

Imagination jumps,

Kicks. Levitates

Minds. Never

One person.

Questing radiantly

She thrives

Untamed. Voyaging

With xenia,

Youthfully zoetic.

She is courage.



Hands holding, minds moulding, we unfold the truth

We the people, the women, the men

Our Future is female

The present ours to take


Why are you marching?

We march to change lives, save lives

We march to live a better life

Free from aggression, oppression is not progression

March forwards


Fight like a girl

I will not be silent

We will not be silent,

So Hear our voices

Respect existence, expect resistance


Twitter: @charlottesvoice

Instagram: charlotteee666


Tia Welsh

I am a Second Year Single Honours Creative Writing Student. I absolutely love this course. Reading and writing is pretty much an everyday habit for me (I can’t get enough of it!) My writing is inspired by everything and anything. Authors such as Neil Gaiman, Ransom Riggs and Joanne Harris have influenced my writing style, which tends to relate a lot to water.  I have even been lucky enough to meet Joanne Harris at my home’s literary Festival; Manx Lit Fest in the Isle of Man and have my own poem published as part of an anthology.

I also happen to be a Course Representative and enjoy supporting all my course mates, ensuring they remain happy during their time of study. I have written opening chapters for two of my novels and a play on homelessness-I hope to develop these further into the future!

You can follow me on:

Twitter: @TiaWelshIoM ‏

Promoting Beyond the Walls 2018: Hello from the promotion team!


Promotions Team

This year we are already hard at work advertising the Beyond the Walls 2018 anthology, which will be published by Valley Press. So, here’s a quick update of what we’ve done, what’s coming up and how you can stay involved.

Just to let you know that the deadline to hand in your creative work for this anthology is 16th February. You may submit work previously written for your modules. The submission guidelines are:

  1. You must provide a cover letter that includes your name, programme and year of study.
  2. The max word count for prose (fiction or non-fiction) is 1200 words.
  3. The max number of poems is 3.
  4. The max number of images as JPEGS or a link to a portfolio is 3.
  5. You may submit in more than one genre/form.

You can email your work as attachments to:

Our job as the promotion team is to promote the creation of the book and then the event that launches it. So, for now we are focusing on promoting the submission itself. To do this we had team meeting to create our social media.

First, we looked at previous years’ accounts and made the goal to have a stronger presence on these sites. The Facebook we created has already reached this goal.

Facebook Post

Facebook Post









Come join on Facebook at YSJ Beyond the Walls 2018.

Our Twitter has also gained a following and even appeared in the SU:

SU Feed

Follow us at @beyondwalls2018

And last but certainly not least is our Instagram account, which you can find by searching: ysjbeyondthewalls2018.

Instagram Post

We knew it was important to get the word out, so we decided to come into lectures and speak to you face to face. Over tea and toasties, we organised who was going where and how we would inform you. We’ve already visited a few lectures and it has been and will continue to be a successful venture.

In the future we will be using our social media accounts to promote the launch which is part of York Literature Festival. This free event will take place on 21st March 2018 at 6.30pm in The Basement (City Screen). It includes readings by Valley Press authors Nigel Forde and Nora Chassler. Don’t forget to book your free tickets here.

We can’t wait to read your work so please remember to submit before the deadline the 16th February.

York St John Creative Writing Students Perform in London

In February, four York St John Creative Writing students will perform collaborative experimental pieces.

University Camarade III – February Saturday 10th 2018: 

Rich Mix, London

7PM – FREE ENTRY / VENUE 2 / 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

A unique collaborative event, students from the Creative Writing departments of Kingston University, Edge Hill University, York St John, and Glasgow present a dozen brand new works in collaboration. Featuring:


Abby Knowles


Abby Knowles is a poet from North Yorkshire. Struggling with work, childcare and wifing while gaining her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, Abby is usually one solid poem away from a hilarious mental breakdown. Last week she did the school run with her trousers on backwards.




Tom Young



Cooking smoke. Aching knees. Heckles, hockles, shocks and burns. Dust from under floorboards congealing into thick, black mud in the nose. Weepy weekend people blowing home, howling into the hills. Fat heads, fat tongues. Malignant breaths, exuding regrets. Dead dells. Thomas Jonathon Young writes memories from the Dales of Durham.





Joe Shaw



Joe Shaw is an experimental poet and visual artist studying at York St. John university. His writing explores the concepts of queer aesthetics and identity. He won the Northern Youth’s ‘Slay on Words’ – a poetry slam collaboration between York universities in 2017.





David Yeomans chose the Creative Writing MA at York St John University to deepen his knowledge and practice of writing. Although set on course to write mass-market thrillers, he has found poetry and needs to explore this form. When not writing, he works as a full time NHS psychiatrist.




Free NAWE tickets exclusively for YSJ students

The folks at the National Association for Writers in Education have got some last minute tickets for the conference this weekend, just for our students, for free!

Our conference tickets have now sold out, but we’d love to invite York St John students to join us at one of these three  special events. We’ve made a number of free tickets available for YSJ students for each one.

I highly recommend you come to some of this if you can make it at short notice

Thursday 9 November 

This Thursday, 9 November, there will be a FREE special pre-release screening of a new film version of Macbeth starring Mark Rowley, and directed by Kit Monkman. The screening will be hosted by York University and starts at 7.15pm. Information and booking here.

Friday 10 November 

At 8pm on Friday we welcome our first evening speaker, Sarah Howe, followed by an Open Mic hosted by NAWE Committee members Andrea Holland and Helena Blakemore.  For more information and to book, see here.

Saturday 11 November 

On Saturday 11 November at 7.45pm we welcome Bernardine Evaristo, in a reading and Q&A.

At 9pm, in a separate event, there will be a reading from two of the most exciting new names in fiction, Tom Lee and Winnie M Li, winner of the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize.  

Booking via Eventbrite. 

Welcome Semester Creative Writing Events!

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Welcome Semester Creative Writing Events for your Diary: – Meet some amazing writers, have a drink, get to know your writing community!

  • Graham Rawle, Graphic Novelist, on his projects. Monday the 9th of October. 11.00-12.30, Quad South Hall. No booking necessary.
  • Mark Illis and Zoe Marriott, Royal Literary Fund fellows, reading from their work. Wednesday 18th of October 5-6pm in the Chapel. Book free tickets here.
  • Laudanum Publishing Poetry Event with readings by Dr. Kimberly Campanello (YSJ Lecturer), Abigail Parry and Fran Lock Thursday the 26th of October 7-8.30pm in the Students Union. Book free tickets here.
  • Launch of two debut dystopian novels from YSJ Creative Writing staff Dr Naomi Booth and Prof Abi Curtis, Thursday 30th of November, 7-9pm in York Waterstones. Book free tickets here.

Event Info:

 Graham Rawle is a UK writer and collage artist whose visual work incorporates illustration, design, photography and installation. His weekly Lost Consonants series appeared in the Weekend Guardian for 15 years.

He has lectured and exhibited his work internationally, heading the design team that created the 4,000 sq ft (370 m2) ‘Hi-Life’ supermarket installation for EXPO 2000 in Hanover. As director of the Niff Institute, in 2001 he created a range of limited edition art pieces that form the Niff Actuals product range.

Among his astonishing published books are The Wonder Book of Fun, Lying Doggo, Diary of an Amateur Photographer and a reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz, which won 2009 Book of the Year and best Illustrated Trade book at the British Book Design Awards. His critically acclaimed Woman’s World, a novel created entirely from fragments of found text, is being made into a feature film.

Graham Rawle is a lecturer on the Sequential Design/Illustration MA at The Faculty of Arts (University of Brighton).

 Mark Illis, RLF Fellow

Mark Illis is a novelist and writer of short stories, who has also written for television, radio and film. He has been a literature development worker, a centre director for the Arvon Foundation and an editor for Yorkshire Arts Circus. In July 2017, his first Young Adult novel, THE IMPOSSIBLE, winner of a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015, will be published by Quercus. When teenagers in Gilpin start suffering from strange mutations, someone needs to find out what’s going on. Enter Hector, who’s suffering maybe the strangest mutation of all.

 Zoe Marriott, RLF Fellow

Zoë Marriott is the critically acclaimed author of eight feminist, diverse novels for young adults, which draw strongly on world mythology, fairytales and folklore. Her first book, The Swan Kingdom (Walker Books, 2007), based on Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Wild Swans’, was written when she was just twenty-one. It went on to become a USBBY Outstanding International book, was shortlisted for the Lincolnshire Young People’s book award, longlisted for the Branford Boase award, and was chosen for the 2009 International Reading Association booklist. Shadows on the Moon (Walker Books 2011), a Japanese-influenced retelling of ‘Cinderella’, is widely considered a classic of UK young adult fiction.. Her short story ‘Storm Clouds Fleeing from the Wind’ (Things I’ll Never Say anthology, Candlewick, 2015) was recommended for a James Tiptree Jr award.

 Laudanum Chapbook Anthology: Volume Two – Abigail Parry, Kimberly Campanello, Frances Lock, ed. by Tiffany Anne Tondut

‘As a showcase of vivid voices, taking a range of different approaches, this anthology doesn’t disappoint.’

–Becky Varley-Winter, Sabotage Reviews

 Abigail Parry has won a number of prizes and awards for her work, including the Ballymaloe Prize, the Troubadour Prize and an Eric Gregory Award. Her first collection, Jinx, will be published by Bloodaxe in 2018.

 Fran Lock is the author of three poetry collections, Dogtooth (Out-Spoken Press, 2017), The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt Publishing, 2014), and Flatrock (Little Episodes Publishing, 2011). She is the winner of the Ambit Poetry Competition 2014, and her poem Last Exit to Luton came third in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.

 Kimberly Campanello [Lectuer in Creative Writing at YSJ] was born in Elkhart, Indiana. Her most recent poetry book is Hymn to Kālī (Eyewear Publishing). She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at York St John University.

Tiffany Anne Tondut is laudanum’s founding publisher, series editor and designer. Her poetry has been published in various publications including The Rialto, Magma, Poetry News and Best New British and Irish Poets 2016. In 2015 she was a prize winner in The Troubadour’s International Poetry Prize. She lives and works in London.

 Sealed by Naomi Booth [Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at YSJ]

 ‘There is an unbearable truth about the modern world to be found in this book, but it cannot be looked at, or talked of directly. There is only a state of dulled awareness about a terrifying epidemic, drawing closer, pulling tighter – until the final, visceral pages where the horror must come out in a rush of blood and desperation. What a delicate, provoking balance of apocalyptic vision and personal journey Sealed is. I loved it.’

– Aliya Whiteley, The Arrival of Missives

Timely and suspenseful, Sealed is a gripping modern fable on motherhood, a terrifying portrait of ordinary people under threat from their own bodies and from the world around them. With elements of speculative fiction and the macabre, this is also an unforgettable story about a mother’s fight to survive.

Naomi Booth was born and raised in West Yorkshire and is now based in York, where she lectures in Creative Writing and Literature at York St John University.

 Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

Abi Curtis’ [Prof. of Creative Writing at YSJ] first novel, Water & Glass, will be published in Autumn 2017 by Cloud Lodge Books

“Speculative fiction is nothing without a beating heart, something real and human (or animal) at stake, and Water & Glass has this in boatloads. On every page Curtis combines a poet’s eye for the perfect, resonant detail with a blockbuster’s suspense and delivery on story. As beautifully surreal and symbolic as it gets, there’s something unshakeably, alarmingly plausible about this novel and its dramatisation of the next century: what we stand to lose and what may already be too late to save. An urgent, gorgeously written debut.”

–Luke Kennard, award winning author of The Transition

Abi Curtis is Professor of Creative Writing at York St. John University and is an award-winning poet. In 2004, she received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her first poetry collection Unexpected Weather was published after winning the Crashaw Poetry Prize in 2008, and in 2013 Curtis received a Somerset Maugham Award for her second poetry collection The Glass Delusion.