Aesthetica Competition

There is just one month left to enter the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2016, presenting an opportunity for emerging and established writers and poets to showcase their work and further their involvement in the literary world. Now in its 10th year, the award is an internationally renowned prize praesesented by Aesthetica Magazine and judged by literary experts.

Prizes include:

  • £500 each (Poetry Winner and Short Fiction Winner)
  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
  • One year subscription to Granta
  • Selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage
  • Consultation with Redhammer Management (Short Fiction Winner)
  • Full Membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)

Short Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words. Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines. Works previously published are accepted.

Deadline for submissions is 31 August 2016.

To enter, visit

Say Owt Poetry Slam!

Say Owt Slam

Poets are invited to perform no more than 3 minutes of material, and the audience vote for their favourite poet.  It’s exciting, it’s raw ad it’s challenging and an exciting way to test your writing and performance, or to come as an audience member to see other poets reading their work.  There’s cash prize too!

Say Owt Slam takes place at The Basement, York and has been praised as one of the most exciting spoken word nights not just in York, but across the UK.

Entry is £7, or free for slammers.  For more information or a slot, email or find us on Facebook

Say Owt #11 24th Sept featuring guest poet Scott Tyrrell

Say Owt #12 12th Nov featuring guest poet Vanessa Kisuule

Say Owt10 #13 2nd Dec featuring guest poet Rob Auton

Sunday Bookshop Review – Books For Amnesty

The Books for Amnesty bookshop is a treat for any book lovers in York! It has an extensive fiction collection with plenty of great, cheap books. As well as the books though there is a host of cute little souvenirs to get such as cards, post cards and posters. This quiet little bookshop is a great place for books, as well as contributing to a great cause there is always a great read to be found here. But the books and the post cards aren’t the best feature, I think one of the most impressive things about this shop is the beautiful and intriguing window displays; perfect for luring in book lovers!

Sunday Bookshop Review: The Grimoire Bookshop

The Grimoire Bookshop is one of the nicest, most welcoming bookshops in York, the beautiful displays and second hand books give the shop a really welcoming homely feel. There is a wide range of fantastic and beautiful books all with yellowing pages and great histories perfect for any kind of bookworm, there are plenty of brilliant classics, children’s books, horror, science fiction and even a great section made up of cooking and craft books.

It’s a great place for a nice browse amongst the shelves, but it’s a great asset to students as well as Grimoire Bookshop is happy to buy second hand books! The only problem is that once you sell how could you resist buying the rest of the stock? It’s definitely a bookshop for hardcore bookworms and should be checked out by all the literature and creative writing students.

Sunday Bookshop Review: Minster Gate Bookshop!

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The Minster Gate Bookshop is the perfect bookshop for everybody! Interested in folklore? Wander up to the first floor! Need a new book for the kids? Have a browse through the children’s section downstairs! Lover of Shakespeare? All on the second floor! Gardening? Philosophy? Psychology? Ancient History? You can find anything and everything in The Minster Gate Bookshop!


The Minster Gate Bookshop is one of the must see bookshops in York, possibly Yorkshire. Possibly England. It is a fantastic, and beautiful bookshop, with seemingly endless nooks and crannies packed full of books of all shapes and sizes and interests. Despite specialising in Children’s literature, folklore, and Arthurian literature, there are certainly no limitations to this fantastic bookshop! (I’m trying to be unbiased I promise, it’s just so difficult!)

It’s so full of books they’re even spilling off the shelves!

This treasure of York is definitely worth a visit! Any book lover needs a chance to go there and clear out the bank account! (What else if money for if not books?)

Next Week at the York Lit Fest!

To get you all pumped for the Lit Fest we’re going to tell you everything that’s going on before every week! Enough time for you to grab tickets and make arrangements to see some awesome literature being performed, spoken about, and maybe even write some! (Events that are free for YSJ students will be in bold)

Thursday 10th March

  • VIP Festival Launch: York Stories – At the York Theatre Royal three novelists will discuss setting their novels in York! Check out how York shapes modern literature for just £10 with food and wine included.

Friday 11th March

  • Writing and the Natural World – A reading and discussion on writing the natural world with contemporary authors Kathleen Jamie and William Atkins! Catch this event at York St John in Temple hall at 7pm!
  • Saw Owt Slam Presents: International Women’s Week Word Riot – Held at the City Screen Basement you can explore the wonders of feminist poetry with headliner Sophia Walker and even some local poets, before signing up for the open mic and sharing your own poems. Just £7 for this inspiring event
  • Right Here, Write Now – Fancy seeing a performance where you write the script? Come see the comedic hilarity of improvisation, simply give them suggestions to act out and enjoy. Hosted by Paul Birch at the Frigate theatre this event is only £5, a bargain night for comedy.
  • Michael Portillo – Michael Portillio, former politician now broadcaster, talks about his exciting career in the media, but mostly, there will be talk of trains! This event is held at the National Railway Museum, a great day out for any train lovers!

Saturday 12th March

  • York Novelists Workshop: From Ideas to Publication – This is a must attend for the creative students! Held at Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro see how to transform your ideas into print.
  • York St John Con – The event we’ve all been waiting for! Held in Temple Hall the YSJ Con will be filled with great experiences all day including; a Zine Workshop, Poetry and Comics Workshop, and even a Fan Fic Opem Mic. If you fancy sharing your embarrassing Harry Potter fan fiction, give it a go!
  • Hoglets – An adorable event for children (and their parents) aged 2 to 5, a mixture of songs games and crafts to introduce kids to the theatre, held at the Frigate Theatre.
  • How NOT to submit your manuscript – Exactly what it says on the box. Three of the UK’s leading literary agents will tell you how to get your novel published, as well as how not to! Complete with a Q&A this event is held at the Frigate Theatre, so all unpublished writers should check it out!
  • Wendy Cope – Come see one of Britain’s most popular poets discuss her work and her life. A great event for fans or anyone interested in poetry held at the Grand Opera House.
  • Bedtime Story – Another one for the kids! Mini Custard Children’s Theatre are recounting a wonderful story for children and their tired parents at the Frigate Theatre, be sure to bring a blanket and warm milk!
  • Arthur Smith plus Support: Mike Barfield – Arthur Smith, playwright (amongst many other things) recounts his life and work and general grumpiness that led him to where he is now. With support from Private Eye Cartoonist Mike Barfield it’s sure to be a fun night! Held at the Grand Opera house.

Sunday 13th March

  • Val McDermid in Conversation – One of the biggest names in Crime Fiction will be in conversation with Festival Director Miles Salter about her work, and crime fiction. A must see for all crime lovers (fiction that is!) as there will be a book signing afterwards! Held at St Peter’s School in Clifton.

For more information look here. For tickets look here, and register to see individual events! Hope to see you there!

Sunday Bookshop Review: Little Apple Bookshop!


The Little Apple Bookshop is a cosy little place, full of everything you could ever want, especially if you’re a YSJ student! If you are a literature or creative writing student you’ll already know about the Little Apple, as it generally stocks the reading list for first years, just to make things a little easier!

But book buying tips aside The Little Apple Bookshop is wonderful! Not only does it house fiction, humour, poetry, science fiction, signed books, and an extensive children’s section, it has plenty of fun book themed gifts, toys and trinkets. From novelty bookmarks to Shakespeare plush toys to literary tote bags, there’s no better way to let the world know you love books (quite possibly) more than people!

New York may be the Big Apple but Old York has the Little Apple! You should definitely have a taste!! (And pick up a tote bag!)

Sunday Bookshop Review: Waterstones!

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We may as well start with the big leagues! The York Waterstones can be found on Coney Street and is definitely worth a visit, student or not. There is a wide selection of books and (as you probably know) more can always be ordered in. Our Waterstones is smaller than most in the big cities but certainly fun! The staff are friendly, there’s always tonnes going on – most recently a Harry Potter night that sold out almost right away – and there’s a lovely café on the first floor to have a sip of tea and read your new bookish purchases.

This Waterstones in particular is extremely child friendly, for children of any age. With the children’s section taking up almost a quarter of the ground floor, complete with a play area and small seats, it’s the perfect place to encourage kids to get reading.

The one small issue at Waterstones is that recently the horror section has been integrated into fiction making it harder for novice horror fans (like myself!) to browse the genre as a whole. But on the upside it’s made the Science Fiction section much bigger!

Though it may be small, York’s Waterstones is a lovely place, but we’ll see how it measures up to the rest of York’s wonderful independent and charity bookshops in the coming weeks!

Say Owt Poetry Slam!

SAY OWT SLAM returns after the success of SOS 101 back in October 2014.

15 poets will have 3 minutes each to wow the audience, with the best poet receiving £30 cash prize and bragging rights.  The night will be a fun and frantic display of spoken word and performance poetry.

“I went with high expectations, and was not disappointed”- Nouse

“[an] exciting evening of lively and thought-provoking entertainment” – One & other

“I can’t remember the last time I got so much entertainment out of a fiver”- audience member

Guest poet at the event is SOPHIA WALKER, a globe-trotting poet who has won the London Poetry Olympics in 2012, was the BBC Slam Champ in 2013 and won the Best Spoken Word Show at Edfringe 2014.

23rd Janurary, £5, 7.30, The Basement, City Screen, Coney Street, tickets available here:

Sophia will also be running a writing and performing workshop at the Golden Ball 5-7pm, tickets a mere £5, details here:

More details can be found here:

Facebook event:

Timeslips Writing Workshop with The New Schoolhouse Gallery, York

A great opportunity to do a writing workshop at the New SchoolHouse Gallery. Free to YSJ CW students.
Stevie Ronnie

Please email

Timeslips – A Writing Workshop

at the New School House Gallery, York

10th December


Stevie Ronnie is a writer and artist with a background in computing. His work, often collaborative and participatory in nature, spans art forms to produce interactive pieces for publication, exhibition, installation, screening and/or performance. Stevie works with and within communities to produce participatory arts projects including Dear Angel (Festival of the North East / New Writing North / ACE, 2013) and Brass Book (Durham City Arts / Brass: Durham International Festival / Sage Gateshead / ACE, 2011- 2012). He has designed and delivered interdisciplinary creative practice courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

His writing is published in the UK, Europe and the US. In recent years Stevie has held residencies at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Cove Park, Dance City, Live Theatre, North Light Arts and in the High Arctic with the New York based Arctic Circle programme. Awards include a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North, a MacDowell Fellowship, two GFA awards from Arts Council England and a Jerwood / Arvon menteeship.

Stevie will be presenting some of his previous work, covering some of the practical aspects of presenting literature in different forms and finding funding for creative projects. He will also be running a creative writing workshop related to Timeslips, his PH1 residency with The New Schoolhouse Gallery in York. As part of the residency he will be creating a series of contemporary interventions in the Kirkgate, the recreated Victorian street in York’s Castle Museum. These interventions will be exhibited concurrently with a trail around York that places objects from the museum back in the original shops that inspired the creation of Kirkgate. Stevie will be talking about ways in which Creative Writing students art York St John can get involved in this work.