Need help with finding resources, referencing or formatting your essays?

Need help with finding resources, referencing or formatting your essays?

Katherine Hughes, the Academic Librarian for English Literature, can offer support in many areas of your study. For example, it is possible to book a tutorial with Katharine to get help with finding and evaluating sources. It is also possible to email Katherine ( or our general academic liaison inbox (

Continue reading “Need help with finding resources, referencing or formatting your essays?”

all about respect

by Lizzie Hope and Gemma Linfoot-King

The ‘All About Respect’ project exists to prevent sexual violence, harassment, and abuse, and to promote the importance of healthy relationships, consent, and respect among students in York.  We have been working closely with students to help create material to promote our message, and are currently seeking creative writing, blog content, art work, or anything else creative to use alongside our leaflets and posters.  Continue reading “all about respect”

building heathy relationships: call for creative submissions

By Tom Young

The Building Healthy Relationships Project is a student led collaboration based at York St John University, working in partnership with Survive, IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) and York College, that aims to highlight the importance of healthy relationships, emphasise consent and respect, and to strengthen the prevention of sexual violence and harassment on campus.

Continue reading “building heathy relationships: call for creative submissions”

confessions of a bookseller

By Harriet Bartle

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to sell books? I used to; I’d worked in retail for three years before I became a bookseller and as such I knew the ropes of customer service. I thought that it might be different, though; almost a romantic sort of job, where you spend your days surrounded by books of all genres, chatting to the quiet customers as they wander in out of the cold and expect to find fellow book lovers carefully shelving new stock and listening to peaceful, interesting music. As a literature student, it became the ideal prospect, the dream job; when I was lucky enough to be presented with the opportunity to enter the group of people that can call themselves booksellers, I jumped into this new world of pages head first. I was eager to see how this fascinating industry worked, particularly in the new era of internet shopping.

Continue reading “confessions of a bookseller”

Beyond the Walls: Producing Literature and Creative Writing

By Tom Young


I started applying to universities several years after finishing my A Levels, and one of the biggest concerns for my friends and family was that I’d be forking out nine grand a year to be here. If I’d gone straight after college, I’d have paid nine grand for the full three years. For many, the stark contrast in what students pay for their tuition has brought into question what exactly it is we’re paying for. Well, I’ll tell you.

I’m currently wrapping up the second year of my English Literature and Creative Writing course, and one of the modules I’m finishing this semester, Publishing, Production and Performance, is exemplary of the practical skills you can gain from a literature degree. As part of one of the module projects, I’ve spent the last couple of months organising the launch of Beyond the Walls, an anthology of York St John University student writing. The event was a success and completely sold out. Everyone on that module now has a book they can slap on the desk of potential employers, while they proudly say “I helped craft and create that product, and I have the skills to do it again”.

It seems to me that the anxieties surrounding arts degrees are the result of a widespread lack of awareness for the diversity of the creative industries. Using Beyond the Walls as an example, the text would not exist if its production relied solely on the efforts of writers. It needed to be curated, edited and designed, and it needed a showcase event to launch it to the public. The event needed planning; it needed live music, food, booze, projections and lighting. All this was done by creative writing students, and none of it had anything to do with writing; it was done for the sake of the writing.

The English Literature and Creative Writing course, shockingly, is not always about writing, and its student body is not made up of dreamers, hoping to become the next J.K. Rowling. We are members of the literary community, we are merchants of culture, and we understand that the best way to learn how to do something is to do it. My colleagues and I now know how to publish a book because we’ve done it, and we look forward to doing it again. I can tell my family and friends to put their anxieties at ease; creative writing is a commodity, and the industry has never been more exciting than it is in this bewildering modern age.

Opportunities in Creative Writing and English Literature at YSJ

The English Literature and Creative Writing departments offer more than you may realise. There are secret perks hidden in the nooks and crannies of the offices – including a bookshelf full of freebies!  There are places you can get your work published you might not of thought of, so in this blog post I aim to enlighten and surprise – have a read to find out what’s available to you!

Point Zero – A blog that this may appear on. Run by Tutor Adam Stock, the English Lit blog is a space for students to blog about their interests. You’ll find most of my posts revolve around sex with robots. Nothing is off-limits!


Extra Lectures – Interested in a lecture but you’re not in the module? Email a tutor! Most tutors are more than happy to let you sit in on a lecture!

LGBT history month – LGBT History Month offers tonnes of events, 50 during February this year – to be exact, and a lot of them revolve around reading. From reading groups to pub poetry readings, don’t be afraid to tag along and talk gay writing!

The Literary Festival – York holds an amazing Literary Festival. Including the likes of Sue Perkins and Mark Gatiss, the upcoming Literary festival has a whole host of events enabling networking, learning and open mic readings.

Beyond The Walls – If you came to an open days, you may well have been handed a copy of the Beyond The Walls anthology. Run by students for students, the anthology is taking submissions until the 25th of February. Entry is free!

Student Showcase – An opportunity for students to give readings of their work to a wider, public audience! Currently taking submissions until the 28th of February, entry is free.

Writing Workshops – Although not specifically for English Lit and Creative Writing students, keep an eye out around Holgate for leaflets on extra-curricular seminars on essential academic writing skills! An upcoming timetable of which can be found here:

Black History Month – Black History Month is developed mainly by the English Literature team. Frequently involving projects developed by students, and visiting authors, the month is inspiring and enriching – don’t miss it this October!

Writer in Residence – Royal Literary Fellow Mark Illis has been writing novels, short stories, TV and Radio dramas for around 30 years. He’s done it all, and can help you with developing your writing. If you head to a meeting, you’ll get 45 minutes of literary goodness. Check it out here:

Programme Representatives – Your elected Programme Reps are there to help – I’m one of them! Currently working with the SU to provide a book selling system in university, we are willing to voice any opinions you have about your course – let us know what you’d like to see, and stand for rep if you’d  love to help with feedback collection and course development.

The University Website – The university website hosts a tonne of resources. Indexed here are the key writing materials:

And more! – Check your emails frequently and flag up opportunities as they roll in. Thanks to the email system here at YSJ, I’m currently involved in a scriptwriting project for a suicide prevention short and will soon be heading on a trip to London to learn about literature and bees! There really is no limit to what you can achieve when you embrace the huge volume of opportunities to hand. If you want something, don’t be afraid to enquire with careers services or your tutors!

Tiny Sandwiches & Productivity

By Bethany Davies


I have a task for you. Look back to a moment, or perhaps sit and look sad in the one you’re in, where you have felt stress over a deadline. Reflect on that feeling (or sit and feel sad with it) where you have more work to do than time to do it in. It’s a common predicament. A lot of us find ourselves in it most days. And yet, that irritating presence of worry still looms over us like the grizzly clouds of York in November.

Now, be sure not to get offended; don’t take it personally. But, you see, if you’re not a writer, this post really isn’t for you. Because these deadlines aren’t any old deadlines. They’re not the filing of the end of year paperwork; the re-stacking of Tesco’s shelves before 5pm; or the need to feed the cat, dog and hamster before a night out with friends. These are the kind of deadlines that demand creativity in a temporarily hollow mind that only sees one thing; a blank page. It’s a killer.

So, what’s the cure?

The first crucial step is to turn Netflix off. Completely off. Remove Facebook from your bookmarks bar and rid the room of people who only want to distract you and make sure you never ever (ever) succeed in life. Lock your phone in a bullet proof safe. Shut the door. Lock the windows. Glue your elbows to the table. With extra strong PVA.

There’s no doubt that you’ll have heard all of this before. So, let me tell you the secret ingredient. Motivation. You don’t need to want to do the work but you need to be motivated. This could be inspired by an anticipation of future greatness or simply the promise of a bowl of coco pops when the work is done.

Tiny Sandwiches

Since we are all writers, unless some of you cheeky few stuck around, we are supposedly holding creative minds that function on inspiration. So, find out what inspires you. Take your creative flare and light it up in the city of York. You live in the city of history and architecture where minds were inspired to create beautiful pieces of art.  Take a laptop or notepad and use the surroundings for inspiration. Climb out of bed and sit in one of York’s quirky independent coffee shops and read your set text for the week. Head off to Betty’s and sit amongst an array of tiny sandwiches and teapots classed as ‘cute’. Whatever works. Try it. Become motivated. And watch as that thick grey cloud looming over you is replaced by a carried sense of accomplishment and productivity.