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.

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exciting news for the class of 2017

Liesl King has been organising an extra special event for the graduating class of 2017. As a farewell and celebration of a new chapter, we would like to invite you and your family members to drop in and say hello to your tutors over a glass of fizz or a cup of tea on the afternoon of your upcoming Graduation, 16th November, in De Grey foyer from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

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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.

Kevin Elyot Writer’s residency award, Bristol

Literature and Creative Writing students may be interested in applying for the following opportunity:

The University of Bristol Theatre Collection is delighted to announce that applications are open for the Kevin Elyot Award. This annual award will support a promising writer by enabling them to be resident in the Theatre Collection and begin the process of creating a new work inspired by Kevin’s archive, which may be a dramatic, creative or academic piece of writing

 

Kevin Elyot. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/jun/09/kevin-elyot

It comprises £3,000 to fund the residency for four weeks (which may be consecutive or split), and will also offer support with research and public dissemination of the work. The award has been generously funded by an endowment given to the University by members of Kevin’s family.

Kevin Elyot (1951 to 2014) was a Bristol alumnus (Drama Department) who started his career as an actor, but went on to achieve great success through his ground-breaking plays and adaptations. The Kevin Elyot Archive is held at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, and comprises scripts, correspondence, manuscript and publicity material detailing Kevin’s working process from initial idea to finished product. His process for adapting novels for television is well documented in the archive. Whilst, the content relating to his plays, including the seminal My Night with Reg, demonstrates his creative process and the particular emphasis he placed on the importance of style and form within a play.

 

It is hoped the award will celebrate Kevin’s life and work and the influence he has had on theatre and, through it, will enable a new generation of writers to find creative inspiration in the archive.

 

Further details of the award and application process are at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/theatre-collection/news/2017/the-kevin-elyot-award-a-writers-residency-applications-open.html.

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! http://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/englishlit/

Contact: a.stock@yorksj.ac.uk

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! https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/events-calendar/events/lgbt-history-month-/

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. https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/events-calendar/events/festivals/event-title-28032-en.html?timestamp=1490783160&ref=ecal&

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! https://www.facebook.com/BeyondtheWalls2017/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

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. https://www.facebook.com/YSJshowcase17/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

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: https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/media/content-assets/student-services/documents/Workshops-16-17-sem-2-programme-v2.pdf

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: https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/student-services/learning-support/study-development/writer-in-residence/

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: https://www.facebook.com/BeyondtheWalls2017/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

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!

Black History Month Creative Writing Competition

 

October 2016 sees a month long celebration and remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated across the world as has been a feature of the UK calendar since 1987.

At York St John we will be participating in Black History Month with a series of events taking place on campus. This will include a month long exhibition in the Arts Foyer and three evening events celebrating art, literature and cultural history.

As part of our programme we are running a creative writing competition with the winner to be announced at a special evening with the poet Jack Mapanje on 27th October.  We are looking for submissions of no more than 500 words that explore any aspect of black history. We are happy to accept work in prose or verse and encourage you to draw on your educational experiences and beyond.

BHM Jack Mapanje

If you are interested in submitting work then please email it as an MS Word document to Fraser Mann  (f.mann@yorksj.ac.uk) by midnight on 15th October.

The competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students currently studying at York St John.

Happy writing!

Exchange Semester Experiences

By Vasilena Chogolyanova

 

I’m a second year student in English Literature and Linguistics at Malmö University, and I spent this semester (Spring 2016) at York St John. My main objective was to take practical modules, so I can get some more experience in the field of publishing. I ended up choosing “Publishing, Production and Performance” (PPP) and “Literature at Work”, which proved to be the best combination of modules. I took part of two amazing projects, the goal of which was to put together and print out pamphlets.

 

The aim of the Text & Contexts project in the Literature at Work module was to produce an anthology from some of the excellent work of Level 3 students in the English Literature programme. It was exiting to have the opportunity to read through their critical essays. The PPP project’s objective was to publish the first ever York Literary Review – a journal of new writing. This project took most of my time this semester, because our team had to read through over 700 submissions of poetry, fiction and non-fiction coming from all over the world for our first issue.

 

vasi post pic

 

 

I think that the PPP project especially provided me great insight into the life of an editor and the amount of work one has to go through. I worked very hard on both projects, but it was worth it in the end when I got the two finished pamphlets in my hands and could see my name on them. I’m so proud of my team and myself for putting together these amazing publications. I have already put them in my CV, and I believe the experience I’ve got from these two university modules is as good as doing a placement.

 

Studying and living in York proved to be a truly lovely experience. The university is filled with life, creativity, and amazing people. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get an immersive experience of York – the best small city in Britain – and York St John University.

MA Information Evening, Thursday 21st April

Literature Create 14sml

MA Information Evening, Thursday 21st April, 5.30pm in DG 125 (De Grey Building).

 

 

If you’re interested in studying for an MA in either Contemporary Literature or Creative Writing at York St John, please do come along to our Information Evening. You’ll be able to hear more about how the MA works, and learn about the range of modules on offer. Staff will be available to answer questions, and you’ll also be able to hear from some former MA students.

This event is FREE and wine and nibbles will be served.

If you have any queries, please email Dr Anne-Marie Evans: a.evans@yorksj.ac.uk

You can book your place here: http://store.yorksj.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=1&deptid=7&catid=17&prodid=1145

Scarborough Writing trip

By Rachel Louise Atkin

 

Gothic fiction is actually pretty great. In YSJ Creative Writing society we talk about it a lot, as many of the novels in the genre make up a lot of our favourite books. We like to see Gothic fiction as something to do with the supernatural, contamination and Victorian repression, and with two of the committee members studying the ‘Gothic and Horror’ module, it has become a genre we are confident talking about and exploring.

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In February we took a day trip to Scarborough with the University of York’s own creative writing society, the Inklings. Initially, we went for inspiration (or really an excuse for a day out), but we ended up taking more away from the trip than we hoped we would.

The weather was overcast and windy without raining, making it perfect kite-flying weather. We ran around for a while on the beach first, writing our names in the sand and dipping our toes into the water which was way too cold to swim in. Far behind us was the seafront, revealing a stack of homes and winding streets which run all the way up a steep hill to Scarborough castle at the peak. The castle looks across the whole beach like it’s staged for a photograph, but it has been there since the 12th century and was used through the English Civil War. It’s open to visitors during the day, and once it closes it’s nice to have a stroll outside its deserted walls.

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A trip to the sea wouldn’t be complete without arcades, and so we spent a little of our time getting frustrated at 2p machines and getting our fortunes told. Stopping for lunch, we swapped writing tips with the Inklings. We discussed how we generate and organize our ideas, as well as sharing our favourite books with each other. Poems were written and read out using the sounds of the shore as inspiration.

Moving further along the literary trail, the five of us from YSJ headed to Waterstones (inevitably). After purchasing some books we began climbing the hill towards the castle and St. Mary’s Church which is home to the grave of Anne Brontë. It was here where we started making connections with Scarborough and the Gothic. We stood amongst the graves and looked down at the water lapping against the sand, hearing the whistling of wind through the branches above us. It was easy to see how people like Bram Stoker and Emily Brontë had become inspired by landscapes similar to this one.

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Walking up to the castle and finding it closed, we sat on a bench at the bottom of the cliffs and looked out to the sea, sharing story ideas and brainstorming ideas. The five of us didn’t really want to leave this spot. Though it was cold and I could hardly hold my pen, the atmosphere was like a machine for generating ideas between us. We were desperate to get indoors so we could write down everything we’d experienced.

The day rounded off when both universities sat together in a pub and discussed everything they’d enjoyed about the day. 90% of people sat with notebooks and were scribbling things down about graves, trees, ruins and haunted mansions. It seemed quite funny that although we’d joked about going to a place like Scarborough for inspiration, we all came out of there with something we were completely itching to write about.

It’s amazing how we manage to find literary connections everywhere. Scarborough seems underrated compared to its neighbour Whitby, but I found its seclusion and uniqueness to be something akin to the isolation and individual feel to books of the Gothic genre. We hope to recreate the experience by heading out on more day-trips, and hopefully uncover more of the hidden literary world as we go.