Writer’s Cafe at the Rose Theatre 03 September 2013 with Mark Barrowcliffe

The Writer’s Cafe summer reading series returns on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 at 1:15pm. Come, enjoy a coffee and some fantastic writing from comedian and author Mark Barrowcliffe  and members of the community. If you have a poem or short selection of prose that fits the theme of “the devil is in the details” please come along and share your work! This is a great opportunity to get some exposure and support. You can email vivienneraper@gmail.com to book an open mic slot or just turn up on the day.

Mark Barrowcliffe

The final Writer’s Cafes featuring MFA lecturer  James Miller  will be on 08 October with open mic slots for community writers. Pieces for reading should be no longer than 5 minutes in length.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet writers, get involved with Kingston Writing School and to get public reading experience if you’re a writer!

2013 Kingston University Pedagogy Conference

Pedagogy Flyer

KWS 1st International Conference, July 10th 2013

Pedagogy and Practice: Writing and Higher Education

Key Note: Philip Gross discusses ‘the writer: accident, improvisation, and limitation’

An Interview with Hanif Kureshi by Vesna Goldsworthy

For its first international conference, The Kingston University Writing School will present a one day conference of theoretical and practiced-based papers, workshops, panels, and performances that will add to our understanding of the relationships between Pedagogy and Practice in Higher Education.

This one-day conference hosts a series of panels on the possible relationships between pedagogy and the practice of writing in higher education. The conference will consider all forms of writing, from creative writing and poetry workshops to life writing, autobiography and memoir, journalism, digital publishing, blogging and writing for social media.

The conference will provide a valuable opportunity to reflect on the debates about writing and pedagogy and will showcase experimental approaches to writing and teaching methods from a diverse body of researchers and practitioners.

Our Keynote speaker is Philip Gross, Course director, Masters/PhD in Creative Writing at University of Glamorgan. Philip is a writer of many parts from prize-winning poetry, young adult novels, science fiction, opera libretti, poem-documentaries. He is also a creative writing teacher at all levels.

After a morning of panels and workshops, Professor Vesna Goldsworthy will interview Hanif Kureshi and there will be an open mike reading with special guests in the evening including S J Fowler, Kimberley Campanello, Allison Gibb, Jane Yeh and others.

Two of our MFAs will be participating in the New Practitioners Ponder Pedagogy panel, Lucy Furlong & Sinead Keegan with Creative Writing & Pedagogy MAs, Amber Koski and Joshua Poncil. MFA alumna and Emerging Writer-in-Residence, Alison Gibb, will be participating in the Pedagogic Innovations in Creative Writing panel with MFA lecturer, James Miller. All conference attendees also have the opportunity to take a workshop with either Alison or James.

Book your tickets here. Or email Amber for information on the free tickets still available.

For more information please contact Amber Koski – k1246713@kingston.ac.uk

KWS Logo

Kingston Connections 2013

Layout 1

Kingston Connections starts in The Rose Theatre Kingston today. An exciting collaboration between the university, Royal Borough of Kingston, The Rose and Creative Youth, we are offering a heady mixture of dance, talks, poetry, theatre, music, writing workshops, science discussions. There’s even the chance to be part of a psychology experiment. Come along and join in!

Highlights today include a talk on genes (10:30am), a poetry reading (12:00pm) and a free workshop on self-publishing (5:30pm).

The full programme (as a PDF) and booking information is available on the Rose Theatre website.

MFA lecturers, tutors and writers in residence to be featured include:

Monday, 24 June 2013, 3:30-5:30pm, Rose Theatre – novelists Adam Baron & James Miller in conversation. Why Do You Write?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013, 12:00-1:00pm, Rose Theatre – poet Jane Yeh reads with Emily Berry.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013, 6:00-7:00pm, Rose Theatre – author Courttia Newland discusses how he has used his own life in his fiction. Life Writing: A Life in Fiction: autobiography and the novel. **Editor’s note: We regret to announce that Courttia’s talk has been cancelled. There are still lots of great events on this week, though, so get thee to Kingston!

Kingston students, alumni and staff can get free or reduced admission to most events!

Fiona Sampson and James Miller Reading

We are excited to announce that two Kingston MFA teachers, Fiona Sampson, Senior Researcher, and James Miller, Senior Lecturer, will be doing a free, public event this Wednesday at Waterstones Piccadilly in London. This is the second in a reading series. The premier event featured Rachel Cusk and Jane Yeh and was received rave reviews from attendees. You are all invited to come to the event. If you are a prospective student, this will be a great opportunity to meet some lecturers and current Kingston students. Please see below to book a free ticket.


An Evening with Fiona Sampson and James Miller

10 April 2013, 7:00pm

Waterstones Piccadilly

203/206 Piccadilly

London W1J 9HD


Here’s the official blurb:

Waterstones Piccadilly and Kingston Writing School are proud to present an evening with of readings with leading poet Fiona Sampson and novelist James Miller. Join us for a glass of wine and hear Fiona Sampson read from her new book ‘Coleshill’ and novelist James Miller read from his second novel, ‘Sunshine State.

Tickets are free but all places must be reserved in advance by contacting the store on 02078512400 or emailing events@piccadilly.waterstones.co.uk

An Evening with Fiona Sampson & James Miller


Find out more at the Waterstones Piccadilly website or the Kingston Writing School website.

Rachel Cusk & Jane Yeh Reading

We are excited to announce that two Kingston MFA teachers, Rachel Cusk, Reader, and Jane Yeh, Senior Lecturer, will be doing a free, public event next Wednesday at Waterstones Piccadilly in London. You are all invited to come to the event. If you are a prospective student, this will be a great opportunity to meet some lecturers and current Kingston students. Please see below to book a free ticket.


An Evening with Jane Yeh and Rachel Cusk

03 April 2013, 7:00pm

Waterstones Piccadilly

203/206 Piccadilly

London W1J 9HD


Here’s the official blurb:

Waterstones Piccadilly and Kingston Writing School are proud to present the first in a series of events showcasing the work of Kingston lecturers and alumni. Join us for a glass of wine as highly acclaimed novelist Rachel Cusk discusses teaching creative writing with poet Jane Yeh. This will be followed by a reading from Jane Yeh’s new collection ‘The Ninjas.’

Tickets are free but all places must be reserved in advance by contacting the store on 02078512400 or emailing events@piccadilly.waterstones.co.uk


Promotional image courtesy of KWS & Waterstones

Promotional image courtesy of Waterstones and Kingston Writing School


Find out more at the Waterstones Piccadilly website or the Kingston Writing School website.

Upcoming Literary Events

Jason Clifton, organiser of Ace Stories, sends us the following events coming up in March and April:

Sunday 24 March— a showcase of student writers from Kingston Writing School, plus music from Brighton group Simonne and the Dark Stars. Hotel Pelirocco, 6pm, £5 entry.

Monday 29 April— Hungarian Literature Night at the Creativity Zone, Sussex University (Pevensey 3).
In partnership with Speaking Volumes (our partner on the Poetry Parnassus event last July at Hotel Pelirocco), the Attenborough Centre at Sussex University and the ‘European Literature Night’ project, we present this exploration of Hungarian culture, history and literature…

George Szirtes, Hungarian poet (winner of the T S Eliot Award in 2004 for ‘Reel’) and Reader in Creative Writing at UEA, and (travelling from Budapest to be at this event) Hungarian novelist Noemi Szecsi are the guests of this event…
Entry £8 (£7 with student card).

Hope to see you there! (Jason Clifton)

Liternational Writing Contest


1st Annual

C O N T R I B U T O R S   P R I Z E

$500 Fiction | $500 Non-Fiction $250 Runner-Up |




  • COPYRIGHT: All story rights remain the property of the author.
  • GENRE: Fiction and / or Non-Fiction (please do NOT submit work targeted at children).
  • WORD COUNT: 1,000 to 5,000 words.
  • SEMI-FINALIST: ALL semi-finalists will be published in the August issue of LITERNATIONAL.
  • FINALIST: All finalists (fiction winner, non-fiction winner and a runner up in each category) will receive cash prizes as dictated above.
  • DEADLINE: August 15th, 2012
  • ENTER NOW! Submit here!
  • ANNOUNCEMENT: Winners will be announced by THANKSGIVING.
  • ELIGIBILITY: Writers with original fiction and / or creative non-fiction who are over the age of eighteen and HAVE NOT published professionally are eligible. Staff members and featured guest artists (such as Jim Crace) are NOT eligible.  (See contest rules for more information.)
  • SUBMISSIONS: You may submit in BOTH categories. You may also make MULTIPLE submissions. However, each contestant is only eligible for ONE prize. (If you win Fiction, you may NOT win Non-Fiction or the runner-up prize in either category.) Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but it is YOUR responsibility to inform us if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • CONTEST RULES: Be sure to familiarize yourself with contest rules
  • ENTER NOW:  http://www.liternational.com/contest/

Pamphlet launch – Wed 30 May, 2012

Pamphlet launch: AN INVITATION

MFA Writings

A freshly picked blend of fantasy, memoir, poetry, and short stories to tantalise readers’ tastes and burn in the gasping throat of imagination.

Wed 30 May, 2012

6:00 – 8:00pm

Woodys bar & kitchen

5 Ram Passage (riverside)

Kingston. KT1 1HH


6:00pm drinks

6:30pm readings from contributors

Admission is free – and includes a copy of Writings.

All welcome. For more info: stuartbird2@gmail.com

Sponsored by Kingston Writing School

Notes on Manhattan

Workshop last week with screenwriter and director Mark Norfolk, so it’s movies from me today. I feel I should pick a movie by my favourite director, Woody Allen. Manhattan is one of his best, but I’ve picked it largely because it’s got plenty of useful youtube clips available.

Here are some scribbles:

  • How to end a film brilliantly – The idea could have been swamped by clichés, but this scene of Allen trying to stop his ex-girlfriend from leaving is elevated by the pitch-perfect acting into something revelatory – Allen’s charming hesitancy, that combination of courage and shyness; the dove-tailing of Mariel Hemingway’s words with the sound-track; most especially the last, silent moments of Allen’s changing expressions… This is truly one of cinema’s most romantic films. Here’s that final scene:


  • It’s a cynic’s film, actually…. that final line: “You have to have a little faith in people” – isn’t it completely at odds with the story? The trigger for Diane Keaton chasing Woody Allen in the film is largely that her lover has spurned her. Allen only changes course to stop Hemingway leaving because Keaton has gone. Allen is all about the destinies of relationships being changed by tiny decisions, that could have gone either way, as if at the flick of a coin.
  • No, it’s a romantic’s film. The sweeping, swooning, lush Gershwin soundtrack. The moody black and white visuals.
  • Ok, a compromise. Perhaps the love affair is with the town, the architecture itself.


  • Empty rooms – So many conversations happen off-screen, especially inside apartments, with characters moving from room to room and through hallways, past the view of stationary cameras. The device is a Woody Allen staple, used in virtually every movie from Annie Hall onwards.

In a similar style, there’s also a neat moment on a pier, Allen’s friends reading from his ex-wife’s book (Meryl Streep, sensational in an early role). As Streep’s words tear Allen’s reputation apart, the camera briefly looks out over wooden posts marking out territory in the empty, ramshackle harbour. I love the loneliness of the moment. (below, 40 seconds in)


  • Great bit of character writing – Mariel Hemingway as Allen’s 17-year old girlfriend – is she not in fact the most mature character on screen? The most patient, the most open, the least often dragged into petty or grand emotional deceptions?
  • Uncomfortable bit of character writing – Manhattan (1979) is the first of many movies where Allen writes his character into a plot where he is dating a young girl. This would be creepy enough, as he gets older and older. But then off-screen in 1997 he marries Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his long term partner Mia Farrow. The girl was 35 years his junior at the time. (Farrow had left Allen after finding nude photos taken by Allen of Soon-Yi as an 18-year old). Does real-life biography spoil this aspect of his movies in hindsight – or, after it’s been gossiped about in such depth, are we even bothered now?
  • Favourite visuals(1) the conversation between Allen and Keaton that takes place in silhouette in the planetarium. (below, poor quality, and not the whole clip – best I could find)


  • (favourite comedy fragment – at the start of that last clip, with Allen and Keaton running in from the rain, the scrap of newspaper he is holding over his head to protect himself becomes farcically small, Allen still clinging).
  • Favourite visuals(2) the confrontation between Allen and his best friend Yale (Keaton’s ex) that takes place in a classroom, a skeleton standing next to Allen. Allen isn’t a director who is always thinking about imagery – he often emphasises dialogue, plot, character (at least when his career as an auteur gets going he does). But Manhattan (like his other black and white movies such as Broadway Danny Rose and Stardust Memories) is oriented towards the visuals.


  • Comedy moment #2: “my doctor told me it was the wrong kind”. Allen’s momentary pause afterwards is priceless.


  • Favourite relationship insight – Allen and Keaton, completely at odds with each other at first meeting when their partners are in tow. They’re so destined to get together. And so destined to fail afterwards.


  • Life-affirming moment – Allen recites into a dictaphone his list of reasons why life is worth living, ending with his ex-girlfriend, and then realises how much he wants to get her back. (first two minutes of link below)


  • Copy / Paste moment – running along the streets to go back to Tracy at the end of the movie. Reminds me of Billy Crystal doing the same in When Harry Met Sally. They’re both naff runners as well. At least Allen doesn’t try to be heroic – stopping with a stitch and looking around awkwardly for a taxi (same link, 3 minutes in. This link also has the full dialogue for the end scene of the movie, 5 minutes in)


  • How to start a film brilliantly – We hear Allen drafting the opening of his book several times – first too corny, then too preachy, then too angry… A sly way to ask us: how much of our identity is self-narrated myth, and how much do we try to perfect our fictions? How much of our self-image is shaped by where we choose to live? Should we be living as cynics or romantics?

How much faith should we have in another person?

Here it is, complete with fireworks and Rhapsody in Blue:


– Mike Loveday

The Sharp Call of Brass





AT 7:27 THIS MORNING WELLS TOWER woke me with three hard knocks. Loud and muffled. At the time I didn’t know it was him. I was asleep. He was at the door. Staring vacantly at the square chrome clock pillow-high, I reasoned It’s Sunday. Or Saturday. Then I muttered into the sweat-sour duvet something nobody was ever going to hear. Four more bangs  – this time, the sharp call of brass – and a shuffling from beyond two doors, my bedroom door and the one that opens, and closes, on the outside.  He was on the step. Waiting. I cupped my balls, turned over.


‘It was much hotter now, and the sun glared down through the sky like a flashlight behind a sheet.’

11:11. Man! My ankles were angry from having slept in socks too thick, they were pinching hot. I reached for a watch,  and holding my left arm out from under the covers, attached the watchstrap to it. I scruffed at my greasy hair, wiped my hands on the sheets then concertina-ed the duvet into three-even sections, neatly layered at the foot of the bed. I straightened one unruly corner, pulled on yesterday’s clothes.

I found him lying at the bottom of the stairs in a pale rectangle of dirty floorboards where a doormat with a cat’s face used to sleep. His scraped and distorted covering suggested he had squeezed first through the brass letterbox and then through the mouth of synthetic black bristles fitted on the back of it – is there a name for that? I flicked on the kettle, pissed.

On the table next to a borrowed copy of Conrad lie a creased scrap of paper with inky scratchings on it, things to do today. It was yesterday’s list with one item struck through. I made a pot of coffee, opened the fridge and stared at a chubby white paper cup, pineapple and coconut yoghurt. I looked away, closed the fridge door, sprayed the orchids on the kitchen windowsill, opened and closed the fridge again. The fridge appears different with a bright new trawler boat magnetically stuck to it. Trawling is when you weigh down the nets and drag for bottom-feeders. I poured coffee, shook out the last of the milk and took Wells to meet the sofa.


‘Derrick came back into the living room. “Gotta take a ride over the bridge,” he said. “Need to go pull something out of a horse’s pussy.”

“What kind of thing?” Bob asked.

“A baby horse, I hope.”



17:06 It is wintry dark now. The day left without saying goodbye. On the table there is a creased list of things to do. One of them is struck through, still. I shall call to work, tell them, half-sitting, half-lying, I am sick, I cannot leave the sofa and then imagine The Manager recradling the phone, cussing and shunting spectacles higher on her nose, wondering What to do tomorrow?  He may not come again.



– Stuart Bird



Quotations from ‘The Brown Coast’, Wells Tower; Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, London: Granta, 2009.



Wells Tower reads the title story from his debut collection:






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