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It’s Official! Creative Writing at Bolton: FIRST in the UK for Teaching Excellence



The people at The Times newspaper have crunched the numbers, and it’s official: out of some 49 institutions offering Creative Writing degrees, from St Andrews to Goldsmiths to MMU to Sheffield Hallam, it is Creative Writing at The University of Bolton that is rated Number #1 for Teaching Excellence.

We knew we were doing something right in our department, always striving to deliver the very best to our fantastic students. But it’s always nice to get official recognition!

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Live Literatue, Tuesday 11th October

The Creative Writing and English programmes at The University of Bolton and Bolton Central Library are pleased to present the first in their series of poetry and fiction performances as part of the ‘Live Literature’ series.

Beverley Bie Brahic & Conor O’Callaghan


Beverley Bie Brahic is a prize-winning translator of Apollinaire, Yves Bonnefoy and Francis Ponge. Her poetry collection, ‘White Sheets’, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Her most recent collection, ‘Hunting the Boar’, is a 2016 Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Conor O’Callaghan was born in Northern Ireland and grew up ten miles away in the Republic of Ireland. He has published four books of prize-winning poetry, most recently ‘The Sun King’ in 2013. His first novel, ‘Nothing on Earth’, has just been published by Transworld/Doubleday.

We will also be launching the University of Bolton and Bolton Library and Museum Services Poetry Competition.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 6.30pm-8.00pm, Bolton Central Library Le Mans Cres, Bolton BL1 1SE

Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served.


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Pens and imaginations at the ready…


It’s been really great to meet you prospective English and Creative Writing students at our recent Open Days! Can’t quite believe September is here already…

Your Creative Writing tutors here at Bolton – Mary Cooper, Simon Holloway, Ed Jones and me; see the ‘About Us’ section for more info – are looking forward to welcoming you, whether you’re a new student or a returning one.

Here’s to 2016-17 being a happy and successful year for you and your writing.


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Graduation 2016


So today we have to say a warm farewell to another year’s graduands…

Congratulations on your wonderful achievements, Cath, Louise, Alan, Ally, Jade, Fiona, Anthony, Brian, Leah, Ruth-anne, Craig, James, Krysta and Louise – good luck with all you do in the future, and come back and see us sometime…the kettle’s always on!

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Mario Petrucci Masterclass

We’re indebted to the wonderful poet Mario Petrucci for coming to Bolton this week to deliver his 16 Ways into Writing workshop to students from across our degrees.

As comprehensive as it is unique, the 16 Ways offers a hands-on exploration of the major pathways into writing, including everything from the ‘found text’ to Larkin’s pickles.  Mario’s immense experience fueled a groundbreaking masterclass on compositional process, generating a workshop experience of immense variety and enduring value for all participants.

MarioPetrucci-MarishaHorsman-2016-croppedMario is four times winner of the London Writers competition, has won prizes in the National Poetry Competition, and is recipient of a PBS Recommendation, the Bridport Prize, an Arts Council England Writers’ Award and a New London Writers Award. His Arvon-winning collection Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl, was the basis of a film by Seventh Art Productions. His latest collection is i tulips, a 1,111-strong sequence merging American modernism and British voices. Shortlisted for the 2012 Ted Hughes award, his Tales from the Bridge was the world’s largest 3D poetry soundscape and a centrepiece of the London Cultural Olympiad.

All of which makes his willingness to come and work so closely with our students all the more gratifying: the precision, inspiration and eagerness he engenders in our work should be held dearly – or, as he put it yesterday, “If you can spend more time at the threshold, and be active there, the writing will happen.”

Thanks, Mario – an honour.

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The Bolton Review – Launch

BR4 launchBe one of the first to get your hands on a copy of Issue Four of The Bolton Review at a special launch party this Wednesday (27 April 2016).

The free event, with drinks and nibbles, will be at 5pm in the University of Bolton’s prestigious law court, Senate House, with readings by the published writers, plus the announcement of winner and runners-up in The Deana Morris Prize for Fiction.

The Bolton Review has had a makeover for this issue, entitled Photographs & Falcons. As is Review tradition, two of the words from the accepted submissions create the edition’s title. Previous issues have been called Whiskey & Donuts, Vodka & Sand and ABCs & Coffee Beans.

Fiction, poetry, scripts, essays and critical articles were all considered for inclusion and writers from the University and local colleges were invited to submit their work. This year’s Review, edited by University of Bolton Creative Writing undergraduate Louise Wilkes and executive editor and Creative Writing lecturer Dr Simon Holloway, has an ISSN number and an increased pagination, reflecting its growing success.Bolton Review 4 logoThe second Deana Morris Prize for Fiction, run in conjunction with The Bolton Review, was judged by journalist and University Communications Manager Deana Morris, award-winning writer and University Publications Officer Sarah-Clare Conlon and author Dr Simon Holloway, from the University’s Creative Writing department. Submissions on the theme of ‘space’ were invited from all University of Bolton students, staff and alumni, regardless of subject or department.

Following the launch of The Bolton Review and prize-giving ceremony, Creative Writing students and staff will be moving on to the Octagon Theatre, Bolton for this year’s Creative Writing Showcase. This will take place Wednesday 27 and also on Thursday 28 April, both offering an evening of poetry, fiction and drama. Tickets are £3 in advance – email CLS1AMT@bolton.ac.uk – and £5 on the door, and the price includes refreshments.

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University of Bolton creative writers at Verbose, April 25th

Live literature night Verbose is back a week today on Monday 25 April, featuring special guests plus the usual open mic of prose and poetry performances. Verbose, hailed in the press as one of the best spoken word nights in Manchester, each month invites three headliners who collaborate or share a common thread.

This month’s guests work or have worked at the University of Bolton, in the English & Creative Writing department. We’ll be hearing from Bolton tutors, past and present, Anne Caldwell, Simon Holloway and Evan Jones. We’ll also have a sneak preview of some of the work published in The Bolton Review, issue four of which is being officially launched on Wednesday 27 April.


Anne Caldwell was until recently a lecturer at the University of Bolton and is now Poet and Literature Programme Manager for The British Council. She was long-listed for the National Poetry Competition in 2015 and her latest collection, Painting The Spiral Staircase, has just come out on Cinnamon Press to critical acclaim. Simon Holloway is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Bolton and a novelist, short story writer and still occasionally a poet. His short fiction has been published in places such as Stand, New Contrast, New Writing and The North American Review. His latest novel is The Words We Use are Black and White. Canadian poet Evan Jones has published two collections of poetry with Carcanet Press, the most recent of which is Paralogues (2012). He has lived in Manchester since 2005 and teaches at the University of Bolton.

Another nine published and up-and-coming poets and prose writers will also perform.

Since being relaunched in January 2015 by Sarah-Clare Conlon, Verbose has welcomed such luminaries of the North West literature scene as Jenn Ashworth, Elizabeth Baines, Sarah Butler, Aisla Cox, James Davies, David Gaffney, Jim Hinks, Sarah Jasmon, Tom Jenks, John McAuliffe, Ian McGuire, Fat Roland, Nicholas Royle, John D Rutter, Geoff Ryman, Graeme Shimmin, Scott Thurston and Emma Jane Unsworth. Man Booker Prize shortlisted author Alison Moore has also read.

Taking place on the fourth Monday of the month at Fallow café in Fallowfield (2a Landcross Road, M14 6NA), Verbose is free entry and doors are at 7.30pm. See http://verbosemcr.wordpress.com. For the open mic, email verbosemcr@gmail.com. The next Verbose will be on Monday 23 May, then Monday 27 June.