Students of Warwick University’s acclaimed writing programme launch anthology

Agents, publishers, and editors are invited to join Warwick’s Writing students for their
anthology launch at Piccadilly Waterstones on the evening of Wednesday, the 12th of June.

Following tradition at the University of Warwick, the students of the esteemed MA in
Writing Programme have been working hard for the past eight months to publish an eclectic anthology of their work.

The anthology, Chimera, features work from 41 writers and includes a foreword from
award-winning poet, translator, and critic Michael Hulse.

Chimera, titled after the monster in Greek mythology, encompasses different styles and perspectives from local and international voices travelling across genres in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

The launch will feature readings from 13 of the students, whose work includes:

  • An extract from a fantasy novel, where a Warrior-Queen leads her army through the desert to meet a tribe.
  • The opening of a horror novel centring around the haunted past of a childhood
    home, previously owned by a mysterious figure, Howard Pertman.
  • An extract from a historical fiction duology telling the story of Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III.
  • A novel exploring a Palestinian Christian family’s experience living under
    Bethlehem’s occupation during the early 2000s, from the viewpoint of a child.
  • A poem that stands strong in the face of tragedy, telling of the poet’s experience
    losing a friend in the 2011 Norwegian massacre.
  • Short stories that range from a humorous tale, to a classical horror story, to an
    intricate tale of unfinished business at the end of a life.

Nothing in the Rulebook’s Professor Wu said:

“At a time when the major publishing behemoths risk creating a homogenised culture where only the same books are published by the same small clique of authors, it is vitally important to support collective creative endeavours like the Warwick Writing Programme Anthology, which has consistently brought unique voices to the ongoing literary conversation – and provides a rare opportunity to discover new stories, characters and worlds, as well as the writers behind them.”

A literary invitation

Literary agents, editors, and publishers interested in attending the launch are welcome to register in advance by emailing Frances at, as spots are limited. Limited copies of the anthology will be available at the launch.

Alternatively, copies are available in both physical and e-book versions on request.

The launch of Chimera will be at 6 pm on Wednesday 12 June at Waterstones, Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD.


Shallow Creek and the crowdfunding paddle


The literary creatives behind STORGY, who publish and promote new literature across genres and classifications, are crowdfunding an anthology of speculative and horror fiction dedicated to all things that go bump in the night.

Shallow Creek is an anthology of new horror stories, strange and speculative fiction with a sting in its barbed tail, edited by Tomek Dzido. It collects together 18 brand new unsettling stories from new and emerging writers that draw upon the ethereal landscape of quiet towns just short of the outskirts of infinity for inspiration. Some of the stories within this tome explore the realms of the supernatural, whilst others are firmly rooted in gritty realism, but they all engage the reader with terror in abundance.

town at night from afar2.jpg

Tales of the macabre

A spokesperson for STORGY explained what makes this literary creation unique among horror anthologies:


“Think The Twilight ZoneTales of The Unexpected, Castle Rock and Creepshow all rolled into one. What makes Shallow Creek unique? Authors were all summoned to the town via our short story competition and given a character, location and item to create tenebrous and twisted tale to disturb your thoughts and tickle your ankles from underneath the duvet at night. You will most probably when reading the anthology find stories where certain characters in one story may pop up in others, which was our original aim when creating the competition, to construct an interwoven tale told by many authors – you may also read a yarn that will shake the very core of your being…

The quiet town of Shallow Creek has a long history of ghost stories and tales of the macabre. Every few generations this strangeness crawls out from the dark places of the quaint settlement’s imagination, seeping into our own reality. We are living through uncertain times now. Let the Creek lure you quietly to the safe place…”

Kickstarting a new anthology 

STORGY are looking for £3,500 to help cover the cost of printing the book. They are offering backers a number of Kickstarter exclusives, including T-shirts, bespoke-made bookmarks from illustrator Amie Dearlove and a chance to have your name in the book as part of the amazing community that supports indie publishing – whilst also the opportunity to have a location on our town map named after yourself.

Nothing in the Rulebook’s Professor Wu said of the project:

“As a (generally) cold-blooded amphibian without eyelids, I’m a fan of anything that includes a touch of cold-blooded murder and makes you sleep with at least one eye open.

This latest endeavour from STORGY once again strives to give a voice to new and emerging writing talent – something that cannot happen enough.

We exist at a time when the mainstream publishing industry seems to insist only on publishing novels of novels that are copies of commercially successful novels. This model not only denies opportunities to aspiring creatives; but also denies readers with the opportunity to discover new literary voices. I’d strongly encourage all of our readers to get involved in the crowdfunding campaign and support the project – either by purchasing a perk bundle or spreading the word to those you know.”

Get involved 

You can contribute to the Shallow Creek Kickstarter online –  while aspiring writers can also submit their work to STORGY directly, too. 

The crowdfunding trend

Authors, publishers and literary journals are all finding new ways of connecting directly to their readers – and their wallets – on online platforms such as Kickstarter. Think The 8th Emotion, a unique speculative fiction project by Josh Spiller (read our interview with Josh about the project here on NITRB). Why not check out this excellent article by writer and editor Dan Coxon, who examines how the social financing model can bring new book ideas to life.




Book review – F(r)iction, issue 4


F(r)iction (4)  is the latest anthology from literary publisher Tethered by Letters. This is an important point to make because neither F(r)iction, nor Tethered by Letters, are quite like any anthology or literary publisher you’re likely to come across. The publisher doesn’t just print books – it is also an excellent resource for writers of all stripes, offering invaluable insight into the trade of authorship, as well as into the fascinating world of literature and the publishing scene in general. It’s no surprise that an organisation clearly unafraid to push the boundaries of literature and explore new possibilities of the written word have produced such an interesting book.

Simply put, F(r)iction is a stunning, visually and intellectually inspiring book to pick up. The illustrations that run throughout its pages are truly brilliant works of art – and all of these complement the pieces of writing they sit among, while also telling their own tales, in a wide variety of artistic styles.

As with all anthologies, there will be pieces of writing that one is drawn to more than others. It is therefore fortunate that the standard of writing throughout the anthology is so high; and that any preference between pieces comes down to a matter of taste, rather than negative criticism of one story or other.

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum’s On the 100th Anniversary of Mary’s death is certainly one story that deserves special mention. While the fact that the story is cut out into shards and pieces runs the risk that some may see it as a simple formatting gimmick, the writing itself is so tight and crisp that evidence of a very real writerly talent is clearly on show. Intriguing and captivating throughout, with subtle shifts in emphasis and tone keep the reader entrapped in an quasi-mystical relationship with the words on the page. Certain extracts, also, leap out at you:

“Instead, we ate cheese on crackers and drank Australian Shiraz from clear plastic cups in the foyer. Instead, we made visors of our hands to shield the glare of fluorescents reflected in Mary’s blown-up stills: snapshots of stairs cut into the stone of a mountain, Nepalese children beaming and bedraggled before a straw hut, a shaman naked in dreads on a wheel of stone. No, She did not strain her eyes at us from her portraits. No, the hallway fluorescents did not shiver and blink. Her sisters stood awkwardly by the exit door. Strangers shuffled past with their refreshments. No one paused to question the light.”

And the cumulative effect of the scattered narrative is of having spent the day watching a combination of Adam Curtis documentaries and Alfred Hitchcock movies (which can only ever be seen as a good thing).

Follow the leader, a comic-book styled narrative from Jonas McCluggage, is another arresting piece from this overwhelmingly enjoyable collection. Aside from the graphic illustration, which is superb, the story the words and images combine to tell is both disturbing and compelling, as we are drawn into a hunt not only trying to discover the reality behind the mysterious opening section, and the so-called ‘cult’ that has taken over the otherwise peaceful American town of Larranceville, but also into an exploration of mortality – and of the human condition. Quite a feat for a short comic.

But it is not for us to review and comment on every piece in this anthology. The marriage between narrative forms – including fiction, comic book and poetry – as well as between new writers and voices, throws (as all marriages tend to do) curve balls at the reader as we move from one piece to the next. But it never feels jarring, and it never feels forced. Indeed, as is perhaps the ideal for all marriages; F(r)iction has a remarkable habit for only ever throwing up pleasant surprises. And, underneath it all, it burns with a true passion for literature, for the written word, and, most importantly of all: for new ideas – which are so often lacking in contemporary publishing. A must read.

To purchase a copy of F(r)iction, please click here.


New anthology celebrates Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity


In November 1915 Albert Einstein published his now world famous General Theory of Relativity. It introduced to physics new concepts, such as the curvature of space-time and black holes, and it made extraordinary predictions about the bending of light around massive objects. I Am Because You Are is a timely collection of new fiction and non-fiction from novelists and science writers, all inspired by the theme of Relativity. Each contributor treats the subject in their own unique way. The results are charming, witty, sometimes challenging but always accessible, presenting complex science themes in imaginative, easy-to-understand and highly entertaining ways.

Contributors include novelists Andrew Crumey, Dilys Rose and Neil Williamson, alongside popular science communicators Pedro Ferreira and Jo Dunkley. Edited by acclaimed, award-winning writers Pippa Goldschmidt and Tania Hershman, I Am Because You Are will be the perfect vehicle for both press and public to engage with this landmark centenary.

Michael Brooks, author of 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense, said of the new anthology: “Sparkling with wit and originality, making a virtue out of the frail humanity of science, these stories perfectly reflect the breathtaking poetry of Einstein’s greatest theory. Enlightening, entertaining and sometimes moving, this collection is a beautiful celebration of relativity’s influence on our cultural landscape.”

This collection of fiction and non-fiction is perhaps the way to mark the hugely important 100th anniversary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. And it’s publication by Freight Books taps into massive interest in popular science through imaginative writing.

About the editors

Tania Hershman spent 13 years as a science journalist, writing for publications such as WIRED and NewScientist, before becoming a full-time fiction writer. Her first story collection, The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008), was commended by the judges of the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. Her second, My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions, was published in May 2012 by Tangent Books. Tania’s stories and poems have won various prizes, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, been widely published and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Her debut poetry chapbook will be published in Feb 2016.

Pippa Goldschmidt’s novel The Falling Sky (Freight, 2012) was runner-up in the Dundee International Book Prize. She has a PhD in astronomy and worked as an astronomer. She has worked as a writer-in-residence at several academic institutions including most recently the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg in Germany. Her short stories, poetry and non-fiction have been broadcast on Radio 4 and published in a wide variety of publications including Gutter, New Writing Scotland and the New York Times. Her story collection The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space was published by Freight in May 2015.

An Alphabet Anthology

26 Acrostic Poems


‘Vermin’ – original illustration by George Vernon

P is for Prologue Articulate buffoons can deduce even fantastical grammar. However, I just keep lying; muttering nonsensical obscene poetic quotations, rhetorical stammers, talking utter verbal wittering. Xeroxing yawping zanyisms!

A is for Abortion Although babies can, do embryos feel? Genes haven’t inherited judgement, knowledge, love, mind, nurture, or pain. Questionable reasoning, still, their unconsciousness verifies when x-chromosomes yird. Zoothapsis.

E is for Evolution Abiding by Charles Darwin’s evolutionary findings, generations have inadvertently jeopardised kinetic life. Mutations now obscure populations, quelling resistance. Species therefore undergo variations which xenogenetically yearn zoopathology.

B is for Birth A born child doesn’t envisage from growth how it journeyed, keeping life’s momentum. Nova of perfect quantity rest, suspended together upon velvet womb. X-chromosome… Y-chromosome… zoom!

N is for Nursery rhyme Apple bore, chapel door, elephant fat, giant hat, ignite jeeps, kite leaps, more nightmares, or prayers, queen rules, scream tools, umbrella vine, weather xenurine, yippee, zippy!

F is for Faith αlpha began Christianity. Delusional elephant faced Gods – Hinduism. In Judaism Koshers law. Muslim nations often practice Qur’ān readings. Swahilian tribes use Voodoo. Wisdom ‘xorcizes’ your zen.

L is for Love Arms bent cradling dearest, entwined for gracious hours. Intoxicating joyful kisses linked, mirroring neatly our palms, quasi reflections sealed together. Utterly vivacious. We. Xiphopagus, yet zestful.

H is for Horizon A boundless cloud drifted effortlessly from ground’s horizon, inducing joyous kaleidoscopic luminescence, migrating nimbly overhead. Prospering quickly, rain started tumbling upon valleys, weeping. Xanadu’s youthful zenith.

C is for Church Antidisestablishmentarianism be Church’s decree, exiling faithless gatherings happening inside Jehovah’s kingdom. Lust must not obscure passion, questioning religious sins to undermine values withstanding. Xerif Yahweh zounds!

G is for Gay A boy callously denies ever feeling gay. However, ignoring joy keeps love’s motion nocturnal of passion. Questioning represses sexual taste, ultimately veiled within. Xenomorphic youthful zone.

S is for Space Astronauts, beckoning countdown detonation, explore foreign galaxies hither. Ignition jets kick-start. “Liftoff!” Mission now orbiting planets quivering rings, sailing through universes. Voyaging wanderers x-raying yonder zodiac.

R is for Racism A black cat doesn’t extradite feline gingers having identity juxtapositions. Kenyan lions merge naturally over prides. Quiet racism still tiptoes under view when xenophobia’s your zoo.

Z is for Zebras Africa’s been considered dramatically exquisite for generating habitat. In jungles, keepers located magnificent natural observations, perceiving quirkily rare species. Twas unimaginable! Vibrant, wild, xanthic (yellow) zebras!

U is for Upside down Zealously yelling xeric worthless verse upsets the sequence, revealing, quite providentially, other nomenclature. Morphemic language knits jargonistic idioms. However, gobbledegook flourishes, eventually deriving coherent backward alphabets.

O is for Orchestra A buoyant crescendo detonates, echoes frivolously gathering harmonious instrumentation. Jiggling keys, like millipedes nattering, oscillate, perpetually quaking. Resounding symphonies thunder until vanquishing with xylophones yelling zing!

Y is for Youth Accidentally by chance, Dave escaped from gerbil hutch. Inquisitive juvenile kids lurk, moulding notions of preposterous questions, riddled secret treasures under verandas where X yearns zilch.

M is for Mathematics Algebra bemuses calculators deriving equations factorising geometric hypotenuses. Integration jumbles key logarithms multiplying negative ones. Processing quadratics reveals substance to universe verified with X, yet zero.

V is for Vermin A black crow dived expeditiously, feathers gilding his indigo jacket. Kidnapped little mice nesting on pastures. Quickly ripped, scraped, tore up vermin with xyster yanking. Zoophagy.

T is for Tramp A bent cardboard duvet enveloped, from gales, his identity. Jaywalkers kneel like monarchs, not offering pockets. Quaking rotten shoes the unhappy vagabond wore. Xmas – yesteryears zero.

X is for X-Rated Adults brandishing corrupt dirty eroticism, flaunt genitalia heartlessly. It jeopardises kinships, letting masturbation nullify. Orgasmic porno queens rouse sexual taint until Viagra withers. XXX yearn zooids.

I is for Insanity Anxiety, beyond chaotic doubt, embraces frail genius’ head. It judiciously keeps letting my nervousness obligate psychotic questions. Rebellious scaring thoughts umbrella violent ways. X-rated? Yes! Zaniness!

K is for Kill A blade cuts deeply, empting from gushing head’s inflamed jugular. Knife lacerates materialism’s never-ending ordeal. Pessimism quits – resulting suicide. The ungrateful veins weep, xeransis. Yearlong zombie.

W is for War Adieu bugle, crying deaths eulogy for glorious heroes, if juvenilely. Killing longevity means naively obliterating peace. Questions rendering? Surrender to undo violent warfare. Xenagogue your zealots.

J is for Justice Albeit by cruel detriment, execution for genocidal homicide initiates justice. Killing life mitigates not of punishment. Quietus retributes stolen time until victims with xenium yield zoetic.

Q is for Questions Answers bewilder consideration. Does everything fade? Generations have interpreted juke knowledge. Life’s meaning, nevertheless, offers perplexing questions. Reason seams to undermine validation. Why X? Y Z?

D is for Death All beings cannot defy eventual fate. Graves hallowing invisible joy. Kin lying motionless, north of paradise, quiet restful stillness. Tombs upholding virtue when xylem, yourself, zeal.

About the author of this post

George Vernon is a writer and teacher based in the UK. He graduated from Warwick university with a first class (hons) degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2012, and completed his MA degree in Writing from Chichester University two years later. When not teaching, George can be found writing; learning; living; loving. He tweets at @MrGeorgeVernon