Presented in order of appearance at Flashers’ Club:
Tyler Keevil (Flashers’ Club II, February 2017) grew up in Vancouver and in his mid-twenties moved to Wales, where he now lives. He is the author of several books and his short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including New Welsh Review, PRISM: International, and Brace (Comma Press). He has received numerous awards for his writing, most notably the Wales Book of the Year People’s Prize and the Writers’ Trust of Canada Journey Prize. At the time of appearance Tyler was the Undergraduate Course Leader in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. His latest novel, No Good Brother, will be published by The Borough Press / HarperCollins in 2018. You can find Tyler’s website here.
Jane Bailey (Flashers’ Club IV, August 2017) is a Gloucestershire writer who has published five novels plus a book of comic verse. As well as being a successful and well-loved novelist, Jane also gives her time to help the next generation of writers to find their voices. She is a writer in residence for two Cheltenham Festivals outreach programmes: Beyond Words, which supports young people in Gloucestershire hospitals, and Cheltenham Festivals First Story, in which Cheltenham Festivals partners with the charity First Story to place acclaimed writers into disadvantaged secondary schools. Find out more about Jane and her work here.
Sîon Owen (Flashers’ Club V, November 2017) was brought up a first language Welsh speaker in the Rhondda. He is a cartoonist, writer and TV presenter of Pobol y Rhondda, a 2 Welsh language series based on the Rhondda Valleys. Sion has several different jobs including running creative workshops throughout south Wales through his company, CreaSiôn. His book Cawl, a mix of short stories, bilingual poetry, articles, and comics, was published in 2016 by Parthian.
Sion was recently part of a cultural exchange between Wales and India in which five Welsh writers travelled across India to the Kolkata Literature Festival, and three Indian writers travelled to Wales for the Hay and Llansteffan Literature Festival. The trilingual book will be published next year.
He is currently working on an art book and a Welsh learners’ book coming out in 2018, and an adaptation for a short film. Sîon tweets @sionmun, and you can find out more about CreaSion here.
Open mic readers
Presented in alphabetical order:
Lucas Abbott studied Creative Writing at the University of Winchester and currently works as a copywriter in Cheltenham. He has previously been published in the online literary magazine 101 Words, and his song ‘Immi’s Song’ appears on the album A List of Things I Never Did by Splendid Fred Records. He regularly writes flash fiction, short stories and songs. You can find him tweeting @abbott_lucas.
Robin Barker has written since he was young; mainly short stories, some comedic, some serious. He has published a short story (Albert’s Place) with magazine Writers’ News. He still writes short fiction but has progressed to writing novels, and is currently editing the first draft of a locally-based novel about zombies. He hopes it will be the first of many. Robin is a lifelong Cheltenham resident and is part of local writer’s circle Montpellier Writer’s Group, which he’s been attending for over a decade. He’s known in the group as ‘the zombie man’, but this is not a case of life imitating art.
Alex Clark’s stories have appeared in Prole magazine, Shooter Literary Magazine, Litro Online, and multiple anthologies by The Fiction Desk. In 2016 she won the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network prose competition with the story Shoals, which was read at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Her story The Thief was chosen to feature at November 2016’s Stroud Short Stories event. She is the founder and organiser of Flashers’ Club, and also runs monthly Cheltenham writers’ retreats for Writers’ HQ. You can find her tweeting @otheralexclark, and blogging sporadically at www.theotheralexclark.wordpress.com.
Annie Ellis writes poetry, short fiction, lyrics and scripts. She has had six poems published in three anthologies, and one of her poems was highly commended in the 2015 Cheltenham Writers’ Circle competition. She has had plays performed at the Stroud Theatre Festival and Playhouse Theatre, and in 2014 helped to construct ‘Words of War’, a script written by Deep End Theatre Company. She is a member of the Cheltenham Poetry Society and the Cheltenham Writers’ Circle, and attends several drama groups.
Isabelle Forbes writes purely for fun, but enjoys sharing her work. She writes poetry, memoir and short fiction and was further inspired this summer by attending an Arvon Foundation course on flash fiction.She is a member of the Montpellier Writers’ Group, Cheltenham.
Ken Frape started writing just a couple of years ago, after a lifetime in education. Having moved to Stroud, he felt he had to take up something creative. His short stories appear in a number of places; mostly around his own house, and in his children’s. He performs in plays and has written a short play which was performed at the Stroud Fringe. He will sneak in to read wherever he can, and has recently paid visits to Flashers’ Club in Cheltenham, Corinium Radio in Cirencester, and Stroud Story Party.
Currently he is part of The Severn Wonders who perform comedy sketches which they have written themselves. The results are interesting, as Ken admits he is still on the nursery slopes of a steep learning curve.
Gill Garrett wrote academic text books in a previous existence, but has since discovered the far more interesting pursuit of creative writing. Her poetry and short stories have won local and national awards, including the Onward Prize and the Poetry Prize (twice) in the Cheltenham Literature Festival’s Gloucestershire Writers Network competition. Two of her plays have been broadcast on local radio. She blogs at gillgarrett.blogspot.com.
Rod Griffiths had a successful career as a public health medical professor before retiring and starting to write fiction rather than explaining health matters.
He has published two novels and a collection of short stories. He has been listed in a number of competitions, in Stroud, Malvern, Worcester and London among others and published some stories in international magazines. He has an MA in Creative Writing from University of Gloucestershire. He works with Black Pear Press, a small local publisher set up by Rod and two friends. They have published flash fiction, short stories, poetry and novels by a growing list of authors.
Rod divides his time between writing his own material, reading at performances and helping other writers through Black Pear press. He is currently chairman of Worcester Writers Circle, despite moving to Cheltenham three years ago.
Shirley Halse is a young writer currently living in Cheltenham, though she has spent time in Oxford, Paris, Munich and London. Her writing mainly focuses on short-form stories and sketches. She is a member of The Wilson Arts Collective, as well as being involved with 2017’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. You can follow her on twitter @shirleyhalse.
Courtney Hulbert, unable to work again, turned to a life as a full time
poet in 2015. He quickly found it doesn’t pay the bills, and joined the
University of Gloucestershire’s Creative Writing MA programme in order to find out how to do so. He has ten volumes of poetry and other assorted grown-up writing
on Kindle. He’ll be running a collaborative novel and shorts workshop in
The Coconut Tree, St Paul’s, and a Palliative Power of Performance Poetry
workshop out of The Railway, both in Cheltenham. He intends to take
poetry as a therapeutic tool into the community.
Michael Hurst’s monologue Waiting was performed by Show of Strength Theatre Company at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham. He read A Hundred and Three Miles at the Cheltenham Literature Festival as part of the Gloucestershire Writers Network prose competition. His story Stolen Orange was selected for the May 2017 Stroud Short Stories event. You can find him on Twitter @CotswoldArts.
Jason Jackson was born and brought up in the north-east of England. He now lives in the south-west. He writes short fiction and poetry. He also takes photographs. You can find links to some of Jason’s published work at https://jjfiction.wordpress.com. Jason tweets @jj_fiction .
Emma Kernahan started writing last year, furtively and in five minute slots in supermarket car parks while her children napped. Back then she wrote slightly pretentious poems about sex and death and boobs and stuff. These days she also writes short stories, mostly while Paw Patrol is on, so they turn out pretty dark. She is a member of Stroud Writers’ Circle, where she is an enthusiastic amateur.
Emma talks a lot about writing and Being A Woman, but actually doesn’t have time to do a great deal of either. You can read more about this at www.crappyliving.wordpress.com and on twitter (@crappyliving).
She also heard that Virginia Woolf wrote most of her books on a table covered in laundry and Pokemon cards, so she and a friend have set up a library of similar images of where all kinds of women write. You can have a nose through and submit your own at https://www.facebook.com/wherewomenwrite1/ .
Lania Knight’s first novel, Three Cubic Feet, was a finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award in Debut Fiction. Her second novel, Remnant, is due out in 2017. Her stories, essays and interviews have been published or are forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Missouri Review, Short Fiction, The Rumpus, Literary Mama, Post Road and elsewhere. She lectures in creative writing at University of Gloucestershire. Read more about her at www.laniaknight.com.
Sophie Livingston worked as a journalist for 15 years before admitting to writing fiction. Her work has been published in a range of magazines from Woman’s Weekly to Graffiti, the magazine of the Gloucestershire Writer’s Network. She has been a short story judge for Stroud Short Stories and Gloucestershire Writers’ Network and also chairs the Cirencester-based Somewhere Else Writers’ Group. She is currently failing to finish her second novel – or find anyone who likes the first very much – but is too addicted to writing to stop and do something useful instead.
Iris Anne Lewis is a writer of short stories, poetry and radio scripts. She has been successful in both local and national competitions, as well as being published in magazines and anthologies. She has been invited to read her work at the Cheltenham Literary Festival and Swindon Festival of Literature. Her writing is influenced by history, folk legends and myths, the landscape and the local community. Originally from Wales, she now lives in Gloucestershire.
Libby McIvor has been a writer her whole life, using her long-suffering family as a captive audience until she moved to Cheltenham to study Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. There she discovered that the fewer adverbs the better, not everyone is as passionate about the Oxford comma as she is, and that she really enjoys writing tiny, emotionally charged poems and stories.
She has been published in the University of Gloucestershire’s annual anthology both as a first and second year: her short story ‘Breaking News’ appeared in ‘Reflections: New Writing 5’ last year and she has two poems in the forthcoming ‘Shadows: New Writing 6’. She has also performed flash fiction at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
Libby can be found on Twitter @ladylibbywrites but her WordPress (https://elizabethmcivor.wordpress.com/) is where she tries to act like a grown-up author.
Jim Moeller’s writing has been longlisted in the 2015 Gloucestershire Writers’ Network prose competition, and for reading at the Evesham Festival of Words. He has written any number of short stories, and is currently working on a novel.
Nastasya Parker writes contemporary literary fiction, including two stories published in Bristol Short Story Prize anthologies. In 2016, slightly delirious with flu, she wrote a surreal one-act play about a secret government agency that solves crime by spying on people’s dreams. It was performed in Ledbury and Abergavenny, while her story The Apocalypse Alphabet was selected for the November 2016 Stroud Short Stories event. Mostly, though, she works on novels because she can’t bear to part with her characters too quickly. She blogs at Nastasya Parker.
Megan Paul grew up in the Yorkshire Dales but moved to Cheltenham to study Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. She has had her short stories published online and in NAWE’s ‘Myths of the Near Future’ magazine. She is studying for an MA in Creative and Critical Writing where she hopes to finish her Brexit novel. When not writing, Megan can be found adventuring with her canine sidekick Tate.
Belinda Rimmer writes in all genres, including children’s books, but always returns to poetry. She is a member of the Cheltenham Poetry Society and regularly attends the Cheltenham live poetry night ‘Buzzwords’. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, including Brittle Star and Obsessed with Pipework. A short story of hers appeared in the 2012 Sentinel anthology ‘The Genesis of Falcon’, and she was the winner of the ‘Best Entry From A GL Postcode’ category in the 2016 Cheltenham Prize. She has recently been published by Fictive Dream. Belinda holds a PhD in Women’s Voices in Contemporary Poetry, and has worked as a psychiatric nurse and counsellor with troubled children, a lecturer in Performance Arts, and a dance/drama, creative writing and poetry practitioner in schools. You can find out more about her at www.belindarimmer.com.
Kevin Roche is the author of ‘You Can’t Boogie With Your Boots On’, an account of his time backpacking from Asia to Australia with his wife. It is available on Kindle and is supported by a website, www.kevinroche.co.uk, which contains over 600 photographs of his travels. Kevin is currently working on a further two travel books. Before retiring, Kevin worked for seven years in Singapore where he wrote humorous articles for the British Club magazine.
Mark Rutterford writes and performs his short stories in towns and cities across the south-west. Stories with a love interest, a bit of humour, a slice of heartache and, quite often, a prop in hand. Mark has read at Bath’s Story Friday, Let Me Tell You A Story Jack, Stroud Short Stories, Novel Nights, the Bath Literature Festival event ‘Voices in the City’, Bath Fringe Festival and the Bristol Festival of Literature. Let him know if there’s an event on! He is hugely proud to be a member of Stokes Croft Writers who host the fabulous Talking Tales every other month in Bristol. His website is www.markrutterford.com, and you can find him tweeting @writingsett.
Roberta Smart works as an intuitive empath, combining writing with speaking to offer a healing journey. She describes herself as a heart-led writer of healing words and illuminator of life paths, and loves to write in response to other peoples’ art or stories. Roberta runs a ‘Change your Story’ workshop, encouraging people to move ‘from powerless to Goddess’ simply by changing the words they use in thought, speech and writing. She can be found on Facebook, on Twitter @RobertaLSmart, or at either of her two websites: www.robertaleesmart.com and www.hiddenpathways.co.uk.
Jeff Taylor was born in a mining village in County Durham in 1947. He has a degree in English Literature from Leeds University and a Masters degree from the University of Manchester. He was a teacher for most of his career. He has written poetry throughout his life, some of which has been published. He recently began writing short stories and was a runner-up in the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Prose Competition 2017. He lives in the Cotswold village of Eastleach.
Howard Timms has been writing drama for ten years, and has had work produced in many venues in the U.K. and U.S. These include the Playhouse and Everyman theatres in his native town, Cheltenham. Howard recently returned to university after a fifty-year gap, earning an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. He plans to follow this with PhD research focusing on new drama. He is currently working on a play which will premier at the Playhouse next May, called ‘Oscar Wilde’s Women’; an autobiography, ‘Hairy College Codger’; and a poetry collection, ‘Waves at the Arboretum’. Howard’s published writing includes stories, poems, performing arts reviews, articles for reference books, and non-fiction books for children and adults. You can find him at Howard’s Write Site.
Steven J. Wheeler lives in the depths of the Stroud Valleys where he writes flash fiction, short stories and poetry, and is (still) in the foothills of a novel. He has read at Stroud Short Stories, Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Hawkwood College Bardic Competition. He is a regular at The Ale House writers’ group in Stroud, and has been included in two pamphlets of poetry and short stories. He is an enthusiastic writing competition entrant and has won several (small) prizes and been shortlisted on various sites. You can find him tweeting at @StevenJohnWrite.