Calling all budding designers: Book Cover Design Competition #Horror #SciFi #Fantasy

Book Cover Design Competition
Horror, Sci-fi & Fantasy

Brunel University London’s English & Creative Writing department is developing its first ever Horror, Science-fiction & Fantasy anthology entitled:


The anthology features a range of English & Creative Writing students’ short stories and non-fiction writing and launches on the 21st of March 2017.

The competition for the cover design is open to all Brunel University London Undergraduate students and as well as seeing your design used on all copies of the book (paperback & ebook) you can win 10 paperback copies of the book. Plus if you’re an aspiring graphic designer it’s a great addition to your CV.

The anthology includes three distinct genres –
Science fiction
– as the title suggests. So let your imagination run wild!

The design needs to be:

  • High-resolution, 300 dpi .tif/.jpg format OR vector eps format.
  • Size: A5 (148x210mm) plus a spine on the left (17x210mm).
  • Please keep back-up copies of your working files so if you win they can be easily edited.

Entries must be submitted by:
Friday 3rd of February
by 5pm

to Mr Frazer Lee via email (
AND in hard copy form in an addressed envelope handed in at the Gaskell Building reception.

Good luck & happy designing!




Creative Writing at Brunel presents some of Britain’s most exciting writers


All events take place at Brunel Library and are hosted by Bernardine Evaristo, Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel. Writers include Roger Robinson & Nick Makoha; Sarah Howe & Mona Arshi; Joelle Taylor; Matthew De Abaitua; Max Kinnings & Frazer Lee; and Wendy Jones.

To view the poster that includes all dates, times and further details, please follow the link below:



Don’t miss: Hillingdon Literary Festival

image002When: 7th-9th October 2016

Where: Antonin Artaud Building, Brunel University

What: A FREE weekend of literary performances from over twenty-five bestselling and globally renowned authors with a lively festival atmosphere.

The festival will be home to  vibrant conversations, inspiring readings, book signings, masterclasses and workshops. Some of the author highlights this year include:

Amit Chaudhuri – Celebrated novelist, critic and musician, author of Oysseus Abroad

Samantha Shannon – Internationally bestselling author of The Bone Season series.

Will Self – Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel University London; journalist, political commentator, literary critic; author.

Ken Livingstone – Prominent Labour Party member, former Mayor of London, author of Being Red: A Politics for the Future.

Benjamin Zephaniah –World-renowned performance poet, activist and commentator; Professor in Creative Writing at Brunel University London.

Matt Haig – British novelist. His book Reasons to Stay Alive, a memoir about the author’s experience with depression, has been chosen as a World Book Night 2016 book.

Shappi Khorsandi – Author and comedian who has appeared on Channel 4’s Comedy Gala and Sport Relief. Her debut novel is Nina is Not Ok.

This year’s Hillingdon Literary festival also features its first communitysam_1204-768x576 writing competition, with shortlisted entries published in an anthology ‘Writing Local|Thinking Global‘ and an overall winner of £250 to be announced at the event. Several of our Brunel Creative Writers are on the list so come along to support them and read their work!

All events are free, but “Weekend Ticket” reservation via the website is strongly recommended, as tickets are selling out quickly! 

More info & tickets @

Hillingdon Literary Festival Creative Writing Competition

image002.jpgThe second Hillingdon Literary Festival is running a creative writing competition based on the theme, Writing Local / Thinking Global. The entries will be judged by a panel, including Benjamin Zephaniah, Philip Tew, Suzi Feay and Courttia Newland. The shortlisted works will be published in an anthology of the same name and available at the Hillingdon Literary Festival for free. The winner will receive a £250 prize too.

The word limit is 2,500. Submissions must be received by 15th August 2016. Please email:

For more information regarding the competition and for details of the festival itself, please go to: Over the course of the weekend, there will be over 28 acclaimed authors and poets who will be reading and discussing their work. All sessions are free and there will also be food and drink available at the Duckpond Market along with books to buy, signings, live music – and sunshine guaranteed!

The Brunel Writer Prize 2016

The Brunel Writer Prize is awarded to the student who achieves the highest graded non-fiction article submission for the Creative Industries module on Brunel University’s Creative Writing programme. The piece of non-fiction should be ‘fresh, original, compelling and well balanced’. The winner of this year’s inaugural prize is Lorna Martin for her review of Jamie Lloyd’s recent production of Doctor Faustus at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

Congratulations to Lorna. Read the review below:

29937_fullWHAT THE HELL? – A REVIEW OF JAMIE LLOYD’S DOCTOR FAUSTUS (9th April – 25th June 2016)

Jamie Lloyd’s production is like a Faustian pact; it starts off with excitement and intrigue, but quickly descends into something awful. This review will contain spoilers.

The house lights fade. On stage, Faustus (Game of Thrones’s Kit Harington) lies on a bed, his eyes glued to a television screen, while his student and later personal-assistant-cum-love-interest Wagner (Jade Anouka) symbolically cleans in the background. The set is hyper-realistic, showing a mundane looking flat, bedroom and living space in front with a kitchen towards the back of the stage. So far, so intriguing.

The first section combines physical theatre, music and an imaginative use of the set to bring the pact scene to life. Harington’s Faustus, frustrated by his own weakness, keeps us interested throughout the initial monologue, and although the modern update occasionally felt forced (an Apple Mac instead of “my books”) the juxtaposition of the mundane setting and the devils constantly lurking in the background is deeply unsettling. Particularly effective is the rising chaos of the stage, which gradually got messier as blood and black powder was trodden everywhere by barefoot actors. What really drives these scenes though, is the power of Marlowe’s text. When that is replaced with Colin Teevan’s new scenes, the production completely loses its philosophical depth, moving from deep questions of morality to something more resembling a soap opera.

On its own, Teevan’s writing could have been good, and there were moments where his talent shone through. However, anything would pale in comparison to a play which has endured for over 400 years. I felt like I was watching two plays, with completely different characters and themes. The production’s focus on celebrity culture felt simultaneously irrelevant and too obvious; the bizarre scene where Faustus takes out six FBI agents in the shower left me totally confused. A few other questionable moments – a man playing a pregnant woman in a ridiculously camp falsetto voice, a borderline transphobic joke where a man and woman have their genitals switched, not to mention the unnecessarily graphic rape of Wagner – made this production uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.

Jenna Russell’s Mephistopheles is moving, her speeches about losing God’s love especially poignant. Unfortunately, the play quickly becomes a love triangle, with Mephistopheles and Wagner suddenly competing for Faustus’s romantic attention. By positing Wagner as the symbolic ‘goodness’, the production attempts to make Faustus’s struggle between God and the Devil more understandable to a modern audience.

However, instead of tired old tropes which are at best boring, and at worst sexist, I wish I had been trusted to understand that Heaven and Hell were metaphors that could stand alone. I wish that Marlowe’s subtlety and the beauty of his writing could have been more than just an opening and conclusion tacked on the end. Frankly, I wish the production had been more mature, subtle and true to the themes of the text. The two angels in the opening scenes were a beautiful and original take on a concept which could easily feel out of place in a modern production; clearly it was possible to update the play without rewriting it. I would have loved to see Lloyd’s take on certain scenes from Marlowe; instead, by the second act I was ready to sell my soul to the devil in exchange for being allowed to leave.

In the play, Faustus’s time on Earth seems to fly by inhumanly quickly. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this production. When the curtain finally fell, I heard the woman sitting next to me mutter, “What the hell.” I have to say I agree with her.

Lorna Martin

13412880_1694405824115089_5482601924258505113_nLorna Martin is usually writing something creative or having opinions. Her current projects include developing a short horror screenplay for Lincoln Japan Festival, and working on her first poetry pamphlet. Lorna’s work has been published in Roulade Magazine and you can read her film reviews at Blueprint: Review.

The London Writers’ Café Turns Ten by Linnéa Nilsson

It’s time to put on your best party hat and bake that cake, because The London Writers’ Café is turning ten this month.

It’s been a decade since Susan Jones, a playwright, set up The London Writers’ Café. While it started as a group for Jones and her friends to share work, it has since grown to almost three thousand members.

In 2010, Lisa Goll took over as the group’s leader and organizer. With her background in marketing for publishing and media companies, she has been able to take the community forward and expand. ‘It’s great as a creative writing group but it’s even better when it develops, when it helps people develop,’ she said.

As a member of The London Writers’ Café you have an array of formats to choose from. They do feedback sessions where some members read their work. ‘It’s up to people, there’s never any pressure to read,’ said Goll, who moderates these meet ups. ‘I make sure that it’s all really constructive and the person goes away with some positive notes and perhaps some room for improvement.’

There are also workshops to attend, run by professional teachers and lecturers giving classes on specific Creative Writing topics. But that’s not all; Goll also organizes talks by publishers, literary agents, editors and authors, giving members a chance to learn more about the industry and make connections.

Another perk of joining is the LWC’s sponsors. Goll revealed that ‘some of them offer special discounts and offers for members. You get access to organisations, competitions and information that perhaps it’d be harder to find if you’re on your own.’

The group is diverse, catering to all types of fiction writers, from novelists to screenwriters, from playwrights to poets, the forms are broad and varied. Goll is confident that this mixture is strongly beneficial for the members. ‘They can learn from each other,’ she said. But it’s not only the forms that set the writers apart. Goll revealed that ‘they’re different ages and from all different backgrounds. They’re all from very beginner up to people who have perhaps finished one novel, they’ve even published one novel and working on a second.’ Some have gone down the self-publishing route while others have now secured an agent.

Anyone can apply as long as they live in London and have started working on a project. ‘If they’re just thinking about writing or they’ve always wanted to write but haven’t actually started, then I would say that they’re probably not quite ready for us,’ she explained. The group is the perfect space for any Creative Writing student to receive more invaluable feedback from fellow writers outside of their university course.

You might be thinking that it’s all work and no play, but that’s not the case. ‘I’ve made a lot of great friends in the group’, said Goll. ‘That’s a really nice thing to have, a group of friends who you can just talk about writing and really geek out [with]’. They often have a drink and talk after sessions in a more relaxed setting, adding to that strong community bond – something that Goll adores. ‘I think it’s all about getting writers from all over to come together’.

What’s the future for LWC? According to Goll, quality is the main priority. ‘I think [it] works best when we have just a couple of sessions that are very well formed, so that’s what we’re going to focus on this year. It’s going to be more about quality feedback sessions and making some talks and workshops that people really need. In terms of the next twelve months, that’s where we are. Beyond that, I’m never sure. It goes in completely its own direction. It kind of has a destiny all of its own’.

After a decade of helping writers advance and develop, The London Writers’ Café’s birthday is definitely something to celebrate.

For more information on prices and dates visit The London Writers’ Café’s website HERE