Tuesday 27 February 2024

Amrita Manku, "The Incident"

Congratulations to University of Leicester graduate Amrita Manku, whose play The Incident is being performed at the Curve Theatre this Friday!

Amrita Manku is an emerging writer and director from Derby who studied a Minor in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. She is interested in creating and telling stories that hold up a mirror to society, start meaningful conversations and leave the audience thinking. Her first play, The Incident, is a comedic speculative fiction piece that explores themes of fate and destiny. The play will be performed script-in-hand as one of four showings for the Kali Discovery Showcase 2024 at the Curve Theatre as part of their New Work Festival.

About The Incident
A typical evening takes a cosmic turn when a stranger pays Sage a visit, derailing life as she knew it. This is a humorous and unexpected take on reclaiming one’s destiny and the intertwining threads of fate and consequence. Amrita developed three drafts of her script over a six month period with dramaturgical support from director, writer and dramaturg, Aisha Khan.

There are two performances of the play on Friday 1 March, at 3pm and 7pm. You can find out more on the Curve's website here

Saturday 24 February 2024

"Nature, the Environment and Sustainability" Short Story Competition: Final Results


Photo: cocoparisienne @ Pixabay

The Centre for New Writing and Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability and the are delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the ‘Nature, the Environment & Sustainability’ Story Competition.

Runners Up
Sam Dawson, ‘Cetiosaurus’
Carol Rowntree Jones, ‘If a Forest’
The judge, Mark Cocker, could not separate the top two, Sophie Sparham and Lee Wright, and we have split the winning prize. Each will receive £300 and be published in the next edition of the Leicester Literary Review. Mark also made a special commendation for Alice Newitt’s story, which is awarded £200. There are two further runners up, Carol Rowntree Jones and Sam Dawson, who receive £100 each. Runners up will be published on Creative Writing at Leicester.
Our winners and runners up will be presenting their work, alongside a reading and talk from our judge Mark Cocker, at a special competition celebration event at this year’s Literary Leicester festival on Thursday March 21st at 4pm. To book your free ticket, go the festival ticket site here
Congratulations to our winners and runners up, to our shortlistees who had the opportunity of a wonderfully inspiring masterclass with our judge, and well done to everyone who entered. The submissions were of truly excellent quality.

Prize-giving at Literary Leicester Festival

Friday 23 February 2024

Neil Fulwood, "The Point of the Stick"

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, where he still lives and works as a bus driver. He has published three previous collections with Shoestring Press: No Avoiding It, Can’t Take Me Anywhere and Service Cancelled; a collection of political satires, Mad Parade, with Smokestack Books; and two pamphlets, Numbers Stations and The Little Book of Forced Calm, with The Black Light Engine Room Press. Additionally, he has written three books of film criticism, including The Films of Sam Peckinpah, and co-edited with David Sillitoe the tribute anthology More Raw Material: Work Inspired by Alan Sillitoe. Neil is married, no children, but has a time-share arrangement on his neighbours’ cats.

About The Point of the Stick, by Neil Fulwood
On 6 June 2023, I wrote an untitled eight-line poem about the conductor Leopold Stokowski and sent it to friends on a Messenger group dedicated to classical music. It was intended as a bit of fun: a “guess the maestro” challenge. They guessed correctly, reported that they’d enjoyed the poem and urged me to send another. And another. 

By the end of the month, at which point the Muse threw her hands up and took a leave of absence, I’d produced a sequence of thirty-nine poems, each one seeking to distil the essence of one of the great maestri, either by alluding to their personality or focusing on a formative moment in their life or career. These have now been brought together in The Point of the Stick, a collection which races allegro con brio through a century of recorded music and the maestri who dominated the podium. The poems remain untitled (a list at the end of the book provides a who’s who) and I present the following two poems in just such a format and invite readers to guess at their identity.

From The Point of the Stick

The composer-conductor 
as two-way street;
highbrow educator 
as hep-cat populist.

White tuxedo, bow tie:
podium elegance shot through
with Hollywood cool.
Surface and depth.

He conducts as if possessed
or transported. Mahler 
surges through him, 
an ecstasy of revelation.


Mr Hollywood, suave sultan
of the soundtrack; jazz
pianist par excellence; now
maestro, music night popular 

career unfolding as a preview
of coming attractions 

all the right moves made,
by anybody’s definition, 
in absolutely the right order.

Saturday 17 February 2024

Chris Emery, "Modern Fog"

Chris Emery was born in Manchester in 1963. He is a director of Salt, an independent trade publisher, and is the former Director of Operations and Director of Development for The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in North Norfolk. He has published three collections of poetry, a writer’s guide, an anthology of art and poems, and edited selections of Emily Brontë, Keats and Rossetti.

About Modern Fog
This wide-ranging and mercurial collection contains poems on landscapes, living rooms, love and pilgrimage, birds and animals, flowers, grandmothers, novelists and composers, car parks and coastal resorts – all interspersed with modern folk tales. 

At the centre of the book lies a striking twelve-part meditation on the medieval church of St. Helen’s in Ranworth, Norfolk – known as the ‘Cathedral of the Broads.’

By turns bucolic, elegiac or enquiring, Emery’s ludic poems depict our common experiences and anxieties – his conjured worlds always filled with mystery and beauty.

You can read more about Modern Fog on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read two sample poems from the collection. 

From Modern Fog, by Chris Emery


          As a deer pants for flowing streams,
               so pants my soul for you
- Psalm 42 :1

When you see that they have passed like fire dreams
you wake to, you ’ll know they have run through
what ’s forsaken. You can ’t remember how
each was elegant, bronze, and silent

where now the hawthorn is readjusting,
waving briefly, having stored such regal frames.
All that remains is absence in sycamore
shoots, alder and ash and rhododendron

that seem urgent now. They ’ve gone, and the dogs
are astounded at the edge of what ’s never
fully grasped : nothing to chase into mould
and stasis below the cold fitting pines,

yet still, inside your eyes, the chestnut haunches
of the broken gods you wish to see here
are this store of grace and loss for you.
It is the last religion in these woods.

The Visit

All the grandmothers in the world
are gathered beneath a willow,
its green drapes are filled with black fly.
They are wearing Linton dresses,
garters, aprons, slippers and brooches,
and they talk about sheep or sewing.

They all agree loudly everything is dying,
even Edna with her tenacious pig,
everyone is dying or ill or drunk,
and men stink. It is three o ’clock, children
begin to squirm from red shadows
to burn like lights in the park.

The grandmothers fall silent, watching.
Some begin to cry at the bright scene
while the children roll their eyes,
wander by the willow, hot with life.
In far hills darkened by diesel, men
prepare tanks for one final visit.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Paul Munden, "Unclassified: Nigel Kennedy in Chapters & Verse"

Paul Munden is an award-winning poet, editor and screenwriter living in North Yorkshire. He has published six poetry collections, including Asterisk (2011), based around Shandy Hall, where Laurence Sterne wrote Tristram Shandy. He was director of the UK’s National Association of Writers in Education, 1994-2018, and a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Leeds, 2019-2023. He is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Canberra, Australia.

About Unclassified: Nigel Kennedy in Chapters & Verseby Paul Munden
Nigel Kennedy is one of the world’s foremost violinists. His achievements have been met with great acclaim, not least his ability, both as performer and composer, to move across and blend an extraordinary range of musical genres and styles, resisting any notion of classification. Yet he remains a controversial figure, having rocked the classical music establishment with his radical innovations and uncompromising views. 

Paul Munden has followed Nigel Kennedy’s musical journey for many years, and in Unclassified sets down his reflections on everything he has gained from that experience. From a poet’s perspective, he writes about Kennedy’s recordings and performances, indeed the poetry of his playing. A sequence of chapters exploring various themes is interspersed with original poems, the idea deriving from Kennedy’s own improvised transitoires between movements of a concerto.

The first ever study of Nigel Kennedy’s exceptional talent, Unclassified delves into complex questions: about the relationship between so-called genius and unconventional behaviour; the true purpose of education; the freedom of the interpreter; connections between music and poetry, music and sport; and the role of the artist as advocate of political and humanitarian causes. It speaks to fans and detractors alike; to musicians, both professional and amateur; also to the general, curious reader not only about music but a wealth of associated cultural issues. 

You can read more about Unclassified on the publisher's website here. Below you can read an excerpt from the first chapter of the book, followed by an introduction to one of the poems.

From Unclassified, by Paul Munden

Above all, I wanted to explore why it matters that everyone should, as the eighteenth-century writer Laurence Sterne puts it, 'tell their stories their own way': tell stories, or write poems, play music, and indeed live life with truly individual purpose. Sterne’s great book, the utterly unclassifiable Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, revels in eccentricity. And as my book became increasingly eccentric, I thought 'yes, that’s as it should be.' How else to do justice to a maverick musician, described by his one-time girlfriend Brix Smith as 'a cross between Mozart and Keith Moon'?

Sterne, godfather of eccentric art, became a presiding influence in my creative explorations. His notorious digressions became instrumental to my musings on where the mind roams when we listen to music. I decided to borrow his non-textual interventions: the black page, marbled page, blank page and the 'flourish of liberty' – his various incitements for the reader to bring their own imagination to the artistic adventure. 


An example of how these elements come together is at the end of Chapter 5. An anecdote about Kennedy’s free-wheel driving across the Malvern hills is followed by 'an artist’s sketch, made a few centuries earlier, by Laurence Sterne, describing – with an inter-textual flourish of the pen – how his character flourishes his stick in the air, saying "Whilst a man is free—."' 

Free Verse

it starts with a mischievous smile
a sideways 
glance at the passenger
who doesn’t at first realize
the car’s out of gear
and that the driver’s taken his feet
off the pedals
though something feels
strangely at ease
gradually picking up effortless speed 
down the empty road
but just as she’s beginning to enjoy it
he takes his hands off the wheel
thrusting them in the air
before rummaging 
in the dashboard clutter for an Ornette 
Coleman cassette 
and ramming it into the deck
so that now as it plays
she can’t hear herself think
above her own scream blending
with the saxophone’s wail
and the claret and blue jaguar
with its already indecipherable scrawl
is becoming a blur
that she sees from afar
careening down the hill
with herself inside
cowering from the broken white 
lines like silent gunfire
streaming into the bonnet

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Amateur Hour

Congratulations to all of the University of Leicester students and alumni involved in producing this beautiful new Creative Writing zine, Amateur Hour!


Photo by Freya Louise

About Amateur Hour and the editors
Amateur Hour is a writing group based (more or less) in Leicester. The purpose of the group is to provide feedback and encouragement to members and to improve each other’s writing. This zine is a collection of some chosen works from the group’s first active year. 

The group was formed and is run by Nina Walker, Matt Walton and Sam Bouch who are all UoL English and Creative Writing graduates. Missing the benefits of university Creative Writing modules, they decided to create a group that mimicked the function of Creative Writing workshops so that their journeys as writers could continue post-graduation. All of Amateur Hours members contributed to the editing process. Nina, Matt and Sam collaborated to collate, design and edit the zine, and are proud of their first foray into publishing! 

The inaugural issue of Amateur Hour features poems and prose by Madeleine Bell, Laura Besley, Saarah Katib Bhalwani, Jonty Bouch, Sushma Bragg, Geeshma Govindan, Freya Louise, Annabel Phipps, Isaac Plant, Benjamin Steer, Nina Lily Walker, Matt Walton.

They plan to publish their second zine in the summer of 2024. If you have any inquiries or interest in the project please get in touch at amateurhourpublications@gmail.com. You can read a sample poem from the first issue of Amateur Hour below. 

From Amateur Hour


There is a fruit inside my head.

It is a lime.

It nudges me awake each morning.
Then thumps me.

I have grown used to its presence,
like a tiresome friend.

It compresses my thoughts.
Jostling for space.

Pressed for time, it quickens 
like sand through a wide-neck collar.

I retch and spit.
But I cannot cough it out.
It is solid, sour, and stuck fast.

Waiting for the last laugh.

My mother’s arms cannot rock me here.
For she is in a different hemisphere. 
Where the sun polishes her fruit.

They are her babies now.

They stretch and yawn.
Languishing on branches that groan.

They are reluctant to leave her.

Her pearls warm the Orient Sea, 
but cannot stretch to this cold place …

Or me.

All my thread, unravelling.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.

I weep for her as I think of my lime.
Wishing she could pick it from me.
Pour its sharpness into my mouth.
Comfort me with communion.

Heal me.

- Annabel Phipps

Sunday 11 February 2024

Caroline Bath, "The Life We Make"

Caroline Bath’s first novel was published by Valley Press in December 2023. She also writes poetry, and in 1999 was awarded an MA in Poetry with distinction from Huddersfield University for her thesis on Irish poetry with a particular focus on Louis MacNeice. She has a professional background as a teacher and university lecturer in Education and Early Childhood and is the author of several academic journal articles which deal with the ethics of care and young children’s participation. She is particularly interested in family issues and in 2015 she hosted a blog about the life of her elderly father and the care he received at the end of his life. You can see it here. She currently hosts a blog which discusses the issues raised by and about her novel. You can see it here

About The Life We Make, by Caroline Bath
Against a backdrop which is full of convincing and vivid period detail, The Life We Make features a man haunted by desertion, as well as several strong and complex women characters, as seen from a feminist perspective. Because it revolves around the question of why generations unwittingly follow similar paths, the characters are multi-layered and often introspective as events play out and they attempt to build and rebuild their lives. 

The Life We Make is essentially the story of Arthur and Agnes, a grocer and milliner, who marry somewhat in haste, following the emigration of Arthur’s family to Canada. They go through the motions of married life but often misunderstand each other. When Arthur is conscripted, the rupture burns a hole in him, and upon return from the war, despite his best intentions to be a good husband and father, he gambles and slides into mounting debts.

Whilst Arthur struggles with unrequited loss and money problems, Agnes discovers an innate capacity to be independent, so that when Arthur moves the family to Bournemouth, she returns home to rebuild her own life. The marriage limps on, despite their changing roles, but when another of Arthur’s jobs, ends in unemployment, he reaches the limits of financial and emotional humiliation and leaves his home and family for good.

In the final part of the novel, the focus of the story switches to 1941 and onto their youngest daughter, Eva, now 18, who has fallen for Cambridge scholar, David. She immerses herself in a secretarial job in London and witnesses the drama of the blitz, but the war triggers more despair over her father’s disappearance, and she finally confronts her mother and elder sister about what happened to him. As she learns more about her parents’ marriage, she decides to reject David’s proposal and find her father - but also to continue in her mother’s independent footsteps and build a career for herself.

You can read more about The Life We Make on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read an excerpt from the novel's "Prologue." 

From The Life We Make
Whenever I feel worried like this, I make a cave with my covers and stay there for a few minutes. The air is warm, sounds are muffled, and the dark keeps me safe. People don’t realise that nine-year-olds get worried, but I’ve been worried for as long as I can remember – and I remember a lot – not quite being a baby, but I remember being small and seeing grown-up legs coming and going, then, suddenly, strange faces looming at me when I was picked up. It was scary at first, but Daddy was there, holding me and I knew his face. It had creases going in different directions which gathered around his wide mouth when he smiled at me. Most of his front teeth were white, but I could always see a blackened tooth at the back when he opened his mouth, pretending that he was surprised to see me. Bunny, where have you been hiding? he would say, his whole face a smile, and his mouth open – I always giggled which made him clutch me tighter. Then it was good to see faces, not legs – and giggling at the right time meant that other faces crowded in behind his, and I would bathe in a sea of smiles. I could bring happiness to the world, so long as he was there to lift me up. 

I’m too big for him to pick me up now, he tells me, but at least he’s here again. There have been times when he wasn’t here, and Mummy wouldn’t say his name. Helen would tell me that he was coming back when his job finished, so I learnt to wait. Then, after I waited, he would come back and make me happy again, and I’d go with him to buy cigarettes, as if he’d never been away. Mummy was furious, but I was relieved that he’d found us because I wasn’t sure that he knew where we lived after we left the flat with the hiss of the sea. I wondered if I’d made up that place, but when he came back, he told me about it, and it became real again – as he did. His face had a few more creases and his hair started further back than I expected, but his teeth were the same. 

When Daddy came back that last time, that was when I started to grow fast, and my worries got bigger. Everyone kept saying how much I’d grown, which was embarrassing. So, I would sink into my knees and avoid people’s eyes – at least the eyes of the people I didn’t want to meet which was, at that point, most people. Now, I’m better at looking them in the eye. He taught me that people back off if you look straight back at them. It doesn’t make sense, but he was right – you look up, and they leave you alone. It’s like magic. 

Saturday 10 February 2024

Isabelle Kenyon, "The Dark Within Them"


Isabelle Kenyon is a Manchester writer and editor, and the author of 5 poetry chapbooks including Growing Pains (Indigo Dreams) and one short story with Wild Pressed Books ('The Town Talks'). She has had work published internationally in journals such as Ink, Sweat and Tears and newspapers such as The Somerville Times and The Bookseller. She coordinates the Northern Fiction Alliance and runs PR campaigns for writers and publishers under Kenyon Author Services. She has performed at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Verbose, Manchester, Leeds International Festival as part of the 'Sex Tapes,' Apples and Snakes and Coventry Cathedral's Plum Line Festival.

About The Dark Within Them, by Isabelle Kenyon


Faith-healer Amber is hopeful about Lehi, the safe Mormon town to which she, her new husband and two kids have just moved. 


After the sudden death of her daughter, Amber discovers the community will do anything to keep its secrets.


When nothing feels certain anymore, will Amber take a leap of faith, for love?

You can read more about The Dark Within Them on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read an excerpt from the opening of the novel. 

From The Dark Within Them

The Meeting, July 11th 2015


This was the kind of meeting all diaries were cleared for. Chad stood central in a horseshoe of bodies, an unlikely orchestrator. The floor was his but his tongue lay slack, hiding behind his lower teeth. There was a tremor in his wife’s shoulders which made him roll back his own, and clear his throat for silence. Each sound in the Temple reverberated off the pristine white surfaces.

“Thank you for being here today,” he begun. “I have great faith in the church community and its advice. Hell, we’ve all stood where I am now at one point or another, I’m sure. And today it’s my turn to ask for your help, with our Gilly.”

The open windows seeped humid twilight into the hall and beads of sweat formed under his cotton shirt. He talked slowly, using his hands as an offering. Holding his palms open showed he had nothing to hide: he’d been taught that by his uncle Jim. His audience gazed, unblinking. He wiped clammy paws on his jeans. He was forgetting people knew him here—since he could wobble around the neighbourhood on pudgy toddler legs—and that earned him a kind of immunity from judgement.

“Gilly’s fifteen. Young. She’s … she’s mostly a good kid. Anything badness in her? It didn’t come from her mothering. That’s not to blame,” he nodded with what he felt was warmth at his wife, her cheeks betraying a shade of fuchsia. “Perfect mother in my Amber. She made sure those kids grew up in a loving, attentive environment, and they wanted for nothing—don’t doubt that. But since Gilly moved to Lehi, with young Ivan and their mom, well, she’s been finding getting settled tough. This is a good neighbourhood—we all know that—and Amber and I, we’ve been wanting them to make friends. And these days…well, kids are always on their phones, right? Texting nonstop. She was texting at dinner and, erm,” he paused and pulled on his earlobe, “I asked to see her phone.” He felt Amber’s disapproval nettle his skin and revised: “I took her phone. And that’s when we saw the pictures.” He looked away from his wife’s shrinking form. “To be sending those kind of images to a boy—outside of the church—well, we’re all kind of cut up about it. There’s a kind of darkness in my home these days.”

He breathed out, realising his fingernails had been digging so hard into his palms that they had left indents…He flexed his hands, feeling for the back of a chair to sink into.

“Thank you, Chad,” Brett’s eyes crinkled, kind. “This is exactly the right space to discuss these kind of family dynamics in.” The circle nodded at these words, mumbling approval. “You’ve done the right thing.”

Amber wasn’t looking at him. He shuffled his chair closer to reach for her hand, but she pretended not to notice.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Creative Writing Events, Guest Lectures and Masterclasses Spring 2024

Here is this semester's programme of Creative Writing guest lectures and masterclasses happening this term in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Leicester. All the events are free and open to everyone: students, staff and the public alike. If you'd like to attend one of them, and aren't already registered, please email Jonathan Taylor (jt265@le.ac.uk) for further details.

Centre for New Writing, University of Leicester: Programme of Events Spring 2024

Dave Bradley, "How to Nearly Make It as a Professional TV Writer" (Guest Lecture)
Tuesday 13 February, 11am-12, Bennett Building, room F75a.
This guest lecture is part of the first-year undergraduate module "Introduction to Writing Creatively 2." All are welcome to attend. Please email jt265@le.ac.uk to reserve a place if you are not registered on the module. 

Kit De Waal, "The Journey to Publication" (Masterclass)
Wednesday 20 March, 2-4pm, George Davies Centre, room 1.26.
This masterclass is part of the MA in Creative Writing. All are welcome to attend. Please email jt265@le.ac.uk to reserve a place if you are not on the MA. 

Literary Leicester Festival 2024
Wednesday 20 March to Friday 22 March.
Free and open to all! You can see this year's fantastic line-up of events and book in advance here

Creative Writing Student Showcase
Wednesday 20 March, 5-6pm, Attenborough Film Theatre.
Free and all welcome! As part of Literary Leicester Festival, we're holding our annual showcase event for University of Leicester BA, MA and PhD Creative Writing students to read and perform their poetry, stories and scripts. If you're a student or graduate and would like to get involved, please email Jonathan Taylor (jt265@le.ac.uk) in advance. 

Corinne Fowler, "Country Walks Through Colonial Britain: Combining Historical Research, Nature Writing and Reported Conversation" (Guest Lecture and Masterclass)  
Monday 25 March, 10am-12, Attenborough Building, room 2.02. This workshop is part of the MA in Creative Writing. All are welcome to attend. Please email jt265@le.ac.uk to reserve a place if you are not on the MA.

Barbara Cooke, "Pedagogic Puzzles: Harnessing the Thrill of Discovery in the Creative Writing Classroom" (Guest Workshop)
Wednesday 27 March, 2-4pm, George Davies Centre, room 1.26.
In this workshop, we will experience how the "dopamine hit" that accompanies the solving of literary puzzles can be harnessed for use in Creative Writing. While an established part of literary criticism since Kermode’s "Freud’s Masterplot," the technical skill involved in creating, as opposed to observing, the building and thwarting of readerly satisfaction deserves more attention. We will explore how workshop exercises can help you to promote the thrill and satisfaction of readerly discovery in your work and, most excitingly, to flex your own puzzle-solving and code-cracking abilities. This workshop is part of the MA in Creative Writing. All are welcome to attend. Please email jt265@le.ac.uk to reserve a place if you are not on the MA.

Paul Taylor-McCartney, "Setting Up an Independent Publisher: Hermitage Press" (Guest Lecture)
Tuesday 14 May, 10am-11am, Attenborough Building, room 2.08.
This guest talk is part of the MA in Creative Writing. All are welcome to attend. Please email jt265@le.ac.uk to reserve a place if you are not on the MA. This event is made possible by Literary Leicester Festival. 

Joe Bedford, "From Dissertation to Publication to PhD" (Guest lecture)
Tuesday 14 May, 11.15am-12.15am, Attenborough Building, room 2.08. 
This guest talk is part of the MA in Creative Writing. All are welcome to attend. Please email jt265@le.ac.uk to reserve a place if you are not on the MA. This event is made possible by Literary Leicester Festival. 

Thursday 1 February 2024

Blake Morrison, "Never the Right Time"


Blake Morrison was born in Yorkshire and was formerly literary editor of the Observer and the Independent on Sunday. His publications include two bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me; the poetry collections Dark Glasses, The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper and Shingle Street; and four novels, including The Last Weekend and The Executor. He has won various awards, including the Eric Gregory, EM Forster and JR Ackerley prizes. His latest memoir, Two Sisters, came out last year along with the poetry pamphlets Skin & Blister and Never the Right Time. He was Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths University from 2003-2023. 

About Never the Right Time
In earlier poetry collections, Blake Morrison has broached some difficult and occasionally violent subject matter: the serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the Pendle witch trials, Cold War espionage, the loss of his younger sister. In this pamphlet the mood is gentler. There's a sense of passing time or 'timefulness' - of fading memories, missed chances and the coming of age (and beyond it the only end of age). But the tone isn't mournful - humour and irony are never far away.

Never the Right Time is published by New Walk Editions, which is co-edited by University of Leicester Associate Professor of American Literature and Creative Writing, Nick Everett

From Never the Right Time, by Blake Morrison

Never the Right Time

Remember the flat you sold
after the market crashed. 

Or the job you took, on a whim, 
giving up one you enjoyed. 

Or your "I love you,"
too slow a follow-up to theirs. 

Or the pregnancy
neither of you planned. 

Or the painting you liked,
red-stickered when you went back. 

Death will be the same, 
early, late, never the right time. 


The waves bloom white against the rockface
or swamp the beach in bridal lace. 
It's the timelessness you come for,
afraid your own is running out. 

Timeful: there's a word you never hear.
It helps to be oblivious to oblivion
but you face it every night that you can't sleep.

Then it's dawn and the forgetting resumes.
Here you are, on the balcony,
the sea surrounding you,
the sun with its armful of light.