Book Signing with local author David McCaffrey (W H SMITH) October 10th!

Can any death be humane?



This is a great opportunity to talk with an experienced author. He wrote the thriller Hellbound, a tale that is both remarkable and thought-provoking, delving into the ethics of capital punishment.

You follow murderer Obadiah Stark and reporter Jack O’Connell, while the former commits his many horrible crimes and the latter doggedly seeks the truth about the blood-thirsty killer (and chases anything in a skirt.)

You also follow Obadiah on his journey after his execution.

The ethical questions surrounding thoughts on justice and the death sentence are raised surprisingly well within in this novel. Hellbound does’t give any overt information regarding the David’s opinion on the death penalty, so you are not swayed into thinking it is “right” or “wrong.” But he does give you the facts (he has a background in criminology). You’re then left to make your own mind up about the main character Obadiah Stark .

It’s certainly not a mindless, horror gore-fest with no substance.

So if you’re a fan of provocative, psychologically thrilling stories, read the book and meet the man himself!

If you do go to the signing, you will also get a signed copy of Hellbound from the author himself.

Black History Month: Poetry on Campus: Amir Darwish

Amir Darwish was born in Syria in 1979 and came to the UK as an asylum seeker during the Second Gulf War. His poetry has been published in the USA, Pakistan, Finland, Morocco and Mexico. In 2014 he graduated from Teesside University and has recently completed an MA in International Studies at the University of Durham.

Don’t Forget the Couscous is a book of poetry about exile and home. It is a love-song to the Arab world – Syria, Kurdistan, Morocco and Palestine. It is a memoir of the failed Arab Spring and the civil-war that has turned Syria into a ‘fountain of blood’. It’s a bitter account of the demonisation of Islam in the West, and the violent interference of the West in the Islamic world. It is about being a Muslim and not a terrorist.


14th of October Booking is available on the Teesside Events page, 6pm-8pm. T1.01, The Curve.

Middlesbrough Art Run

An exciting event is available for you to book!

A part of Localism-an exhibition project and season of ambitious events at mima-The Middlesbrough Art Run is due to take place on the 24th of October! Here lies the opportunity to take part in numerous activities, starting with the circuit training, followed by a unique modern phenomenon, the silent disco, with an exciting (and predictably messy) “colour fight” taking place on the iconic Transporter Bridge.

This is just some of the action promised to any participants willing to book a place and take part!

This is a great opportunity to get well acquainted with Middlesbrough’s artistic and historical landscapes.

Don’t miss out: follow the above link to find out more!

Teesside Literary Society at the Returners’ Fair – 30 September 2015

The Teesside Literary Society will be holding a stall at the Returners’ Fair today in the Student Union building.

The Literary Society is a welcoming and mutually-supportive group for developing writers. If you would like to leave Teesside University as a published author or a seasoned performer of your own work, the Literary Society can help you achieve your aims.


The LitSoc will be running their ‘pin the tale on the novel’ competition today, with free membership for whoever identifies the most out of the 101 novels featured in their collage.

If you can’t make it along to the stall today, Like the Society’s Facebook page to find out more and keep up to date on all their activities and workshops.

Their first meeting will be held on Friday 9th October at 4.30pm in the Dickens. This will be an informal get-together as members get to know one another. Subsequent monthly meetings will be a mixture of screenings, performances, free workshops run by Senior Lecturers in Creative Writing, and plenty of chances to share and develop your work. After the meetings the Society adjourns to the pub for a social.

The Intercity Flow Anthology Teesside Launch Event – 28 September 2015

“This anthology bristles, not with tamed and well-behaved, respectable poems, but with work that raises its spines, bares its claws, growls and whines with ‘exquisite realisation’. As Walt Whitman says, ‘…these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul, Oh I say now these are the soul!‘” Dr Chris Thurgar-Dawson

Preceding the event at The Royal Festival Hall on 7 October, Teesside University is proud to announce the launch of the new Ek Zuban anthology ‘Intercity Flow‘ featuring work by poets from Teesside, London, France, Finland, Holland and Denmark.


Featuring readings by Teesside poets: Andy Willoughby, Jo Colley, Bob Beagrie, Carmen Thompson, Serena Rana-Rahman, Will Dixon, Laura Anne, Rea Tilbrook and Lauren Dye.

Followed by a full performance of Sampo by Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby with The Electric Kool-Aid Ensemble (both supported by Arts Council England).

Live music from The Electric Kool-Aid Ensemble and Peg Powler.

Plus limited Open Mic.

At: Tuned-In! Majuba Road, Redcar, TS10 5BJ
7.30-10.30pm on 28 September 2015
Entrance: £4/£3 concessions/Teesside Literary Society Members

Photographs copyright Kev Howard

Flags: Kanye And Kayne – by Salena Godden

Some time ago we wrote a review heralding the release of Salena Godden‘s first published works – a book of poetry and an autobiography. This is her latest poem, written at Glastonbury this weekend, plucking depth and meaning out of a questionable abyss.


So no, he didn’t name check Bree Newsome,
Or burn the flag she ripped down from the sky,
He didn’t ask for prayers for Charleston,
An end to police brutality, gun violence and crime,
No. He didn’t seem to notice it was gay pride,
Nor draw a rainbow on his cheek,
He didn’t make us take a minute’s silence,
For the American black churches burnt down this week.

He paused. And I thought he’d say just one thing
For social justice, for peace on the street,
But instead he said “I’m the greatest living rock star”
Like Muhammad Ali, hip-hopping on two left feet.

“Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee
My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really be.”

No. Nothing for equality
And no peace prayer,
I watched racists on social media,
Debating his right to even be there.
Kanye and Kayne trending,
As the debate gets convoluted,
Glastonbury all chanting nigger
As though the toxic N-Word is diluted.

Strange Fruit. Strange Fruit.
That song rang true as a bell through the night,
That was one bright clear moment,
I felt he got it so right, alright.

Blood on the leaves,
Blood on the roots,
We’ve still got a long way to go,
And that’s still some strange fruit.

See him singing nigger in a fruit picker,
To a white crowd filled with expectation, privilege and goals,
I don’t see any of your greatest living rock stars,
Climbing flag poles.

 (c) Salena Godden / Glastonbury June 2015
Summer gig poster

The Shared Labor of Life

It has come to my attention that I have failed to write anything poetic for some time now, so yesterday I put pen to paper again and came up with this little number. Sorry if it seems a bit plain sailing, I feel a tad rusty.



We never quit pouring sentimental dreams

into modern, robotized hearts

that cease to bleed.

Million depart this interior cold

and look out to our world

of formless souls.

Struck dumb by countless fairy tales

that convince us that

we will not fail

But all the while

we in fact know the truth

that bad things can happen

to those who are good.

So as we sit down

to watch the six ‘o’ clock news

and critique foreign wars and the starving children of two

be wise, and recall lives are governed by laws

that do not exist

At all.


Finding Words – a new writing initiative

The Ashton Group is searching for a new stage play with which to tour the North West, professionally produced by its acclaimed Apprenticed Actors Company. ashtongroup

The one act play should have a running time of 60 minutes and should be written for four young actors: 2 male, 2 female. If practicable, these four actors can play any number of different characters.

The writer should be no older than 25. The play can be upon any theme or subject.

There is a prize of £500 for the play that is chosen for production.

Selection Process

All writers should submit, before the deadline below, a synopsis including plot and character outline, and the first ten pages of their play.

Four writers will then be given the opportunity to expand their work into a full length piece with the support and guidance of a professional mentor.

One of these plays will then be selected to go into development for production by the Apprenticed Actors Company. All writers will be offered feedback on their work.

Please send submissions to The Ashton Group’s Associate Director Chris Loveless: or email him for further information if required.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 6th July 2015!finding-words/crar

So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.

Virginia Woolf

The British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition 2015

Are you the next George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett or J.R.R. Tolkien?

Then make your fantasy a reality with the BFS Short Story Competition 2015.

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