SaveAs Writers International Poetry and Short Story Competition — ‘Writing the City’

SaveAs Writers International Poetry and Short Story Competition ‘Writing the City’

The writer + the urban landscape have been inseparable partners across time, culture + genres. We invite poems + short stories with a strong sense of city as setting. SHORT STORIES: Submit up to 3000 words POETRY: Submit poems of up to 40 lines 1st prize £100 + publication in an anthology for all winning entries. Entry Fee: £3 per poem, or £8 for 3; £4 per short story. For full terms and conditions: DEADLINE: 31 August 2015

Do something Good for Nothing

Calling all creative, tech and design folk

Good for Nothing Chester is bristling with good intentions and singing up a Sunny Day in readiness for our first “24 hour hack gig” on 16th and 17th May 2014.

Our hack will start on Friday 16 May at 1900 when we’ll introduce the chosen Ventures (the good causes, the causes of the good), and they’ll talk through their briefs – brought to you by the letter F for food, farms and good old-fashioned fun.

Hey, back up the fun bus a minute. This all sounds good, but what’s it all about?

Well, let us explain…

Why are we doing this? To bring sunshine, skills and talent to Chester’s cause-led innovators and change makers, to make Chester – and the world – the kinda inspiring place we want to live.

How will we do what we do? Talented, experienced and like-minded creative, tech and design folk will give their skills for free to answer our Ventures’ challenges.

What does the hack involve? Good for Nothing is a bit like a house party but with people doing good stuff rather than getting hammered. Music is a big part of the experience and so is great food and drink.

Where will it be? WM360, Merchant’s House, Chester

Our Good for Nothing friends have donated music, food and drink to keep all of you good people going for 24 hours, so watch this space to find out who to heap your love upon. All we ask is you bring your favourite childhood game.


Now sign up and pass this on to every talented friend know – especially any designers, developers & copy writers – via twitter #sunnyday @GFNChester #getyohackon. Not only will you feel warm inside, you’ll feel like the cat that got the cream…and the custard.

Alice, Holly & Dave (Chester Crew)
Ps Go on, you know you want to.

Austin Wilde: Chester’s renaissance man

This post originally appeared on Schotts List, but I thought it deserved a run-out on here too. Enjoy

I have a white dog and a beard.

That’s the message I received moments before I met Austin Wilde. For some reason, I just knew I was going to like him.

Austin Wilde moved to Chester to write a novel about London. Chester also had the advantage of being closer to his family after the loss of his father, itself the catalyst for his writing. It was his way of coping with grief, understanding mortality. This cathartic exercise gave birth to a book, entitled My Dad’s Deader Than Your Dad: a fanzine for death, written for the individual generation that fetishizes the new over the now. The accompanying blog secured him a London agent and interest from Faber & Faber. But the book never came out.  Most importantly, perhaps, this experience encouraged Austin to invest some serious time in his writing – and he moved north, embarked on an MA (Creative Writing), then decided to go the whole nine yards and study for PhD – Rioting in Literature – at John Moore.

Every cloud, even the darkest, has a silver lining….

During this stretch, Austin found time to knock out two collections of shorts and poetry. The first, The Business of Families, focuses on flesh and blood, naturally, and its twisted rules and logic. A Large Can of Whoopass, out in February 2014, is about life’s changes and life changers. He even designed the book cover for this one, a reworking of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Not a laurel-rester by trade, Austin is writing a trilogy of novels about the big smoke, the dirty city some call *London*. Partly for his PhD and partly because he has unfinished business there – he emigrated from there to here – in my humble opinion.

Death made me focus on a new creativity…

Austin’s words, not mine. I think this could also apply to his time in the music business. In a previous job, life, existence, Austin was the Creative Director of EMI Music Publishing. He signed Beirut, Joanna Newsom, Lindstrom and Duffy. That’s a proper job, that. Music was his life for seventeen years, on the lookout for the next this or the new that. He was there during Guy the Gorilla Hands ill-fated take-over, so he is a survivor too. By the end the magic had gone, music became work. But, over the hill came a white charger leaden with a handsome pay-off replete with lengthy gardening leave. Free, Austin had the means and the time to write. And, he had a teenage-like love for music, once more, that fervent desire to focus on new creativity. Everyone’s a winner.

Good, strong music…

Austin’s rediscovered love for music has a cheeky new outlet. He runs Repent at Telfords Warehouse  each Thursday: six spanking hours of good, strong music from around the world. ‘It’s different things at different times during the night.

‘There are links between the records but no-one notices’ he says with a laugh. As Austin explained the concept, he casually mentioned how he helped establish Renaissance – the original UK super club – in Ibiza. He did everything from playing records to paying people to hand out flyers. Forty-eight hour shifts were not just common, but essential. Not as glamorous as it first sounded, but still another considerable string to Austin’s rather magnificent bow. Music is in his blood it seems.

A whole hour whizzed by. Throw in a few anecdotes about the Judas Goat and why Brooklyn cops call hipsters marshmallows – they are soft and white – and you have the best cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time.

Make sure you check out the estimable Mr Wilde’s books and his music nights

Sell a child, swap a wife, rob a bank, just make sure you bloody do.

My Chester

Zoo… check, River Dee…check, Race Course…check, the most complete city walls in Britain…check, the most photographed clock in the country after Big Ben…check, unique shopping rows…check, the largest uncovered amphitheatre in Britain…check. I must be talking about the City of Chester!

Its beauty shines through its black and white architecture and galleried shopping rows, fortified by years of history. Quirky streets and distinctive buildings bring character and charm and an exclusive shopping experience. It really is retail therapy!

Welsh waters flow through here in the form of the River Dee making this the place to be in the summer months. With a quaint bandstand, boat trips and fine-looking swans, it can only be something out of Mary Poppins! Not only that, Chester was the English centre of giant building. Yes giants!  60 Jubilee Giants proceeded through our city streets accompanied with bands, singers, dancers and street entertainers in 2012. And what a year that was. We had our very own Olympic Torch Celebration on the race course as Olympic fever swept through our villages bringing communities together.

We have literature festivals, music festivals, food, drink and lifestyle festivals! Ever fancied rolling a giant wheel of cheese? Then come to Chester.

We could be a future British City of Culture! Ok, we are missing a theatre in recent years but Grosvenor Park hosts the Open Air Theatre. We mourn the Odeon but the amphitheatre has been presenting an outdoor screen in the summer festival season which is fun. Don’t knock the 2017 bid, let’s get together and embrace it and make Chester what it is.

My contribution is a vision which will show you Chester like you have never seen it before in the form of my novel, Mary Draper Dreams of Castles in the sky. Mary Draper knows she is a normal gap-toothed schoolgirl – until her sleep disorder is brought to light, dreams her cat can talk like a toff, learns how to use the camera obscura and wishing steps and  rescues her Victorian friend, a suspected jewel thief. The reason: Mary Draper can time-travel!

We see her year-hopping to nineteenth century Chester. The cathedral’s gargoyles come to life, the wishing steps are magical and the Eastgate Clock is celebrated at its formal unveiling. The year is 1899. Mary runs the city walls and shopping rows from her nightmares. When my Mary arrives, I hope she hits the streets running!

This is my Chester, a City of Culture and a City of Dreams!

Evelyn Winters x