Enjoying Your English Degree

The Department of English has several events run by you for you.

The Literature Society

The Literature Society has been around for many years and provides regular opportunities to meet with friends and talk about books. Sometimes lecturers come along to read their latest work or to give talks on a wide range of topics, from ‘Filming Tolkien’ to ‘Ghost Stories of Chester’. Trips are organised to the theatre and arts events.

‘The Literature Society is thriving this year. We hold informal weekly meetings. The Society brings students together who are enthusiastic about reading. I’ve been thoroughly involved in the Literature Society since my first year, I’ve really enjoyed watching it grow - it becomes more popular year after year!’ (Jennifer Gray, student)


Open-Mic Nights

If you want to listen to other voices, or to have a platform for yourself, then one of our Open-Mic Nights may be for you. They are relaxed, informal evenings where you can showcase your own work or read from the writers who excite you. It’s a perfect chance for budding creative writers (whether you’re studying it or not) to share what you’re working on with a warm and encouraging audience. These nights are great fun and can do wonders for your confidence. Some of our students have since gone on to run Open-Mic Nights at other Chester venues to spread the word!

‘These are brilliant evenings - diverse and atmospheric.’ (Jennifer Derby, student)

‘The Open-Mic Nights have become a tradition in the Department of English. They are a great place for any writers to start reading their work, and many Chester graduates like to come back and read too. This makes for a wonderfully eclectic group, and in the atmosphere of the Vicarage the nights are loads of fun and always a huge success.’ (Jennifer Gray, Student)

Have a look at what is currently going on:

Or perhaps you’d like to work on the editorial team for Pandora’s Box, an annual publication of poetry and prose which ends up being studied by students in the first year here. The work of students, staff and guest writers make for a lively mix, and it’s an ideal way of getting your short stories or poems into print for the first time.

‘Working on Pandora’s Box was a great opportunity for me. It was enjoyable to work with fellow students and organise popular and fun events at the Vicarage, but it was also helpful to learn project management and editorial procedures. Working in publishing now, I can definitely see how working on Pandora’s Box gave me the starting knowledge in time and people management.’
(Ruth Fielder, student)

Have a look at what is happening in Pandora’s Box this year


The poem below was one of the ones which was included this year. Would you have chosen it? Could you have written it? What do you think?



I was that red-haired waitress with a single line
who brought coffee to Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.
I got a smile like a tiled bathroom and an autograph
and two seconds of celluloid fame.

Next I was French Noblewoman #3
and curtsied to a king for sixteen takes.
If you pause the DVD, my blurry head is to the left
of Keira Knightley’s bony shoulder blades.

And then, last week in town, in that one crucial scene
when you walked in, I was the girl in the café
with the turquoise scarf and the caramel latte,
but it wasn’t a speaking role.

Leonie Wanitzek


As You Like It


Perhaps drama is more your thing. The year before last it was As You Like It; last year it was Romeo and Juliet. Whether it is working behind the scenes or a leading role you are after, this is a chance to shine in a public event directed by our resident drama specialist.

‘I auditioned for the role with no preconceptions of getting a role … I am doing English Literature with Creative Writing at the University and I have been acting ever since I could act. This is my first year, and I have loved doing the play so much I have already committed to the next two!’ (Fabian Belassie, Student)



In the Department of English there is something for everyone to get involved in. For us, ‘English’ is not just something we study but a way of life.