Student Events

Posted on 5th February 2015

Within the Department of English there are several kinds of events run by you and for you. The Literature Society has been around for many years and provides regular opportunities to meet with friends and talk about books. 

Pandora's InboxSometimes lecturers come along to read their latest work or to give talks on a wide range of topics, such as ‘Filming Tolkien’ or ‘Ghost Stories of Chester’. Trips are also organised to the theatre and arts events.

‘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)

How about attending one of our open mic nights? They are relaxed, informal evenings where you can showcase your own work or read from the writers who excite you. It’s the 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 have gone on to run open mic nights at other Chester venues to spread the word!

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

‘The open mic nights have become a tradition in the English Department. 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)

Have a look at our upcoming events to discover what's going on:

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

The poem below was one of the ones which was included in a recent edition. 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

Discover what's happening at Pandora’s Box this year:

‘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)


 Romeo and Juliet

Perhaps drama is more your thing. In the past we have had productions of As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet.  This year students are working on a production of Twelfth Night.  Whether you're wanting to work behind the scenes, or land a leading role, these productions are a chance to shine, and are directed by our resident drama specialist, Dr Graham Atkin.    

Fabian Belassie‘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)  

Abi Illman‘There’s a woman three doors down who talks to her microwave! Wall, what’s the world coming to?’ From performing I have gained confidence not just to stay indoors and talk to my wall! My favourite play is Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine. I performed the first act in aid of charity. I am a very enthusiastic girl who is studying English and writing a dissertation on post-war drama. I work at Clarks (shoe shop) and volunteer at Extra Care (charity shop). I have spent two summers teaching in Malawi and Siem Reap.’  (Abi Illman)

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

Production Scrapbook