Meet the author and agent: Young Adult Fiction and publishing

July 16 @ 8:00 pm10:00 pm

The Lansdown, Clifton Bristol

| £5

Chaired by literary agent Ben Illis,  hot-ticket authors Lu Hersey, Eugene Lambert and Stefan Mohamed will be discussing their books, techniques and roads to publication, with a focus on writing for young adults. Also readings by YA authors in the first half of the evening.

Guest speakers

Lu Hersey’s debut novel, DEEP WATER won the 2012 MsLexia Children’s Novel Writing Award, and is published by Usborne. Deep Water has been described as “outstanding” by Malorie Blackman and “excellent” by the Independent.

Stefan Mohamed’s superhero crossover novel, BITTER SIXTEEN, features probably the world’s coolest superhero sidekick – a talking beagle (and die-hard Bogart fan) called Daryl.
Praise for Bitter Sixteen:
“Highly original… clever and funny… I didn’t think the superheroes genre had anywhere left to go. Mohamed convinces otherwise. Daryl and Stanly have one of the greatest buddy relationships I can recall – the rapid fire dialogue between them enviable in its witty ease.” Alex O’Connell, Times
Stefan Mohamed
Stefan Mohamed
Eugene Lambert’s debut, THE SIGN OF ONE, has been described as a “page-turning sci-fi thriller trilogy”, and will publish in Spring 2016, on Egmont’s Electric Monkey list, with books 2 & 3 following 9-12 months apart.
Here’s some pre-publication praise for THE SIGN OF ONE: “Strongly-imagined, rhythmical, clear, strange” David Almond, author of Skellig
“Vivid and action-packed. Stakes are very high” Julia Green, author of Blue Moon
Eugene Lambert

Eugene Lambert

Chaired by Ben Illis, literary agent.  The BIA was established in 2012 by Ben Illis to offer specialist literary representation, focussing on writers of Children’s, Young Adult and crossover fiction and select clients who also write for adults

Tickets £5 on the door. Doors open 7:30

Writing comedy and social media for writers with Nikesh Shukla


Novel Nights is on April 16th at the Landsdown. 8pm – 10pm. Tickets £5

Guest: Nikesh Shukla

Readings by Hari Ramakrishnan, LE Turner, Maithreyi Nandakuman and AAAbbott


Short Stories with Tania Hershman

WHEN: March 19th
WHERE: The Lansdown
Short story writer, Tania Hershmanpoet and teacher, Tania Hershman will be reading and talking about writing short stories. Her latest book is Writing Short Stories: A Writers and Artists Companion (Bloomsbury 2014) which she co-wrote and edited with Courttia Newland.

Tania’s achievements grown year on year. Publications include short story collections: The White Road and Other Stories (Salt 2008), and a collection of very short fiction: My Mother was an Upright Piano (Tangent Press 2012). She curates a fabulous website about UK & Ireland short story activity ShortStops (you’d be mad not to join her mailing list!), and her list of awards and prizes is enough to make you dizzy.

She’s the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow in the faculties of science at Bristol University, and is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and teaches on Arvon courses.

Join Novel Nights for another unmissable event.

We will also be featuring  readings and flash fiction from Bristol-based writers. Confirmed: Ken Elkes, Judy Darley Louise Gethin, Harriet Kline, Freya Morris, Thomas David Parker

See you there Tickets on the door £5

Should writers pigeon-hole themselves? Talk on genre and themes

Thursday 19th February

 Talk with prolific Bristol author, C.L.Taylor the Lansdown, Clifton, Bristol 8pm.

Cally Taylor began her writing career in 2005 with short stories, then wrote two rom-com novels, HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, published in 2009 and 2011, with Home for Christmas made into a film in 2014.

Her first psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published by Avon HarperColllins in April 2014 and has sold 150,000 copies to date,has been published in eight countries, and was one of the top ten debut bestsellers for 2014 (according to The Bookseller magazine). Her second psychological thriller THE LIE is out in April 2015 and she is currently working on her third.

Come to Novel Nights on the 19th Feb to hear Cally in discussion with Grace Palmer about writing, genres and themes. Writers will also read extracts from work-in-progress.

20140227_081418 Tickets £5 on the door

and online



How to wow a literary agent with Juliet Pickering, Blake Friedmann

The first Novel Nights event for 2015 takes place on January 29th with literary agent, Juliet Pickering, from Blake Friedmann.

Tickets here:

Literary agent, Juliet Pickering, from Blake Friedmann, is coming to Novel Nights to share her expertise as an agent and her knowledge of contemporary publishing. So if you’re writing a book, dreaming about publication, need a new agent, or love reading, don’t miss this event.

Juliet will give advice on submitting your manuscript to literary agents and the role agents play between writers and publishers. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Local writers will also be reading the first pages of their novels. What makes a great opening for a novel? And do you judge a book by its cover, or genre, first lines or endings? Get acquainted with your local writers, whether they are published and unpublished, and see if you can spot the next literary sensation.

Juliet represents authors of fiction across  literary, commercial, mystery, crime and thriller genres as well as non-fiction memoir, pop culture, social history, feminist and political commentary and food writing. Her clients include Costa, Commnwealth, Orwell Prize, Sky Arts and Guardian First Book shortlisted authors.

Blake Friedmann is a top London agency whose focus is to represent the most talented, dynamic and exciting writers and directors across all genres. “Our intention has always been to represent writers’ careers rather than individual books or projects, and to sell those writers into as many markets, languages and media platforms as possible.”

The event starts at 8.00 sharp with doors open at 7.30. Come and meet the friendly community of writers and readers at Novel Nights who share a love of writing and good books.

Novel Nights with Anna Freeman October 9th

October 9th 2014 at the Lansdown, Clifton Bristol 8pm. Anna Freeman reads from her debut novel, The Fair Fight which won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize 2013.  ‘Hugely exciting, I loved it.’ Sarah Waters.

 The Fair Fight is a raucous and intoxicating tale of courage, revenge and female boxing.   Bristol, 1799. In a warren of streets nestled in the filth of the bustling city is a brothel called The Convent. Within this gaudy, bawdy space is born Ruth, wholly plain and fairly unremarkable and by no stretch suitable for the life of prostitution

  • Also featuring readings from Bristol and Bath novelists.
  • Mike Manson will read from his book about the Bristol Riots in 1831.
  • Lesley Gillilan
  • Duncan Bonner will give tips on performing  aloud for writers.
  • Tickets £3 on the door.

Anna Freeman author photos credit Paul BlakemoreThe Fair Fight by Anna Freeman jacket image

Review of September Novel Nights


Nick Rawlinson, Sarah Hilary,

Nick Rawlinson, Sarah Hilary, Aaron Anthony and Abigail Moore


Bristol Players read an extract from Sarah Hilary’s gripping debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin  at September Novel Nights followed bynovelist,  Dr Sanjida O’Connell, having a Q and A with Sarah.


Sarah Hilary with Dr Sanjida O' Connell at Novel Nights

Sarah Hilary with Dr Sanjida O’ Connell at Novel Nights

During the second half of Novel Nights we were treated to local writers performing extracts from their work: Anne Corlett, was a criminal lawyer for 13 years, but is in the process of switching to freelance writing.  Anne read  from Fallen, her second novel. She is represented by the Richford Beklow Agency, recently won the HE Bates prize and was placed third in the Bristol Short Story Prize. She is starting an MA in writing at Bath Spa University

Kate Simants moved from London six years ago, but she still finds herself writing about the capital because it suits her style of bleak noir better than Keynsham. She is currently working on a second novel, and shared an extract from her first novel The Blanks, which was inspired in part by her work as an undercover TV journalist.

 Trevor Coombs writes historical fiction and performs monologues around Bristol and read from his latest work.

And lastly, Sanjida O’Connell had an extract of Bone by Bone, the thriller she is working on, read by Nick Rawlinson. Sanjida is a novelist and non-fiction writer with four novels and four non-fiction works published.

 Next Novel Nights: 9th October with guest speaker Anna Freeman presenting her debut novel A Fairfight.

20th November with Jane Shemilt, author of Daughter, a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice, and currently No 2 in the Sunday Times Bestseller Charts. Don’t miss!


A Novel Night of crime with Sarah Hilary

September 11th 2014  The Lansdown, Clifton, Bristol  Award-winning local writer, Sarah Hilary, will talk about her debut crime novel, Someone Else’s Skin at this month’s Novel Nights event.

Bristol Players are performing extracts from the novel.

The book was published in the UK in February, and has been sold to 8 countries worldwide, with talk of a TV series to come.  It’s also now in the Richard and Judy autumn book club! Sarah will chat about creating a compelling crime series with a strong female lead, and answer questions from the audience.

Plus readings from local  writers.  Tickets £3 on the door. Please share. #novelnights

Someone Else's Skin



Review of Lucy English’s Prayer to Imperfection

Novelist and performance poet, Lucy English entered her first Bristol Poetry Slam in 1996 wearing a multi-coloured jumpsuit and won. Since then she has performed poetry world-wide, written three novels, and is a Reader at Bath Spa University where she teaches performance poetry as well as studying for a PhD in digital writing.

Lucy’s poetry, however, has never been in print before, despite her international reputation. Designed to be performed, much of performance poetry tends to be ethereal, existing for the audience, the next gig, living on the stage rather than the page.
Now Lucy’s collected performance poems from the last 20 years have been brought together by local indie publisher Burning Eye Books. Editor, Clive Birnie said: “There’s a vibrant live poetry scene but poets aren’t getting published by mainstream publishers and that’s where Burning Eye comes in. We’re on a mission to publish poets like Lucy English to deal with the under-representation of performance poetry by mainstream publishers.”

At the book launch of ‘Prayer to Imperfection Poems 1996 – 2014’, organised by Novel Nights, Lucy took the audience on a journey through the changing landscape, not just of Bristol, but also of Slam Poetry itself.
“Bristol’s quite an inspiring place – first in terms of the way it looks and how smart and scrubbed up it’d become.” Many of Lucy’s poems feature local landscapes such as ‘The Telephone Box up Ashley Hill,’ or ‘Temple Cloud.’ Totterdown also features on the book cover from a painting of the familiar pastel Victorian terraces by artist, Emily Ketteringham.
In ‘Take Me To The City’, we journey through different cityscapes, ‘I walked to Tescos where the motorway meets the river. Above my head, one stream flowing on concrete pillars, and ‘I wore nothing but my fear of forgotten places.’ The narrative voice becomes Bristol – ‘my hair is Leigh Woods, and, ‘my knees must be Totterdown.
Using place in this way is of course hugely popular with a local audience, but it was her compelling performance of her work and understated lyricism that had the Novel Nights audience quietly appreciative of her work.
‘Liar’ plays with the audience’s expectation. Given a strong narrative voice spoken with conviction, the lines, ‘I take smart drugs every ten minutes’ or ‘I can speak Croatian’, are believable but the line quickly follows, ‘No I don’t. I’m a liar.’ The simple assertions of truth and untruth throughout the poem kept us intrigued as Lucy produced ever more fantastical versions of a ‘self’. The point here perhaps is that all writers create fictions, and playing with that idea is part of the fun of creation.
Her poem about taking her children to Cemetery Road referenced Arnos Vale Cemetery in the days when it was a wilderness without lottery funding. Pork pie, coke and crisps as a treat captured life as a single parent just as vividly as her son’s scuffed shoe.

The joy of the evening was hearing a superb performance by Lucy with an audience who were intently listening. So much meaning is communicated via tone so poems like ‘Send me a Man’ would be multi-layered when read by the poet as opposed to being read on the page.

This is a poet who is directly accessible who writes about love, motherhood and relationships and who defies us to think the poems are autobiographical. In ‘You are the one for me,’ the poem states,
‘I want your babies.
I want all your babies, even the ones you’ve already got.
In fact, I could be your mother.’

Lucy ended the evening with a tribute to her sister and mother in ‘Family Prayers.’ The narrative structure introduced the different family members and builds from a family saying prayers, to the poem itself becoming a prayer, ending on a poignant but quiet, understated note.

Prayer to Imperfection Poems 1996 – 2014 is available in bookshops, via Amazon and directly from Burning Eye Books. Novel Nights hold regular events for writers. For details see or email