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 www.wordpoppy.com. or email novelnightsbristol@gmail.com

Open Mic with Novel Nights

Share your writing with us at Novel Nights

At our friendly Novel Nights events the second half of the evening is an Open Mic format.  We invite novelists to share their work with our audience of writers and readers.

What to do:

  • Length: Submit between 800 – 1,000 words – this should take a total of five minutes please
  • Send work in advance so we can give you a slot and plan the evening
  • Send us brief bio (one or two sentences ) about you and your novel including the title, so we can promote you. What is it about? Title? Genre? Who are you?
  • Send us your twitter name. Share and re-tweet to your audience. Bring a friend ! Spread the Novel Nights news via email, word of mouth or on Facebook. We tweet @wordpoppy
  • Feeling shy or have a poor speaking voice and don’t want to read in public? Use Duncan, our resident author who will read for you.  (Give us at least one weeks notice)
  • EMAIL novelnightsbristol@gmail.com
  • Novelists below: Maunagh Kelly, Eugene Lambert, Mike Manson and Paul McIntyre
 Paul reading from Blubber Bullet at Novel Nights Open Mic

Paul McIntyre reading Blubber Bullet

Writer, Eugene Lambert

Eugene Lambert, YA writer

Writer, Mike Manson at Novel Nights

Mike Manson author of Where’s my money

Resident actor Duncan Bonner with writer, Maunagh Kelly

Resident actor Duncan Bonner with novelist Maunagh Kelly

We’d love to hear from you


Novel Nights talk on Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing talk & Open Mic : 8pm, Thursday July 3rd, The Lansdown Pub,8 Clifton Road, Bristol BS8 1AF. 

With the massive shifts in the publishing industry and the rise of e-books writers have more choice than ever before. Self-publishing is one of the options, find out if it’s for you.

Helen Hart, Silverwood Books

Helen Hart, Silverwood Books

Guest speaker, Helen Hart of Silverwood Books, will talk about the self-publishing  industry followed by a Q and A session. Publishing Director, Helen, is the author of nine novels (Harper Collins, OUP, Scholastic,) and Indie Reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Read more at Silverwood Books.

Lily Forbes, recently published by Silverwood, will read from her novel about her childhood,  ‘Growing up Under the Mango Tree’ and talk briefly about her experiences of self-publishing. Lily’s book launched on June 3rd and her book is currently ranked 15,300 in the Amazon charts out of 6 million books.

Open Mic or novelists and writers – please contact novelnightsbristol@gmail.com . in advance for details. We’d love to hear your work.  Five minute slot.

SilverWood Logotype WHITE on GREEN 2 (1)SilverWood Books is an author services company that supports self-funding writers to produce high quality professionally-designed books and ebooks.


Tickets – £4 on the door. 8pm  July 3rd, The Lansdown Pub, 8 Clifton Road, Bristol BS8 1AF. 8pm

Novel Nights with Alan Snow

Guest speaker, Alan Snow, will give tips on working with publishers, and talk about having his trilogy, The Ratbridge Chronicles,  made into a feature film. The film (The Boxtrolls),is due to be released in September 2014. and stars Simon Pegg and Ben Kingsley.


Novel Nights takes place on the 1st May at the Lansdown, 8.00 pm. Tickets £4 on the door. 

or https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/novel-nights-with-alan-snow-tickets-10299511115

Here Be Monsters! the first in the trilogy is set in—and below—the fictional town of Ratbridge (based upon Trowbridge ) .  Ratbridge is located in northeast Bumbleshire, on the banks of the River Rat. 

The plot stars Arthur  who flies with the help of mechanical wings and who lives in a complex network of tunnels beneath Ratbridge. It features illegal cheese hunts and fantastical creatures including Fish, a Boxtroll, cabbage heads and freshwater sea cows 

NB: Boxtrolls are a sub-species of the common troll, are extremely shy and live in cardboard boxes. Simon Pegg plays a Boxtroll in the film.

Alan has written and illustrated over 160 books for children including How Pirates really work, and The Truth About Cats. Other projects include creating an app of A Christmas Carol,the design of a children’s science museum in Japan, and the design of project robot. 

How pirates really work

Some tickets available in advance here:

or buy tickets on the door at £4 each.

Share your novel

After a fabulous evening with Nathan Filer, we are gearing up for the next Novel Nights with guest speaker Alan Snow on Thursday 1st May at The Lansdown. Who wants to share their work this time?
We have space for four readers, so if you’d like to share your novel in progress, please let us know. Theme of the evening is comic writing, or writing for children.
How long? Send us a 5 minute extract (about 800 – 1000 words), depending on how fast you read.
Nervous ? Our resident actor, Duncan Bonner, will read your piece for you. You’d need to send your work in advance.
What next? Contact novelnightsbristol@gmail.com  to let us know you are interested. We like to see scripts first so we can plan ta running order.

Please share this page with your writing friends. See you there!

Grace and Emma novelnightsbristol@gmail.com


Readers at March Novel Nights

It’s shaping up to be a fabulous Novel Nights. For our third event Nathan Filer will read from The Shock of the Fall, followed by your chance to ask questions and answers.  Nathan needs no introduction. If you haven’t yet read his book here’s a link to Waterstones : http://bit.ly/1oQtJqK

During the second half, these fabulous local novelists will read from their work:

Mike Manson: author of two novels, and three history books. Mike was editor of Bristol Review of Books, has been an organiser of Bristol Festival of Literature and is initiator of Shedfest – probably the world’s smallest literary festival in a shed.

Anne Corlett  is a criminal lawyer, has completed two novels and is represented by the Richford Becklow agency. She has been on various competition longlists and shortlists, and recently won the HE Bates prize and was placed third in the Bristol prize.  She blogs regularly at http://consummatechaosblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Maunagh Kelly is a portrait painter and a member of Bristol Novelists. Her work will be read by resident Novel Nights actor, Duncan Bonner.  Her second novel, ‘Number 61’ is set in the the Seventies. The story revolves around commune life.

Paul McIntyre: Will read from his third novel, ‘Blubber Bullet’ which is a thriller about obesity and redemption.  Paul was long-listed for the Bristol and Bath short story competitions 2013 and is a member of Bristol Novelists. He started writing in earnest 8 years ago after various careers which included working with Adults with Learning Disabilities and running an ironing service.

Eugene Lambert recently graduated from Bath Spa University with an MA in writing for young people, He’s represented by Ben Illis, flies gliders and writes in a cabin. His sci-fi thriller was short-listed for AM Heath’s Irish Children’s prize 2013.

Shirley Wright is a novelist, poet and short story writer, and she will read from her novel, Time out of Mind. The theme is woven into a ghost story set in a fictional village in Cornwall 

Tickets have sold out for the event on the 26th but there are limited tickets on the door (though you may have to stand).

Novel Nights Nathan Filer

Nathan Filer This is the 3 for 2 table in Waterstones. As you can see The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer is selling well. We’re delighted that Nathan is our guest speaker at Novel Nights on Wednesday 26th March.   Nathan won the Costa Book Award 2013 and at Novel Nights he’ll be talking about plot and reading an extract. There’ll be the usual questions and answers, and reading from other local Bristol novelists.

Get your tickets here

Like our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/novelnights

Novel Nights

It’s a wet February evening, but we’d love to see you at the friendly Lansdown, in Clifton tonight for Novel Nights. 8pm 13th February. £3 on the door

Guest speaker: Dr Sanjida O’Connell, writer. She’s written 4 novels –  Theory of Mind and Angel Bird are published by Black Swan and The Naked Name of Love and Sugar Island, published by John Murray.


Jo Sefton, will read from The Girl The Tide Brought In

Paul Kirby, a member of Bristol novel writers  reads from his third novel.

Bec Treveil will read from Encoded, an adventure for teenagers

Lesley G, journalist and Bath Spa Graduate,reads from her novel,’Dark Side Of The Moon’

Trevor Coombs writes historical novels with literary aspirations and is a founder of Literary Drinkers. His novel is set in Argentina in 1970

Amy Wilson, reads from her novel, Sherb and Manchego, a young adult fantasy novel

Duncan Bonner, is our friendly resident actor who will give readings for novelists. Tonight he’s reading my work -(Grace Palmer aka wordpoppy) The Wish Bone tells the story of 13 year old Freddie, newly diagnosed with leukaemia. Richard Pettitt Designs

Novel Nights 13th Feb with guest speaker Sanjida O’Connell

Excellent news. Our second Novel Nights takes place on

Thursday 13th Feb at the Lansdown Pub, Clifton. 8pm

Sanjida O’Connell, novelist, and non-fiction writer.

Sanjida will be reading from her 3rd and 4th novels – Sugar Island and The Naked Name of Love.  Q & A session and Open Mic slots available for novelists to read

If you love reading and love writing come and hear novelists and writers read their work.

Rich Pettitt Designs

Rich Pettitt Designs

£3 on the door or in advance  Get your tickets here

Open Mic slots available.  Contact novelnightsbristol@gmail.com

Also, actor Duncan Bonner has agreed to read for us. So, if you want to take part in our open mic, but are worried about performing, you can send in your work in advance so Duncan can prepare and he’ll read it for you.