The Start of an Era

Last Friday saw my final lesson as a BA student at Edge Hill. It was quite a poignant moment – realising that your three years’ study is coming to an end and that you and all the friends you’ve made will all be moving on. Rather than being sad, though, we had a great send-off and kept up a Creative Writing tradition: the end of year reading.

As tutor Robert Sheppard pointed out, this is a form of publication (i.e. making public) of your creative work, and a fantastic opportunity to show your skills. It took place in the newly refurbished Hale Hall (you can see it looking all new and sparkly in the background of the picture there) and there was a reasonable turnout too, which doesn’t help the nerves, but the more the merrier when it comes to sharing your work.

The past two years, the reading has been grouped according to the year you’re in, but this time first, second and third years were all there to listen, and some to perform. Mostly people read poetry, but there was a short story and even some music, which just goes to show how diverse the range of chances is at Edge Hill.

It’s not compulsory to read out at this event, so don’t let it put you off if you don’t feel comfortable, you can just sit back and enjoy the other performances. As you can see by the picture (apologies, I know I’m no oil painting!), I couldn’t resist reading out one of my pieces (from my own writing, rather than class work) and, as always, the reception was very supportive.

I bet you’re itching to give it a go, aren’t you? Well, all you need to do is come to Edge Hill and you’ll get the chance!

Is It My Birthday?

No it isn’t, but that hasn’t stopped Edge Hill giving me (well, less solipsistically, all Edge Hill students) another great gift. Media students have been able to team up with the university’s ever pro-active and approachable Student’s Union to form a production company going by the name of ‘Edge House Productions’.

This is a brilliant opportunity that any screenwriters will have coming to Edge Hill (don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get published if scripts aren’t your thing!). It’s a great opportunity for budding media students too. In fact, it’s awesome whatever course you’re doing. After all, it’s not every university that can boast the ability to nurture so much talent across the show-business spectrum and produce great things ( also the on-campus Rose Theatre is proud of its work with students http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre/about).

I’ll certainly be taking advantage, probably send them a short film. The only question now is what will you do when you come to Edge Hill?

‘The Scousest Day on Earth’

Edge Hill has a great reputation for its sports degrees, but you don’t have to be doing one to take advantage of any of the many opportunities for enjoying sport around Ormskirk. I for one love a bit of football, it must be said, and yesterday saw the Liverpool vs Everton FA cup semi-final. The atmosphere in Ormskirk is always great on match day, whoever is playing, but the rivalries inside Liverpool and even with Manchester teams translate clearly for Ormskirkians. It happened that my team won, but in any of the many places you can watch it about the town the buzz is always great, even for neutral fans.

Yesterday saw another important national sporting event take place just a few minutes away from Ormskirk in Aintree. I am, of course, talking about the Grand National. It is not just the event itself that transforms Ormskirk. The preceeding days too have a buzz that is unlike any other, especially Ladies’ Day. I was on my way into Liverpool the other day and it’s like a fever that sweeps the area, the trains are packed with expectant men and women all having a good time. I wrote recently about the buzz on campus at Edge Hill around the time of the elections, and the energy in Ormskirk at this time reminds me of that: anticipation, enjoyment and warmth.

I should just explain, the title of this post comes from a conversation I overheard yesterday. With so much pride in Merseyside around this time of national sporting importance, someone proclaimed it to be ‘the Scousest day on earth.’ That’s a debatable thing to say, perhaps, but it was certainly one of the most fun!

It’s Official!

Yep that’s right, I now prefer Ormskirk to my native hometown. I’ve been talking a bit lately about the importance of the location of your university because most students will be living away from home for the duration of their higher education. As I was on my ‘Easter break’ (see my earlier post for why this is something of a misnomer) back in Morecambe, I genuinely really missed Ormskirk.

A big part of it is the social side. It’s a bit of a cliche, but the friends you’ll make at uni really are friends for life, and it was tough to be away from them after living in a house together. But I also missed the town itself, its convenience of shopping, its great pubs and, of course, my ‘home away from home’ on the mostly student populated Wigan Road.

The only criticism I have of Ormskirk, really, is that it’s lacking shops for young people, HMV, Primark etc, but Liverpool is only half an hour away on the train, and that has everything you could want in a city and more. It’s easy to make comparisons to what you know, but looking at it objectively, Edge Hill really couldn’t be anywhere better. Everything you need and plenty of what you want right on your doorstep, and then even more on top of that just a stone’s throw away. I can’t believe I ever missed Morecambe!

Here’s a wee site I found that tells you more about what’s going on in Ormskirk http://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/ormskirk/events. Music events, comedy and more are on it, including updates from Edge Hill’s very own Rose Theatre (both film and performing arts), so you can never say you’re bored around here! On a further note about the Rose Theatre, you can find it on facebook (as with everything these days!) or check out the site http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre/whatson.

I’m spoilt rotten, that’s why I love Edge Hill!

Success!

Great news – one of my poems is going to published in Edge Hill’s Question Mark, a magazine showcasing students’ poetry and even photography. I’m really happy to finally be published but hopefully it won’t end there! There are many more ways to be published at Edge Hill and I’m hoping to take full advantage.

If you’re into writing poetry, there’s also the Rhiannon Evans award for students showing promise in writing poems. If you win, there’s even a cash prize of £500, which isn’t to be sneezed at by any means.

Of course, some people prefer fiction and they are well catered for too. There are a couple of short story prizes, one of which is the Jo Powell crime fiction prize that I aim to enter soon. It was set up in memory of Jo, who I’ve had the privilege to be taught by for two years. MA students can enter this one too, so there’s quite a bit of competition, but what better way to challenge yourself?

What you’ll also find inspiring and supportive is the facebook group that students can join, where links to competitions are regularly posted, along with notable writers’ work, industry updates and more.

So I’ve had a taste of success, but I want this to springboard me on to greater things. When you come to Edge Hill, you too will have all these opportunities. The atmosphere really couldn’t be more encouraging and, potentially, lucrative. What more could you want?