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Student Success

The last few years have shown a fabulous flowering of our Creative Writing students' work. We’re very proud to have been the venue for many debut book launches and would like to thank our graduates for returning to share their experience with Chichester’s current Creative Writing students.

The crucible of talent and inspiration on the BA and MA continues to grow through our unique courses with their methods of literary cross-fertilisation and finely developed critique.

In many ways, our student writers create this atmosphere through their collective dedicated approach to workshopping – a process that we teach with precision. The students’ generosity to one another is valued by everybody on the course.

Amber Dodd

Amber completed the MA in Creative Writing in 2015. Amber’s plays have been performed at Chichester Festival Theatre, the New Theatre Royal and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Her stories have been published around the world and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. We Are Giants, her first book for children, was published in 2016 and won the 2017 Calderdale Book of the Year Award.

Jaqueline Wilson described We are Giants as ‘a total page-turner, very moving and touching.’

Amber is currently working on her second children's novel.

Amber is represented by Janklow and Nesbitt. Her website can be found at

Isabel Ashdown


Isabel studied with us for a BA, then completed her MA in Creative Writing with us in 2010. Isabel completed her MA in Creative Writing with us in 2010. While on the MA, she worked on her first novel, Glasshopper, which was published by Myriad Editions in 2009.

Glasshopper went on to be named among the best books of 2009 by both the Observer and The Evening Standard. Since then she has published four more novels.

The latest, Little Sister, is a psychological thriller published by Trapeze, an imprint of Orion publishing. Isabel is represented by Kate Shaw of The Viney Agency.

Isabel’s website can be found at

Jane Rusbridge


Jane studied for a BA with us, then returned to take the MA in Creative Writing. Her first novel, The Devils' Music, was published by Bloomsbury in 2009. Jane Rusbridge’s first novel, The Devil’s Music, was published by Bloomsbury in the summer of 2009. It was described as ‘a beautifully told story of family secrets and betrayal, involving knots, Harry Houdini and the shifting landscape of memory.’ The novel was initially part of her MA dissertation project. Her second novel, Rook, was published in 2012.

Hannah Brockbank

Hannah Brockbank studied on our BA programme, then returned to take the MA in Creative Writing, on which she was winner of the 2016 Kate Betts award. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Chichester.  Publications featuring her work include Hallelujah for 50ft Women Anthology (Bloodaxe), A Way through the Woods Anthology (Binsted Arts), Full Moon & Foxglove Anthology (Three Drops Press), The London Magazine, Envoi, and When Women Waken Journal. Her poems also featured in the Chalk Poets Anthology as part of the 2016 Winchester Poetry Festival. Her poetry pamphlet, Bloodlines, was published by Indigo Press in 2017. She has also written feature essays for Thresholds International Short Story Forum.

‘I am hugely grateful to the Creative Writing Department at Chichester.  It is through their excellent teaching and guidance that I have been able to refine my writing and discover my true voice. Learning from tutors who are experienced and successful writers in their own right, has undoubtedly contributed to my own successes. Events such as the annual publishing panel, have also provided me with valuable insight into getting my own work published and other careers in writing.’ Hannah Brockbank

Zoe Gilbert

Zoe Gilbert completed a PhD in creative writing at the University of Chichester. Her first novel, Folk, which was written as part of her PhD, is published by Bloomsbury.  Tessa Hadley described it as ‘sensuous and dangerous and thick with magic’. Her short stories have been published in journals and anthologies worldwide, and have won prizes, including the Costa Short Story Award. She teaches creative writing at London Lit Lab, and for other organisations including the British Library, Mslexia and the Arvon Foundation. She is currently working on her second novel. 

Maggie Sawkins

Poet Maggie Sawkins studied with us for a BA and then returned to take the MA in Creative Writing. She has published three collections: Charcot’s Pet (Flarestack, 2003), The Zig Zag Woman (Two Ravens Press, 2007) and Zones of Avoidance (Cinnamon Press in 2015).

Her Live Literature film/poem, Zones of Avoidance, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry in 2014.  Maggie works as a poet in the community and runs ‘Hooked on Words’ (

Juliet West

Juliet West worked as a journalist before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. She graduated with distinction and was joint winner of the university’s Kate Betts’ Memorial Prize in 2010.

Her poetry and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies including The French Literary Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and the Sunday Times online magazine.

Juliet’s debut novel Before the Fall was published in 2014 by Pan Macmillan, and her second novel, The Faithful, was published in 2017, also by Pan Macmillan.

Bethan Roberts


Bethan Roberts has published four novels and writes drama for BBC Radio 4. Her first novel The Pools (2007) won a Jerwood/Arvon Young Writers’ Award.

Her second novel The Good Plain Cook (2008) was serialised on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was chosen as one of Time Out’s books of the year. 

My Policeman, the story of a 1950s policeman, his wife, and his male lover, followed in 2012, and was chosen as that year’s City Read for Brighton.

Her most recent novel, Mother Island, was the recipient of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize.

She also writes short fiction, for which she has won the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Prize and the RA Pin Drop Award.

Chatto & Windus will publish her new novel, which tells the story of Elvis Presley and his mother, in 2019. 

Bethan is represented by The David Higham Agency and her website can be found at

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Karen completed her MA in 2012. Her debut poetry collection, An Aviary of Small Birds, was published by Carcanet in 2014. An Aviary of Small Birds was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and selected by Kate Kellaway as a Guardian/Observer book of the month; Kellaway described the books as a ‘beautiful, painful, pitch-perfect debut’.

It was also nominated for the Forward and Aldeburgh First Collection prizes. Karen’s most recent collection, Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet 2017) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was described by Warsan Shire as ‘a stunning and strange collection from a true writer’.

Karen is a fellow of The Complete Works — a nationwide professional development programme committed to creating more cultural diversity in mainstream poetry publishing and is the editor of the associated anthology Ten: The New Wave published by Bloodaxe Books.

Karen’s website is at

David Frankel

David Frankel saw his story Downstream, the Water Darkens  published in the 2014 summer issue of the London Magazine. Hitler was an Artist Too was published in Journey Planner and Other Stories (Cinnamon Press, 2014). The Killing Tree was shortlisted for the Lightship One Page Story competition and published in the Lightship Anthology 2014. The Memory System was published in Barcelona to Bihar (Earlyworks Press, 2012) and The Whaler’s Daughter in Brittle Star. No.35. For more story publications by David and also examples of his work as a visual artist, please see his website:

Melanie Whipman

Melanie Whipman, a current Ph.D student and a graduate of our MA in Creative Writing, has had numerous short stories published and awarded prizes over the last year or so:

  • What You Do For Love: Winner of the WriteIdea Prize (judge Alex Wheatle MBE);
  • After Ever After: Shortlisted for the Glass Woman Prize 2014;
  • Wakes and Wishbones: First Prize in the HG Wells Competition (anthology forthcoming Jan 2015);
  • Hush: Bridge House Anthology 2014 (forthcoming December 2014);
  • End of the Rope: Fiction Desk Anthology (forthcoming December 2014);
  • Last Gift: Popshot Magazine (October 2014);
  • Overdose: Bare Fiction Magazine July 2014;
  • Reprisal: Bare Fiction Magazine July 2014 ;
  • The Real Thing: Second place in the Brighton Prize (judge Bethan Roberts)  
  • Fractured: Third place in the Bridgewater Short Story Award 2014 (judge Rose Tremain);
  • The Beat Goes On: Sophie King Anthology, published by Corazon Books, August 2014;
  • After Ever After: Published in Structo Magazine January 2014;
  • This’ll be the Day: First Prize in The Writer’s Bureau Competition 2013;
  • Suicide Bomber:  Published in Unthology 4, November 2013;
  • Tide: Second Prize in the 2013 Fowey Literary Festival, published online;
  • Llama Sutra: Broadcast on Radio 4 for the 2013 Time Being Series.

Melanie also won first prize in the Ink Tears 2013 competition, with £1000 prize money and publication of a collection; Hook, Line and Ninety-Nines: Second place in the A.Vogel Short Story Award 2013. Published in their E-book ; Peacock Girl: First place in the Short Story Rubery Award.

Published in their anthology February 2013, and second place in the 2013 Oxford and Times Literary Festival Short Story Competition; Baking Blind, shortlisted for the London Magazine Short Story Prize 2013; Guns and Roses, shortlisted for The Fish Short Story Prize 2013; Food Fight, shortlisted for the 2013 Asham Award.

Amanda Oosthuizen

Amanda Oosthuizen (joint winner of the first Kate Betts Award) saw her story about trawlermen Poison Hands shortlisted for the 2013 Bristol Prize and published in Bristol Prize Anthology 6; her flash fiction  Conn Pre-war Sax in the Window of Cash Converters was published in the online Cent Magazine;  her story A Pylon, a Dress and the Rattle of Reeds was published online at Lakeview International Journal; Boystown S.A. a memoir was shortlisted for the Lightship Memoir Prize and will be published in the forthcoming Lightship Anthology 3; Volare, a story about Venice was published online in Synaesthesia Magazine and then shortlisted for the 2014 InkTears Competition.

Her text piece The Mount was selected by The White Review and artist, Lawrence Lek, for inclusion in a collaborative collection and installation entitled Pyramid Schemes and was displayed at The White Building and published in an artist's book.

Her novel, The Cherrywood Box won the 2013 U.S. Eludia Award for the entire manuscript though Amanda decided to try for UK publication rather than US publication.

Her story Love and Glitter won the 2014 Synaesthesia Competition and is published online along with an interview. Another story, Minute Music was 2nd runner-up in the 2014 Writers&Artists competition.

Amanda has been awarded an SLS fellowship on the strength of a novel excerpt to study on one of their seminars either in Lithuania or Kenya. Please see Amanda’s website for further details:

Jane Rusbridge

Jane Rusbridge's first novel, The Devil's Music, was published by Bloomsbury in the summer of 2009. It is described as 'a beautifully told story of family secrets and betrayal, involving knots, Harry Houdini and the shifting landscape of memory.'

The novel began as part of her MA dissertation. Jane launched The Devil’s Music here in 2009.   Rook (2012), published by Bloomsbury Circus, is Jane’s second novel. Set in the West Sussex village of Bosham, Rook is a mesmerising story of family, legacy and turning back the tides.

Her short stories have won a Bridport Prize, the Writer of the Year Competition run by Writer's Inc, the Ilkley Literature Festival short story competition and came second in the Bluechrome Fiction Award.

MA assignment poems have featured in The Interpreter's House, Red Hot Fiesta, New Beginnings, First Time, and the Surrey Poetry Competition anthology.

Gabrielle Kimm

Gabrielle Kimm gained her MA from Chichester in 2007. Since then she has published three novels with Sphere: The Last Duchess, The Courtesan’s Lover and The Girl With The Painted Face. The Last Duchess was described as ‘a stunning debut, rich in historical detail’ by the Irish Times. Her work has been published in nine countries. Gabrielle met her agent, Judith Murray, at one of the English and Creative Writing Department annual Agents and Editors’ panels.

Gabrielle’s website can be found at

Penny Bush

Penny Bush's novel for teenagers Alice in Time (Piccadilly Press, 2010) came out in April 2010, and was launched at the University. Penny started the novel for her MA dissertation.

She says. "Having my book published has been the most amazing experience. I think I'm still in shock, it all happened so quickly. Obviously it's something every writer dreams of but I never really expected it to happen. Doing the MA at Chichester really focused my mind and gave me confidence in my writing, not to mention all the practical help on presentation and layout that is so important when submitting work to a publisher.’

The book has since been shortlisted for Manchester Book Awards 2011 and foreign rights have been sold to America, Canada. The book has been translated into Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish. Her second book, Diary of a Lottery Winner’s Daughter came out in 2011. Her third novel for children, My Myself Milly, is just out in early 2013, also from Piccadilly Press.

Frank Burton

Frank Burton's book of linked short stories, A Short History of Sarcasm, came out from Doghorn Press in 2010, and Frank launched the novel here as part of the MA in Creative Writing in 2010.

Frank's story was broadcast (April 2009) in a BBC Radio 4 season of new writing on the theme of the ‘whole world’. Frank now works for the BBC. His novel, The Prodigals is available online.  

A new book is forthcoming from Aqueous Books. See for more about Frank’s excellent work. Frank is the founding editor of Philistine Press.

Steph Newell

Steph Newell’s novel, The Third Person, has been e-published by Philistine Press.

She is also widely published as a literary critic.

Graham Minett

Completing the course in 2008, Graham gained a distinction for the dissertation under the guidance of novelist, Alison MacLeod and almost immediately won the Segora Short Story Competition with ‘On the Way Out’.

Other awards soon followed, most notably his success in the 2010 Chapter One novel competition with what would eventually become the opening pages of his debut novel. He was signed up by Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency, who managed to secure a two-book deal with twenty7, the digital-first adult fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing.

The Hidden Legacy was published as an eBook in November 2015 and the paperback version was published in August 2016.

The second book in the deal, entitled Lie in Wait, was published as an eBook in August 2016 and the paperback version was published in March 2017.

His new novel, Anything For Her, appeared as an eBook in November 2017 and then in paperback in March 2018.

Graham’s website can be found at

Sarah Hegarty

Sarah Hegarty’s novel, The Ash Zone, won the Yeovil Literary prize in 2011. The judge, Katharine McMahon comments: "This novel was set in Britain, 2130, after a devastating Volcanic eruption. I found it an extremely accomplished piece of work in which the dystopia envisaged is both horribly engaging to the reader, and authentic. I wanted to learn more about the past and the future.

There was a nice balance of description and narrative drive; a society was described through what should have been the deeply personal domestic event of pregnancy, so the potential for deepening relationships and characterisation was very tantalising, and gave the novel warmth it might otherwise have been lacking. The scope of this novel was particularly impressive - and created a richly textured world.”

Sarah’s short fiction has been published in Mslexia, on the web (at ) and in the Momaya Annual Review. . The Ash Zone is her first novel, and draws on her life in Beijing in 1980. She is working on her second novel

Charlie McQuaker

Charlie McQuaker published his novel Die Hard Mod (Pulp Fiction 2010) while completing the MA here.

Here’s a clip from publicity for a recent reading event at the Komedia in Brighton: ‘Belfast-born McQuaker, whose gritty ‘pulp fiction’ novella Die Hard Mod gained rave reviews from both the pulp fiction and Mod cognoscenti when it was released last year, was discovered by Pulp Press founder Danny Bowman at a Story Studio event in 2009.

The book has subsequently become the Brighton-based publishing company’s best-selling title.  Die Hard Mod has also recently earned the honour of having a page devoted to it in the forthcoming A to Z of Mod compendium, compiled by celebrated Mod scribe Paolo Hewitt and fellow-Mod Martin Freeman of The Office fame.  

At Story Studio, McQuaker will be reading a new short story The Drink Talking, a dark, Brighton-set tale of an alcohol-fuelled relationship meltdown.

Tara Gould said: “When he’s appeared at Story Studio in the past, Charlie’s dynamic, engaging readings have gone down a storm so we’re delighted that he’s able to appear at our last night at the Komedia.” “The energy and vitality of Charlie’s writing puts me in mind of American beat writers and ‘dirty realists’ which fits in perfectly with Pulp Press’s house style”, added Danny Bowman.’


Light Box is K.J. Orr's first collection of short stories and includes 'Disappearances', which won the BBC National Short Story Award 2016. Her stories have been recognised by numerous awards, and have appeared in publications including Best British Short Stories 2015, the Irish Times, the Dublin Review, the White Review, Lighthouse, and the Sunday Times Magazine. In 2012 Daunt Books published her story ‘The Inland Sea’ as the first of their Limited Edition Short Story Series. Her short fiction has been widely anthologised, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Poetry Review, the TLS and the Guardian, among others. She is currently a Teaching Fellow at UEA.

Ellie Piddington

Ellie Piddington’s short story A Little Dating Money (written as part of her MA) was published in The Times Literary Supplement (online 2012). Ellie has recently completed her novel, A Little Dating Money, as part of her creative Ph.D. at the University of Chichester.

Her essay, Between the Sheets: the Short Stories of Tennessee Williams (2012) was published in the international literary journal Short Fiction in Theory and Practice.

She has also written features on Truman Capote and Erskine Caldwell for Thresholds, the University of Chichester’s international website on the short story.

Ellie was the Conference Assistant during the international Poetry and Voice conference (2010) at the University and was assistant editor of the subsequent book of essays, Poetry and Voice (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2013).

Ellie works here as an associate lecturer and completed Ph.D in 2014.

Loree Westron

Loree Westron’s published short stories include:

  • ‘The Difference Between Cowboys and Clowns’, published in Award-winning Tales (2011), Becky Coffield, ed. Moonlight Mesa; 2009
  • ‘King of the Cocktails’ Never Hit by Lightning, Tucker Lieberman, ed. 2009 ;
  • ‘Bastard’, In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself, vol 8, MP Weaver, ed. ;2008
  • ‘The Road to Reparation’, Borderlines; 2006
  • ‘Los Milagros’, London Magazine, Sebastian Barker, ed.

Her reviews and articles have appeared in: The Short Review, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, Western American Literature; London Magazine,,, Cucle, Return to a Better Tomorrow (ed. R.Richards), Southern Cross.

Numerous shortlistings and awards include: 2010 ‘Gathering Fragments of Light’,

Honourable Mention in the Carpe Articulum Novella Contest;

  • 2009 ‘The Difference Between Cowboys and Clowns’, Finalist in the Midnight Mesa short story competition;
  • 2009 ‘Kirsty Dreams of Evergreens’, Honourable Mention, NYC Midnight 24-hour Short Story Challenge; 
  • 2009 ‘The Difference Between Cowboys and Clowns’, 1st-round Finalist in NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge;
  • 2009 ‘Watermelon Festival’, Fish Prize shortlist;
  • 2009 ‘Some Kind of Comfort’, Fish Prize shortlist;
  • 2009 ‘Revelation’, Fish Prize shortlist;
  • 2008 ‘Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction: A Review’, Finalist in Costa book review competition;
  • 2007 ‘Gathering Fragments of Light’, Semi-Finalist in Quarterly West Novella Competition;
  • 2006 ‘Road to Reparation’, Seattle Review Fiction Contest shortlist;
  • 2005 ‘Los Milagros’, VS Pritchett Memorial Prize shortlist;
  • 1998 ‘The Bear’, 2nd place Winchester Writers’ Conference.

Her conference papers include:

  • 2010 'Indianness’ and Identity in the Novels and Short Stories of Sherman Alexie' at Framing the Self: Anxieties of Identity, University of Portsmouth;
  • 2010 ‘Voices of the American West: Striving for Authenticity’, Research in Progress conference, University of Chichester;
  • 2009 ‘The Paradox of Historical Fiction: Finding Truth Where None Exists’, Playful Paradox: Creative Writing on Campus, University of Bedfordshire.

Loree is the final stage of her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University, which she pursued after completing the MA here. She has just completed her novel, Legacy. Until recently, Loree was the editor (the first editor) of Thresholds International Short Story Forum. 

Loree Westron completed her novel and received her Ph.D. in 2013.

Honoria Beirne

Honoria Beirne's short story Shake Me, Shake Me was short listed for the Bridport Prize in 2010 and is now published in the prestigious Bridport Anthology.

Jane Hayward

Jane Hayward won first prize in the  Lightship short story competition with her story The Way to a Man’s Heart (Lightship Anthology 1, International Prize Winners 2011).

Her writing has previously won her lunch with Anita Shreve and a novel pitch at an Art’s Council funded publishing event launched by Spread the Word.

Her work has been shortlisted for Radio 4’s Afternoon Story and a Bluechrome internet story competition.

She has a horror story published in the anthology Dark Tales and a poem in the anthology A Track of Light. She has been shortlisted in The Fish Memoir Prize, 2013 and is awaiting the result.

Vicki Heath

Recent graduate (Dec. 2012) Vicki Heath had a short story, written on the Sources and Transformation module, published in Structo in 2012.

Another story was shortlisted for a Bridport Prize in 2012. Vicki is the new editor of Thresholds, the University’s international short story online forum. In addition, Vicki has recently been appointed as the new paid editorial intern at Myriad Publications.

Wendy Ann Greenhalgh

Wendy Ann Greenhalgh's fiction and poetry have appeared in places like Pank, Mslexia, Metazen, Ink Sweat & Tears, Flash & Friction Magazines and in anthologies. Her videos, photos and installations have been exhibited in the UK and Holland.

As an arts educator Wendy works with schools, galleries & museums, running participatory projects, literary events & Story Scavenger Hunts for children, families & adults. She's part of the Creative Learning Team at New Writing South and teaches at Evolution Arts and The Friends Centre in Brighton.

Wendy is a member of the interpretation team at the De La Warr Pavilion and working on the START programme with the Jerwood Gallery.

Jacky Taylor

Jacky Taylor won third prize in the Bridport Flash Fiction competition in 2012. Her work has been published in Something Was There, the 2011 Asham anthology (Virago), The Best of Everyday Fiction 3 (Everyday Publishing 2009-2010) and numerous places online including Foundling Review and The Pygmy Giant.

Wendy French

Poet Wendy French’s latest collection, surely you know this, was published by tall lighthouse in 2009. The title and poems in the first section of the book all begin with one of Sappho’s fragments. Wendy’s other collections include two chapbooks published by tall lighthouse and her first collection, Splintering the Dark from Rockingham press.

Wendy  won first prize, a major award, in the NHS section of the inaugural Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine in April 2010. The winning poem, it's about a man, is about her father, one of the first doctors to start serving under the NHS in 1947.

The judges were Dannie Abse, poet and doctor, James Naughtie and Sir Brian Keogh. She has co-edited three books of poetry written by young people in hospital and all published by Rockingham press. 

Wendy works in a freelance capacity promoting writing in healthcare, educational and community settings. She is on the Board of Lapidus (Literary Arts and Personal Development) and was the judge of the Torbay Poetry Competition for 2010.

Sylvia Dickinson

Sylvia Dickinson’s moving story, The Long Walk Home won the Arts Council/Penguin Decibel Award in 2006 and was published by Penguin. Sylvia has given workshops and a reading tour in her native South Africa and in the UK as a result.

Kate Betts

Kate Bett’s stage play On the Third Day won Channel 4's The Play's The Thing in 2006.

The play was performed to very good reviews in The New Ambassadors Theatre, London. Kate appeared in the Channel 4 documentary, The Play's The Thing. We are very sad to report that our good friend and colleague and BA and MA in Creative Writing graduate of the University of Chichester died in the spring of 2010. Kate was a great writer and also an inspirational teacher.

A selection of her poems and prose were published posthumously in the anthology, A Track of Light: Chichester Poets (ed. David Swann, 2010). Maxine Peake who played the lead in On the Third Day gave a moving reading from the play at Kate's Memorial Service.

On the Third Day was performed again in September 2010 at The Point, Eastleigh.

We would like to thank Kate's husband Dave Betts and their children, Tom, Lucy and Rob, for inaugurating the Kate Betts Prize for writers on the MA in Creative Writing.

The first award was shared at the 2010 graduation ceremony by Juliet West and Amanda Oosthuizen, Subsequent awards have been won by Melanie Whipman (2011) and Jac Cattaneo (2012).