David Swann

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Dave Swann


David Swann was born four doors up the street from the novelist Jeanette Winterson, who scared him stiff with spooky stories. Later, he was given the even more frightening task of reporting on Accrington Stanley’s football matches for the local newspaper. After a three-year stint as a journalist in the Netherlands, he returned to England to take an M.A. in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, which he passed with Distinction. From 1996 to 1997, he was Writer in Residence at H.M.P. Nottingham Prison. A book based on his experiences in the jail, ‘The Privilege of Rain’ (Waterloo Press, 2010), was shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. He teaches modules in fiction, poetry, and screenwriting at University of Chichester, where he also ran the popular ‘Tongues and Strings’ literary cabaret with his colleague Hugh Dunkerley for many years. Dave’s short stories and poems have been widely published and won many awards, including five successes at the Bridport Prize and two in The National Poetry Competition. His debut short story collection, ‘The Last Days of Johnny North’ was published by Elastic Press in 2006. In 2013, Dave served as judge for the Bridport Prize’s international flash fiction competition. He is now hard at work on a trilogy of novels and other writing projects.



2006 ‘The Last Days of Johnny North’ (Elastic Press, Norwich)

2010 ‘The Privilege of Rain’, with artwork by Clare Dunne (Waterloo Press, Hove).

Books (as editor)

1998 ‘Beyond the Wall’, anthology of prison writing (HMP Nottingham)

2001 ‘Mouth Ogres’, anthology. Co-edited with Hugh Dunkerley (Oxmarket Press, Chichester)

2005 ‘Dreaming Beasts’, anthology. Co-edited with Hugh Dunkerley (Krebs & Snopes, Chichester)

2010 ‘A Track of Light: Poems Inspired by Chichester and West Sussex’, anthology (University of Chichester)


2005 ‘Subtraction’, with artwork by Chris Aggs (Spitfire Press, Print Shop Project, Vol. 2, USA)


2003 ‘The Privilege of Rain’, ‘Staple’ 55/6, eds. E. Atkinson & A. Barrett

2012 ‘A Choir of Trees’, ‘Poetry & Voice’, ed. S. Norgate & E. Piddington (Edinburgh: Cambridge Scholars)

2013 ‘Another Fine Mess’, ‘Writing a First Novel: Reflections on the Journey’, ed. Karen Stevens (London: Palgrave)

2013: ‘Poetry Hero: A.E. Coppard’, ‘Poetry News’ (Winter, 2013)

Short fiction

1995 ‘Badly Good’, ;Northern Stories, Vol. 6’, ed. David Dabydeen & A.L. Kennedy.

1996 ‘In Pieces’, ‘The Bridport Prize Anthology’, ed. Michael Dobbs

1996 ‘Speedbone Sauna Blues’, ‘Northern Stories, 7’, ed. Mark Illis & Jane Rogers.

1997 ‘Them Tomatoes’, ‘Arc Short Stories, Vol. 8’, ed. Livi Michael & Maureen Freely.

1998 ‘The Spike’, ‘Arc Short Stories, Vol. 9’, ed. Sarah Dunant & Tibor Fischer.

2000 ‘A Polder, A Place To Live’, ‘The Bridport Prize Anthology’, ed. Lynne Reid Banks & George Szirtes

2003 ‘In that Brilliant Village’, ‘Connections’, ed. J. Hardy

2003 ‘The news at 10’, ‘Staple’ (November)

2003 ‘The Last Days of Johnny North’, ‘Bridport Prize Anthology’, ed. Rose Tremain & U.A. Fanthorpe

2005 ‘In the Path of the Comet’, ‘Staple’, vol. 62

2008 ‘The Route of the Arrow’, ‘The Illustrated Brighton Moment’, ed. S. Jones & L. Zeegan (Un-Made-Up Books)

Flash fiction

1995 ‘High Tide’, ‘Watch Fire’, ed. Chris Kenworthy

2003 ‘Voodoo Address Book’, ‘Staple’ (November)

2004 ‘Late Night Incident in a Different Lancashire’; ‘Snare, Trap, Hoop’, ‘In the Home’, various issues of ‘Texts’ Bones’, Wales.

2005 ‘Homage: 24 fifty-word stories’ ‘Zembla’ (Issue 8)

2009 ‘Testimony’, ‘The Third Space’, ‘Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine’, 2.2 (Oct.)

2010 ‘Butlins With Books’, ‘The Balloonist’s Tale’ and ‘A Night on the Lash’, ‘Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine’, 3.2 (Oct.)

2011 ‘Running the Yards’, ‘The Good Times’ and ‘Spoons Against Rommel’, ‘Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine’, 4.1 (Apr.)

2012 ‘Tracks’, Returned’, ‘What a Tree Is’, ‘Tor’ and ‘Debut’, ‘Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine’, 5.1 (Apr.)

2013 ‘Skinner and Dewhurst’, ‘Civil Defence’, ‘Malvinas’, ‘The Inner Peace of Frank Sinatra’, ‘Heavy’, ‘The Goat of Mendes’, ‘Theatre Trip During a Storm’, ‘Waiting for Frank’s Pigeons’, ‘Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine’, 6.1 (Apr.)

2013 ‘The Abba Moor Walking Society’, ‘Flash Funny’, ed. Tom Hazuka,

2014 ‘Smile & Comb Your Hair’, ‘The Absolute Business’, ‘Journey of the Burned Man’, ‘The People in the Desert’ and ‘The Children of Dirt and Thunder’, ‘Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine’ , 7.1 (Apr.)


Poems have appeared in many publications, including: ‘Lancaster Literature Festival, Poems: 20’, ed. T. Pickard & C. Martin. ‘Lancaster Literature Festival, Poems: 21’, ed. Douglas Dunn; ‘Poems: 22’, ed. Jo Shapcott; ‘Poetry Nottingham International’, Vol. 54; ‘Generosity’, ed. Hugh Reveley, ‘Lancaster Literature Festival Poems: 24, ed. Maura Dooley; ‘Samizdat’, Vol. 4; ‘New Forest Poetry Society Open Poetry Anthology’, ed: Matthew Sweeney, ‘Saturday Night Desperate’, ed. Mee & Murch (Ragged Raven Press, 2003); ‘Agenda’, Vol. 39, nos. 1-3, ed. Cookson & McCarthy; ‘Timbila’ (Pietersburg, South Africa, 2003); ‘The Sensitively Thin Bill of the Shag’, ‘Lancaster Lit Festival Poems: 26’, ed. Paul Farley; ‘Dress of Nettles’ (Ragged Raven Press, 2004), ‘The Interpreter’s House’ (ed. 25); ‘Loutro Poems’ (World Spirit); ‘The Slab’ (Vol. 1, 2005, and Vol. 3, 2008); ‘The White Car’ (Ragged Raven Press, 2006); ‘A Lexicon of Rain’ (Ragged Raven, 2005); ‘The Forward Book of Poetry’ (2005); ‘Poetry Review’ (2013).

Competitions & awards

1996 Story. ‘The News at Ten’: 1st prize, Stamford Writers’ Open Story Competition. Judge: Nigel Colborn.

1996 Performance story. ‘Them Tomatoes’: prize-winner, Institute of Contemporary Arts’ (ICA) national ‘New Blood’ competition. Judges: Alison Fell & Kevin Toolis.

1997 Story. ‘The Maker’s Name’: 3rd prize, Avalon Library Association’s 6th National Competition. Judges: Fiona Pitt-Kethley, Robert Holdstock & Joanne King.

1997 Short-short. ‘Drummer Boy’: Linkway Magazine’s fiction prize.

2001 Poem. ‘Cornwall’: 1st prize, free verse, Coast to Coast National Writing Competition.

2001 Poem. ‘Wednesdays’: 2nd prize, Leicester Open Poetry Competition. Judge: John Burnside

2001 Story. ‘Another Bloody Cowboy’: 3rd prize, Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Competition. Judge: Margaret Drabble

2002 Story, ‘Lucifer Brings Light’, short-listed, Wells Short Story Contest

2003 Poem, ‘Bunker’, 1st prize, Pitshanger Open Poetry Competition, Ealing, London. Judge: Mimi Khalvati. Poem, ‘Blattaria’, commended.

2003 Poem, ‘The Boy with the Peak Frean Eyes’ runner-up, BBC South Appetite competition.

2003 Poem, ‘Vultures of Pontevedra’, commended, Essex Open Poetry Comp.

2003 Story, ‘The Collector of Small Town Secrets’, 1st prize, Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Competition, Judge: Sarah Harrison

2003 Poem, ‘Memory of Snails’, commended, Barnet Poetry Comp. Judge: Mario Petrucci

2003 Poem, ‘The Hills, prize-winner, National Poetry Competition

2004 Poem, ‘Hill Sheep Farmer’, highly commended, Mirehouse Poetry Competition

2004 Poems, ‘The Fire Beneath’ and Two Winds’, first prize, Bedford Poetry Competition, judged by Mario Petrucci

2005 Poem, ‘Two Winds’, featured among the year’s best poems, ‘Forward Prize’ anthology

2006 Poem, ‘Clouds’, prize winner, Basho Haiku Competition (Osaka, Japan)

2009 Poem, ‘Riot at Strangeways’, commended, Nottingham Poetry, judge: Penelope Shuttle.

2009 Poem, ‘Gifts’, commended, Torbay Poetry Festival

2012 Flash fiction, ‘Another Way of Seeing’, shortlisted, Bridport Flash Fiction Competition

2012 Poem, ‘The Last Days of the Lancashire Boggarts’, prize-winner, National Poetry Competition

2012 Poem, ‘The Faber Book of Sewage’, long-listed, National Poetry Competition

2013 Poem, ‘Gratitude on the Coast of Death’, commended, ‘Tongues & Grooves’ Poetry Competition (Portsmouth)

2013 Poem, ‘Forest of Clocks’, long-listed, National Poetry Competition

Public performances

Many, including: Ilkley Literary Festival, Yorkshire; ICA, London; Wordsworth Trust Summer Reading Season, Dove Cottage, Grasmere; Words Allowed (Portsmouth Arts Centre, Southsea); ‘Pleasure’, Corn Exchange, Brighton Festival; Grit Lit (Brighton); Tongues & Strings (Chichester, Brighton, Southampton, and Portsmouth); Wordsouth (Havant); Ledbury Poetry Festival; Tongues & Grooves (Southsea); The Brighton Moment (Komedia Theatre, Brighton); University of Amsterdam; School of Advanced Study (University of London); Goldsmith’s University (London); Jimmy’s Homeless Shelter benefit events (Cambridge); Ambit magazine (London); BBC South; Camden Poetry Series, CB 1 Poetry (Cambridge), Chichester Open Mic; Chichester Festivities, Chiddingly Poetry Festival; Pie-Fi; Short Fuse (Brighton); Short Circuit; The South (Brighton and other venues); Stafford Literature Festival; Taurus Theatre Bar (Manchester); Torriano Meeting House (performance with musician Simon Finch); and The University of Chichester.


2009 ‘Blades of memory & Empire’, ‘The London Magazine’ (March/April)

2009 ‘A Soft Place in the Rock’, ‘The London Magazine’ (August/September)


1996 ‘Them Tomatoes’ (short story, staged with Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh: ICA, London).

1998 Exhibition: Bird (photography & poetry on prison life, with Mike Usiskin), HMP Nottingham Prison & various galleries, England.

1998 Arista International Workshop on Screenwriting. Madrid, Spain. Screenplay optioned by Blue Orange Films, London.

2001 Poems, ‘Gone’ & ‘Magic Hour’, posters displayed at Duke of York Cinema, Brighton, Poetry in Motion event, Brighton Festival, ed. Brendan Cleary.

2006-13 Tutor, Inspirita Creative Writing Summer Schools, Loutro, Crete

2007 Tutor, ‘The Eye in the Wall’, month-long summer school, using artwork by Dominique De Beir, Fabrica Gallery (Brighton).

2009 Prison poetry exhibited with artworks by Clare Dunne, State Capital Building, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

2011 Judge, Havant Poetry Competition

2013 Judge, Bridport Prize International Flash Fiction Competition

Other department members

Karen Stevens
Karen Stevens
Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing
Professor Duncan Salkeld
Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

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