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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


We are delighted to announce a new annual festival of creative writing. To mark our partnership with the BBC National Short Story Award, this festival will celebrate the short story.


Join us for this one-day event on 7 July at Madingley Hall, featuring talks, seminars, panel discussions and workshops by leading short story writers, academics and representatives from the world of publishing. Some sessions are free to attend, and there will be book signings throughout the day.

Follow the links below to book online, or call the Cambridge Live box office on +44 (0)1223 357851.


If your writing would benefit from some fine-tuning and professional feedback, why not sign up for a 1:1 supervision with one of our specialist tutors? Dr Sarah Burton, Professor Jem Poster and Dr Lucy Durneen will be available for consultation throughout the day. Book in advance by email to, specifying which tutor you would like to see, and when.


Talk by Michèle Roberts

9.30am - 10.30am, Free

A former judge of the BBC National Short Story Awards, Michèle Roberts has written 12 highly acclaimed novels, as well as collections of short stories and poetry. The Times described her as “one of those writers descended perhaps as much from Monet and Debussy as Virginia Woolf or Keats … To read a book by her is to savour colour, sound, taste, texture and touch as never before”. Her latest novel The Walworth Beauty was published last year.

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Workshop with Irenosen Okojie

11.00am - 12.30pm, £15

Irenosen Okojie, author of Butterfly Fish and Speak Gigantular, has been described as “a liberatingly odd, seductive and fearless talent” (Laine Paull). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Observer, The Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post. She is a freelance Arts Project Manager and Coordinator and has worked as a freelance writer, as well as in marketing and editorial roles.

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Reading workshop with Jenny Bavidge: Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’

11.00am - 12.30pm, £15

This workshop encourages you to delve deep into the words of writers. A short talk, given by Dr Jenny Bavidge, will provide a critical history of the short story and open up into a discussion of Katherine Mansfield’s seminal story ‘Bliss’ which celebrates its 100th year since publication. Copies of the stories to be discussed will be available to pick up and read before the session.

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Workshop with Zoe Gilbert

11.00am - 12.30pm, £15

Zoe Gilbert is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2014. She is co-founder of London Lit Lab, and her debut novel Folk has been praised by the Financial Times, New Statesman, Times Literary Supplement and the Mail on Sunday among others. Ben Myers of The Guardian commented: “It reads like a dream that, once visited, is difficult to leave behind”.

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Panel discussion with Tibor Fischer, Lucy Luck and Philip Gwyn Jones

1.30pm - 2.30pm, £5

In association with the BBC Short Story Award, come and exchange ideas with experts in the field. Chaired by Claire Shanahan of the BBC, this lively panel discussion will feature author Tibor Fischer, agent Lucy Luck and publisher Philip Gwyn Jones.

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Independent publishers' discussion

3.00pm - 4.30pm, £10

This discussion allows you a glimpse into the world of the independent publisher and begins to make sense of it. The session will feature Ra Page, founder and CEO of Comma, and Rukhsana Yasmin, deputy editor of Wasafiri. Enjoy this rare opportunity to ask questions and discover answers to the questions you had not thought to ask.

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Reading the new short story, with Jenny Bavidge

3.00pm - 4.30pm, £15

Led by Dr Jenny Bavidge, this session will invite you to read and discuss some contemporary short stories by some of the most innovative and exciting writers in the field. Copies of the stories will be available on the day.

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Reading and conversation with Irenosen Okojie and Zoe Gilbert

3.00pm - 4.30pm, £10

Come and listen as the stories you have read are brought to life. Irenosen Okojie and Zoe Gilbert share excerpts of their stories and ideas around writing. This reading and Q&A session offers an opportunity to discuss what it means to be successful author today.

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Evening discussion with Sarah Hall

5.00pm - 6.00pm, Free

Having sat on the judging panel of the Man Booker Prize, among others, Sarah Hall is an established figure in the literary world, writing in a variety of formats. Her most recent collection of short stories, Madame Zero, was published in 2017 and the lead story, 'Mrs Fox', won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2013.

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Dinner, with Cynan Jones in conversation with Di Speirs

6.30pm - 10.00pm, £35

Enjoy a three-course dinner, courtesy of the Madingley Hall chefs. After dinner, author Cynan Jones will be in conversation with Di Speirs, Editor of Books at BBC. Author of The Edge of the Shoal, among others, Cynan Jones has been longlisted and shortlisted for numerous prizes and won a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award 2007, a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014 and the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize 2015. He won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2017.

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About the Festival

Event date

Saturday, 7 July, 2018 - 09:30


Madingley Hall
CB23 8AQ