Student stories published in collection of 'weird' fiction

"I think the project has stretched the students and will ultimately help them with their writing careers."

Paul Houghton, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Students from Staffordshire University feature alongside established writers in a new collection of weird and wonderful short stories.

Dark in the Day is an anthology of fiction published by Immanion Press and co-edited by Paul Houghton, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, alongside author and guest lecturer Storm Constantine.

The ambitious project brings together stories from new writers, many of whom are current students and alumni, and new work from recognised authors including Lisa Mansfield and Rosie Garland.

“I think the project has stretched the students and will ultimately help them with their writing careers. The whole process turns up the heat - knowing that you're writing for publication, that an audience will read your work, definitely puts on the pressure.” explained Paul.

“I am so proud of our students, whose work stands justly alongside well-known practitioners, and I am grateful to Immanion Press' editor, Storm Constantine, for working with and visiting our students over the past year.”

As well as contributing their writing talents to the book, students have had the opportunity to undertake internships with Immanion Press and learn about the day-to-day running of an independent publishing press.

Paul said: “This semester we have three students working there which is great for their CV and professional development.”

“Work experience like this is invaluable - from learning about the infamous 'slush pile' to editing and proofreading, through to design and production.”

The Dark in the Day collection celebrates evocative tales of oddness that span the genres of magic realism, the supernatural, the fantastical and the speculative.

Siân Davies, 28 from Market Drayton, is in her final year of the BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing, and contributed a story to the collection. 'Post Partum' tells the tale of a young mother who believes that her newborn baby isn't really hers. As her paranoia worsens, she is sure that objects in her home -- and, eventually, even her own husband -- have been replaced with near-identical replicas.

“Getting to work with a professional editor on my submission has been a really invaluable experience, but the biggest confidence boost came from having a piece I'd submitted for an assignment be accepted for publication.” commented Siân.

“It really hit home that the work I'm doing now all goes towards building my portfolio and helping me succeed, and I'm really grateful for opportunities like this one that give me firsthand experience with publishers.”

Coursemate Jack Fabian, 26 and living in Stoke, penned the sinister story ‘A New Womann’ about a disfigured woman who is the inspiration for an artist’s sculpture.

Jack added: “Being published in Dark in the Day was my first experience of getting my work out there. It was great to know I'm on the right track and that I'm capable of pursuing the career I want to. It was also great practice to work with a publisher to bring the story to its final stages.”

To celebrate the book's release, an event is being held at Hanley's City Library on 7 February where members of the public are invited to meet the authors featured in the anthology who will read their stories.

Following the Dark in the Day's success Paul and Immanion Press are planning to release another anthology later this year– a collection of ghost stories which will also feature work by students.

The free Dark in the Day event takes place on 7 February from 7pm at City Central Library, Bethesda St, Hanley, ST1 3RS. To reserve a place please contact the library on 01782 238455 or central.library@stoke.gov.uk

Find out more about Dark in the Day and purchase a copy of the book here.

 

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