A Year in Review

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A new website, a new us! (Sort of).

It’s been a year or so since the website was last used so we’ve decided to start fresh and do it all over again. The goal is to make this a resource-hub of sorts by setting up a calendar for Writers’ Bloc and local events, as well as a blog facility where we’re able to post our weekly session handouts and any highlights for you to access. This year we’d like to cut down on the amount of paper we’re printing, so all our handouts will be available for you to download to your phones/tablets/laptops/strangely-humanoid-robots before the session. We’ll still have a few spare hard copies just in case.

For any prospective/new students, hello! If you haven’t already guessed by all the pens, paper, and typewriters in the site imagery, we are one of the creative writing societies at the University of Birmingham and we do a bunch of cool things.

Cue text montage. (Please imagine some kickass, inspirational music of your choosing).

We kicked things off with a bar crawl in 2016 where much fun was had – as well as a fair bit of wine – and most of us, as usual, had our butts kicked by the pub quiz machine.

During reading week, we took a trip to the local Barber Institute of Fine Arts which we used as inspiration for our ekphrasis session. There were some amazing pieces on display and they inspired some really great work, so we’ll be doing that again this year! At the end of the week, we took a trip to West Bromsgrove to see former Writers’ Bloc committee member, Ben Norris, perform his one-man show. We also saw a Shetland pony on the way to the theatre, so clearly our evening was destined to be awesome right from the start.

As things started to get a little more festive, so did we, as we took a trip to the Christmas Market (followed by an evening at the cinema), had a Christmas meal, and finally ended the first semester with a light-hearted quiz. There was cake. Enough said.

Semester two kicked off with a traditional Burns Night celebration. A big feast was assembled by some of our committee members – headed up by former president, Jake Scott – and the evening was full of poetry, mostly light-hearted roasting, and a little bit of singing. We felt that this was a great success and we’d love to do it again this year, because clearly we all love peeling mountains of potatoes.

There were then some amazing performances from our UniSlam team, with the group coming second overall and being asked to represent the UK at the prestigious CUPSI competition in Chicago (which they also rocked).

In keeping with our ‘make reading weeks easy and breezy’ theme, some of us went for afternoon tea in Winterbourne House and Garden during the day before heading to our ‘Date With a Book’ session afterwards. All of us found a book to bring in, wrapped it up, and then put a brief description on the front so people could choose without judging the cover. It was incredibly cute and some of the wrapping was absolutely stunning!

We had quite a few guest speakers this year too, ranging from published (both traditionally and self) authors to a representative from a publishing house. As much as Writers’ Bloc is a social society, we also want to provide you with the knowledge and potential connections that could help you succeed in your future writing endeavours.

History has a habit of repeating itself and after our AGM in March, to decide who our new committee were going to be, we went on another bar crawl! We had a theme this time – which was inspired by International Womens’ Day – where many of our members donned their finest dresses (and fake cleavage) so they could appear as some of their favourite women in literature.

Some of us ended up going to Guild Awards at the end of the semester and, although we didn’t win anything, we were all happy by the end of the night. The cheesy chips may have had something to do with that but it’s debatable.

Due to exam season rearing its ugly head, we didn’t do all that much during the third and final semester, but we did perform at ValeFest, as well as throwing our last Grizzlys and Beorma Blahs of the season, which have been fantastic throughout the entire year and are a testament to the amount of work that our Literary Events Officer, Sean Colletti, has put into them.

(Many thanks to Spandan Photography for always taking such great pictures at Grizzly Pear!)

Finally, to draw everything to a close, we had our annual ‘Picnic in the Park’ where two dogs trampled all over our food but we didn’t care one bit.

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