Scribblers, Reading’s creative writing society, meet every Tuesday evening. Emily Upson tells us more:

The weekly Scribblers sessions range dramatically. We’ve had a variety of speakers in; writers from publishing companies, writers who self-published, literary critics and professional creative writing teachers. During evenings with a guest speaker, we usually have a group discussion and opportunity to ask questions.  When our own members lead the meetings we start with a talk on a given topic, followed by some writing exercises as a group, and then people read out their work for others to give feedback on. Don’t worry, reading work out is not compulsory; although we encourage sharing each other’s work, we don’t force the matter!

Topics cover various genres; we’ve done sci-fi to fantasy, from horror to comedy – we’ve even done erotica, where we practised the genre with a published erotic writer! We’ve covered many other things in the past: including characterisation, how to edit pieces, literary change, book cover design, word games, scavenger hunts, and the ‘Story Formula’. We often take requests if there is a particular topic you would like to examine.

The work produced is typically poetry or prose, but we also have a few budding script writers in our midst! We’re a supportive bunch. Many of us have projects we’re working on – novels or poetry collections or screenplays – and as we’re all together, we understand and help each other out with proofreading, plot advice, or sharing information on upcoming opportunities.

As well as evening sessions, we’ve created a poetry anthology, filled with students’ work – this helps to fund refreshments at our guest speaker meetings. Often in the summer we run workshops, more intensively focused towards individual pieces of work. We have socials, summer BBQs, Christmas parties, and even trips out to sing Polish karaoke!

We also partake in Reading’s poetry slam, held every other Sunday at the Global Café, just ten minutes off of campus (details available on Facebook, link here: Poetry slams are a new way of keeping poetry alive, in the form of a spoken word competition – all partakers get a free drink, and the winner a bottle wine, so it’s a popular one!


None of this really touches upon the appeal of Scribblers. Writing can be a lonely practise, and it can also be an emotional one. Sharing that process with alike people brings the society close together quickly. The family of writers we’ve created is by far the best, and the most elusive element of our society.

It’s 7 – 9pm on a Tuesday night, and the room (on campus) will be on our Facebook page; We welcome everyone, so feel free to join us!

About Cindy

Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
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