Very pleased to have a new story, FIXATOR, in The Lonely Crowd Issue 3, alongside other  stories by top writing friends Jane Roberts, Ruby Cowling, Gary Budden, Tania Hershman and a host more.



“The other boys have already left you behind. It is winter, the end of January. The park is misty, the sky low and solid white. You are limping. Either side of you the trees stand like black tusks. In the mist they seem to smoulder, as if a great fire swept through here, a fire like in the Chinese painting of Hell you saw at the museum. Duncan ‘Donuts’ Bennett, who always comes last at cross-country, even he has shambled past you. Sweat came off him like you imagine sweat would spray from a bear cooling itself on a hot day.

Some of this is true, some of it embellished. You would not have compared Bennett to a bear. You’re not sure that he was called ‘Donuts’. You were certainly not thinking about Oriental art during the run. The weather wasn’t misty, only drab. You have authored these details, added a cultural reference and a silly name. You have invented the atmospherics, the mist. The mist that smudges the line of trees to your right, the mist that hangs above the path of trodden grass ahead, it rolls in from ‘now.’ ‘Now’ is the Place of Mists.”


You can order The Lonely Crowd here.

There’s also an essay by me, “Some of this is true, some of it embellished: Writing Fixator‘ on The Lonely Crowd blog.

All Our Stories End Like This


I am very excited to have a horror story in Wales Arts Review’s Halloween Special 2015, along with top writing friends Dan Coxon, Jane Roberts, Dan Powell, Angela Readman, Gary Raymond and loads of other brilliant people.

“A man in a gorilla suit had been watching them from the trees. That’s what she’d said the night he took her to the stones. It’s what he told us afterwards. ”

My story is called: ‘All Our Stories End Like This‘ and it’s the third, last and first to appear in my North Surrey Cryptid Noir series

You can read it here.


New Unthank School Creative Writing Courses for Spring 2016


The Unthank School of Writing is now taking registrations for creative writing evening classes in Norwich. All courses will kick off on the week starting January 11th.

Learn How to Write with the Best Team Around

Whatever stage you’re at, just starting out, or working on a long-term project, whether you’re a novelist or short story writer or want to write for film and TV, we have the expertise to help you grow your stories and hone your craft.

We offer ten-week introductory courses and practical workshops for people with work in progress. We respond to what you want to achieve, whatever your form, genre or subject.

More than Just a Creative Writing School

Our classes offer the depth of university courses at a fraction of the cost but are taught in a friendly, convivial atmosphere. There’s plenty of opportunity to socialise and become part of the wider Unthank community that includes book publishing and live events. We’ll be launching two books and hosting two Project U events during this session in addition to our yearly collaboration with Words and Women.

Spring 2016 Courses

Writing for TV Drama: An Introduction to Soaps and Serials with Lilie Ferrari


Using group discussion, readings, viewings and practical exercises, you will learn the basic mechanics of writing a script for TV and find out how to get into TV writing with Lilie Ferrari, former chief script editor and writer for East Enders.

Find Out More About this Course

 An Introduction to Writing Fiction with Sarah Bower


Using a mixture of readings, practical exercises and discussion, participants in this writing workshop learn all about the basics of writing compelling and publishable fiction with Sarah Bower, author of Needle in the Blood, Erosion and other novels.

Find Out More About this Course

Advanced Fiction Workshop with Ashley Stokes


An Unthank School specialty, these advanced creative writing groups are a good option for writers who have completed an introductory course but who now want to experiment further and work on their own stories or projects under the aegis of Ashley Stokes, author of Touching the Starfish and The Syllabus of Errors and editor of the Unthology series.

Find Out More About this Course

Writing the Novel, a 25-week course with Sarah Bower and Ashley Stokes


Learning from examples and discussion, Writing the Novel is perfect for those seeking a more sustained course designed to help them settle on a novel idea and produce a first draft. Includes an in-depth assessment of 10,000 words of a novel.

Find Out More About this Course

To Enrol or Register

Just visit your course’s page. You can sign up directly from there simply and easily.

Any Questions?

Just email us on

The Syllabus of Errors

There’s a new review of The Syllabus of Errors by Sabine Meier on the Everybody’s Reviewing blogsite.

“Errors are an integral part of life. Ashley Stokes is well aware of it. His characters, their lives distorted by the historical context the author places them in, struggle against themselves, against others, against unemployment, violence, and death – and take wrong decisions in a society that does not leave them a choice. Berlin – one of the cities the author focuses on – becomes a character itself, an integral setting in interaction with the people involved.”

The Syllabus of Errors

The Syllabus of Errors

Mr Stokes Mini Tour

I’ll be appearing at a few events over the next few weeks, all are free and open to all.

First up, on June 18th I’ll be reading at Live Lit Lounge at The Birdcage in Norwich, alongside Andy Bennett, Tim Sykes and Sharlene Teo. Doors open at 7.30.


On June 20th, I’ll be talking about all things Unthology, with Robin Jones, Roelof Bakker, Charlie Hill and Ruby Cowling, at the London Short Story Festival, Waterstones, Piccadilly, 3pm, free.


Back in Norwich on June 25th, I’ll be hosting the launch party for Unthology 7 at Project U at the Library Restaurant, also free and underway at 7.30.

Unthology 7 front cover-1

Reading from the books will be:

Elizabeth Baines

Gary Budden

Elaine Chiew

Adrian Cross

Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

Dan Powell

Project U: The Unthank Prose Event

Project U: The Unthank Prose Event


I’m very pleased to have a new story, RIVERS OF CLOUD, in the first issue of LOSSLIT magazine.


“You would have loved the roar that erupted in the back of the truck when Stojan told us we’d arrived at the summit. Even though I couldn’t see it yet, I could sense the building. And I knew that ever since those guys from Sofia told us about it, you had anticipated it. This was our great goal, to be headed for and captured.

The Communists built it as a monument. It was meant to last forever, to preside over these mountains and survey a world without strife. As you know, the mosaics were supposed to be amazing, when they were intact, before they were vandalized after the Wall came down twenty-five years ago this coming November. You would have been proud of me for getting here in the end.”


You can read the full story here.

RIVERS OF CLOUD is inspired by the Buzludzha building in Bulgaria.




There’s a short film about Buzludzha here.


Here’s a little piece I’ve written for the new Unthank School blog called ‘Why Join a Creative Writing Workshop?’

“Before I started to write I’d assumed that fiction writers all played a magic piano. The writers whose books were piled up by my bed or stuffed in my coat pocket, that lined the shelves of the shops I used to browse obsessively, these writers produced their books in one great stream of inspiration. Without any real effort, their talent, which I imagined as a pair of disembodied phantom gloves, played a sonata on their keyboards while their backs were turned until money and tickertape rained and fanfares sounded. Then I joined a creative writing workshop.”

The Magic Piano

The Magic Piano

Books and Things Reviews Unthology 6

There’s a new review of Unthology 6 on the Books and Things blog. It’s very heartening to see writers we’ve published for the first time, like Luke Melia and Victoria Hattersley get some well-deserved attention.

“Ah, how I love a good short story anthology – and the latest one from Unthank Books, Unthology 6, is no exception. I may have to get my hands on the previous five to have a look. This collection has everything from poignant realism to more experience and speculative pieces. The variety is wonderful. There’s love, grief, family, drugs, aging, psychological experiments, minor stalking and uncontrollable nasal hair. And references to Dickens. What more could you ask for?”

You can read the full review here.