Preston Guild Three20 Writing Project

‘Preston: Past, Present and Future’ is the theme of Preston 3Twenty – a stunningly unique and ambitious writing project lasting two decades, initiated by writer David Gaffney with They Eat Culture, for Preston Guild 2012. Three high-profile authors are to each write a short story set in the city, with the first to be based in 1972 looking backwards, the second to be in 2012, considering Preston as it is today, and the final to be in the future days of 2072.

 These stories will presented during the Guild celebrations as a downloadable audio walking tour of the stories’ city locations. Story-lovers can walk round the story sites and live and breathe the stories as they unfold in their ears.

 The first story, set in the Preston of 1972, will be written by ‘flash fiction’ pioneer author of Sawn-Off Tales and Aromabingo, David Gaffney, whom poet Ian McMillan has said “writes truly 21st century stories for a fragmented and fragmenting world; they’re short, snappy and utterly addictive.” 

 The second, taking place in the present day of 2012, comes from poet and author Claire Massey, whose short stories have been published in The Best British Short Stories 2011 and myriad other collections, with two of her stories recently being published as chapbooks. She has been said to have the “gift of making the extraordinary uncomfortably real” by fellow writer Robert Shearman.

 Finally, the third story, to be set in 2072, from there tracking back to 2032, will be written by highly acclaimed science fiction writer Richard Evans, author of Robophilia, Exilium and the more recent Kosmonaut Zero. Described as ‘Manchester’s greatest science fiction writer’ by Tony Wilson, and compared by many with genre greats like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, Evans is already well on his way to achieving the kind of cult status that most authors can only dream of.

 The three stories aim to be showcased as an innovative live literature event as part of a legacy project for Guild during Autumn 2012. Along with ongoing They Eat Culture project the Lancashire Writing Hub, it puts Preston andLancashireproudly forward as a city and county that celebrate writing and creativity in all their forms.

Preston 3 Twenty aims to last for 20 years, commissioning a new set of 3 stories each year with partner Lancashire Writing Hub, and getting Preston people writing stories about themselves and their city. The project – if the wind blows in the right direction – will last until Guild 2032.

  David Gaffney, lead writer, said –‘it’s great to be bringing a longlasting literature project toPreston. All three writers are excited to be telling new tales of Preston, and getting story-lovers to uncover the stories on the streets’ Ruth Heritage, TEC Director, adds ‘it’ll be brilliant to see people wandering round Preston looking into hidden corners of the city, while listening to the stories on headphones. And we can’t wait to get Preston telling even more stories!’

 See more at

Pick up the audio headphones in St George’s Arcade 1st – 9th September. 


3 Responses to “Preston Guild Three20 Writing Project”

  1. Shelley says:

    How do Preston people get involved?

  2. John D Rutter says:

    Err… I don’t know. There was an interesting workshop led by David Gaffney some months ago and some further sessions were planned but didn’t happen. I have enquired several times (most recently yesterday when I was given the information posted on here.) I will make it my mission to find out more. The writers involved all have great credentials but none live in Preston. I am certain that the funding for this project must connect to Preston people and it was very clear that there would be writing opportunities. Watch this space.

  3. Shelley says:

    Thank you John. I’ve also made a few attempts to find out but had no replies. It’s probably too late now as the Guild starts in a couple of weeks.

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