Edge Hill?s has long been a hotbed of literary talent and a recent book launch has signified a real strength in depth.

For no less than five members of staff ? Robert Sheppard, Ailsa Cox, Anthony Grant, Peter Wright and Stephen Gregg ? have unveiled their latest published works covering a broad range of areas.

Robert?s offering The Poetry of Saying presents a history and social development of alternative forms of British Poetry from 1950-2000 and follows hot-on-the-heels of his 2004 collection Tin Pan Arcadia.

Ailsa draws on her experience as a writer to provide essential information on drafting, editing and getting ideas in Writing Short Stories, Stephen?s Empire and Identity traces the culture of the eighteenth-century empire in a wide variety of literary and non-literary texts and Anthony has edited a collection of papers on the origin and development of the Chamic and Moken languages of Southeast Asia in Chamic and Beyond.

Making up the quintet is Peter?s British Science Fiction Television: A Hitchhiker?s Guide ? an endorsement of a genre that has all too often been derided for the quality of its special effects.

Head of the department Gill Davies said: “When a member of staff releases a book it is always something to be proud of ? however to have five out at once is extra special.

“The amazing thing about this launch is that the texts cover all areas of the department ? language, literature, creative writing and film studies ? which really demonstrates our extensive level of expertise.

“Full credit to all five authors who have worked extremely hard to fit their writing in-and-around teaching students and marking their work.”

Indeed, Ailsa is the first to admit that free time is at a premium during the writing process.

“At times, being a writer can appear to be a thankless and lonely existence ? for a number of weeks I was caught up in a cycle of working, writing and feeding the dog ? however being able to proudly unveil the product of your efforts is very rewarding and makes up for all those hours scratching your head in front of a computer screen.

“Sharing this moment with four colleagues is particularly gratifying.”

Over the past five years around 20 books have been written and published by English staff, with a further 30 chapter contributions in critical texts.

Picture: (l-r) Anthony Grant, Peter Wright, Ailsa Cox, Robert Sheppard and Stephen Gregg.