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University Centre Peterborough Announces Publishing Project With Stamford Based Writing Magazine Mono

5 June 2023

University Centre Peterborough (UCP) are pleased to announce a partnership with Stamford based writing magazine, MONO. Over the next three years, Mono. will work out of UCP, editing and designing print and digital issues and offering undergraduate students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience skills in publishing.

Kayleigh Willis

MONO. was launched by UCP alumni Kayleigh Cutforth in 2020, after being inspired by the Employment module in her second year of study, and has steadily gained a readership of over 1k readers as well as recognition amongst fellow indie publishers and authors. The first three issues have attracted worldwide writers, including, established poets and authors, some of whom have been published in high profile journals such as The New Yorker. Kayleigh and her co-editor, Tina Parsons, (also a UCP graduate) have also organised three successful literary competitions during this time, all won by high profile as well as up and coming authors and writers which have not only raised the necessary funds to pay for printing and marketing the journal, but also raised the profile of the journal significantly. Their most recent competition was judged by 2021 TS Eliot prize winner, Joelle Taylor and were also awarded recognitions from the major online writers’ forum, Reedsy for the quality of the competitions in both 2021 and 2022, receiving a Best Writing Competition badge in both years. MONO. have achieved all this within fifteen months of launching.

MONO. currently have a potential distribution deal to distribute the print journals in major retailers and bookshops, including WH Smith, however, to move ahead with this deal, they need to secure Arts Council funding. This is where the partnership between UCP and MONO. will be mutually beneficial, helping to secure funding for the journal, further the promotion of literature in the city, whilst also providing an invaluable opportunity for UCP students to gain real-world editorial, design and marketing experience and all in-house.

Kayleigh said, ‘Studying at UCP was a wonderful and life-changing experience. Not only did it offer me a high-quality education, but the teaching staff have consistently gone above the call of duty to invest in my journey which has already afforded me several opportunities including workshops with the National Centre for Writing, working for Peterborough Cathedral and gaining a Masters’ placement at University of the Arts London, none of which I could have achieved without the encouragement and support of UCP staff.”

Andrew McDonnell, course leader for the BA Hons English Literature (Creative Writing) degree, said, ‘It’s so good to welcome Kayleigh back to UCP as a professional publisher and literary entrepreneur. Peterborough is often overlooked in favour of Norwich and Cambridge when it comes to creative writing, but there’s an enormous creative energy in this city, and Kayleigh and Tina, as well as the current Peterborough Poet Laureate, Kat Beeton, all emerged from the first graduation group of this degree. We now have the Malcolm Bradbury £7.5k bursary and we are working hard to help writers realise their dreams of making a profession of their talents.’

Kayleigh continued: ‘I am excited to be able to give back to the university and help future students to believe in and execute their creative ideas. I also hope to show that aiming for the highest possible standards in publishing pays dividends and this is something that will reflect positively on the university going forward.’

As of June 2023, Kayleigh has been able to secure a distribution deal for Mono. The fourth issue will be available for purchase in WH Smiths, Foyles and independent bookstores. Rachel Nicholls, Inspire Education Group CEO, commented on this amazing news, saying “To achieve so much in such a short space of time is a testimony to Kayleigh’s talent and hard work”.

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