Phil Gillam: Literary festival shows Shrewsbury's ambitions

Phil Gillam | Published:

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. So said the great Mark Twain.

Oscar Wilde

And it’s a sentiment I tend to hold close to my heart because, in my particular case, my schooling had very little to do with my education. (Please don’t get me started!) ...

Another literary giant, Oscar Wilde, took a slightly different view of education, declaring, with typically disarming wit: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

Well then, with both literature and education in mind this week, let’s first take a look at the forthcoming Shrewsbury Literature Festival and then at the launch of a scholarship at University Centre Shrewsbury.

Once again, a line-up of international authors, award-winning poets and leading writers have been announced for this year’s Shrewsbury Literature Festival (the town’s third) between November 23-25.

Authors range from the acclaimed novelist Manda Scott, the celebrated food writer Elisabeth Luard and the 'natural navigator’ Tristan Gooley to international mental health campaigner Rachel Kelly, fiction writer Kate Mascarenhas and poet Matthew Francis.

I’ve got to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this event last year and this looks like another cracker.

Put a note in your diary … and for further information visit

Meanwhile, Mr Robin Morris, chairman of the fifth-generation family business Morris & Company recently announced the launch of The Morris Scholarship at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS).


The Morris Scholarship will cover the cost of all tuition fees for a full three-year degree as well as providing a bursary of £3,000 per year towards the successful applicant’s living costs.

Robin commented: “As a family business, we believe in encouraging and supporting young people with many hundreds working with us across our own business. We run our own apprenticeships, a Stepping Stone Placement Scheme and now this initiative is open to further support the next generation.

"I was delighted at the reception we received by the students and families at the recent open day and we are hoping it will not only help the individual, but that the town and wider community will also benefit if we are able to attract and retain young talent.



“The Scholarship is also a great way to help us celebrate our 150th anniversary next year. We’re looking forward to hearing from applicants who have a passion for their subject and who will truly benefit from this award.”

The Morris Scholarship is open to young people who have an offer to study at UCS in October next year on a full-time BSc or BA course in: Applied Psychology, Business Management, English, Health and Exercise Science or Medical Science.

The student awarded The Morris Scholarship will represent the University and Morris & Company at certain occasions and act as a student ambassador. He or she will benefit from work-based placements and mentoring at the long-established family run business group, which employs over 700 people across its property, care and site machinery businesses.

The Morris Scholar will also visit schools and be a positive voice in inspiring and raising aspirations of future generations of university students by sharing his/her own experiences.

Provost of University Centre Shrewsbury, Professor Anna Sutton, said: “We are delighted Morris & Company has decided to provide this unique opportunity for a student to study with us and to support UCS in this way.

“Not only that, but the prospect of work placements and mentoring at such a well-established business means the successful applicant will be extremely employable when they complete their degree."

To be considered for the award, prospective students should apply for the selected UCS degree courses in the usual way through UCAS. If accepted on to a relevant course, they will be contacted by January 31 2019 and invited to apply.

Short-listed candidates will then be invited to attend an interview and assessment day at UCS in March 2019.

For more information visit

This all sounds very good to me. Even Mr Twain and Mr Wilde would surely have approved.


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