About Us


ACE STORIES is a Live Literature programme, begun in June 2010 and supported by Arts Council England.

The events are generally staged one Sunday a month at the project’s regular venue, the Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, though events have been staged in other venues such as a short season of writer discussion and film events at the De La Warr Pavilion in Autumn 2010 (‘Speaking of the South’).

Ace Stories is the creation of its director, Jay Clifton, and is a progression on from his regular Tight Lip live literature events (a project formed with musician Sam Collins) from 2005 to 2009. .

Jay has an MA in American Literature from the University of Sussex, and has staged events for the Barbican Centre connecting literary discussion with relevant film screenings, including the short season ‘Stranger in Town’ in 2010, and popular events on the New York Dolls (with writer Nina Antonia) and the late Sixties art dealer Robert Fraser (with writer Harriet Vyner).

Ace Stories is a deliberately ‘minimalist’ event– there are only two supporting writers and one headlining author at each event. This is to give each writer greater time and focus, and to allow for more interview time with the headliner and space for audience Q and A with the author.

Writers booked for these events are usually novelists and/or short story writers though in the interests of promoting broader thought about literature and its history, and ideas in literature, events have also featured distinguished academics, such as Professor Rachel Bowlby of UCL, who discussed the work of Virginia Woolf with fellow Woolf scholar Dr Theodore Koulouris (September 2011), or Dr Susan Currell of University of Sussex who discussed the work of Jack London with the project director Jay Clifton (December 2011)–as well as biographers and pop/film culture essayists such as Nina Antonia (‘Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood’) and Lee Hill (‘A Grand Guy: The Life and Art of Terry Southern’).

Headlining authors of Ace Stories to date have included (in random order):

(Fiction): Scott Bradfield, Jayne Joso, Edward Wilson, Rachel Cusk, James Miller, Cathi Unsworth, Courttia Newland, Amanda Smyth, and Alison MacLeod (Academic): Rachel Bowlby, Susan Currell, Theodore Koulouris, Michael Hrebeniak (Biography/essays): Nina Antonia, Lee Hill.

Supporting writers reading at Ace Stories have included:

Matthew Loukes, Martine McDonagh, Nina de la Mer, Robert Dickinson, Rowena Macdonald, Erinna Mettler, Neil Palmer, Naomi Foyle, Jeff Sheppard, Louise Halvardsson, Brian Bell, Lizzie Enfield, Danny Bowman, Lucy Clarke, Hannah Vincent, Hannah Tuson, and many others…

Musicians have also appeared and played at Ace Stories, including the recording artists Sandy Dillon, Michael J. Sheehy, Mary Hampton and Kristin McClement.

Ace Stories is supported by Arts Council England and regularly sponsored by the following companies- Ace Records, Serpent’s Tail, Momentum Pictures, The Kraken Rum, as well as receiving occasional sponsorship from companies such as Penguin book and Arcadia books.

The Hotel Pelirocco events:

ACE STORIES events are staged usually at the Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton (www.hotelpelirocco.co.uk).

Tickets on the door are only £4 and enter you into a raffle to win prizes at the end of the event from sponsors SERPENT’S TAIL, MOMENTUM PICTURES and ACE RECORDS.

Special offers on The Kraken Rum at these events.

Praise for ACE STORIES:

I enjoyed greatly participating in the  Ace Stories season. The event at the Hotel Pelirocco felt really intimate and special. It was also extremely well organised… It was great for me to reach a Brighton audience, too, and I appreciate being given this opportunity. “

- Amanda Smyth, novelist

“Ace Stories is the most professionally run independent literary event I have ever had the pleasure to appear at… showcasing new talent in both literature and poetry alongside a more established headliner, with excellent local musical accompaniment.” – Cathi Unsworth, novelist

Jay Clifton’s Arts Council supported literary events are models of good practice and organization. I took part in a recent ‘Ace Stories’ event in Brighton, and was very impressed by the calibre of the work… Certainly it was the best experience I have had as a participant in this kind of event.”

- Howard Cunnell, novelist and lecturer

Ace Stories is a superb literary event. From the point of view of a writer, it is perfect: Jay Clifton is a professional and expert host who takes the time to prepare intelligent, perceptive questions about the author’s work. He is passionate about good writing and works hard to make the event a success. The venue is lovely and it is a treat to be both paid and given free accommodation. Furthermore, the event is properly publicised with a loyal and appreciative audience. Ace Stories offers authors a chance to connect with new readers and meet other authors too… It was a real pleasure and an honour to appear and I would recommend the event to other authors without hesitation. I would also be delighted to appear again.”

- James Miller, novelist and lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University.