Monday 27 May 2019

Saboteur Award and Arnold Bennett Prize

By Jonathan Taylor

High Spirits: A Round of Drinking Stories has won the Saboteur Award for Best Anthology 2019. The anthology of contemporary short stories is published by Valley Press and co-edited by myself and Karen Stevens. It includes contributions by two University of Leicester PhD Creative Writing students: Laurie Cusack and Hannah Stevens, who graduated two years ago. The awards ceremony took place on Saturday 18th May in Fazeley Studios, Birmingham. Many thanks to everyone who voted for the anthology. For further details, see here.  

My poetry collection, Cassandra Complex (Shoestring Press), has also just been shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Prize 2019. The shortlist of four books was announced on Monday 20th May. The Arnold Bennett Prize is awarded to the best book by an author from Stoke-on-Trent each year. This year's winner will be announced at the annual Arnold Bennett Conference in mid-June. For further details, see here

Thursday 23 May 2019

Featured author: Sophie Duffy

Sophie Duffy is a novelist and teacher. Her first novel, The Generation Game, won the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Luke Bitmead Bursary. Her fourth novel, published by Legend Press, is Betsy and Lilibet. She also writes for Allen and Unwin under the pseudonym of Lizzie Lovell. She is part of the team of CreativeWritingMatters which involves running workshops, appraising manuscripts and  administering the Exeter Novel Prize. Sophie lives in Dawlish with her two Tibetan Terriers and three young adult children who dip in and out.

About Betsy and Lilibet:

They named me Elizabeth Sarah Sunshine, after the brand new princess, born at the exact same time as me, only across the other side of the river, to posher parents, with a swankier address. The princess was given a string of names that would grow ever longer so that in some ways she would always have more than me. But she didn't get the Sunshine ... 

London, 1926: Two baby girls are born just hours and miles apart. Both will grow up in very different families; each will carry the burden of responsibility, service, and duty. One will wear the Crown of the Commonwealth; the other will bury the bodies of the dead. Over the course of ninety years, their paths will cross three times. This is the story of Betsy and Lilibet.

Tuesday 21 May 2019

MA Creative Writing Dissertation Day

By Lee Wright

On Wednesday 8th May 2019, the first ever "Dissertation Day" took place, as part of the MA in Creative Writing at Leicester. The day included workshops, presentations and roundtable discussions in which everyone shared ideas for projects. The day acted like a taster menu, featuring novels, short stories, poetry collections, non-fiction pieces, and plays. 

The day opened with a guest writing workshop by Sue Dymoke, poet and Reader in Education. This was followed by a presentation by PhD Creative Writing students Dan Powell and Karen Powell, who talked about how they managed and planned long creative research projects. Finally, all the MA students sat around a table and, in turn, spent time talking about their practice, research and explaining what they were trying to achieve in their dissertations. Everyone in the group shared ideas, reading suggestions and practical advice. The lecturers on the Creative Writing programme, Jonathan Taylor, Nick Everett and Kevan Manwaring, were on hand to listen and provide an idea of how students might proceed with their dissertation projects. They recognised that sometimes you need a person to point you in a different direction and say, “Try this other way” - making you think, or see something that wasn’t necessarily clear before. 

The day was an important addition to the course, based around a framework of encouragement. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

About the author:
Lee Wright’s short stories, articles and poetry have been published by Fairlight Books,, The Black Country Arts Foundry, The New Luciad, Peeking Cat Anthology, Newmag and Burning House Press. Lee is in his final year of a part-time MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.