Calling all Brunel Creative Writing postgraduate students & alumni…
Building on the success of our recent Creative Writing anthologies, a group of postgraduate MA Novel students, under the guidance of Professor Bernardine Evaristo, are putting together an anthology comprised of work collected from MA and PhD students who have graduated since winter 2012, including current students. The anthology will focus on collecting the opening chapters/sections of your manuscripts in a bid to get them noticed by industry professionals, agents and publishers. We are open to submissions from anyone who is currently studying as a postgraduate Creative Writing student at Brunel or has completed an MA or PhD with us from winter 2012.
Please follow this link for further details from student anthology editor, Hadiyah Khan.
Congratulations to 2nd year Brunel University London Creative Writing student R.V. Maloney, who was awarded 1st place in the international Dorset Fiction competition for her short story ‘The Greater Crested Tern’.
R.V. wrote the story following her weekly Creative Writing coursework prompts. She will be awarded a £500 cash prize, and her story will be featured in Dorset Fiction’s yearly anthology.
The judges said, “Within a thousand words, the story is threaded with blooming motifs and detail which are in turn sewn in to a wonderfully metaphysical piece. The writer uses an interesting range of sometimes obfuscated literary devices, which bed well into the prose. The creative and multilevelled story instantly caught our attention, and continued to blossom in our minds long after reading.”
Check out an interview with the author, and read her award-winning story, at the Dorset Fiction Award website.
Joint Honours Games Design and Creative Writing graduate Aimée White was awarded First Prize in the 2017 Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition.
Aimée’s winning story ‘Generation Lotus’ was written to the contest theme of Journey and was selected by a panel of judges including comedian/writer Helen Lederer, journalist and novelist Paula Cocozza, and Daily Mail Literary Editor Sandra Parsons. Aimée’s impressive £1500 1st Prize in the Main contest category was announced at an Awards Ceremony at Henley Literary Festival.
You can view all the 2017 Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition winners and runners up in the Main and Children’s categories here.
All Creative Writing students at Brunel should go along to the Careers Fair on the 31st October. This is an excellent opportunity to gather information and make contacts regarding your future careers, part-time work and placements. Apps and further details above.
All Creative Writing students starting at Brunel in September 2017 were invited to submit a piece of flash fiction of no more than 500 words. This could be in any style or genre but needed to reflect upon some aspect of becoming a student at Brunel. The quality of the submissions was very high but one piece in particular was felt by the judges – drawn from Brunel’s Creative Writing academic staff – to be the strongest. This was a wildly inventive and imaginative piece of writing by Shelley Green. Many congratulations to Shelley and you can read her winning entry below.
Photo: Ian Rawlinson 2014
His footsteps clacked as he paced up and down. Nervous, yet resolute. This was the dream. So why were they both so terrified? Clack-clack, clack-clack. Terror was not an emotion that he usually experienced. Frustrated by this, he thumped the squishy mass next to him. He felt instant regret, as the sudden flash of pain she felt sent shock waves through his environment. Once the reverberations had settled, a niggle of guilt set in, and he gently laid his antenna against her brain, sending soothing vibes through the globulous matter. Looking through the lens, he held his breath as together they checked through the contents of her backpack, again. Laptop, dictaphone, pens, notepads, all there. They both checked the time. Clack-clack, clack-clack. She hung the ID around her neck, and they left the house.
He chuckled at the idea of the ID. If only she knew that two of them were taking this course, in the body of one. She was purely the host, to his superior Nunkai brain. To look at, he was no more than a bug, something to be trodden on, or swatted away. His brain deserved better than the body it had been given. He had a dream, and if this was the only way he could achieve it, then so be it. The Hosting scheme had given him a route into the course he craved. Brunel was the only University to be taking part in the Host-Nunkai Implantation Trial, and it was hugely oversubscribed. It had been purely down to choosing a host in a mature body that he had had any chance at all at gaining entry. The school leavers had been snapped up in an instant. He had all but given up, when in March, her profile had appeared in the eVision system. His chance had finally arrived.
They were on Cleveland Road. Almost there. Clack-clack, clack-clack. He paced furiously, his antennae twitching. It was so close now. He wondered, not for the first time, what the lecturers would be like. He had the equipment for the two-tier teaching system – hearing the human and recording the Nunkai lecturer to be listened to when the host slept. The Nunkai didn’t have a use for sleep, which was the reason they were the only species invited on to the Hosting Scheme. He felt he had an advantage over some of his exchange colleagues, having agreed to be implanted within two days of his host being confirmed. The additional three months had allowed him to become almost fluent in English, meaning he was being truly dually taught whilst on his course. From the social media he had seen so far, most of his peers were intending on using the human lectures to… what was the English word for it? Ah yes. Doss. Dossing was not on his agenda. He looked through her lens. The Antonin Artaud building was right ahead. Clack-clack, clack-clack. Together they took a deep breath, and entered the building.
About the author:
Shelley Green is a 30 year old with a love for music, animals and fantasy novels. This is her first (but hopefully not last!) piece of writing to be published, and she is looking forward to embarking on her Creative Writing journey at Brunel University.
The Brunel Writer Prize is awarded to the student who achieves the highest graded non-fiction article submission for the Creative Industries module on Brunel University’s Creative Writing programme. The piece of non-fiction should be ‘fresh, original, compelling and well balanced’. The winner of this year’s prize is Tom Hull for his review of Moonlight.
How La La Land er… Moonlight brought classic romance back to the silver screen this season
As Moonlight opens onto a shot of Mahershala Ali driving to the old-school soul soundtrack of Boris Gardiner’s Every N***** Is A Star, from the outset Barry Jenkins’ film tells us this story is by black people, for black people. Controversial it may be, but Moonlight brings to the mainstream screen for the first time an understated portrait of ordinary lives that are usually either a headline or a punchline. And yet I saw Moonlight (before it won Best Picture in a live mishap guaranteed to generate all the publicity a filmmaker could hope for) in an independent cinema with a small audience, mostly elderly. In the current global political climate, perhaps it’s unsurprising that a black queer coming-of-age narrative is the underdog that Odeon and its ilk weren’t banking on. The film only shines brighter for this: a masterful bildungsroman that doesn’t need to shove its message in our faces.
Based upon Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, it tells the story of troubled Chiron, growing up in Miami and falling in love with his best friend. The narrative splits into three parts, for the protagonist’s three nicknames: as a child ‘Little’, as a teenager ‘Chiron’, and ‘Black’ as an adult. The world is unflinchingly current, with contemporary slang throughout (so much so that in the screening I attended, subtitles were used, serving as a dry symbol of the gap between the world of the film and that audience). The story, however, is as classic as the Odyssey: young man faces troubles, has the help of a mentor (a deservedly Oscar-winning Ali), and finally must go it alone and accept himself. It’s a life story, and crucially a love story: childhood sweetheart Kevin is a constant, and though accepting his sexuality is Chiron’s core struggle, cheesy coming-out tropes are crucially avoided, and the romantic content is minimal yet touching.
Outside of its cultural significance, how does the film work? Visually, it’s a treat. In an industry full of washed-out grey films, Moonlight comes to life in striking colour; particularly in a scene where Little stands alone in a garden and is, simply and naturalistically, lit up in blue moonlight, not a word spoken. It’s this artistic cinematography, combining with Nicholas Britell’s haunting classical soundtrack, that frames a stripped-back screenplay that doesn’t have a word of dialogue more than it needs. Chiron says very little, but the dialogue doesn’t feel lacking. It’s a hearkening to a basic cinematic staple: show, don’t tell.
The cast is strong: the child actors are notable; Alex R. Hibbert a solemn and gentle little boy, and yet we fully believe that Trevante Rhodes’s swaggering, built adult Black is the same individual – particularly impressive considering the actors never met each other during filming. Although the narrative is male-driven, Janelle Monae makes much of her small role and Naomie Harris gives a career-peaking performance as Chiron’s addict mother, both tyrant and victim. André Holland is a good foil for Rhodes as Kevin, though his screentime is limited. Plot-wise, one fault is that at times the action is too minimal: without spoiling, the final chapter, ‘Black’, feels as though it stops short; we’re given no time to learn about the intervening years before the narrative abruptly resolves itself. The film is nearly two hours long, but would have benefited from filling some of its empty spaces.
Moonlight might be a hard sell for some, particularly the closed-minded, or those who’d accuse it of simply seeking brownie points with its subject matter. Certainly, much of the film is no picnic, but that’s what makes its quiet message of self-acceptance so important – and that it comes together as an artistic triumph certainly helps. The cinema window may have gone, but don’t pass up the Blu-Ray: Moonlight lives up to the hype.
Tom Hull is a writer, reader, and admirer of dogs. Born and raised in Oxford, he is mostly preoccupied with being petty on the internet whilst trying to finish his first novel. His prose and poetry have been published five times, most recently in The Teenagers Company. If you have a picture of a dog to send him, you can do so on Twitter.