Will Self in conversation with Matt Thorne

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Date: 21 May 2014

Time: 18:00 – 19:00

Location: Brunel University Library

After the success of our Warsan Shire event in February, we are pleased to announce that our next talk in the Brunel Author Series will be with the internationally acclaimed author, journalist and broadcaster Will Self.

Professor Self will read from his work and then discuss his writing with Matt Thorne, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University.

Will Self is currently the Professor for Contemporary Thought at Brunel University, and has a worldwide reputation for his award winning writing. At the time of sending this e-mail, he is the prolific author of nine works of fiction, including the Booker short-listed Umbrella, six collections of non-fiction, three novellas and six short story collections. Will is a well-known face on several television programmes such Newsnight and Have I Got News For You, as well as a contributor to many BBC Radio 4 programmes. He is perhaps best known at Brunel for his Psychogeography course, a form of urban geography that employs walking around liminal spaces as a way of exploring the relationship between the environment and the mind.

Matt Thorne is the award nominated author of several books of fiction including Booker long-listed Cherry and most recently a biography of Prince.

The event will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 21st May in the Library, Bannerman Centre, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH. Booking is essential. Free places can be reserved by e-mailing library.events@brunel.ac.uk.

Books will be available to buy on the evening from Waterstones.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The Voices Inside Our Heads Launch Party

On the 19th March, the team of editors and writers behind Brunel’s first ever anthology of short stories came together to celebrate its launch at the Antonin Artaud building. Please click on the poster image below to see photographs from what was a wonderful evening. For further details of this ambitious project, please see the press release and earlier post hereBrunel-Anthology-Launch-1

 

Dark Aemilia and the Creative Writing PhD by Sally O’Reilly

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I enrolled on the MA Creative Writing, The Novel at Brunel after being published by Penguin books – and then dropped when my second book didn’t sell. I wanted to go back to basics, re-ignite my love for writing and develop a stronger awareness of genre and the commercial possibilities of writing. I enjoyed this experience so much that I ended up studying for a PhD and writing a historical novel about Aemilia Bassano Lanyer, one of several women who may have been Shakespeare’s muse and the inspiration for his later sonnets: his Dark Lady.

Writing fiction in an academic context was a major departure for me, and I found it challenging and strange to begin with. My first two novels were written instinctively and intuitively, and I was loathe to plot or plan anything. My third was carefully crafted, researched in great detail, and forced me to write in a way I had never tried before. I found that I could only make the story ‘live’ if I wrote it in the first person, and this meant trying to produce a convincing facsimile of a sixteenth century voice.

This would have seemed like an insurmountable problem if I had not had the support and advice of my supervisor Celia Brayfield and my second supervisor Dr Elizabeth Evenden, an expert in Early Modern writing and publishing.  They provided me with structure and feedback, asking pertinent questions about the direction of my draft and the rigour of my research, and giving me their notes and comments to help me shape and develop my drafts. One of the areas that really stretched me intellectually was the critical component of the work, which was an analysis of the various invented versions of Shakespeare which writers have imagined over the last two hundred years. I was fascinated by this, and it helped me invent my own version of Shakespeare with more confidence and sophistication. I realised that so little is known about this iconic figure that writers have carte blanche to concoct their own version, and to project their own fantasy of an uber English writer onto this empty space.

The result was not only a doctorate but a marketable novel I could be proud of. I found the writing and research process hugely rewarding – my time at Brunel was one of the most productive of my writing career so far. And I certainly succeeded in my goal of reinventing myself as historical fiction writer.

Dark Aemilia is published by Myriad Editions in the UK this month, and by Picador US in June. Rights have also been sold in Italy and Turkey.

Sally’s blog, How to be a Writer, is here.

The Voices Inside Our Heads

Brunel University’s first anthology of short stories by Creative Writing and Creative Writing & English Students at Brunel University

Anthology

BOOK LAUNCH 19th March 2014, 6pm, Antonin Artaud Building

Readings & Minglings

EVERYBODY WELCOME

Just turn up on the door

ENQUIRIES: brunelanthology2014@gmail.com

BOOKS will be ON SALE at £5 each

29 students, 29 stories

The characters in this superb book of short stories by Brunel undergrads range from a self-harming schoolboy to a Buddhist monk in Thailand; from cheating husbands to a mother hell-bent on plastic surgery. You’ll also find ghosts, broken relationships, loss of religious faith and a devastating flood in Burma, as well as fantasy fiction including a sea witch, a warrior girl who turns into a wolfhound and warring squirrels. You’ll come across quite a few crazies too, including a pathological liar, a serial killer, a boy stalker and a man whose itch gets so out of control he loses it completely.

Writers

Lauren Anderson, Neelam Appaddoo, Chloe Bines, Kirsty Capes, Charlotte Chappell, Stephanie Dickenson, Laura Dunnett, Emily Elicker, Mafaal Faal-Mason, Johno Fagan, Nathan Feldman, Vanessa Gibbs, Bryn Glover, Veronica Grubb, Sophie Hart, Emma Jeremy, Sophie Jones, Jemima Khalli, Molly McCabe, Rebecca Passmore, Rebecca Pizzey, Xenia Rimmer, Ashley Roye-Banton, Joanne Showunmi, Romany Stott, Samantha Symonds, Matthew Thomas, Hannah Varney, Rebbeca West