MSt alumna Maya Catherine Popa’s “The Bees Have Been Cancelled” UK Poetry Book Society’s Summer Pamphlet Choice

MSt alumna Maya Catherine Popa’s chapbook The Bees Have Been Cancelled has been selected by the UK Poetry Book Society as their 2017 Summer Pamphlet Choice.

From the PBS announcement:

“The poems in The Bees Have Been Canceled are ravenous, rich, and exquisitely built. Maya Catherine Popa’s language makes visible how yearning tethers the mind to the world and how hurt spawns an astonishing self-awareness. Her gaze alights on beauty and violence; it ‘scurries from birth to blight.’ Such attentive looking brings closer the brokenness of the world. This gaze is also restorative; it alleviates and mends and delights.” – Eduardo C. Corral

“Maya Catherine Popa’s The Bees Have Been Canceled is haunted by violence and catastrophe, by the consequences of human desire turned to incommensurate ends, and anxious about the resources of language. There are no glib answers, only a certain kind of belief (the kind Emily Dickinson might recognize) embodied afresh in poems that are richly textured, and filled with energy, wit, and intelligence. Popa’s work is serious, but there’s joy here, too, in a balance that defies gravity.” -Averill Curdy

MSt tutor Jane Draycott reads at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, 6 May 2017

MSt tutor Jane Draycott will be reading from “Pearl” and “The Occupant” at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival on the 6th of May 2017, at 5 pm.

From the festival website:

‘Part of the same 14th-century manuscript as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, also written in its dialect, Pearl is an intricately wrought 1200-line elegiac poem in which a father grieves for his small daughter, dead before her second birthday. This wrenchingly beautiful vision of love and bereavement has been translated by acclaimed poet Jane Draycott, and, according to The Independent, “The glamour, even glitz, of its view of paradise across the river of death dazzles as never before in modern English”. David Morley described it as “marvellously modulated yet stirringly wild.” The event also includes a reading from Jane’s new collection The Occupant and a chance for questions.”

More information about the festival.

Book tickets.

Kellogg College Creative Writing Seminar Series: Prof Tabish Khair, 11th May 2017

“Thinking in Stories: Or why the process of reading literature is the antidote to fundamentalism”

Tabish Khair

Mawby Room, Kellogg College,
62 Banbury Road
5 pm (refreshments) for 5.30 pm

All are welcome and no bookings are necessary

Born and educated in Gaya, a small town in Bihar, India, Tabish Khair is the author of various acclaimed books, including the novels The Bus Stopped; Filming: A Love Story; The Thing About Thugs; and How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position. He has also published the poetry collections Where Parallel Lines Meet and Man of Glass. In 2016, he published a study The New Xenophobia and a new novel, Just Another Jihadi Jane, to critical acclaim. Khair is currently a Leverhulme guest professor at the School of English, Leeds University.

Seminar Convenor: Dr Clare Morgan

MSt alumna Kiran Millwood Hargrave overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017

MSt alumna Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Girl of Ink & Stars is the overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s  Book Prize 2017.  It is also the winner in the category Younger Fiction.

From the Waterstone’s website:

“…we’re proud to announce Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s extraordinary debut The Girl of Ink & Stars as the overall winner of our thirteenth Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Compared by our Children’s buyer Florentyna Martin to the mythical atmosphere of Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Kiran’s storytelling prowess takes a tale already rich with invention and delivers a fantasy of real emotional heft.”

Read more about the prize and the book


Plays by MSt alumna Jingan Young & MSt tutor Amal Chatterjee in “Foreign Goods Last Forever 2: Visions of England”, 24th, 25th April 2017

Plays by MSt alumna Jingan Young and MSt tutor Amal Chatterjee feature in Jingan Young’s Pokfulam Rd Production’s “”Foreign Goods Last Forever 2: Visions of England””

From the announcement:

After a sell out show at Theatre503 in November of 2016, Foreign Goods returns with ‘Visions of England’ in April 2017 featuring fully-formed short plays by Chinese, South East Asian playwrights Amal Chatterjee, Kathryn Golding, Stephen Hoo, Amber Hsu, Julie Cheung-Inhin, Cathy Lam, and Jingan Young. The night will include the UK premiere of ‘Trying to Find Chinatown’ by Tony award-winning David Henry Hwang (Chinglish, M. Butterfly).

More information at Pokfulam Rd Productions, and at Theatre503 (including tickets)

MSt alumnus James Benmore launches paperback of third Dodger novel at Albion Beatnik, Oxford, 21 April

MSt alumnus James Benmore, who won the A.M.Heath Prize, 2010,  will be launching the third novel in his Dodger trilogy – Dodger of the Revolution – at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore on Friday 21 April, 2017, from 7.30-9.30pm. James will be joined by fellow novelists Douglas Adamson and Jude Cowan Montague and take part in a discussion about routes into publishing and the ups and downs of getting and staying published. Dodger of the Revolution is now available in book shops and from Amazon.

MSt tutor Jenny Lewis collaboration “Writing Mesopotamia” events at the Ashmolean, 1st April

MSt tutor Jenny Lewis and Iraqi poet Adnan al-Sayegh celebrate the final stages of their four-year, Arts Council-funded ‘Writing Mesopotamia’ collaboration with two events at the Ashmolean Museum on Saturday 1st April, 2017

‘Who Can Climb the Sky?’ and the launch of the ‘Poetry for Peace, 2016’ anthology – words against war by young people of Oxfordshire.

More information on the collaboration webpages.

MSt alumnus Rory Gleeson reading at Anthony Burgess Foundation 28 March

MSt alumnus Rory Gleeson is one of three debut writers reading at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

From the Foundation’s announcement:

“… novelists Rory Gleeson and Alys Conran, and poet Joey Connolly. Roddy Doyle wrote of Gleeson’s debut, ‘Rockadoon Shore is terrific’, while Conran’s novel Pigeon is longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Gregory Award winner Joey Connolly’s first book is just out from Carcanet.”

More about the event from the Anthony Burgess Foundation

MSt alumnus James Ellis on his novel, The Wrong Story, being published

MSt alumnus James Ellis’s novel The Wrong Story has been published by Unbound.

After falling from a car park roof, cartoonist Tom Hannah is left with partial amnesia and the feeling that something important is missing from his life. His journey to recovery is hampered by a growing inability to distinguish between real and imaginary events. The characters from his cartoon strip assume a grimy reality, while the lives of his family and friends appear ever more unreal.

The Wrong Story is about the borderlands between memory, imagination and the real world. It is about the desire for self-determination and the obligations on a responsible creator. But mostly it’s about a man who falls off a roof and wants to know why – was it an accident, did he jump, or was he pushed?

James on how it feels to see his first novel published, and how it feels now that it is “out there”:

It feels great to see my first novel published. I’m happy, excited, proud and relieved. It has an ISBN, a shipping weight, it occupies shelf space. It’s a book. What began with a few doodled notes in Rewley House developed into an MSt year two project and ended up as an 80,000 word paperback.  Along the way it was pitched, rejected, picked up, crowdfunded, drafted, edited, proofread, printed and distributed. So yes, it feels great.

But being ‘out there’? That can be scary. People might read it. What would their reviews be like? The rankings? It has talking animals in it! I readjusted my thinking. The published book is not my story any more, the one I nurtured for two and a half years. It has independence. It is complete. It is rubbing shoulders (or covers) with all the other novels that are out there. My feeling now is that it should stay out there for as long as possible.

For more information on The Wrong Story and to buy it, go to Unbound.