MSt alumni Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Daisy Johnson in conversation, Blackwells, Oxford, 8th Feb 2020

MSt alumna Kiran Millwood Hargrave will be in conversation with fellow alumna Daisy Johnson at Blackwells in Oxford, 8th Feb 2020. They will be talking about Kiran’s new novel, The Mercies.

From the announcement:

“‘A gripping novel inspired by a real-life witch hunt . . . Beautiful and chilling’ Madeline Miller, author of Circe

On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves, the menfolk of Vardø wiped out in an instant.

Now the women must fend for themselves.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardø to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is an award-winning poet, playwright, and novelist. Her bestselling works for children include The Girl of Ink & Stars, and have won numerous awards including, the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, and the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year, and been shortlisted for prizes such as the Costa Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Best Story Award. The Mercies is her first novel for adults. Kiran lives by the river in Oxford, with her husband, artist Tom de Freston, and their rescue cat, Luna.

Daisy Johnson’s debut short-story collection, Fen, was published in 2016. In 2018 she became the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize with her debut novel Everything Under which was also the Blackwell’s Book of the Year. She is the winner of the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize, the A. M. Heath Prize and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She currently lives in Oxford by the river and once worked as a Bookseller at Blackwell’s.

This is a free event, but please do register if you plan on attending. Please be aware that this event will take place in the Philosophy Department, which is accessible by a small flight of stairs. Seating is unallocated. For more information, please call our Customer Service Department on 01865 333 623 or email”

Booking and further information here.

MSt tutor James Womack’s translation of Manuel Vilas “Heaven” published

MSt tutor James Womack’s translation of Manuel Vilas “Heaven” has been published by Carcanet. He has also written a blog post about it.

From the announcement:

A collection of dark, funny Iberian poems about drinking, sex and death.

Manuel Vilas speaks in the voice of bitter experience, experience which seems intent on sending him up. He is a novelist as well as a poet, and his poems tell stories as the speaker moves quixotically across the map and between romances. His instinct for rhythm gives the reader a firm sense of place and tone. Universal in their concerns, taking in love and the end of love, life and the end of life, the poems are also resolutely Spanish in how they speak – bluntly, humorously – always alert for the fantastic.

This is the first translation of Vilas’s two major collections Heaven (El cielo, 2000) and Heat (Calor, 2008) into English. Thematically fuelled with alcohol, death and sex, they go off into free-wheeling megalomaniacal flights of fantasy. The translator, James Womack, has won prizes for his versions of Vilas and of the Russian poet Mayakovsky.”

You can read about the book, and buy it here.

MSt alumnus Arthur Allen’s verse novel “The Nurseryman” published by Kernpunkt Press

MSt alumnus Arthur Allen’s verse novel The Nurseryman has been published by Kernpunkt Press.
From the announcement:

The Nurseryman is a verse novel told in polyphony as the collected account of a 17th Century voyage to Meta Incognita – the absolutely unknown ice-land at the top of the world. A composite of original sources and collected accounts of medieval voyages, The Nurseryman is a postmodern travel compendium that explores the hidden, magical worlds within our own.”

An extraordinary debut that combines the awed wonder of early seafarers with a freshness and buoyancy that is essentially 21st century. Alternating between the late sixteenth century ‘FRAGMENTARY records of a Roote Gatherer, practiced of alchemical craft & in the spiritual use of fruit trees…’, lyrical meditations on the beauty of nature, and notes on rsome of the marvels encountered during the voyage (such as how female whales are snared by their protectiveness towards their offspring), The Nurseryman takes us on a startlingly original odyssey that is at once an homage to the past as well as being a prescient ‘fable for the present.
– Jenny Lewis, author of Gilgamesh Retold

For more information, and to order The Nurseryman, visit Kernpunkt Press.

MSt alumna Jingan Young’s play “Life and Death of a Journalist” at the Vault Festival, London, 25 Feb – 1 Mar 2020

MSt alumna Jingan Young’s play “Life and Death of a Journalist” is on at the Vault Festival, London from 25 Feb – 1 Mar 2020.

From the announcement:

“Award-winning playwright Jingan Young makes a ferocious return to theatre with a new play on sex, censorship and the ethics of journalism – how much are you willing to sacrifice? The play is directed by Max Lindsay and stars Lucy Roslyn in the title role, writer/performer of the hit show Orlando which won the VAULT Festival’s Outstanding New Work Award in 2019.”

For more information and tickets, visit the Vault announcement.

MSt alumnus Sam Guglani’s “Medicine Unboxed” now a podcast on SoundCloud

MSt alumnus Sam Guglani’s “Medicine Unboxed” is now a podcast on SoundCloud.

“Medicine Unboxed aims to inspire debate and medicine and to inform its culture.

Medicine Unboxed is for the public, for health professionals and for all of us who will be patients one day. Despite scientific advances, medicine faces moral, political and social challenges that require the pursuit of meaning as much as knowledge. The arts and other disciplines can help to illuminate the central questions and to foster awe, empathy and humility.

Our annual events – Unboxed (2009), Stories (2010), Values (2011), Belief (2012), Voice (2013), Frontiers (2014), Mortality (2015), Wonder (2016), Maps (2017)and Love (2018) – each have drawn audiences of over three hundred people. Our Soundcloud and Vimeo archives have been seen and heard by tens of thousands of people.

“Our speakers are writers, politicians, philosophers, scientists, musicians and performers. The events are theatrical, moving and challenging and are performances in themselves.

MSt alumna Mariah Whelan’s “the love i do to you” launch by Eyewear Books, 26 November 2019

MSt alumna Mariah Whelan’s “the love i do to you” will be launched by Eyewear Books on 26 November 2019.

From the announcement:

“In this genre-bending debut Mariah Whelan tells the love story of ‘He’ and ‘She’. Once lovers and now… something else, in this collection of sonnets the poems roam across the UK, Europe, Japan and South Korea to explore the oldest of lyric subjects – love, desire, friendship and betrayal. Painful, playful and sensual, these poems explore the bonds that tie lovers and friends together in a collection of startling formal energy and emotional candour.

Mariah Whelan is a poet from Oxford. Her poems appear in The Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2019, Best New British and Irish Poets 2018, The Poetry Book
Society website, The Interpreter’s House and elsewhere. Her writing has been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, The Melita Hume Prize and has won The AM Heath Prize. Mariah has degrees from Queen’s University Belfast and The University of Oxford, and she currently holds a PhD research scholarship at
The University of Manchester where she is writing a new collection of poems and researching trauma and representation in contemporary Irish fiction.

The admirable achievement of Mariah Whelan’s the love i do to you lies not just in its page-turning fusion of lyrical poetics and dramatic narration, but in the moving power of its steady and intimate candour. Whelan’stransformative sense of scene
– ‘your words like trolleys / half-submerged in the river-clay and weeds’ – is never less than compelling, its psychological alertness quietly propulsive from start to finish. —
Jane Draycott”

See the Eyewear website for more information

Details of the launch in London, 26 November