MSt alumna Sarvat Hasin wins inaugural Mo Siewcharran Prize

MSt alumna Sarvat Hasin has been awarded the Mo Siewcharran Prize for unpublished authors from BAME backgrounds.

From the announcement:

“Sarvat Hasin has won the inaugural Mo Siewcharran Prize for unpublished authors from BAME backgrounds, securing a deal with Dialogue Books.

The award, named in memory of Nielsen Book’s director of marketing and communications, was announced at Hachette UK’s Carmelite House offices on Monday evening (4th November).

Hasin, a former PR worker for Hachette Children’s Books who now works for the Almedia Theatre, also won £2,500 and will see her debut novel The Giant Dark published in 2021.

She said: “Thank you very much to Dialogue Books because I think this prize is incredible and I think it’s doing something that’s really important in the industry and more than a lot of the conversations that I think are happening at a lot of publishing houses that are maybe more box-ticking. I think what Dialogue is doing is literally putting their money where their mouth is and that’s really important.”

Congratulating the other shortlisted authors, she thanked those who had supported her. She said: “Writing a book, particularly before you have a publishing contract or any idea of how to write a book can be a devastatingly lonely thing and the best thing you can have is people who support you and who believe in you.”

Alien, Go Home by Temitope Owolabi was named second runner-up, winning £1,500, while Suparna Mansions by Vasundra Tailor finished third. The works were chosen from around 185 submissions, whittled down to an eight-strong shortlist who each got a bag of Dialogue books and a copy of On Writing by Stephen King (Hodder).

The winners were judged by a panel featuring Candice Carty-Williams, Guy Gunaratne, Curtis Brown agent Catherine Cho, Dialogue publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove and Viki Cheung, co-chair of THRIVE.”

Read more at the Bookseller

MSt alumna Maya Popa’s collection “American Faith” published, November 2019

MSt alumna Maya Popa’s debut poetry collection American Faith has been published by Sarabande Books. You can view and buy it here.

From the announcement:

Runner-Up of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry.

The ultimate subject of Maya C. Popa’s stunning debut collection is violence. American Faith begins with its manifestation in our country: a destructive administration, a history of cruelty and extermination, and a love of firearms. The violence naturally extends to the personal. What for some is routine can feel like an assault: a TSA agent wipes down a bra tucked in a traveler’s suitcase, adding, “…prettiest terrorist I’ve seen all day.” Tentatively, the title poem casts light on the unrevealed future, a solution that includes faith: “…the days, impatient, fresh beasts, appeal to me—/ You are here. You must believe in something.”
Praise for the collection, from the announcement:


“These carefully tuned poems dramatize a classical sensibility shaken awake by the ceaseless shock waves of Trump’s America, where ‘The season turns over/ with perfect indifference,’ and even ‘The Bees,’ as the title of one prose poem claims, ‘Have Been Cancelled.’ How, the poems wonder, can one come to terms with the realities of this dark moment but through understated irony: ‘The principle of the gun law is that anyone/ should have the right to buy what may kill/ a room full of people—this failure is freedom.// I’m sorry there can’t be more poetry in this.’ . . . Popa’s questing and questioning lyric poems are kind company amid the uncertainty of the modern world.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“American Faith announces Popa as a debut poet whose compassion, intellect, febrile imagination, and sharp ingenuity set a new standard of literary radiance. It is wholly astonishing to read this artist (part heart-diviner, part brain surgeon) harkening her ancestors and making this poetry of witness, this powerful song of loss and rage and wonder and survival. That survival (‘memory, you crooked thing/I do to the page’) is musical, historical, epic and lyric (Popa’s work inhabits at least seven of the muses’ realms) and gives voice to what didn’t make it: a childhood tragedy, shadows of abuse and violence, the destruction of a child or a family or a species. The book is a world-traveling, time-leaping historical document, each poem a pin on the map of its self-interrogating, wildly hopeful journey to the center of a longed-for spiritual justice.”
—Brenda Shaughnessy, author of The Octopus Museum

“In these striking, memorable pages we are reminded that violence, both public and private, is part of what it means to live in America today: ‘A boy with a cricket rifle / kills his sister in Kentucky. / No teacher can show him / how to live with it.’ Another poem announces, ‘The government has been canceled.’ The dictator ‘drapes a medal over his shadow / then extradites the dead from purgatory.’ There are guns everywhere, in a variety of colors— ‘pink for girls to shoot squirrels.’ Even love misses ‘a shot for someone cute.’ At the same time, American Faith appeals to the senses with its strange and beautiful song. How does Popa do this? How does she find that that keyhole, through which the ordinary becomes poetry, becomes a terrifying and unsettling lyric hymn?” 
—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

“Maya C. Popa’s clear-eyed lyrics register with steady power a spectrum of 21st century violences as ‘losses gracelessly accrue/without logic or pattern’ and ‘even the anchor/reading from a teleprompter/is surprised by what he has just had to say.’ In poems that take on the devastating pressure of climate change, gun violence, and our threatened democracy, Popa uses her gift ‘to anguish/and ascribe a language’ to what has been lost—to grieve and in grieving forge song. Revelatory yet emphatically unsentimental, Popa’s unflinching distillations illuminate the facets of our broken world; there is much wisdom here, and grace, and heart. American Faith is a fierce and brilliant debut.”
—Deborah Landau, author of Soft Targets 

“Maya C. Popa’s poems move with a confident, quick-as-dread sweep toward an alarmingly clear articulation of what it is to be an American ‘under/ duress by a language, its failure to imagine the present world or next…’ Her lyrics address our huge unknowns, when ‘The government is cancelled/ but not the body,’ tides of unsorted information threaten to sink us, and in the poisoned sea ‘the shame is that the parrotfish/cannot be remade from scratch.’ American Faith marries a richly detailed music to this careening hour.”
—Mark Doty, author of Deep Lane

MSt tutor Jenny Lewis introduces Andrew George & Michael Schmidt at SOAS, London, 19 Nov 19.

MSt poetry tutor Jenny Lewis will be introducing Professors Andrew George and Michael Schmidt at ‘Being Human’ event, SOAS, London University, 19 November, 2019

Free event but please register.

From the announcement:

“The Epic of Gilgamesh is a 4,000-year-old Babylonian poem about a hero in quest of immortality. Preserved on clay tablets, it is the earliest great work of literature to survive from the ancient world. In this popular lecture author and translator Andrew George explores four themes related to this masterpiece: the archaeology of the poem’s recovery, the reconstruction of its text, the story it tells, and its messages about life and death.

The lecture will be introduced by poet Jenny Lewis. Afterwards the author Michael Schmidt will launch his new book, Gilgamesh: the Life of a Poem. At the end of the evening there will be an opportunity to buy signed copies of Michael Schmidt’s book and Andrew George’s Penguin translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

“This event is part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 14-23 November and led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. For further information please see

MSt alumnus Nemat Sadat’s novel “The Carpet Weaver” published by Penguin India

MSt alumnus Nemat Sadat’s novel The Carpet Weaver published by Penguin India. It has been reviewed on LiveMint, by India Today and other media, and Grazia India, has an interview with Nemat.

Grazia: “The Kite Runner meets Brokeback Mountain in this sweeping tale of a young gay man’s struggle.”

India Today: “In The Carpet Weaver, journalist and activist Nemat Sadat tells the story of a young boy’s transition to adulthood against the backdrop of severe changes in his homeland. Just as Kanishka Nurzada, the protagonist, gathers courage to tell his parents about his sexuality, chaos erupts in the country and his life changes in ways he had never imagined. The politics of the region becomes a powerful backdrop to Kanishka’s life story, as he carries his secret in fear.”

The novel is available in South Asia and online.

MSt alumna Kiran Millwood-Hargrave signs four-book deal with Hachette Children’s

(image:The Bookseller)

MSt alumna Kiran Millwood-Hargrave has signed a six-figure, four-book deal with Hachette Children’s Group. From the announe

From the announcement in The Bookseller:
Kiran is one of the most thrilling children’s novelists writing today, leading the way in the market. Her exciting stories absorb the reader at plot level, and on a deeper level she taps into themes and symbols that explore what it means to be human,” said group senior publisher Ruth Alltimes. “On behalf of the whole team here, I could not be more delighted to welcome Kiran to Hachette Children’s Group.

Read more about it at The Bookseller.

MSt tutor Amal Chatterjee’s article on Roman roads & colonial legacies in “Prospect”

MSt tutor Amal Chatterjee’s article “How Europe’s Roman roads reveal the challenge of rebuilding after colonialism” has been published in Prospect online.

An ancient Roman road in Rome—but what might the vestiges of the Roman empire tell us about how states rebuild after imperialism? Photo: Pixabay (fromProspect)

It’s a known phenomenon: systems and structures, if robust, continue to work for as long as they are unchanged.
Once upon a time, the Romans ruled a vast swathe of Europe, of North Africa, and of what is now called the Middle East. Where they conquered, they built towns and cities, many of which survive to this day …

Read the full article on the Prospect website.

MSt tutor Ella Hickson’s “Anna” at the National Theatre till 15 June 2019

MSt tutor Ella Hickson’s play “Anna” is on at the National Theatre till 15 June 2019.

From the website: “Created by playwright Ella Hickson (The Writer) and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham, this tense new thriller is directed by Natalie Abrahami (Machinal). It uses individual audio headsets to give the audience intimate access to events as they unfold over one evening, in East Berlin.

Some of the reviews:

“Slick and stylish. Full of history, mystery and horror. Impressively intelligent” The Stage

“Layered and engrossing. Remarkable sound from extraordinary aural engineers Ben and Max Ringham” What’s On Stage

“A riveting 65 minutes. A multilayered plot worthy of Le Carré with fascinating wizard-level sound design ” The Times

Ticket prices

Monday – Thursday eves, all matinees
*£65, £45, £40, £35, £20, £15 
Friday & Saturday eves
*£70, £50, £45, £35, £20, £18
Ways to save
Previews 11 – 17 May

*£67, £40 – £15

For tickets and information, visit the NT website