MSt alumna Maya Popa’s “You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave” published

MSt alumna Maya Popa’s poetry collection You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave has been published by New Michigan Press

This is a work of seething precision. In these poems, hope is a meticulous, meditative state—a method of forensic searching and study that is carried with great care across generations. By stitching her raging images together with stillness and poise, Popa asks us to step back from our panic and look: “peeling back the hair, that quiet, necessary artifice, / to reveal a nesting doll of impulses.

—Caroline Bird

In Maya Catherine Popa’s You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave, feathers are unfulfilled parables, a hen’s eggs turn a vicious red, and a super moon “blooms a tyranny of flowers.” A helix of histories lies threaded to both the present day and the various magics of night. These poems are smart and lush, and at the end of each of them my heart, mind, and ear argue over which was lavished with the most pleasure. I am enchanted by this book, in its thrall, its bright gravity, its terribilitá.

—Traci Brimhall

Buy the collection from

MSt aluma Elena Kaufman’s “Love Bites” to be serialised on The Pigeonhole

“An intriguing and diverse set of stories
An earnest and thoughtfully written collection
Deftly crafted, these stories are bursting with engaging characters.”

MSt alumna Elena Kaufman’s short story collection Love Bites is to be serialised on The Pigeonhole. From the announcement:

“Foreigners, drifters, and eccentrics reach out to strangers in their desire to be witnessed, to be connected, and to find safety in a sea of anonymity.

Love Bites is a collection of thirteen stories set in Europe and North America. They trace foreigners, drifters and eccentrics linked by their need for acknowledgement and belonging. How do these characters survive physically and psychologically on unfamiliar ground whether as tourists, or strangers in new cities or in new situations which jolt them out of the security of the familiar? Recurring themes are of isolation, loss, and a desire for connection when strangers reach out to other strangers for stability.”

Visit Love Bites on the Pigeonhole to read the first instalment  for free (from 29th March 2018), and find out how to subscribe.

MSt tutor Sarah Bakewell awarded a Windham-Campbell prize

MSt tutor Sarah Bakewell has been awarded a Windham-Campbell prize.

From the announcement:

The Call of a Lifetime
The director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes recently made the call of a lifetime to eight entirely surprised writers, informing them that they will each be recognized with a $165,000 USD prize to support their writing. Awards will be conferred September 12-14 at an international literary festival at Yale, where the Prizes are based.

Established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell, the prizes are among the richest and most prestigious literary prizes on earth.

English language writers from anywhere in the world are eligible. This year’s recipients are: in drama, Lucas Hnath (US) and Suzan-Lori Parks (US); in nonfiction, Sarah Bakewell (UK) and Olivia Laing (UK); in fiction, John Keene (US) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda/UK); and in poetry, Lorna Goodison (Jamaica) and Cathy Park Hong (US).”

Sarah Bakewell unknots complex philosophical thought with verve and wit; her eye for detail and her animated conversation bring readers to inhabit the lives of great philosophers …

Go to the prize website to read more

MSt tutor John Retallack’s Radio4 dramatisation of J B Priestley’s “The Good Companions” available online

MSt tutor John Retallack’s dramatisation of J B Priestley’s “The Good Companions”  on BBC Radio 4 is available to listen to online.

From the Radio 4 site: “John Retallack’s dramatisation of J B Priestley’s classic story of a 1929 Concert Party tour charts new adventures for factory worker Jess Oakroyd and newly independant Miss Trant.”

MSt tutor Jenny Lewis & alumna Romola Parish at Science and Poetry event with St. Hilda’s College, Oxford

Tickets are now on sale for the third Science and Poetry event at St. Hilda’s College, organised by MSt tutor Jenny Lewis with Sarah Watkinson of St. Hilda’s. The event, on 9 Jun 2018, will feature poets Carrie Etter and Philip Gross and is themed around climate and environmental change. It will include an open mic for poems relating to the theme.
There will be a free workshop in advance of SciPo 2018, led by alumna Romola Parish and Sarah Watkinson at St Hilda’s College on 17 February, from 10.00-4.00. There will also be an opportunity to enter poems into a competition judged by Jenny Lewis.

MSt tutor Alice Jolly’s “Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile” to be published by Unbound

MSt tutor Alice Jolly’s Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile is to be published by Unbound.

Read more about it, including an excerpt, on Unbound’s site.

“Once the initial subscription has been raised then Alice’s share of the profits (50% of every book sold) will go to Emmaus – a charity who support homeless people in Gloucestershire and are part of a federation of 350 organisations in 37 countries around the world”


World Premiere of Russian opera based on MSt tutor Jenny Lewis’s “When I Became an Amazon”

MSt tutor Jenny Lewis attended world premiere of Russian opera based on her book When I Became an Amazon

20 November 2017 saw the world premiere of the chamber-opera ‘How I Became an Amazon’ by Russian composer Gennadyi Shiroglazov,  based on the book When I Became an Amazon by Jenny Lewis (Iron Press, 1996). The opera was performed in English by soprano Olga Popova with Jenny herself reading two of the poems. Both were accompanied by a 30-strong chamber orchestra conducted by Valery Platonov – all from the Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre of Perm.  Russian translations by Natalya Dubrovina were printed in the programme. Depending on further funding, there are plans to develop the opera further and stage it in Moscow in 2018.