Kellogg College Creative Writing Seminar Series: Helen Mort, 22 November 2017

“Failsafe: the value of getting it wrong”

Helen Mort

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

All are welcome and no bookings are necessary

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield. She has published two poetry collections with Chatto & Windus, ‘Division Street’ (2013) and ‘No Map Could Show Them’ (2016). She won the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection in 2014. Helen has a volume of short stories forthcoming from Wrecking Ball and a novel forthcoming from Chatto. She is a core creative tutor on Oxford’s MSt in Creative Writing. She also teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Seminar Convenor: Dr Clare Morgan

MSt tutor Helen Mort’s BBC radio commissions, “Millstone” and “Give me Space Beneath my Feet” available to listen to online,on iPlayer

MSt tutor Helen Mort’s two new radio commissions, broadcast on BBC Radio3, are now  available to listen to online on iPlayer:

The Essay – Cornerstones: Millstone

Between The Ears – Give me Space Beneath my Feet (part of last weekend’s ‘Contains Strong Language‘ Festival)

MSt alumna Kent DePinto’s “The Fish that Ate Florida” on BBC World Service’s Life Stories

(Photo: Lionfish in an aquarium, from BBC website)

MSt alumna Kent DePinto’s programme, “The Fish that Ate Florida”, originally on BBC World Service’s Life Stories on 1st October 2017, is now available to listen to online.

From the BBC:

“As part of the BBC Life Stories season, exploring our relationship with the natural world, we travel under the sea in pursuit of a major ecological threat to Western Atlantic coasts – the Lionfish.

The species, which recently spread from its natural territory in the Pacific to Atlantic waters, is aggressive, exotic and very, very hungry. Kent DePinto explores how lionfish went from being an aquarium favourite to the scourge of an aquatic ecosystem as it eats everything in its path – with no natural predators in these seas to control it. She meets the people who have made it their life’s work to eradicate lionfish from Florida waters, in an underwater journey of spears, guns, and survival of the fittest.

Kent explores the tight-knit and sometimes unlikely partnerships of conservationists, scientists, and competitive spear-fishermen and women, as they band together to combat one of the biggest challenges American and Caribbean coral reefs have faced.”

MSt tutor Roopa Farooki to be keynote speaker at the Asian Writer Festival, 21 October, Royal Asiatic Society

MSt tutor Roopa Farooki will be the keynote speaker at the Asian Writer Festival  on 21 October, at the Royal Asiatic Society. Roopa will also be doing a panel on relationships in literary fiction. Twitter link and eventbrite links below.

Rehearsed reading of MSt tutor Ben Brown’s play “The Promise”, London, November 2nd

There will be a rehearsed reading of MSt tutor Ben Brown’s play The Promise on November 2 at the JW3 in Hampstead. The reading will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Jonathan Freedland,

From the JW3 announcement:

“On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, JW3 presents a rehearsed reading of The Promise, a play dramatising this momentous historical moment.

November 2, 1917. The Balfour Declaration is signed, signalling the British government’s support for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. It’s the beginning of World War I and Herbert Samuel – the first practising Jew ever to sit in a British Cabinet – dreams of using British power to back a return of the Jews to Palestine. His cousin and fellow Cabinet member, Edwin Montagu, is implacably opposed to the idea. Politics, religion and love collide with explosive effect in Ben Brown’s acclaimed play about the origins of Israel.

Directed by Richard Beecham.”

Visit the webpage for more information and tickets.


MSt alumna Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s collaboration with Tom de Freston, “Orpheus and Eurydice” published by Bloomsbury

Orpheus and Eurydice, MSt alumna Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s collaboration with Tom de Freston is now available to order.

The story of Orpheus’s tragic quest into the underworld to rescue his true love Eurydice back from the dead is one that has haunted the western imagination for over 2,000 years through many tellings, re-tellings, appropriations and adaptations.

A unique coming together of poetry, art and criticism, Orpheus and Eurydice explores the myth’s impact through a graphic-poetic reconstruction of the story. Including critical reflections from leading thinkers, writers and critics, this is a compelling exploration of the enduring power of this tale.

Read more, and order from Bloomsbury Publishing

“There is a radical honesty about this book, one which grabs you where it hurts and pulls you in”  Professor Ewan Fernie

“Ground-breaking in its creativity and the fertility of its imagination, it resists easy definitions of classification, and yet, its vulnerability and intimacy also makes it wholly accessible.” –  Claire Trévien

“Exhilarating, visionary and genre-defying.”  Luke Kennard

“A beautiful discourse on modern marriage with images and texts of psychological inter-penetration and comic dissonance.” –  Professor Lydia Goehr’

MSt alumna Marie Gethins on “beta readers”

Beta readers. Some belittle, some won’t admit to using them, some praise them. I fall into the final category. While I’m willing to concede beta readers are not for everyone, I am going to champion them here. I have a two-tier system. My long-suffering husband is my initial beta reader/listener. After a draft gets past him, I bring it to my writers’ group.

I‘ve been in a small writers’ group for five years that meets every fortnight. Before we formed, I had not submitted any creative writing, while the other two members each had one win, one placement and a couple of listings. Since then, between the three original members, we’ve racked up 224 publications in more than 80 outlets, 61 wins/placements in competitions, and made 55 appearances. Clearly it is working for us.

Each of member brings something unique to the table. We recently brought in a new member—a male poet—who gives an additional perspective that previously we lacked. As well as constructive criticism, scheduled meetings are an excellent way to push new work production. I particularly enjoy having this ‘safe space’ to be experimental and know that they group won’t let me away with anything.

While the image of an author toiling alone in a garret is romantic, having a trustworthy group that forces you to get out into the world is a good thing. I know how fortunate I am to have found that mysterious alchemy in my writers’ group, but even a single beta reader can really help to hone work.

Read about Marie’s publications and awards on the blog.

MSt alumna Lex Coulton’s novel to be published by John Murray

MSt alumna’s Lex Coulton’s novel Falling Short is to be published by John Murray in June 2018.

From the announcement:

John Murray is publishing Falling Short, a “funny, uplifting, deeply moving” literary debut by “true new talent” Lex Coulton.

The book is about “the ways in which we fail to live the lives we hoped, and how that might be ok after all”, according to Mark Richards, publisher at John Murray, who acquired world rights from Susan Armstrong at C&W.

Read more at the John Murray website.