Dissertation’s Coming – Do You Know Where To Find Support?

Looking for some extra help with structuring an essay or a second set of eyes on that unweildy bibliography?

  • CASE is available to all FASS (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) students Monday-Thursday from 10am-4pm and Fridays from 10am-3pm in Tower Block 703. Drop-in appointments are 15-20 minutes long with no appointment necessary. Postgraduates can schedule a thirty minute appointment and extended appointments are available for dissertations. Email case@kingston.ac.uk to book a time.
  • FASS dISCcover is run by LRC staff and is available in CASE everyday from 1-2pm to provide assistance and answer questions about referencing in all standard academic styles.

Is English not your native language?

Not to worry. Check out this message from the English Language Development scheme regarding free classes offered to non-native English speakers:

  • Dissertation Writing for FASS students: Wednesdays 11am – 1pm in JG5008 (not Mondays as in booklet)
  • FASS postgraduates can also attend the ‘open’ dissertation writing classes: Mondays 3-5pm in JG3006 OR Fridays 11am-1pm in JG1003
  • For FASS undergrads and postgrads, there is also a wide range of writing, speaking and language classes as part of our ‘Open’ programme in PR – details and course descriptions at: My Kingston > My Support > International > English Language Development
  • We also offer one-to-one tutorials in the Penrhyn Road LRC (library) and JG0004 to discuss any aspect of academic work/students’ work-in-progress from a writing/language point of view.

Teaching-Writing Workshop – Spring 2013

The following is the spring schedule for the MFA Teaching & Writitng workshop (Tuesdays 6-8 pm). This class and tutorials are open to MFA students who have completed the MA  and are in their 2nd year full time, 3rd/4th year part time.

Please familiarize yourself with the work of all the guests.

Week 1 (January 29): Workshop Principles and Practice (Scott Bradfield)

Week 2 (February 5):  (Scott Bradfield)

Week 3 (February 12):  MFA Residencies – Lamar Herrin (reading to follow at 7:30)

Week 4 (February 19):  Teaching and Writing (Jonathan Barnes)

Week 5 (February 26):  MFA Residencies – Wendy Cope on Teaching Poetry (no reading)

Week 6 (March 5):  Writing and Teaching  (James Miller)

Week 7 (March 12):  Writing and Teaching:  (Adam Baron)

Week 8 (March 19):  Teaching Poetry in Community:  Martin Dawes – guest

Easter Break/ Enriched Activity Week (March 25 – April 12):

Week 9 (April 16):   MFA Residencies – Paul Maliszewski (reading to follow at 7:30)

Week 10 (April 23):  MFA Residencies:  Christopher Priest (reading to follow at 7:30)

Week 11 (April 30):   LAST CLASS:  Scott Bradfield


Edward Fox (four)

Wendy Cope (two – poetry)

Jonathan Barnes (ten)

Martin Dawes (two – poetry)

Lamar Herrin (ten – prose and poetry)

Christopher Priest (ten)

Paul Maliszewski (prose and poetry)

14 magazine

Mike Loveday has an MA in creative writing from Kingston University. The 14th and final issue of his poetry publication, 14 magazine, was published in November 2012. Today, he writes about the good, the bad and the ugly of eight years running a poetry magazine.


At the end of November, 14 magazine published its final issue, and I must confess I have a small feeling of relief to be writing about it in the past tense.

Running a poetry magazine on my own for 8 years presented me with a number of challenges, and I have immense admiration for those independent editors who keep publications going for decades, through thick and thin.

I first had the idea of setting up a magazine as a little side project to indulge my interest in poetry. I had read and loved an anthology called 101 sonnets from Shakespeare to Heaney edited by the poet Don Paterson, and I wondered if there was a magazine devoted to the form. There wasn’t, I discovered, and I thought: what about setting one up? (Eventually the idea morphed into a magazine for 14-line poems, not just traditional sonnets).

So what was it like to run a poetry magazine, Sinéad Keegan asked me?


No Dead White Men on Twitter and Facebook

That’s right, loyal readers: we’ve really gone digital. We have committed to modern, social media. We have left paid-by-the-letter newspaper serials and the Pony Express in the dust. We have joined Facebook and Twitter.

O, brave new world.

You can find us on Facebook at the unwieldy address of: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kingston-University-MFA-Writers/144654935691051

Or by typing “Kingston University MFA” into the search box.

You can follow us on Twitter @kingstonMFA

And so we go forth into the sound and the fury of social media.

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears…”

Your fearless editor, tweeter & facebook-er,

Sinéad (with some help from the inimitable bard)

Looking for something to do on Valentine’s Day? Check out Love Slam



New Year: No procrastinating please (But if only I had the perfect desk….)

Catherine Gladstone is in her first year of her Creative Writing MFA. When she’s not at lectures, she’s spends most of her time running around after her 18 month old daughter. She also works part time & runs her own little PR agency – Candid Communications (www.candid-communications.co.uk).
I’ve always wanted a writers bureau. So, I made it my job over the space of a few weeks to find one.
I took a tape measure and measured the space in my tiny loft room. I checked my measurements via a desk I’d seen on the Internet. We’ll call this procrastination part one.
Next up, procrastination part two, I spent my evenings tapping ‘writers bureau’ into eBay. I emailed sellers and discussed delivery charges with courier companies. I asked my husband “What you think?”
After a week or so, I moved on to procrastination part three: Dragging my toddler around second hand shops, trying to keep her flailing limbs straight-jacketed inside her pushchair. I finally found a desk and took it home.  
Now, I was ready to start writing my next novel. But NOT before, I had arranged my books about writing on it, along with a strategically placed candle, some notepapers and some hand cream.
HAND CREAM! Seriously?
I’m supposed to be writing a book, not arranging candles and hand cream, and of course it doesn’t matter where I write, only that I do.
It’s a new year and that means no more dawdling, pottering, pootling or staring out of the window for me. Unless I decide to write a Karl Knausgaard style novel about the banality of everyday life, then, surely that counts as research?
If you have a similar new years resolution you are struggling to keep, here are some quotes that might help:
Writers on ‘writers block’
“As for my next book, I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me: grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall.” Virginia Woolf
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway
Writers on ‘procrastination’ 
“I love deadlines – I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Stephen King
Writers on ‘how to get over writers block’
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”  Mark Twain
Writers on the experience of ‘writing’
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.“  George Orwell

MFAs Recommend Books (and more) for Writers

So you want to be writer? Well, we all know writers have to read, but what to read? Where to start? Right here at No Dead White Men, of course.

While we love the recommended reading lists we get from our lecturers, Writers in Residence and visiting writers, we wondered what a reading list for writers by MFAs would look like. So we’re starting off the new year, welcoming 2013 with a list of books we think writers should read. This is by no means an extensive list – mostly because I’ve limited them all to one book/story/poem/collection each. Oh, the cruelty of editors. On that note, here is the 2012-2013 MFA cohort’s incomplete, completely biased suggested reading list for other aspiring writers:

Recommended Reading for Writers by the MFAs

Citlalli: Down the Rabbit Hole – by Juan Pablo Villalobos. “This novel is told from the point of view of a young boy whose father is a powerful Mexican drug lord. Surrounded by exotic animals and incredible luxuries the young boy perceives the reality he is living.”

Amy: Hocus Pocus – by Kurt Vonnegut. “Written on whatever scrap of paper the author had to hand at the moment, this stylised novel is pieces of brilliance pasted together by dark humour and vicious wit as the main character realises he has killed exactly as many people as the number of women he has had sex with.”

Jeanette: The Trick is to keep Breathing – by Janice Galloway. “Brilliant, sad. It’s not as difficult as it seems”

Emma:The Painted Bird – by Jerzy Kosinski. “So many how-to books reference this book for its vivid imagery, for which it is a brilliant guide. It gives so much more.”

Vivienne: How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs if You Ever Want to Get Published – by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. “If you’re like me, you’d never consider reading a ‘how to write’ book for pleasure because they’re too dry and technical. How NOT to Write a Novel is among the funniest books I’ve re-read this year with 200 extracts of educationally bad fiction.”

Beatrice: Suite Francais – by Irene Nemirovsky. “This great, between the wars novelist wrote her final masterpiece while in hiding from the Nazis in a French village. It describes the flight from Paris with knife-like precision – but also immense compassion. Moving, astounding and incredibly honest.”

Lucy: Adventures in Form: A Compendium of Poetic Forms, Rules and Constraints – edited by Tom Chivers. “I would urge anyone writing poetry, or anything else, to read this – it is choc full of feats of poetic-form wonderment – experimental, refreshing, inspiring an thought-provoking. Get it while it’s hot!”

Simon: Underworld – by Don DeLillo. “A sprawling, non-linear, postmodernist doorstop (over 800 pages) that has been acclaimed as one of the best American novels of the twentieth century. The very best of DeLillo’s writing can be found in the 50-odd pages of the Prologue, set against the backdrop of the 1951 ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’, where there are sentences that will leave you breathless.”

Danny: Catch-22 – by Joseph Heller. “A moral masterpiece. The greatest novel of the 20th century. And sidesplitting.” **Editor’s note: Yes, this one made the holiday read list, too, because Danny thinks it’s just that good.

Alaa: www.tor.com – by various authors. “This isn’t a specific book but tor.com has hundreds of short stories and they are absolutely amazing! Their diversity and skill are worth the read.”

Dorin: Cloud Atlas – by David Mitchell. “Because he writes six intertwining/connected stories in a very creative way. He kind of goes beyond what we would consider how a novel or story should be and it is very intriguing and successful.”

Catherine: And Then We Came to the End – by Joshua Ferris. “This book inspired me as a writer – mainly because the author is young, he had a career before writing and the book he wrote is an original take on office life – in both style and content.”

Ryan: The Adventures of Augie March – by Saul Bellow. “Bellow offers not only homage to the Chicago of the Great Depression but to life in all its ambivalent beauty. The novel is a story about any things: adventure; coming of age; self-discovery in an age of uncertainly; love. Oh, and falconry.”

Carol: The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho. “For its simplicity and symbolism.”

Sinéad: The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life – by Ryszard Kapuscinski. “This book is a masterclass in nonfiction, but fiction writers and even poets can learn from his economy of language and lush but engaging description. Kapuscinski paints a beautiful, honest, fearless picture of Africa, its people, its politics and his time there with flawless imagery and compelling prose.”


As always, we would love your feedback. What do you think of our recommendations? Will you take any of them? What would you add to the list?

A New Year Marks a New Era of Sci Fi

Dorin Rufer is in her second year of her Creative Writing MFA. She is an avid reader, writer, movie-goer and tea drinker. She is part of a podcast/blog adaptationpodcast.com about film adaptations and the original formats they are based on. She is also starting up her own blog: dogaru20.wordpress.com. Check her and her Chai Latte addiction out.

Here she contemplates how surviving the Mayan apocalypse can lead to better, different science fiction in novels and films.


Happy New Year! We made it to 2013 even though some people didn’t think we would.

Take that Mayans!

As 2012 came to an end, I noticed that many of the trailers in the cinema are about apocalypse scenarios or post-apocalyptic worlds. I wonder if people out there are sick of hearing about the apocalypse yet. I already was sick of it at the end of 2011. Not to say that these movies won’t always do well, even if I think they shouldn’t. However, re-hashing this again and again, especially after the film ‘2012’ was released, just won’t cut it anymore. C’mon screenwriters, you can do better!

Although we can’t control, per se, what is produced or published, we can at least pick and choose what we watch and read. I have a strong feeling that after all this apocalypse talk that at least books about post-apocalyptic worlds will most likely be pushed to the side in favour of stories of happier new beginnings and looks towards the future. I would not be shocked at all to see Sci-Fi novels come in with higher sales as well as new Sci-fi novels being written. Now that we have ‘survived’ the apocalypse, it will be time for us to want better of ourselves and our world, to want so much of science fiction to become science fact.

Novels in a similar vein to Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation Series, Stephen Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and even something like C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

A fun consequence of this, of course, will be the choice of book adaptations for the film industry to choose from.

Now that the apocalypse is over, we actually do have all the time in the world. Write on!


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