Rachel Cusk & Jane Yeh Reading

We are excited to announce that two Kingston MFA teachers, Rachel Cusk, Reader, and Jane Yeh, Senior Lecturer, will be doing a free, public event next Wednesday at Waterstones Piccadilly in London. You are all invited to come to the event. If you are a prospective student, this will be a great opportunity to meet some lecturers and current Kingston students. Please see below to book a free ticket.


An Evening with Jane Yeh and Rachel Cusk

03 April 2013, 7:00pm

Waterstones Piccadilly

203/206 Piccadilly

London W1J 9HD


Here’s the official blurb:

Waterstones Piccadilly and Kingston Writing School are proud to present the first in a series of events showcasing the work of Kingston lecturers and alumni. Join us for a glass of wine as highly acclaimed novelist Rachel Cusk discusses teaching creative writing with poet Jane Yeh. This will be followed by a reading from Jane Yeh’s new collection ‘The Ninjas.’

Tickets are free but all places must be reserved in advance by contacting the store on 02078512400 or emailing events@piccadilly.waterstones.co.uk


Promotional image courtesy of KWS & Waterstones

Promotional image courtesy of Waterstones and Kingston Writing School


Find out more at the Waterstones Piccadilly website or the Kingston Writing School website.

Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest is an English writer of novels, short stories, biographies, critical works and more. He has written radio drama for BBC Radio 4, television programs for Thames TV and HTV and his reviews and features have been published in the Guardian, The Times, the Scotsman and other broadsheets and numerous magazines.

His 1995 novel, The Prestige, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and, in 2006, was made into a film of the same name starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johannson. Christopher Nolan directed and it was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Christopher has garnered several international awards, including the Eurocon Award (Yugoslavia), the Kurd Lasswitz Award (Germany), the Ditmar Award (Australia) and Le Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire (France). In 2001, he was awarded France’s Prix Utopia for lifetime achievement. In 2002, he won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award for his novel The Separation. The Islanders won the 2011 BSFA Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. The Adjacent will be released in June.

Find out more about Christopher on his website: http://www.christopher-priest.co.uk/



Christopher will be reading at 7:30pm on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 in JG 3003, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road. This is a free reading and open to the public.





The Adjacent (June 2013)

The Islanders (2011)

The Separation (2002)

The Prestige (1995)

The Quiet Woman (1990)

The Glamour (1988)

The Affirmation (1981)

An Infinite Summer (1979)

The Space Machine (1976)

Fugue for a Darkening Island (1972)

Indoctrinaire (1970)



‘Top Ten Slipstream Books’, The Guardian, May 2003

‘John Wyndham and H G Wells’, a talk given at Midhurst, West Sussex in December 2000

 ‘Independent Cinemas’, The Independent, 1999

 ‘The Beatles’, Chuch, 1986




Christopher Priest’s Recommended Reading List



A Sort of Life – Graham Greene

(The first volume of Greene’s autobiography, this is in my experience the only book

that tells the truth about what it is to be a writer.)

Bomber County – Daniel Swift

(About the poetry written by combatants in the second world war.)

The King’s English – Kingsley Amis

(A book of English usage, idiosyncratic and amusing.)

Song of the Sky – Guy Murchie

(A lyrical account of the nature of the sky: winds, clouds, storms, etc.)



Disappearances – William Wiser

Loitering with Intent – Muriel Spark

Larry’s Party – Carol Shields

Pavane – Keith Roberts

Collected Stories – Vladimir Nabokov

Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov

The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski

Fame – Daniel Kehlmann

Ice – Anna Kavan

Dubliners – James Joyce

The Magus – John Fowles

2666 – Roberto Bolaño

The Voices of Time – J. G. Ballard

Paul Maliszewski

Paul Maliszewski

The MFA Residency Series is delighted to welcome back our first returning Resident, Paul Maliszewski. Paul was an MFA Resident in 2009 and is now a part of the 2013 MFA Residency Series as well. He is the author of Fakers, a book of essays, and Prayer and Parable, a collection of stories. His stories, criticism and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, including Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, Bomb, Bookforum and The Baffler. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes. He has also edited an issue of McSweeney’s (2002), Paper Placemats (2004), two issues of Denver Quarterly about real and imagined places (2004) and J&L Illustrated #3 (2012).

Paul earned his MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University and has taught at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University’s M.A. in Writing program. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and their two sons.


Paul will be reading at 7:30pm on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 in JG 3003, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road. This is a free reading and open to the public.


Paul’s Suggested Reading List:

Here are some books that are either new-ish or new to me. Readers wanting more of a greatest-of-all-time selection can check out the list I sent for my first visit.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith

The Letters of William Gaddis, edited by Steven Moore [I reviewed this book and am including it here as a way of sneaking in a gentle reminder: Everyone should read Gaddis’s novel J R.]

Mawrdew Czgowchwz, by James McCourt [I’ve been thinking a lot about the semicolon lately. Apology, a new magazine, which I also recommend, asked me to moderate a discussion on the semicolon, to determine whether it’s an endangered species. I invited some writers, including James McCourt, to contribute short pieces about their use of (or disdain for) the semicolon. There are some beautifully deployed semicolons in Mawrdew Czgowchwz (pronounced “Mardu Gorgeous”) and wonderful writing throughout.]

Collected Body, by Valzhyna Mort [Excellent poems. Her first book, Factory of Tears, is super, too.]

His Wife Leaves Him, by Stephen Dixon [Out soon from Fantagraphics Books. I helped proofread the novel, which I considered an education in storytelling. Dixon is just so quick at starting and stopping his stories, and so artful without seeming the least bit artful. This book is Dixon’s masterpiece.]

An interview with Paul Maliszewski may be found here, on The Paris Review website.

The poet James Wagner recently asked a bunch of writers, “Why do you write?” I responded, or tried, anyway, and so did others.

James Miller

James Miller. Photo courtesy of author.

James Miller. Photo courtesy of author.


James Miller is a London born author and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English Literature at Kingston University. He read English at Oxford, earned an MA in Anglo-American literature at University College London and then completed his PhD in African-American Literature at King’s College London. Before joining Kingston University full time he taught A-level English at various colleges in London, American Literature at King’s College London and creative writing at South Bank University.

He has published two novels, Lost Boys (2008) and Sunshine State (2011). His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines, literary journals and anthologies. Recently, these have included: 3:AM Magazine, Beacons: Stories for our Not So Distant Future, Still: A Literary Art Book, and What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes? for a Jazz Band, The Moss Project.

On the 5th of March 2013 James ran the MFA Teaching & Writing Workshop.


James Miller’s list of recommended reading:


Discipline and Punish – Michel Foucault

Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia – Deleuze and Guattari

Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism – Frederic Jameson

The Production of Space – Henri Lefebvre

The Society of the Spectacle – Guy Debord

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The Wretched of the Earth – Franz Fanon

Orientalism – Edward Said

Mythologies – Roland Barthes

Sexual Personae – Camille Paglia

Simulacra and Simulacrum – Jean Baudrillard

What is Literature? – Jean Paul Sartre

On Revolution – Hannah Arendt

American Power & the New Mandarins – Noam Chomsky

Eroticism – Georges Bataille

MFA Students to Read this Weekend

No Dead White Men is thrilled to announce that three Kingston MFA students will be reading at Ace Stories in Brighton this Sunday evening. Many congratulations to Natalie Cotton, Ryan Licata and Citlalli Milan who will be reading with Hannah Vincent (Kingston MA graduate). The event will also include music by Simonne and the Dark Stars. Please see their biographies below and come out to show your support!

Ace Stories KWS Student Showcase

Ace Stories is a live literature event project created by and directed by Jason Clifton, and supported by Arts Council England. It began in June 2010 with the first event at the Hotel Pelirocco, a boutique hotel in the centre of Brighton. Ace Stories is currently in its 3rd season of events, this one running from February to September 2013.

This is the second season Ace Stories’ has had Kingston Writing School as a supporter and partner. The following KWS tutors have read at Ace Stories since 2010: Scott Bradfield, Rachel Cusk, James Miller, Courttia Newland– and some of the students or KWS writers-in-residence who have participated include Alan McCormick, Mike Loveday, Hannah Tuson, Stefania Mastrorosa and Hannah Vincent.
Performers (In alphabetical order)
Natalie Cotton:

After spending many years creating a hybrid of reality and fiction working in communications, Natalie Cotton realised she’d far rather write about her own experiences of the world. She’s now writing a novel and is part of Kingston University’s MFA programme. She displays signs of obsession with bees, climate change and engineering.

Ryan Licata:

Born in the golden town of Benoni, read literature and philosophy at the University of Cape Town, and taught bambini in the hills of northern Italy. Joined forces with the Italian artist Hannes Pasqualini, to create Sons of Sorrow, a collection of illustrated stories. Currently working on a crime novella. Loves reading short stories, and writing them, too. He is currently studying for an MFA in Creative Writing at Kingston Writing School.

Citlalli Millan:

Citlalli Millan is from Mexico City. She trained as an actor in London and toured through India with a production of Twelfth Night. Her first Creative Writing workshop was at the age of nine, and since then she has been writing gory short stories, documentaries and is now writing a novel about the violence in Mexico.

Hannah Vincent:

Hannah lives in Brighton.  She started out as a playwright after studying drama at UEA.  Her plays have been produced by, among others, The Royal Court and the National Theatre Studio.  She worked as a TV script editor for BBC Drama and now she teaches Creative Writing for the Open University.  She completed the MA in Creative Writing at Kingston in 2012.

PLUS music from Simonne & the Dark Stars: Simonne and the Dark Stars, a four piece-band based in Brighton UK, draws inspiration from artists as diverse as Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Chopin. With keyboards, bass & drums they bring lyrical poetry to life with driving rhythm. They take you down the road marked out by haunting and delicate sounds of the saw and Simonne’s voice with hints of PJ Harvey and Kate Bush.

St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Way

Sinéad Keegan is an Irish-born writer in the final year of her MFA at Kingston and is currently writing her first novel. Her short stories and poetry and have been published in several magazines and she blogs regularly at http://www.sineadkeegan.blogspot.com. She is also the editor of No Dead White Men.


On this St. Patrick’s Day, before you don your silly shamrock headgear, dig out your “Kiss me, I’m Irish” t-shirt and go drink yourself sick on green beer, spare a thought for a true Irish tradition: the seanachie.

A seanachie (shan-a-KEE, sort of, Irish pronunciation is problematic in English) is a traditional Irish storyteller. In ancient Ireland, they travelled around the country staying with families and, in return for hospitality, they would share stories. It was a way to keep the old myths alive, to teach history and also to share the news of the day. Naturally, with newspapers, television and the internet, the days of the traveling seanachie have mainly passed in Ireland, but tradition of storytelling and being a storyteller is still strong throughout the country and with Irish people across the globe. Instead of traveling down the narrow country roads to different families every night, today seanachies can be found in the local pubs and at every family gathering. When Irish people meet, the first question we ask is, “What’s the story?” Why say what happened when you can tell the story of what happened?

Many of our storytellers have achieved worldwide acclaim, like William Butler Yeats, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and other heavy hitters. But these literary giants are not all Ireland has produced. There are currently some amazing writers coming out of the country, making waves across the literary world and their work is well worth a look. Here is my incredibly biased and far from comprehensive, taster list of five contemporary Irish writers who work across the literary spectrum:

RoomEmma Donoghue – Emma stormed the literary scene in 2010 with Room, which, among its too numerous to list accolades, was shortlisted for the Orange and Man Booker Prizes, won Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year and the W.H. Smiths Paperback of the Year Awards. Room is the story of a mother and son held captive and is told by the five-year-old boy. This ‘overnight success’ is actually Emma’s seventh novel. This prolific writer has also published several short story collections, literary history articles and anthologies in addition to writing for the screen, stage and radio.


Artemis FowlEoin Colfer – Eoin is the author of the incredibly successful Artemis Fowl series for young adults. Artemis is a hyper-intelligent teen with a troubled family who tries to outwit the characters of Irish fairy stories. In an interesting twist on the usual young adult formula, Artemis is the bad guy. This series, beginning with the eponymous Artemis Fowl, is intriguing for readers of all ages. In 2008 another of his many novels, The Airman, joined the New York Times bestseller list. With successes like these and even the sixth book of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, And Another Thing, to his name, Eoin Colfer is a literary name for our times.


Dervla Murphy - GazaDervla Murphy – Dervla’s first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle (1965), established her as a fearless traveler and extraordinary writer. For more than fifty years she has travelled the world, struggling to get away from the paved road. Her latest book, A Month by the Sea: Encounters in Gaza, took her into the homes and lives of people in Palestine. Dervla hasn’t let anything slow her down, not travel mishaps, resistance from immigration authorities or getting older. She’s now in her eighties and shows no signs of slowing down, which is great news for fans of her work.


Blackwater LightshipColm Toibin – A novelist, essayist, memoirist, travel writer, journalist and playwright, there is very little to which Colm hasn’t turned his accomplished hand. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker for The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, his awards are numerous and include the Encore Award, Ferro-Grumley Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix du Meilleur Livre. His work has a quiet power, an extraordinary sense of place and gives his readers new ways in which to view the world.



The GatheringAnne Enright – Anne’s fourth novel, The Gathering, won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and her other books and short stories have been widely praised. She has also won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year and the Encore Award. Her picture of Ireland is uncompromising and nuanced, accommodating both the country’s deep history and its modern contradictions.



So perhaps on this St. Patrick’s day, we can all enjoy a good Irish read beside our pint of Guinness, glass of Bailey’s or measure of Jameson’s. Ireland, its people and its history is so much deeper than this international stereotype of drinking. One look at any of these writers shows this in abundance.

2013 MFA Residency Series Flyer

2013 MFA Residency Series Flyer 3


The Jumper Analogy: Unpicking Reading Like a Writer

Emma Strong completed a Creative Writing MA in 2008. After a couple of years off to have two children, she’s now completing the MFA and PGcert. Before motherhood she worked in legal publishing, the youth homelessness voluntary sector and local government.




Thinking about how to teach a subject while studying it yourself provides an interesting intertwining of perspective (as well as roots in need of urgent attention, a furrow at the top of the nose and a chaotic mound of paper, books and files where our table used to be – there’s method somewhere). During the MA and MFA I’ve loved reading and picking apart books, those recommended by the course and those I’ve loved and been inspired by over the years, in terms of how they might guide me. Now also studying the art of teaching and reading around the pedagogy of creative writing I am conscious of just how intrinsic to studying CW it is to read as a writer. I am also coming up against how tricky it is to explain this skill to some of the undergraduates we’re teaching. It’s more than one person who’s said good writers borrow, great writers steal. We’re all aiming to steal, right? We all want a great palate to steal from; to understand the palate of other writers and how they used it. I want to find a way to illustrate the process of critical analysis. I want my students to learn to do it well. I want to do it better myself.

Going with the idea that a good analogy is often a good start to explanation, I’ve been mulling over a jumper analogy … I’m working on it but I’ll share where I’m up to. Let me know if it works for you.

It is human to spin a yarn for each other. They were doing it in the caves at Lascaux. We’re still doing it now. We love stories. All the stories we ever share evolve apparently around seven archetypal yarns. What kind of yarn are you reading? What kind of yarn are you writing? Does it conform to one of the archetypes? How’s it been spun? Does it make the yarn interesting? Does it push the particular yarn somewhere new? Is it roughly spun and raw or super refined, like cashmere? (Come with me. It’s a jumper analogy. What are jumpers made from? Yarn … boom boom. I’m here all week; still cheap at twice the price.)

The yarn being considered, is it still spooled in a ball, or spooled right out, unravelled and messy, ready for the cats to play with? Or has it been made into something else, such as a jumper? What sort of jumper? What’s the form and structure of it? If it’s been shaped into a twinset does that ruin it?

What about a traditional Aran? It’s pretty amazing to see yarns worked so beautifully to conform to all those age old twisted knots and stitches. Fashion says we need a batwing or an asymmetric sleeve right now. Does that matter? Of all the jumpers you’ve loved before, is there a particular shape you always return to time and time again? Admit it. Most of us have a type. The black turtle neck, the grey slouchy v-neck, the cream twinset, the rainbow striped baggy number, the cobwebbed nearly-a-dress-now jumper bought at Glastonbury?

What about style? How should the neck, shoulders, and cuffs be shaped? Turned back or not? Was it working up to the turtle neck but now it’s ruined? Is it too long or too short? Does the way it floats away at the edges make it? Are the buttons down the front adding to its overall impact or detracting? Are they actually the essence of the piece? What do the stars say? How do they add to the meaning of the jumper? Can a jumper mean something? Yes! How do the stars affect the jumper’s meaning? Why do you think that? Is it influenced by couture or street fashion? Has it been critically acclaimed? Does that affect its meaning for you? Thinking about all the stylistic touches you know, which have you tried to re-create? Which worked/ which didn’t? Which do you repeat and repeat?

What about the language of the jumper: the stitching, patterning and colour? What’s its register and tone? What about those Aran knots? That intricate Fair Isle patterning? That plain black chunky yarn knitted up using only garter stitch? Does it make your year to see 2-ply merino worked in moss stitch into an experimental form? Or do you just want a reliable Miss Marple twinset or an easy going goes with everything M&S romantic comedy? Is garter stitch a doddle, moss stitch unnecessary too-try-hard faff, rib the only way to go?

What about the genre, commercial or not, mode of production and marketing? Is this the first jumper someone at home has ever knitted? Or has it been crafted by an artisan on a far off Scottish isle? Is it conforming to mass demand, machine knitted and mass produced? Is the yarn pure wool or mixed with unnatural fibre? What about the needles? Are there other jumpers out there like this one? How does it compare? Has the knitter knitted other jumpers? How does this one compare? Do you want to knit just like them or is it just the way they use colour that you love? Is this just the sort of jumper you wear or would it look out of place in your collection?

Overall, does it feel like this jumper has a premise, an argument to state? Does it have to have one? Why do you think that? Is it successful? Can you learn from it? Adapt it? Argue it from another angle?

Could this analogy make it easier to unpick a writer’s yarns and learn from them? Or does it just make it trickier to put a jumper on?

BTW: As well as completing my novel, I’d like to poke my finger in the eye of the boring blokes (it’s always a bloke) who lament the proliferation of creative writing courses and the pursuit of them by bored housewives. What’s education for? Did he miss the feminist movement? I’m not bored!

Barrie Keeffe Masterclass

Barrie Keeffe, celebrated screenwriter and playwright, will be discussing his work in the film industry for a special masterclass open to all Kingston MA and MFA students.

Tuesday, 19th March
Knights Park, Tower Block Room 502

Wendy Cope OBE

Wendy Cope OBE. Photo by Adrian Harvey.

Wendy Cope OBE. Photo by Adrian Harvey.

Wendy Cope is an award-winning English poet renowned for her wit and humour. After reading History at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, she then spent many years teaching primary school in London, before making the switch to full time freelance writer in 1986. She has been a tutor on a number of Arvon courses and still occasionally runs workshops in academic settings and elsewhere.

Her first collection, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, introduced the world to her clear imagery and biting wit and became a bestseller. She has since published several more collections, which have all been enthusiastically received both by critics and the public. She has also edited a number of poetry anthologies including Is That the New Moon (1989) and The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998). Drawing on her experience as a primary school teacher, she has also written a narrative poem, The River Girl (1991) and two children’s books,   Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988) and Going for a Drive (2010).

In 1987 she won a Cholmondeley Award for poetry and in 1995 she was awarded the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse. In 1998, BBC Radio 4 listeners voted her their choice to succeed Ted Hughes at Poet Laureate. If I Don’t Know (2001) was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award and in 2010 she was made an O.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday honours. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Wendy Cope is part of the 2013 MFA Residency Series. She is also a writer in residence at Kingston Writing School. She regularly works with students and does readings. On 26 February 2013 she taught the MFA Writing and Teaching workshop talking about her experiences, strategies and motivations as a creative writing teacher and also modelling a poetry workshop.

Selected Bibliography

Poetry Collections:

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986)

Serious Concerns (1992)

If I Don’t Know (2001)

Family Values (2011)

Narrative Poem

The River Girl (1991)

Edited Anthologies

Is That the New Moon (1989)

The Orchard Book of Funny Poems (1993)

The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998)

The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories (1999)

Heaven on Earth: 101 Happy Poems (2001)


Books for Children

Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988)

Going for a Drive (2010)


As with all our visiting writers, Wendy has kindly supplied a recommended reading list.

Some books I’ve enjoyed recently:



Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie

Mountain Home: the Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, translated by David Hinton


The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

Skios by Michael Frayn

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Keras by Simon Rae (a book for children)


Gig by Simon Armitage

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