Diagrams by Alison Gibb

A word from MFA alumna and Kingston Writing School Emerging Writer in Residence, Alison Gibb:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Silent Diagrams Cover

I am pleased to inform you that my latest work, Silent Diagrams, a pamphlet collection of poetry and drawings, has recently been published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

Silent Diagrams is a series of pencil drawing over a single poem. The drawings document my process of visualizing poetic activity to create diagrams, which illustrate and generates spaces for live performance.  The diagrams were originated during the development of Thus in the crossing, a poetic dance performance in collaboration with choreographer, Elaine Thomas.

Thus in the crossing was recently performed at E:Poetry 2013 & at the Practice, Process and Paradox Conference 2013 at Roehampton University.

For further info on Silent Diagrams please visit Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

 

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If you’re an MFA student or alumus/a keep us updated on your success!
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Jumping the Shark: Knowing When to Say ‘The End’

“I loved Grey’s Anatomy until I realised I hate it.”

A friend of mine and I were discussing our favourite television programmes recently when she came out with that little gem. Then we were off on a rant about how shows can start so well, be so compelling and then one evening as you settle into the couch you realise that you don’t even like your favourite programme anymore.

  • Grey’s Anatomy went from being a comedy/drama about a young woman struggling to both fulfill and reject her familial legacy to a mess of explosions, mass shootings, plane crashes, natural disasters and anything else that could hike up drama to obscure the lack of plot.
  • 24 went from the story of a day in the life of a counterintelligence agent pushing the boundaries to stop a terrorist attack to the same thing, over and over and over again.
  • The Inbetweeners went from the coming of age story of four boys at school to…oh, wait. That’s exactly what it was.

People often lament that US television shows go on for too long and fizzle out whereas UK programmes ‘leave the viewers wanting more.’ But do we actually want more? I think not.

We may feel we want more, because Tuesday nights just won’t be the same without the characters we have come to love. Because we crave more of the laughs or the tears or the shocks the writers have delivered. But what we really love is the story. And it’s important to know when a story is over.

In Grey’s Anatomy, the story is: will the aspiring surgeon succeed or will she fall prey to her inner demons? She’s succeeded. She’s a surgeon, she’s got the guy, they’ve built the house of their dreams, she’s triumphed over difficulties in getting pregnant, for goodness sakes, she even owns the hospital now. The answer is there. The story is over. A long time over.

24 was a great premise: one day, 24 hours and the problem that one character faces in that time. Except then they did it again and again, year after year with the same protagonist and the same problem. That’s not a story, there is no character development when the protagonist just repeats the same actions every season. Plus, it’s just ridiculous that one character would single-handedly need to resolve that many terrorist attacks, and all in exactly 24 hours.

And, now, we come to hailed success stories like The Inbetweeners and How I Met Your Mother. Why do these shows work? Because they have limited scope. There is a point when they end. The inbetweener boys finish school and Ted, presumably meets his kids’ mother.

All this to say that it is time for me to jump the shark. It has been a great year for me on No Dead White Men. I have enjoyed working with all the tutors, with our outgoing MFA director, Scott Bradfield, and my talented and dedicated cohort colleagues who took time out to write fantastic articles all year. They have written about varied topics from translation to procrastination, from teaching to reading and everything in between.

As we move on and a new cohort steps in, we think about beginning new scenes, new projects and bringing the old ones to a close. Because those endings are so very important and the ending is the hardest part to write because, in many ways, it defines the whole story.

So we’re going to end simply, with a thank you for reading and a hope that we haven’t gone on quite long enough to make you hate us.

Don’t forget to keep visiting No Dead White Men as it is taken over by the 2013/2014 MFA cohort and they tell their own, new story. I am sure they will be fantastic and have lots of interesting thoughts to share.

Thank you all for your loyal readership and support.

Your faithful 2012/2013 Editor,

Sinéad Keegan

A Book Buying Excuse

Books Are My Bag

Because there’s nothing we love more than a good book. The smell of its new pages, freshly glued together. That unbroken spine. Those unbattered corners. Those unsullied margins.

Doesn’t it all make you want to go to your nearest independent bookstore, pull a lovely, new book off the shelves and bring it home with you?

Well, today is the perfect day to do just that. Today is the Big Bookshop Party. This party celebrates the launch of the Books Are My Bag campaign, which aims to support and save high street bookshops. Stores across the country will be celebrating today and are encouraging book lovers to get off of Amazon and get into their local store to buy a book.

There are lots of events going on, so find your local, participating bookshop and enjoy the day. You can even take part in a competition to win book tokens, books and get on a bookmark.

 

Publishing success for Faiqa Mansab

As we approach the beginning of the new school year, No Dead White Men welcomes into its fold a new MFA cohort. Today, we have great news from one of our upcoming MFAs, Faiqa Mansab. She tells NDWM:

“I have recently been published under the pseudonym Zeenat Mahal by Indireads, an e-publishing venture that has taken on new writers from South Asia. Indireads itself is new, and is run by Naheed Hassan, a Harvard graduate who wanted to read South Asian romance, chick-lit, mystery and other genres. Two of my romance novellas, Haveli and The Contract, were published this May and can be found on the Indireads website.

Furthermore, Running out of Ink, an online international magazine also published a short romance piece that i wrote as Zeenat Mahal, in their August issue, 2013, The Accidental Fiancee.
I’m also editing for Running out of Ink. 
 
My short story, “The Walled City”, was published by The Missing Slate in June 2013. This was with my name, Faiqa Mansab.”
Many congratulations to Faiqa!

New Facebook Address

That’s right, our page now has enough love and followers that Facebook has deemed us worthy of our own address. You and everyone else in the world can now find us at:

www.facebook.com/KingstonMFA

Don’t forget to “like” us.

Oh! The excitement of it all.

Artwork by Alaa El Fadel

Amniotic City – Lucy Furlong’s Poetry Map Reviewed in The Guardian

Amniotic City

MFA poet, Lucy Furlong is featured by The Guardian today for her poetry map, Amniotic City. Dan Holloway describes her work as “a beautiful exploration of the way a city can consciously and unconsciously suppress an important part of its nature, and how a little imaginative trowel-work can reveal what is hidden – and transform the things you see around you every day.” You can read the entire glowing review on The Guardian website.

Lucy will also be reading this Saturday evening, 03 August 2013, at the Structo Issue 10 launch at 6pm in the Society Club in Soho, London. This lovely bookshop/gallery/cafe/bar is a hidden London gem and will be packed with fantastic writers and readers this weekend. The event is free, so drop in, hear some good writing and pick up a copy of this great magazine featuring the best poetry, fiction, essays and interviews from around the world. For more information on the Structo launch check out the event site.

The Society Club

Are you an MFA graduate, current student, lecturer or writer-in-residence with publishing or performance news? If so, let us know!

A Look Back at the Kingston Writing School Athens Summer School

For four weeks this summer, writers from around the world gathered in Athens, Greece for intensive creative writing workshops led by Kingston Writing School writers in connection with the British Council.

Athens school logoThis very lucky editor was among the students there for the first week of the session and can attest to just how brilliant it was. Waking up in the ancient city of Athens, spending the day wandering through centuries-old ruins and the evening discussing writing with motivated writers was incredible. Inspiration lay around every corner.

Weekdays from 6-9pm we would gather at the British Council offices in Kolonaki Square, revel in the glorious air conditioning and workshop an incredible array of writing. There were several courses to choose from:

1. 2 week Intensive Prose Writing with novelists Adam Baron and Rachel Cusk

2. 2 week Intensive Poetry Writing with Jane Yeh and Paul Perry

3. 4 week Mixed Genre Writing with James Miller, Siobhan Campbell, Norma Clarke and Jonathan Barnes

4. 2 week Fiction and Poetry Writing with Jonathan Barnes and Alison Gibb

Teaching these classes were: novelists Adam Baron, Rachel Cusk, James Miller and Jonathan Barnes, poets Siobhan Campbell, Jane Yeh and Alison Gibb, and poet and novelist Paul Perry.  Students also benefited from visits from notable Greek writers.

One of the best experiences of the week was not only the amazing teaching, but also the opportunity to connect with other, international writers. The 33 registered students were in classes of between four and eleven writers and were able to socialise and discuss writing with the other classes through organised events. The power of literature in the face of the current economic crisis was evident in the classroom. It was fascinating to hear from Greek writers about the economic and social turmoil, and to see how it was represented in their writing. Students hailed from several countries including Greece, the UK, the USA and Mexico, ranged in age from teenagers to retirees and had professions from novelist to diplomat. The wealth of world and life experience added to the rich discussions of writing and literature.

Many students found that the intensive nature of the course encouraged them to produce more than they normally would have. For those students who struggled to start, the teachers gave writing exercises to kick start creativity. The summer school ended with an impressive and moving evening of readings by participants that highlighted the success of the program.

Huge thanks are due to all of the staff of the British Council and the director, Tony Buckby. Special thanks to Irini Vouzelakou and Maria Papaioannou who did an enormous amount of work to organise everything behind the scenes to make sure the summer school ran so well and to make it all possible. Their hard work and positivity put everyone at ease and made both students and staff feel welcome in Athens and at the British Council. At Kingston University, many thanks to the staff who taught and to David Rogers for his leadership of Kingston Writing School in forging this new bond.

The consensus from the teachers, students, Kingston Writing School and the British Council is that the first year of the Athens International Creative Writing Summer School was a huge success. Director of the Kingston Writing School, David Rogers says, “We have definitely established a special link among Kingston Writing School, the Athens British Council, and our new community of Greek and international writers.”

Kingston Writing School and the British Council look forward to further developing and expanding that community next year when the Athens International Creative Writing Summer School will return as an annual event. So if you missed out this year, not to worry! It is expected that similar creative writing courses will be offered and organisers are looking into possibly offering courses in literature or nonfiction/journalism.For more information, keep your eye on the Kingston Writing School and British Council Athens websites.

Re-release of Scott Bradfield’s first book: The History of Luminous Motion

The History of Luminous Motion

We are excited to announce that Dr. Scott Bradfield’s highly acclaimed first novel is being re-released by Calamari Press in August 2013. Below is the press release:

Blue Velvet meets Oedipus Rex – Philip, a disillusioned and possibly psychopathic wunderkind, leads a Bonnie & Clyde existence with his increasingly despondent Mom before reluctantly settling down on the frayed fringes of suburbia, Then, like normalizing redemption, his affluent Dad arrives – only it’s not the sort of redemption Philip is prepared for. First published in 1989, this long-neglected cult classic features revisions and a new afterword by the author.

“A novel as mysterious, beautiful, sad and frightening as contemporary American childhood itself – and, fortunately, a good deal funnier. Bradfield’s California is haunted by vast primordial Lovecraftian forces – death, sex, credit cards, Mom – which threaten always to emerge from their ancient hiding places and engulf the world and the narrator, eight-year old Phillip and his preteen Karamazov friends. Those who think they know all about California and Oedipal drives will here discover the true extent of their ignorance. The thing is indescribably – violent, hallucinatory, comic and incredibly well written. Scott Bradfield has not simply staked out new literary terrain here, he has mapped and colonized an entire new planet.” – Michael Chabon

“Bradfield is one of my favorite living writers.” – Jonathan Lethem

“A wizardly writer of stories, His prose is so lucid and exact, his narrative sense so conficent, that you hardly know where he’s taking you until you’re there.” – Tobias Wolff

“Scott Bradfield has been writing some of the wises and funniest fiction for a while now.” – Sam Lipsyte

“Painfully beautiful writing.” – Mary Gaitskill

“As disorienting as it is seductive…casts an utterly irresistible spell. This is the voice, recombinant and renewed, of Thomas Pynchon exploring the reaches of inner and outer space, Don DeLillo exposing the vile politics of technology, John Leonard spitting up the whole vile twentieth century…a daringly original literary sensibility.” – Newsday

“If you spot it, grab it. If you like my stuff, you’ll like [The History of Luminous Motion]…extremely well done; most unusual…quite a powerful piece of work.” – J. G. Ballard

Scott's Press Release

Summer Reading Series at the Rose Theatre: 10 July 2013 Event

Frog Prince Communication

MFA student Vivienne Raper has been hard at work with several other students and the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames to organise a brilliant series of public readings beginning on the 10th of July in the Rose Theatre’s Culture Cafe. The series will kick off with N M Browne reading on the theme of transformations. Short stories, poetry and other short forms of writing on this theme are welcomed from the public! Email vivienneraper@gmail.com to book your open mic slot or turn up on the day to see if there are still spaces left. Pieces should be no longer than 5 minutes in length.

Not to worry if you can’t make this event, there will be events in August, September and October with headline readers and Writers-in-Residence Kayo Chingonyi, Mark Barrowcliffe and MFA lecturer James Miller and open mic slots every month.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet writers, get involved with Kingston Writing School and to get public exposure if you’re a writer, yourself!

Kingston Connections 2013

Layout 1

Kingston Connections starts in The Rose Theatre Kingston today. An exciting collaboration between the university, Royal Borough of Kingston, The Rose and Creative Youth, we are offering a heady mixture of dance, talks, poetry, theatre, music, writing workshops, science discussions. There’s even the chance to be part of a psychology experiment. Come along and join in!

Highlights today include a talk on genes (10:30am), a poetry reading (12:00pm) and a free workshop on self-publishing (5:30pm).

The full programme (as a PDF) and booking information is available on the Rose Theatre website.

MFA lecturers, tutors and writers in residence to be featured include:

Monday, 24 June 2013, 3:30-5:30pm, Rose Theatre – novelists Adam Baron & James Miller in conversation. Why Do You Write?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013, 12:00-1:00pm, Rose Theatre – poet Jane Yeh reads with Emily Berry.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013, 6:00-7:00pm, Rose Theatre – author Courttia Newland discusses how he has used his own life in his fiction. Life Writing: A Life in Fiction: autobiography and the novel. **Editor’s note: We regret to announce that Courttia’s talk has been cancelled. There are still lots of great events on this week, though, so get thee to Kingston!

Kingston students, alumni and staff can get free or reduced admission to most events!

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