J. Robert Lennon on This American Life

j robert lennon

2012 MFA Resident, J. Robert Lennon, was recently featured on an episode of the Public Radio International program, This American Life. He reads an excerpt from his short story “The Accursed Items” in episode 205: Plan B.

You can read more about J. Robert Lennon on No Dead White Men, here.

Information about the MFA Residency Series, including a description of the series and writer profiles, is available here.

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Bradfield!

No Dead White Men and the students of the 2012/2013 MFA in Creative Writing cohort are thrilled to announce that our course leader, Dr. Scott Bradfield, was the recipient of a Student-led Learning and Teaching Award, last night. Scott won the Excellence in Course Development Award for all his hard work on the MFA in Creative Writing. Scott received over 20 student nominations commending his teaching, feedback, student support skills and the enthusiasm that he applies to his teaching on the BA, MA and MFA programs. The awards committee, however, were so impressed by the picture painted of the MFA program that they created a special award to recognize the amazing opportunities Scott has initiated, supported or continued for the course.

This is the first year that Kingston has had Student-led Learning and Teaching Awards. Almost 300 nominations were received, so to have won is a great honour and shows just what a brilliant job Scott does. A panel of Kingston University Students’ Union students and course representatives, and staff from the Academic Development Centre and other areas of the university sifted through all the nominations and then decided on the finalists and winners.

The event was held at the Holiday Inn by the Thames in Surbiton and included dinner and musical entertainment provided by KU music students. Winners of both student representative and staff awards, finalists and student nominees were in attendance.

After being presented with his award, Scott attributed much credit and thanks to all his colleagues in FASS and in the Creative Writing department saying that the MFA program had been created and strengthened by them all. He paid particular tribute to the work of David Rogers, Karen Lipsedge, Andrew Teverson, Adam Baron, the administrative staff who run the program and all the staff who teach on the modules and supervise dissertations.

Highlights of the MFA program at Kingston University include:

  • The opportunity to earn a PGCLTHE qualification to teach in higher education
  • The opportunity to get in-classroom teaching experience as a graduate teaching assistant
  • Weekly writing workshops in support of the dissertation
  • A module on advanced critical reading for writers
  • A module on arts employability, including the option to initiate and run a community project
  • Series of workshops on teaching from some of the top writers at Kingston University
  • The MFA Residency series where Scott brings in writers from across the UK and the top MFA programs in the US to run workshops on teaching and writing, give public readings and work with students in one-on-one tutorials. This is an opportunity not available through any other MFA program in the UK or US.
  • Personal tutorials with a top writer in support of the dissertation
  • This fantastic blog
  • An annual publication, Writings…, that compiles all MFA students’ work and a formal launch event
  • Scott’s boundless enthusiasm, his personal support and his desire to always improve the program

All this is to leave out how great a teacher Scott is, though. Here are some thoughts from his MFA students on his teaching:

I think of two things when I think of Scott:
“The boy is in a kicking situation with the ball”
“Just write the next sentence.”
I initially heard both of these gems back in 2008, the first year of my BA. I have carried these statements with me ever since and expect to continue to derive new insights from them in the years to come
.’

‘Scott teaches with a combination of straightforward constructive criticism, humour and humility. As a student in his class I genuinely feel like my time is valuable to him, and he wants to do everything possible to help me succeed. In the MFA, this has meant bringing in some of the best creative writing tutors and authors from the UK and beyond, bending over backwards to make sure each of us gets enough private tutorials to ensure we are receiving the widest variety of feedback on our work. He is also continually asking for our feedback on how to develop the course further, what would make it better, etc. His constant pursuit to make the MFA as successful as possible is what makes him a fantastic course leader and lecturer.’

‘Scott doesn’t care if you’re writing high brow literary fiction or commercial fantasy romance. His goal is to make your writing better, one sentence at a time.’

‘Scott isn’t even my dissertation supervisor, but he’s still invested in my work and takes the time to help me.’

‘Every time I think [Scott] is wrong about something, I try to do it my way and then realise that he’s right.’

‘I was in a tutorial with one of my students the other day and found myself saying to her all the things that Scott has said to me. I hope I’m as supportive, inspiring, challenging and encouraging as he is.’

As his students, we want to thank Scott for all his hard work over the past two years. It has not gone unnoticed and we are very grateful for all the time and energy he puts into the program, into us and into our writing.

Congratulations!

Dave

Find out more about the awards and see all the finalists and winners here.

Christopher Priest – 23 April 7:30pm

Christopher Priest flyerJoin the Facebook event here.

Read more about Christopher Priest in his writer profile.

Paul Maliszewski – 16 April 7:30pm

Paul Maliszewski flyer

Join the Facebook event here.

Read more about Paul in his writer profile.

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/

 

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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.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Fiction

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)

 

Essays

‘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

 

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Christopher Priest’s Recommended Reading List

 

NON-FICTION:

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.)

 

FICTION:

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.

2013 MFA Residency Series Flyer

2013 MFA Residency Series Flyer 3

Image

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)

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

Some books I’ve enjoyed recently:

 

Poetry

Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie

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

Fiction

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)

Non-fiction

Gig by Simon Armitage

Brian Evenson Story in Granta

Brian Evenson, 2012 MFA Resident

Brian Evenson, 2012 MFA Resident

 

On 22 March 2012, the Kingston University MFA Residency Series was pleased to welcome author and director of the Brown University MFA program, Brian Evenson. He gave private tutorials throughout the day, ran a Teaching & Writing workshop and gave a spell-binding public reading in the evening.

Today, we are pleased to let you know that a fantastic short story of his has been published in the most recent issue of Granta Magazine. ‘And Yet’ is a tense, unnerving and utterly absorbing short story – all the things Evenson does best. It is available online here.

Former MFA Resident Steve Erickson’s Debut Novel Lauded – Again

book_daysbetweenstationsSteve Erickson’s first novel, The Days Between Stations, may have been published in 1985, but it’s still being lauded as one of the best literary debuts of all time. Just this past Wednesday, author Nicholas Royle listed it among his top 10 first novels. The Kingston University MFA program is proud to count Erickson among the illustrious writers who have been part of the MFA Residency Series. In fact, he was one of the first authors to participate and to travel from the US and meet with students.

He edits the American literary journal, Black Clock, which, since its inception in 2004, has featured the writing of such writers as Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Aimee Bender and another MFA Resident, Brian Evenson.

Royle writes of The Days Between Stations:

“I was attracted by the cover; the illustration had a surreal quality reminiscent of Henri Rousseau, which was not not at all misleading. Erickson writes about film and identity, about the New World and the Old, about love and trains and hidden rooms and a bicycle race around Venice. Fall in love with a writer’s first novel, as I did with this, and your relationship with their work is for life.”

Read the full article here.

Our program director, author Scott Bradfield has long been a fan of Erickson’s work. In 2007, he reviewed Erickson’s novel, Zeroville, writing:

“Steve Erickson is that most unenviable of contemporary American writers––people either don’t read him at all, or they read him too carefully for all the wrong reasons. More often than not, useless and misleading adjectives are applied to his work: “visionary,” for example, or “mythmaking,” or God help us all, even “Pynchonian.” But Erickson isn’t, to his credit, any of these things whatsoever. Rather he is, quite simply, a really absorbing and continuously inventive novelist. He creates unusual characters worth caring about––and he devises original ways of telling about them.”

Read the full article here.

Visit Steve Erickson’s personal website here.

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