What is the MFA Residency Series?

As we begin our new semester there are some exciting events coming up for second year MFA students and the wider community through the MFA Residency Series. But what is this series and how can you get involved?

The MFA Residency Series is a knowledge and teaching exchange set up by our course leader, Dr. Scott Bradfield, to enhance the writing and teaching education for MFAs. As many of you will already know, the MFA in Creative Writing is considered a “terminal degree”, which means that it is a qualification for teaching at the university level. In the second semester of course’s the second year students take a module called “Teaching and Writing Workshop.” In this class we have a weekly workshop, run by a variety of instructors who also speak about their teaching experience and strategies. It is designed to give students hands-on experience with different workshopping styles and methods that they can then implement in their own teaching.

The MFA Residents are select, outstanding writers who also have extensive teaching experience. They hail from various countries and often fly in specifically to be a part of this series. In addition to running a workshop, these writers and teachers also do private tutorials with all second year MFA students.

But what does this mean for you if you’re not a second year MFA? Good news: they also do readings that are open to the public. We encourage everyone to come meet these leading writers and hear them read from their work.

In the past, Dr. Bradfield has brought in writers including Fiona Sampson, former editor of Poetry Review, J. Robert Lennon, head of the MFA at Cornell University, and Brian Evenson, head of Brown University’s MFA program. And this year’s list is no less impressive with the following authors participating:

* Lamar Herrin, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University’s MFA program and author of novels, short stories, poetry and, most recently, a memoir entitled Romancing Spain.

* Wendy Cope OBE, Writer in Residence at Kingston University and poet renowned for her wit. Recent collections include Family Values and Two Cures for Love.

* Paul Maliszewski, editor and author of criticism, short stories, essays and poetry including the short story collection, Prayer and Parable, and the essay collection, Fakers: Hoaxers, Con Artists, Counterfeiters, and Other Great Pretenders. It is our great pleasure to welcome Paul back for the second time as an MFA Resident.

* Christopher Priest, prolific author of everything from children’s non-fiction to novels and biographies. The film adaptation of his 1995 novel, The Prestige, was directed by Christopher Nolan and received two Academy Award nominations.

The dates for the public readings are as follows:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013 – Lamar Herrin at 7:30pm at Penrhyn Road Campus in John Galsworthy room 3003

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 – Paul Maliszewski at 7:30pm

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 – Christopher Priest at 7:30pm

Locations along with author information will be posted on this site before each reading. We hope to have the profile of Lamar Herrin up very shortly so check back with us or follow this blog for updates via email (see box in at the top of the column on the right-hand-side of this page). Please come to the readings and enjoy the work of these fine writers from both sides of the Atlantic.

Paul Bailey – Autumn tutorials

Paul Bailey

PAUL BAILEY is a British writer and critic, author of several novels as well as memoir and biographies. He is a winner of numerous awards and has been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Paul Bailey won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1953 and worked as an actor between 1956 and 1964. He became a freelance writer in 1967.

He was appointed Literary Fellow at Newcastle and Durham Universities (1972-4), and was awarded a Bicentennial Fellowship in 1976, enabling him to travel to the USA, where he was Visiting Lecturer in English Literature at the North Dakota State University (1977-9). He was awarded the E. M. Forster Award in 1974 and in1978 he won the George Orwell Prize for his essay “The Limitations of Despair”, first published in The Listener magazine.

Paul Bailey’s novels include At The Jerusalem (1967), which won a Somerset Maugham Award and an Arts Council Writers’ Award; Peter Smart’s Confessions (1977) and Gabriel’s Lament (1986), both shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction; and Sugar Cane (1993), a sequel to Gabriel’s Lament. Kitty and Virgil (1998) is the story of the relationship between an Englishwoman and an exiled Romanian poet.

In Uncle Rudolf (2002), the narrator looks back on his colourful life and his rescue as a young boy from fascist Romania, by his uncle, a gifted lyric tenor.

His latest book is “Chapman’s Odyssey” (2011), in which the main character, Harry Chapman, in morphine-induced delirium, encounters an all-star cast of characters from public and private history.

Last evening, during Julian Barnes’ acceptance speech for the 2011 Man Booker Prize he offered some advice to publishers: “Those of you who have seen my book, whatever you think of its contents, will probably agree it is a beautiful object. And if the physical book, as we’ve come to call it, is to resist the challenge of the ebook, it has to look like something worth buying, worth keeping.”1      Chapman’s Odyssey is one such book. Beautiful.

Paul Bailey is Distinguished Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Kingston University.

  1. Mark Brown for Guardian, Wed 19th October, 2011. available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/18/booker-prize-julian-barnes-wins

on Uncle Rudolf:

‘An exquisitely composed novel.’ – Stevie Davies, Guardian

‘One of Paul Bailey’s best.’ – Penelope Lively

on Chapman’s Odyssey:

If Fred Astaire had been a novelist he would have been Paul Bailey. One of the wittiest, most panacheful and most graceful writers we have’ – Ali Smith

Bailey has a rare feeling for language and an understanding of character few can rival’ – Daily Telegraph

You can read more from, and about, Paul Bailey at Guardian online:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/paul-bailey


Fiction –

At The Jerusalem (1967) – winner of the Authors’ Club First Novel Award

Trespasses (1970)

A Distant Likeness (1973)

Peter Smart’s Confessions (1977) – Short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction

Old Soldiers (1980)

Gabriel’s Lament (1986) – Short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction

Sugar Cane (1993)

First Love (ed., 1997)

Kitty and Virgil (1998)

Uncle Rudolf (2002)

A Dog’s Life (2003)

Chapman’s Odyssey (2011)

Non-fiction –

‘Limitations of Despair’: An Essay (1978)

An English Madam: The Life and Work of Cynthia Payne (1982)

An Immaculate Mistake: Scenes from Childhood and Beyond (1990)

The Oxford Book of London (ed., 1995)

The Stately Homo: A Celebration of the Life of Quentin Crisp (ed., 2000)

Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Naomi Jacob, Fred Barnes and Arthur Marshall (2001)


Thursday 13 October
3:30 – 4:00  Citlalli

Tuesday 8 November 1-3
1:30-2:00   Mike Loveday
2:00-2:30   Lauren Forry
2:30-3:00   Stuart Bird

Tuesday 15 November 1-3
1:30-2:00   Rich Mallender
2:00-2:30   Alexandra Little
2:30-3:00   Sarah Veeder

Tutorials will take place in the Piction room. Work (approx. 2,500 words) should be submitted by email one week in advance, or as agreed with Paul.

Liz Jensen – Autumn tutorials

Coming up – Your Autumn tutorials

Liz Jensen

LIZ JENSEN was born in Oxfordshire, and read English at Somerville College, Oxford. She worked first as a journalist in Hongkong and Taiwan, then a TV and radio producer for the BBC in the UK, then a sculptor and freelance journalist.

Her work has been short-listed for the Guardian Fiction award, nominated three times for the Orange Prize, developed for film, and translated into more than 20 languages. Liz Jensen is currently working on her eighth novel, a ghost story. She divides her time between London and Copenhagen.

She is Writer-in-Residence at Kingston University.

Jensen is becoming one of our best writers, sometimes surreal, sometimes down to earth, always with a great and embracing human sympathy’  – Fay Weldon

Our most brilliant woman novelist’ – Rod Liddle

‘Liz Jensen is a true original, beholden to nobody’ –
Deborah Moggach


Fiction –

Egg Dancing (1995)

Ark Baby (1998)

The Paper Eater (2000)

War Crimes for the Home (2002)

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax (2004)

My Dirty Book of Stolen Time (2006)

The Rapture ( 2009)


Irvine Welsh reviews The Rapture for the Guardian:



Tuesday 25 October
1 – 1:30 – Mike Loveday
1:30 – 2 – Lauren Forry
2 – 2:30 – Steve Timberman
2:30 – 3 – Serina Gothard

Tuesday 22 November
1-1:30 Sarah Veeder
1:30 – 2 – Ying Trangkasombut
2 – 2:30 – Richard Mallender
2:30 – 3 – Gideon Roberton

Thursday 24 November
12 – 12:30 – Alexandra K Little
12:30 – 1 – Stuart Bird

All tutorials will take place in the Picton Room. Work must be emailed a week in advance or as agreed with Liz.


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