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Professor Richard Marggraf TurleyUK Crucible Leadership Lab

The dept's Professor Richard Marggraf Turley, resplendent in crisp white shirt, speaking to delegates of the UK Crucible leadership lab in York about the ups and downs of collaborative research. (Photo 17 June.)

“The Quantified Romantics”, at Being Human 2015

The department is delighted to have been awarded funding to stage an event, “The Quantified Romantics”, at Being Human 2015, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities.

Romanticst Professor Richard Marggraf Turley, collaborating with imaging specialist Professor Reyer Zwiggelaar (Computer Science), and partnering with Ceredigion Museum, will be using a package of biometric instruments to measure if 200-year-old Gothic shockers really do raise pulses. Members of the public will be seated in a darkened area to view images of Gothic paintings and pages of Romantic novels – such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1817) and Dr Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819) – while biometric data (including heart rate and skin temperature) is gathered from specially built wristbands.

The event will be held during the festival week of 12 – 22 November, and has been made possible by a grant from the festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Now in its second year, Being Human is also supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy (BA), with support from the Wellcome Trust. Professor Richard Marggraf Turley (English and Creative Writing), Aberystwyth University’s Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination, said: “If Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, or Dr Polidori, who penned the world’s first vampire novel, could have tested their readers’ ‘terror’ reactions using biometric wearables, Reyer and I like to think they would have! This event demonstrates in pulse-raising ways how humanities research intersects with cutting-edge science”.

Author of several books on the Romantic poets, Richard is also author of The Cunning House, a crime novel with gothic elements set in 1810. http://www.richardmarggrafturley.com

Image: Introduction to first edition of John Polidori's The Vampyre (1819) (Posted 11/06/2015)


Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015

Maria Apichella's collection of poetry has just won the Melita Hume Prize for Poetry 2015. For further information visit http://toddswift.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/the-winner-of-melita-hume-poetry-prize.html (Posted 09/06/2015)





Guardian Review of The Cunning House

"The Cunning House by Richard Marggraf Turley (Sandstone, £8.99) is firmly located in both space and time: a male brothel in London, 1810. Not only do the mollies run the risk of capital punishment if they are caught, but the city is in a moral panic fomented by political suspicion and religious fervour. Lawyer Christopher Wyre finds himself caught in a web of intrigue – the world of taverns, asylums, the Bow Street Runners and St James’s Palace, where the Duke of Cumberland, fifth son of George III, has been attacked. Well researched and meticulously detailed, using the rich and pungently biological language of the time, this is the best kind of historical mystery – informative and utterly fascinating at the same time."
The original review can be accessed http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/21/the-best-recent-crime-novels-review-roundup (posted 26/05/2015)

The Wales Book of the Year Award 2015

Once again the Department is well represented on the shortlist for Wales’s most prestigious literary prize, the Wales Book of the Year Award. Professor Tiffany Atkinson is shortlisted for her collection of poems So Many Moving Parts (Bloodaxe) and Creative Writing PhD student Tyler Keevil has been named for his book of short stories, Burrard Inlet. It is the third time Tyler has been listed for the award – his novels Fireball and The Drive were chosen in 2011 and 2014 respectively, and both also won the People’s Choice Prize for the most popular book on the list, voted for by members of the public. Three titles have been named in the poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction categories in English and Welsh. The winner in each category and the overall winner in each of the two languages will be announced on Thursday 4 June. For more information visit http://walesbookoftheyear.co.uk/2015-award/ (posted 07/05/2015)


Huge congrats to our lecturer Beth Rogers (@thebethbook) whose "Children's Literature on the Move" has won the Children's Lit Assoc's Honor Book award

Book cover - The Cunning House by Richard Marggraf Turley

The Cunning House

Professor Richard Marggraf Turley talks to Nicola  Heywood Thomas and guests on BBC Radio Wales Arts Show about his new crime novel, The Cunning House, teaching in the department and being the University’s Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b055qgr0 (0.35-5.00; 22.00-24.00)




Winners of the M Wynn Thomas Prize 2015 Announced

Jamie Harris, a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Tim Woods and part-time tutor in the Department of English and Creative Writing, has recently been announced as a winner of this year’s M. Wynn Thomas Prize for outstanding academic work in the field of Welsh Writing in English. The ‘Open’ category of the prize was won by Heather Williams (Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth), for her submission, ‘Iolo Morganwg, Edward Williams and the radically bilingual text: Poems Lyric and Pastoral (1794). Jamie’s submission, the as-yet unpublished essay ‘Iain Sinclair: “Born in (South) Wales, 2001”’, is the winner of the ‘New Scholars’ category.

According to the press release, ‘the judging panel (Dr Matthew Jarvis, Aberystwyth University/University of Wales Trinity St David, Dr Aidan Byrne, Wolverhampton University and Dr Alyce von Rothkirch, Swansea University) were hard-pushed to arrive at a decision. The panel felt that the winners’ work showed exceptional scholarship as well as the willingness to explore new territory.’

The prizes will be awarded at the annual conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English, ‘The Country and the City: Rural and Urban Wales’, to be held at Gregynog Hall, Powys, 27-29 March 2015.

Kate Hamer: Guardian's New Faces of Fiction 2015 

A former Creative Writing MA student the Department has been featured in the Guardian's 'New faces of fiction 2015'. Kate Hamer's debut novel Girl in the Red Coat is published by Faber & Faber and is available from the 15th of March. 

Read the article here.  

Agri-tech and the Arts: From Barns to D-Space

 Over the holidays, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley gave a talk on Romantic painter John Constable and technoethics at the well-known Chaos Computer Club’s annual Congress in Hamburg. Richard often speaks on the intersections between literature and contemporary science/tech, and in this talk  he addresses food security, austerity, agri-tech and food riots. Among other things, he was promoting his new co-authored book, Food and the Literary Imagination (2014).

A video of Richard's talk can be found here

REF 2014

Ranked in the top 50 departments for World Leading and Internationally Excellent research.

Medicine Unboxed Prize

Professor Tiffany Atkinson has won the £10,000 Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize 2014 for a forthcoming collection of poems exploring the themes of pain, illness and recovery. The prize is part of a national project aimed at connecting the practice of medicine with the discourses of the arts and humanities. Tiffany, who lectured in the Department for many years, was recently appointed to the prestigious post of Professor of Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of East Anglia, but continues to supervise PhD students at Aberystwyth. She has published three volumes of poetry, most recently So Many Moving Parts (2014), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The new collection will be published by Bloodaxe. Full story. 

Katherine Stansfield Writes Poem of the Week

Only a few months after a poem by Tiffany Atkinson was featured in The Guardian, another poet with strong connections to the Department has achieved the same distinction. Dr Katherine Stansfield took her BA, MA and PhD degrees at Aberystwyth, then became a lecturer in the Department, before leaving to concentrate on her writing. ‘Canada’ has been selected by poet and academic Carol Rumens for her popular Poem of the Week column. Professor Rumens writes:  “‘Canada’, from Katherine Stansfield’s lively first collection Playing House, has some of the restless complexity of a Baroque fugue.” Katherine recently won the £250 first prize in the Penfro Book Festival Open Poetry Competition for her poem ‘The Woman on my National Library of Wales Library Card’. Read the poem here. 

English Student wins Prestigious Award

Aberystwyth PhD student Tyler Keevil has won the $10,000 Journey Prize, awarded for the best short story of the year by an emerging Canadian writer, for his short story ‘Sealskin’. Tyler, who works as a lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, has been a creative writing student at Aberystwyth since 2008, having taken an MA here before embarking on his PhD. His first novel, Fireball, was published in 2010, and was followed by a second, The Drive, in 2013. ‘Sealskin’ is taken from his first collection of short stories, Burrard Inlet, which was published this year by Parthian Books. The judges wrote: “‘Sealskin’ is a stunner. Tyler Keevil has accomplished something rare: a story about rough masculinity that brims with emotion and pathos.”

Read more here.

Celebrating popular children’s writers of the past

Dr Beth Rodgers published an article in The Irish Times this week to mark 100 years since the death of LT Meade, who was the JK Rowling of her day but is now a largely forgotten figure in the history of children’s literature. Check it out here

Beth will be talking more about her research on Meade at the department research seminar on Wed 3rd Dec at 4.15pm (Room D54).

Beth was also on the airwaves last week discussing a much more familiar name – Enid Blyton. Following the news that The Faraway Tree is to be made into a film, Beth appeared on Radio Ulster to talk about Blyton in the 21st century. You can hear the discussion at 1 hour 53 minutes from the following resource 

Keats in Three Crowds

Amid the Mediterranean’s “balmy zephyrs” and autumnal “streams of light”, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley gave a keynote lecture at the University of Cyprus’s international “Romanticism and the Future” conference. The two-day event was held in the House of Arts and Letters (pictured) in Paphos. His paper, entitled “Keats in Three Crowds”, discussed the English Romantic poet’s experience of surveillance culture in 1819, and identified new contexts for the composition of the famous ode “To Autumn”. Earlier this year, Professor Marggraf Turley delivered the opening keynote at the first Keats Foundation conference at Keats House, Hampstead, also on Keats’s experience of State eavesdropping. A co-authored new book, written and researched with Jayne Archer and Howard Thomas, Food and the Literary Imagination, is published later this month, and includes a section on the Romantic poets: http://bit.ly/1wuGoDJ



LBA Prize for Fiction 2014                                          

Congratulations to undergraduate student Camilla Woodrow-Hill who has won the 2014 LBA Prize for Fiction with her novel Cadence. Camilla graduated this week with a BA in English and Creative Writing.

The annual LBA Prize is a long-standing partnership between the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth and Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA), a leading London literary agency. LBA was established by literary agents Luigi Bonomi and Amanda Preston in March 2005. They represent a wide variety of best-selling and prize-winning authors, journalists and writers, including Fern Britton, Josephine Cox, John Humphrys, Gervase Phinn, Alan Titchmarsh, Terry Wogan, and former Director of Creative Writing in the Department, Jem Poster. The prize is only open to students in the Department of English and Creative Writing, with the winner meeting Luigi to discuss their work and to learn more about the publishing industry.

Luigi was very impressed by Camilla’s work: ‘Cadence is a vibrant, original take on a rarely seen mythological creature. We loved the Siren storyline, and think the plot is adventurous and exciting. The writing is young and captures the teenage setting perfectly - Molly comes across as someone with whom we can empathise and who is genuine, while Theo is captivatingly mysterious. Cadence has the potential to become a YA hit, and is a fantastic example of the extraordinary level of talent exhibited by this year's competition entries.’

Camilla is delighted to have won: ‘I really am beyond thrilled. I think there's a common idea that YA fiction isn't “literary” enough but it's always been what I love most. There's no way I would have expected to win. I know how talented the other people writing at Aberystwyth are!’

Dr Katherine Stansfield, Lecturer in Creative Writing and LBA Prize Co-ordinator in the Department, congratulated the winner: ‘We’re all delighted for Camilla. Meeting with Luigi is a fantastic opportunity for her to receive feedback on her writing from a major figure in commercial publishing. The standard of entries from our students is always exceptionally high so to win is a major achievement. The continuing relationship between the Department and LBA demonstrates the Department’s commitment to supporting students in securing publication of their work and learning more about careers in the publishing industry.’

Thanks to all who entered this year’s competition. Details of the 2015 LBA Prize will be announced in the spring

Literary prize success for department students!

We’re very proud to say that a third of the writers nominated for this year’s Welsh Book of the Year award are current students or graduates of the department. Current student Jemma King’s first collection of poetry (also shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas award), and former students Fran Rhydderch and Tyler Keevil’s first and second novels were picked from over 100 books as representing the very best writing in Wales today. More details can be found here: http://walesbookoftheyear.co.uk/2014-award/

'Engage 2014' Competition

Professor Richard Marggraf Turley has been invited to join the panel of judges for the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s “Engage 2014” competition. The Award Ceremony will be held in June at the Natural History Museum.

 Aber lecturer’s poems featured in the Guardian


Dr Tiffany Atkinson, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

So much cold
even the moon can't swallow it
or the harbour in its fishy dark. You
balance your breath like a bowl of dry
ice. It's all a mistake, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the heart spins hard on its string
is an animal watching. It scratches
at night, perhaps a beak or a tusk,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

So much rain
even the deepest hill can't filter it
or the river with its open gills. You
carry your heart like a full dish of blood.
It's all such a blessing, this body,
this job, this love. Somewhere inside
where the lungs stretch their intricate wings
is an animal watching. It wriggles
at night and shows its belly or its tender scales,
is neither kind nor unkind, just restless.

Published in the Guardian 15.2.14 as ‘Poem of the Week’. Tiffany’s poem ‘Autobiograpy Without Pronouns’, the Guardian’s poem of the week in April last year, can also be found on their website. Catulla et al (Bloodaxe Books, 2011), her second collection, was shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award (Wales Book of the Year) in 2012 and was a TLS Book of the Year. Her third collection, So Many Moving Parts (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Being Human

The department has been successful in bidding with partners for funding to take part in BEING HUMAN, the UK's first national festival of the humanities, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. The bid was submitted by Jacqueline Yallop as part of her recent research SIP project, and is a partnership with the University of Sheffield and Ruskin's Guild of St George. The money will fund a day of talks, public activities, films, projections, displays and artworks in November 2014, celebrating Ruskin's phrase 'There is No Wealth But Life.'

Stormy Weather

New Year got off to a memorable start with the worst storms in living memory! Luckily the bad weather passed off quickly and, despite the dramatic pictures, there wasn’t any damage to any of the halls. First year Beth Shepherd lives in the seafront residence and said “after the brief evacuations, which were dealt with well, everything returned to the normal 'routine' the day after - I felt that although the disruption was a tad frustrating, it was extremely good of the university staff to make our wellbeing and safety their priority. Plus, free food for a weekend? I won't lie, that was pretty awesome.”

Research News

Professor Sarah Hutton has been invited to be a member of the moderating panels for two AHRC funding schemes: the Research Grants scheme and the multi-dsiciplinary Science in Culture scheme. AHRC moderating panels play a key role in deciding the outcome of applications for research funding by making funding recommendations on the basis of the peer review reports on funding applications

Employability Event

Seventy-six undergraduate students attended the employability event on February 24th. Designed as a round-table discussion, the 2-hour seminar focused on possible careers in publishing and welcomed five speakers from across the UK: a commissioning editor, a literary agent, a marketing specialist, a commercial writer and a publishing intern. All the speakers were eloquent and encouraging, allowing students to better understand the structure of the profession and the opportunities available.

‌‌Book of the Year Award Shortlist

Congratulations to Kate Hamer who has been shortlisted for the British Book Industry’s Book of the Year Award for her novel ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’. Kate graduated from Aberystwyth University in 2014 with an MA in Creative Writing.



The 4th Annual David Jones Centre conference, Alun Lewis and Welsh War Poetry, will take place on Wednesday 23rd September (1.30-6.30pm) in the Drwm, National Library of Wales.

To book a (very cheap) ticket, just go to http://drwm.llgc.org.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/show_event.html?uid=2335