Aberystwyth academics awarded M. Wynn Thomas Prize
Two members of the English and Creative Writing Department at Aberystwyth University were presented with literary prizes at the launch event of the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English on Wednesday 16 October. Professor Sarah Prescott and Dr Mary Chadwick are both winners of the M. Wynn Thomas Prize for 2013 and were presented as part of a special celebration event, held at the Callaghan Lecture Theatre at Swansea University.
The M. Wynn Thomas Prize is offered to celebrate outstanding scholarly work in the field of Welsh writing in English. There are two prize categories: the ‘Open’ category and the ‘New Scholars’ category. Professor Prescott, Director of the Institute of Literature, Languages & Creative Arts (ILLCA) at Aberystwyth was successful in the ‘open’ category and her one-time PhD student, Dr Chadwick, in the ‘New Scholars’ category.
Sarah Prescott spoke of her pleasure at receiving one of the awards; “Professor M. Wynn Thomas’ own work has been ground-breaking in pushing back the period boundaries of Welsh Writing in English. “As such, I am honoured to receive this prize as part of my own contribution to the on-going reconceptualization of this literary field to include women writers from the seventeenth century such as Katherine Philips. I am also delighted that Mary Chadwick, whose doctoral thesis I supervised, is succeeding so well in this increasingly vibrant and growing area.”
Professor Prescott’s essay on Katherine Philips and Archipelagic Coterie Space is based on research funded by The British Academy for the 'Women Writers and Wales, 1600-1800' study, and is to be published in Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature in 2014.
Major publishing success for our postgraduate Creative Writing students
Congratulations to Kate Hamer, an MA Creative Writing student in the Department of English and Creative Writing, who has just secured a two-book deal with publisher Faber. Her debut novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, will be published in 2015. Faber have called Kate a 'distinctive new voice in British fiction'. Read the full story here: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/faber-buys-hamer-debut.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Kate's success follows hot on the heels of Eliza Granville, one of current Creative Writing PhD students, whose novel Gretel and the Dark will be published by Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin, in February 2014. Read more about the novel here:
Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2013
Congratulations to creative writing PhD student Maria Apichella, who has been shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2013. The award is for a poet under 35, who will receive £1000 and publication of their debut collection by Eyewear Publishing. The final decision will be made on 8 September. More information here: http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/the-melita-hume-prize/2013-shortlist/
New Novels Published from Writers in the Department
The new academic year is beginning with a flurry of new novels from writers in the Department. The Drive, the second novel by PhD student Tyler Keevil, following the acclaimed Fireball three years ago, was published by Myriad Editions in August. More information on his website here: http://www.tylerkeevil.com/ .
Our newest creative writing lecturer, and current PhD student, David Towsey, will be publishing his first novel, Your Brother’s Blood, in September. The first of a trilogy of science fiction novels, it is published by Quercus Books and will be launched at the Arts Centre Bookshop on 7 November. The first review has already appeared here: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/08/book-review-your-brothers-blood-by-david-towsey.
Lecturer Dr Katherine Stansfield publishes her first novel, The Visitor, with Parthian Books this autumn, and will be launching it at the bookshop on 21st November. Her website is: http://katherinestansfield.blogspot.co.uk/.
Finally, Flight, the second novel by Creative Writing Fellow Dr Rosie Dub, originally published in Australia by Fourth Estate, is now available in the UK. Rosie will be reading from it at the bookshop in February 2014. More on her website: http://rosiedub.com/.
Congratulations to Jemma King:
Jemma King’s first poetry collection, The Shape of a Forest (Parthian), has been longlisted for the prestigious Dylan Thomas Prize: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/long-list-30000-dylan-thomas-5681579
Congratulations to Professor Hutton
Professor Sarah Hutton has been invited by the Australian Research Council to serve as an external assessor for research grants proposals. Sarah is also a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.
Wales Book of the Year 2013
At the Wales Book of the Year 2013 Award Ceremony in Cardiff on 18 July, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley – one of the judges along with Ffion Hague and Jasper Fforde – presented Rhian Edwards with the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry 18 July. Rhian swept the board in the English language competition, also winning the “People’s Choice” Award and the overall prize for Wales Book of the Year.
EU Funding Success
Dr Elisabeth Salter is a core member of a collaborative venture which has secured EU funding as a COST-Action. The project involved participants from over fifteen EU countries and is entitled “New Communities of Interpretation: Contexts, Strategies and Processes of Religious Transformation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe”. It will run for four years from September 2013, with the key purpose of facilitating research in this field, and providing advanced subject specific skills training for MA and PhD students. The award value is 500,000eu
AHRC Funding Success
The AHRC Cultural Engagement Grant awarded to the Mostyn Project for its work on Llandudno is now coming to an end. The Principal Investigator is Dr Elisabeth Salter and the Early Career Fellows employed by the Project are Dr Mary Chadwick and Mostyn PhD Student Shaun Evans (who also passed his viva in May 2013). It has been a successful 3 months and the project team are hoping to build on this success for the Mostyn Project. If you want to know more about the Mostyn Project you can find information on the IMEMS website or email Elisabeth Salter email@example.com.
Professor Sarah Hutton is co-investigator of collaborative research project, 'Revisioning Cambridge Platonism', which has been awarded an AHRC Workshop and Networks grant. This is a collaborative research project which she is organising with Dr Douglas Hedley, of the University of Cambridge, where the project is based. A principal aim of the project is to lay the foundations for a major research project on the Cambridge Platonists which will involve research collaboration between Aberystwyth University and the University of Cambridge.
Professor Sarah Hutton has been nominated by Italy's ANVUR (National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes) as a foreign member of the Commission which has been set up to oversee the appointment of university professors in Italy. The ASN (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) is a new initiative by the Italian equivalent of HEFCE as part of a drive by Italy's MIUR (Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universita e della Ricerca) to set international bench marks for standards in higher education. Sarah Hutton has strong international links. Last year she was invited visiting professor at the University of Paris-Diderot. She says that she was hoping that the ANVUR nomination might mean visits to Italy, but in fact all the meetings will be conducted by Skype!
MA Creative Writing students publish anthology
MA Creative Writing students have just published an anthology of new writing, entitled Seafret. It was launched in the Arts Centre Bookshop as part of the annual postgraduate conference organised by the Department of English and Creative Writing. The contributors are postgraduate students, undergraduates and writers from the local community who gave readings and talked about their writing to a packed house. The publication is an annual project undertaken by MA students in the Department which provides hands on experience of editing and publishing. MA student Phil Clement said, 'I know a lot more now about designing a magazine, about the things that I had never really thought about as being in there before. It was a really fun experience and I’d advise anyone doing a Master’s in Aber to do it.' Congratulations to everyone involved with Seafret.
Departmental success at Student-led Teaching Awards
Two members of our staff were successesful in the Student-led Teaching Awards event, which celebrates the best in teaching, pastoral care and employability advice – all the more gratifying since, as the name suggests, the award winners were voted for by the students themselves.
I’m delighted to announce that Dr Natasha Alden was Highly Commended in the Pastoral Care category - this is richly deserved, and Mr Mike Smith won the Outstanding Teaching Award category – a major achievement.
We are very proud of both members of staff – many congratulations.
Shakespeare research in the department goes global
On Easter Sunday, a feature on Jayne Archer’s, Richard Marggraf Turley’s and Howard “Sid” Thomas’s Shakespeare and the food chain research made the front page lead column and editorial of Sunday Times. Journalists and commentators – including Sir Terry Wogan– picked up the story. Features, interviews, translations and readers’ responses appeared across the world: Daily Mail, LA Times, El Mundo, History Today, Mirror, Huffington Post, Telegraph, Independent, Tagesspiegel, Forbes, and MSN. Pdfs of Sunday Times front page (Jonathan Leake, Science editor); the originals can be seen at www.thesundaytimes.co.uk Audio links:BBC Wales Good Morning Wales (timing: 55.37-59.10); BBC World Service’s Newshour (timing: 18.30-22.49); American Public Radio podcast feature, Marketplace; Fox News Radio bulletin. Newsy video feature.
Jayne, Richard and Sid will present and discuss their prize-winning essay at the Hay Festival on 23 May, 7pm, along with Adeline Johns-Putra of ASLE-UKI, and Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE and former Welsh Minister for Environment and Sustainability.
Success for Eliza Granville, one of the Dept's Creative Writing PhD students, whose novel, Gretel and the Dark, has been acquired by prestigious press Hamish Hamilton. "The novel ingeniously interweaves what appear at first to be two completely distinct strands: in 1899 Vienna, the strange case of a girl who insists she is a machine – to the great fascination and mystification of psychoanalyst Josef Breuer – and in Germany, some forty years later, the story of a little girl who tries to shut out what is happening around her by taking refuge in the colourful world of Grimm’s fairytales". Hamish Hamilton will publish Gretel and the Dark in March 2014.
Shakespeare: Poet, Dramatist, Grain Hoarder
The Department’s Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Dr Jayne Archer, in collaboration with Professor Howard Thomas (IBERS), are the winners of the inaugural INSPIRE and ASLE-UKI Public Lecture Competition on Literature and Sustainability. They will present their winning lecture, ‘Reading with the Grain: Sustainability and the Literary Imagination’, at the Hay Festival on the evening of Thursday 23 May 2013. Their lecture, which sheds new light on Shakespeare’s activities as a convicted grain hoarder, will be followed by a discussion, to be chaired by Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE and former Welsh minister for sustainability. For more about the lecture and INSPIRE, see http://asle.org.uk/winner-announcement-2013-inspire-lecture-on-literature-and-sustainability/.
We are delighted to announce that Richard Marggraf Turley, has recently been appointed as Aberystwyth's first Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination. Richard was interviewed about his new role by Jason Mohammad on BBC Radio Wales on 28 January. Both agreed it was the "coolest job description on the planet". (Posted 8 February 2013)
"Places of Memory in Translation"
The first of this semester’s Research Seminars will take place on Wednesday, 6 February at 5.15 pm in Room D59, Hugh Owen Building. We will be delighted to welcome our speaker, Sharon Morris, Head of the PhD Programme at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. (Posted 24 January 2013)
PG Funding - PhD and MA applicants
In Summer 2013, the Department will award a number of postgraduate studentships. The studentships are open to those planning to study for MAs and PhDs in the Department. The awards, covering fees, are open to applicants in all areas of literary studies and creative writing, and to all MA schemes. There is no separate application form for these studentships. In order to be considered for these awards, you must have been offered a place on the MA or PhD schemes by 1 August 2013. Please note that MA students in their second or third year of part-time study and PhD students in their second and third years of study are not eligible for this competition. Queries about the studentships should be addressed to the Director of Postgraduate Studies, Dr Jayne Archer.
UPDATE: New documents shed controversial light on nation’s best-loved poem: Keats’s ode “To Autumn”
In an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday 23 March, Richard Marggraf Turley spoke to John Humphreys about archival discoveries by researchers here at Aberystwyth University. Their research suggests that lying beneath the autumnal mellowness of one of the nation’s best-loved poems, John Keats’s ode “To Autumn”, is a murkier world of banking crisis, rising prices and striking workers.
The previously unseen documents also suggest that the traditional site of the famous “stubble-plains” in “To Autumn” should be revised. Long believed to describe the picturesque water-meadows lining the River Itchen, Keats’s cornfields are more likely, the researchers argue, to portray the west-facing slopes of St Giles’s Hill, overlooking Winchester from its eastern extremity.
Generations of fans swooning along the "Keats Walk" may have been lead - literally - up the garden path by previous scholarly studies. When Keats arrived in Winchester in summer 1819, he did so in the midst of rising tensions over corn prices and agricultural working conditions. Bankers-turned-landowners were snapping up grain-producing land in Winchester to exploit high bread prices and a glut of labour (due to men returning from the Napoleonic Wars). The slopes of St Giles’s Hill had recently been turned over to corn – and it is these that Keats would have seen when he climbed the popular tourist spot. England’s most famous field now lies under a multi-storey car park.
“Keats, ‘To Autumn’, and the New Men of Winchester” is published in the current edition of The Review of English Studies (vol 63, November 2012). The authors are Dr Jayne Archer and Professor Richard Marggraf Turley of the Department of English and Creative Writing, and Professor Howard Thomas from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences. See press coverage: Guardian; Daily Telegraph 23 March; Daily Mail; Oxford University blog. (Original post 23 March 2012)
- In a recent update on this research, the Times Literary Supplement (5 December 2012) has printed a Commentary focused on political, environmental and literary influences in Keats’s ode “To Autumn”.
Wales Book of the Year Judge
Professor Richard Marggraf Turley has been announced as one of the English panel judges for the 2013 Wales Book of the Year competition (Literature Wales): http://walesbookoftheyear.co.uk/2013-award-2/
Richard is a previous recipient of the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry (2007), and won the “People’s Choice” award (Media Wales) in the 2010 Wales Book of the Year. Visit his Romanticism Blog. His fellow judges are Ffion Hague and Jasper Fforde.
MA Open Evening
On Tuesday 4 December there was an Open Evening for anyone interested in MA study in the Department of English and Creative Writing. The Evening included short presentations on the MA schemes – Creative Writing and Literary Studies, including the pathways in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Eighteenth Century Literature and Romanticism, Welsh Writing in English, Postmodern Writing, and American Literature – the application process, accommodation and funding. Prospective students were able to discuss and ask questions about MA study with members of staff and current MA students. If you missed this event but would like information, please contact Julie Roberts or Tiffany Atkinson. (Updated 21 December)
PhD Open Evening
On Thursday 6 December there was an Open Evening for anyone interested in PhD study in the Department of English and Creative Writing. The Evening included short presentations on doctoral study, the application process, accommodation and funding. Prospective students were able to discuss and ask questions about doctoral study with members of staff and current PhD students. If you missed the event but are interested in doctoral study in the Department of English and Creative Writing, please email the Director of Postgraduate Studies, Dr Jayne Archer. (Updated 21 December)
CONTEMPO - Research Cafe
The Aber Research Café (Wednesday, 12 December) brought to the fore the work of departmental research centre, CONTEMPO. Themes of environmentalism and responses to devolution characterise recent critical, creative and specifically poetic engagements. The presentation described recent sessions on: international cross-city writing/performance projects; ‘Stone Poems’ (about poems in the environment); and the recent session by Fred Wah, Canada’s current Parliamentary Laureate (a post similar to that of National Poet of Wales). The Cafés are an opportunity for all disciplines within the university to bring together their thoughts and insights. (Updated 21 December 2012)
Research Centre News
Two well-known scholars of eighteenth-century women’s writing and culture are to join the Advisory Board of the department’s Centre for Women’s Writing and Literary Culture: Professor Paula R. Backscheider, Philpott-Stevens Eminent Scholar, Auburn University & Professor Catherine Ingrassia, Virginia Commonwealth University. “We are delighted to welcome them to the Centre and look forward to working together in the future”, said Sarah Prescott, CWWLC Director.
Congratulation to Postgraduate Reps
Many congratulations to all our new Postgraduate Research Centre Representatives for 2012-13:
Centre for Romantic Studies: Stephanie Churms
Queries or ideas for Centre activities can now be directed to the appropriate Centre representative.
PhD Student's Publishing Success
Many congratulations to PhD student, David Towsey, pictured left, who has signed a publishing contract with Jo Fletcher Books at Quercus for his trilogy, The Walkin’. The first book in the series, Your Brother’s Blood, will be published in 2013.
It has been nine hundred years since man last used machines. Technology, science and medicine have been forgotten, leaving in their wake a twisted legacy: the Walkin’. The disease is passed down from generation to generation; it causes men, women and children to live on after death.
Dave was nominated for a British Fantasy Society award for Best Short Fiction in 2008. He regularly reviews for critical journals, including the New Welsh Review and the BSFA’s critical journal, Vector. Of this success, Dave said, ‘I can’t wait to start working with Jo Fletcher and her team. The titles coming out under the Jo Fletcher imprint are unbelievably exciting; to have my work become part of such a vibrant and diverse list is a real honour.’ See more information at the British Fantasy Society. (Posted 25 Oct 2012)
From 6.00 to 7.30pm on Tuesday 30th October,the Department of English and Creative Writing will be one of five universities taking part in a live transatlantic video-link-up from Ryerson University, Toronto, entitled ‘Poetry’s Public’, and featuring three poets, including Canada’s current Poet Laureate. See Poetry's Public Poster
The poets will explore the rhetoric, politics, and ethics of poetry and its public, in conversation and readings from their work.
The Aberystwyth venue for the event is the Hugh Owen Library Video Suite (on the ground floor), and the poets taking part are:
FRED WAH. Currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Calgary, Fred Wah was named Canada's fifth Parliamentary Poet Laureatein December 2011, a position he will hold for two years. Since 1965, Wah has published twenty-four books of poetry, the first entitled Lardeau (1965), the most recent, is a door (2009). Waiting For Saskatchewan (1985) won him a Governor General's Literary Award in 1986 and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry in 1992.
DALE SMITH. Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Ryerson University (Toronto), Dale Smith is an American poet, editor, and specialist in rhetoric and public culture. His poetry and essays have been widely published, and he is author of Poets Beyond the Barricade: Rhetoric, Citizenship and Dissent after 1960 (University of Alabama Press, 2012).
HOA NGUYEN. With an MFA in Poetics from New College of California in San Francisco, Hoa Nguyen is the author of eight poetry books and chapbooks. She has worked extensively in poetry communities for youth and adults across North America, most recently curating a reading series, and teaching poetics at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her latest poetry collection is As Long As Trees Last (Wave Books, 2012). (Posted 25 Oct 2012)
Launch of the David Jones Centre
This new research centre will be launched at a conference on Friday 14 September 2012, at the Drwm, National Library of Wales. David Jones (1895-1974) was an artist and poet whose work, though until recently excluded from the academic canon of Modernism, is now seen as a highly original – and perhaps as a distinctively Welsh – instance of Modernist creativity. The new Research Centre, inspired by (but not restricted to) Jones’s work, will explore the interaction of word and image in all the arts, as well as focusing on the critical question of defining and interpreting Welsh Modernism today. The conference will include a keynote speaker, presentations on the National Library’s David Jones collections and a new film, David Jones Between the Wars: the Years of Achievement, introduced by its writer/co-director Derek Shiel. See details. (Posted 6 July 2012)
More Good News for Kat
More good news for our creative writing PhD Student Kat Dawes, pictured below, who was the winner of this year’s LBA Associates prize. She has now been awarded the £1500 Mair Waldo scholarship. The award, tenable for one year, is for a postgraduate student working on ‘research that increases the body of knowledge relating specifically to Wales’. Kat is writing a novel set in Llangrannog among the surfing community of west Wales. (Posted 26 June 2012)
Learned Society of Wales 'Frontiers' Lecture, 28 June 2012
Damian Walford Davies will be presenting the next lecture in the Frontiers series, entitled Mapping the Miracle: Gerard Manley Hopkins and Psychocartography of Welsh Space. This event also marks the publication of Damian's latest book, Cartographies of Culture: New Geographies of Welsh Writing in English published by the University of Wales Press. The lecture will take place in Room 2.03 of the Humanites Building, Cardiff University at 6.30 pm. See further details of Mapping the Miracle. (Posted 14 June)
PhD Research Trip to the US
PhD student, Nigel Rodenhurst, has recently returned from a fascinating research trip to the United States. Nigel won a Library of Congress scholarship from the AHRC which provided him with funding to travel to Washington DC. Here, he was able to use the world-renowned library at the John W. Kluge Center to research the extensive archive of Philip Roth’s papers, manuscripts and correspondence, which are located in the manuscripts room in the Thomas Jefferson building. He was also able to meet other scholars and visited the National Holocaust Memorial. (Posted 14 June)
Jayne Archer is Students' Choice
The Student-Led Teaching Awards were held on Thursday 24 May in the Guild of Students and were attended by a mixture of students and staff members. The evening was led by Guild Education Officer Jess Leigh and Professor John Grattan PVC. Dr Jayne Archer of the Department of English and Creative Writing was awarded Personal Tutor of the Year. The students said: ‘Jayne is an incredibly supportive and understanding member of the English department. She chooses to interact directly with students and encourage and challenge any ideas that are brought forward to her. Her dedication to meeting with students outside of the times that she is obliged to, illustrates her passion and genuine approach to being a University tutor.’ More on the Student-Led Teaching Awards. (Posted 1 June 2012)
Devolved Voices Project - PhD Studentship Opportunity
Following the award of a £232,042 research-project grant by the Leverhulme Trust, the Department of English & Creative Writing invites applications for a three-year full-time PhD studentship (covering home/EU fees and maintenance), funded by the Trust, as part of the project ‘Devolved Voices: Welsh Poetry in English since 1997’. The studentship will start in September 2012.
The topic of the PhD will be the role of women poets since Wales’s devolution ‘yes’ vote in 1997, especially those whose reputations have been established since that time. The PhD will be supervised in the Department by Professor Peter Barry, who is Principal Investigator for the ‘Devolved Voices’ project.
The successful candidate will have a good first degree in literature, or literature and creative writing, and preferably an MA which included substantial work on poetry, or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field.