Fri 18 October 2019
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Friday 8 November

11.00 - 12.30            Registration

11.30 - 12.30            Choice of:

i) HE & PhD Network Meetings Led by NAWE's Higher Education Committee (North Ridings) 

Join us at this open session for creative writing academics, PhD students and anyone involved in creative writing practice, teaching and research in universities. Representatives from NAWE’s PhD Network and Higher Education Committees will discuss developments over the past year, including the updated benchmark and preparations for the REF 2021. Find out how you can be involved!

12.30              Lunch            (Restaurant)

13.30              Welcome      (Henley)

14.00              Choice of: 

A1: NOVELLA in Flash – Michael Loveday

The novella-in-flash is a fascinating and increasingly popular hybrid – a short novel composed of linked yet self-standing short-short stories. It combines the short-short story’s compressed emphasis on the individual scene or numinous moment, with the longer form of the novella, allowing for extended development of character, community, setting, action, or theme. This workshop will introduce classic examples, recommended essays, publication opportunities. In 2019, Michael judged the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award, the international competition for novellas-in-flash, and is judge again for 2020. Insights will be offered based on the 2019 longlist. You’ll develop ideas for a novella-in-flash of your own.  

B1: (i) Young Writers’ City – Anna Disley, Emily Wiseman (New Writing North)

Young Writers' City is New Writing North's targeted programme, which engages young people from the most disadvantaged communities in the North East in creative writing.  We support young people to find a talent or interest and provide progression routes for them to continue to develop their creative writing journey according to their own individual needs and drivers. The creation of art requires authenticity and truthfulness.  Having the confidence to express your ideas, in a supportive group of peers, to risk ‘standing out from the crowd’ is a pre-requisite for being able to explore the choices that may be available to you in life. This session will ask whether this work can lead to an accumulation of social and cultural capital and therefore the potential for social mobility.

(ii) Story Makers Press - Lisa Stephenson, Tom Dobson  

Literary criticism of children’s literature focuses on the power relations between the adult writer and the child reader with adult conceptions of normality (“aetonormativity”) are seen to “pattern” texts (Nikolajeva, 2010).  What is not taken into account, however, is how power relations might be disrupted by involving children in the writing and publishing process.  Story Makers Press (SMP) is a new publisher, housed at Leeds Beckett University’s School of Education, which represents children’s voices in literature through involving children in the writing process.  Here we reflect upon how we used drama and creative writing workshops with 2 groups of children to publish our first 2 books.  In doing so we look at how working in this unique way promotes children’s voices and disrupts power relations in children’s literature.

C1: Prose Poetry Panel - Oz Hardwick, Anne Caldwell, Andrew Melrose

i) Prose Poetry: Closure and Openness - Oz Hardwick

‘Humans,’ writes Gillie Bolton, ‘are narrative-making creatures; creating stories is our way of making sense of things.’ The Aristotelian beginning-middle-end offers a comfortingly familiar structure in which the most complex and challenging aspects of human experience may be contained; and even in our postmodern age of distrust in grand narratives, it is a structure that is employed successfully in countless popular novels, as well as other forms of writing, from blockbuster cinema to therapeutic practice, to the concise precision of flash fiction. At the same time, humans are drawn to poetry which, while it may contain narrative, tends towards a different kind of beginning-middle-end, in which the poem’s conclusion is much more likely to represent an opening within the mind of the reader than a sense of narrative closure.

This paper will look at the ways in which prose poetry, perhaps more than any other literary form, encourages simultaneity of both openness and closure.

ii) Prose Poetry, Borders and Place - Anne Caldwell

I have recently completed a collection of prose poems that explores notions of place and identity in the north of England, called Alice and the North. My chosen format of a rectangle of text echoes that of Anne Carson in her book of prose poems, Short Talks (re-issued in 2014). This was deliberate as I wanted to draw the reader’s attention to the edges and limits of what the prose poem can represent: that sense of the littoral, whether literal or more metaphorical. This paper will examine some of the characteristics of prose poetry that enable it to act as a receptacle to respond to contemporary notions of place, borders and edges. I see our connections to place evolving, particularly in the face of climate change and current political turmoil. Writing within the field of anthropology, Tim Ingold explores the human as an organism which 'feels' its way through the world that "is itself in motion"; constantly creating and being changed by spaces and places as they are encountered. How can the form of prose poetry rise to this challenge? This paper is an invitation to re-configure, re-imagine, and re-discover the ways in which we think about poetry and place, consider our limits and boundaries, to disentangle rigid borders, (whether real or imaginary) and challenge our assumptions.

iii) Prose Poetry, Compassion, Protest - Professor Andrew Melrose

'Prose poetry and the poetics of protest' - When Khaled Hosseini wrote his 'Sea Prayer' he wrote of the need for a literary compassion. But is this enough? This paper will explore a poetics of compassion and protest and how it engages with art as truth at the edges of human experience.

D1: (i) Creative PhDs: Why all the angst? - Catherine Cole

This session explores the ways in which creative PhDs still managed to cause consternation in some academic circles, suggesting there remains an uneasy alliance between creative and critical research. Doctoral students also sometimes suffer from a lack of confidence in asserting a strong critical or theoretical voice when describing their own creative practice. What have decades of PhD supervision taught us about the academic culture that surrounds a critical/creative PhD? What impact does this have on the student/supervisor relationship? Are there new or better ways to managed creative research - and if so, who do we need to convince?

(ii) Creative & Critical Writing - Deirdre Daly

This paper shares the results of my experience of teaching ‘Creative and Academic Writing’ workshops at an Arts & Humanities university. It contributes towards valorising the role of writing in Academic Literacies. I present examples of my ‘writing to think’ strategies and analyse learners’ feedback. I assess to what extent my chimerical approach met the needs of students (as they described them) but also provided practical support for academic assessments. Finally, I position my work on thinking-writing within the key pedagogical strategies of Generative Writing (Elbow, Murray) and Re-Genre-ing or Reconfiguring Academic Knowledge (English).  

(iii) An Alternative to the Peer Review Workshop – David Bishop

The peer review workshop has been called ‘the signature pedagogy’ of creative writing as an academic discipline. This presentation offers an alternative to that model. David Bishop reveals how the Edinburgh Napier University MA, a genre fiction-focused creative writing programme in Scotland, developed a new pedagogical methodology inspired by masterclasses at conservatoires and other practice-based institutions. This approach favours editorial feedback, one-to-one mentoring, and in-class coaching to help students become more critically self-reflective and more self-sufficient as writers. He discusses how this prepares students for building collaborative professional relationships with editors and agents, and for their lives after the programme. 

E1: (i) Teaching Ethics to Writers – Duncan Dicks

In this interactive presentation Duncan Dicks discusses how he has explored the use of ethics in writing lectures.  The lectures have three objectives: firstly, ethics engages writing students in seeing everyday events from a different narrative perspective; secondly, it offers a range of writing tools that help students with both plot and character definition; finally, a discussion of reader’s ethics gives students a framework on how to engage with the workshop environment.  Duncan looks at utilitarianism, duty ethics, and virtue ethics and makes practical use of Phelan’s theory of Narrative Ethics.

(ii) Teaching Criticism in a Creative Writing Class – Magnus Eriksson

Teaching criticism in creative writing courses has a dual purpose. One aim is to educate students that will work professionally in the critical field. The other aim is to provide the students with tools for evaluating their own work as well as the work of their fellow students. Magnus Eriksson from Linnaeus University in Sweden will discuss how teaching criticism makes the writer a better writer. He will analyze how the interplay between fictional writing and critical and essayistic writing refines the understanding of literature in a way that proves meaningful to both poets and writers of fiction. 

(iii) Challenging the Unconscious Biases of Creative Writing in HE – Kevan Manwaring

Alain Robbe-Grillet boldly claimed: ‘All writers believe they are realists. None ever calls himself abstract, illusionistic, chimerical, fantastical, falsitical…’ In many academic discussions so-called ‘mimetic fiction’ is seen as the norm and any reference to or inclusion of ‘Fantastika’ (Clute's term) is seen as anomalous and has to be justified. Why is Fantastika (or any genre fiction for that matter) seen as the 'Cinderella' in literary discourse? This paper discusses this and posits a notion: Is this endemic bias because the academy prejudices logical positivism, empiricism and materialism? If so, why do those positions remain largely unchallenged? And to widen the debate: what other unspoken assumptions are there implicit in our choices of texts, pedagogic methodologies, module design, and forms of assessment? Do the recent (often student-led) initiatives to ‘decolonise the canon or curriculum’ need to also happen in other areas, a broader decolonisation of the imaginarium of contemporary writing practice, pedagogy, and institutional procedure? What other elitist, sexist, heteronormative, neuronormal, able-bodied, or ethnocentric biases linger? 

F1: (i) A Local Laureateship Experience - Robyn Bolam

This session draws on the recent experience of being ‘Hampshire Poet’ to show the varied opportunities a local laureateship can offer as well as sharing ideas on promoting poetry in your own region. It raises practical issues involved in working with adult writers at different stages of development, as well as running sessions for groups in Years 3, 6 and 9-13, and those excluded from school. Other topics include judging a poetry competition on climate change, editing an anthology, giving talks to non-writers and being commissioned to write poetry for display in an art gallery.

(ii) Locating Shelley’s Heart - Brad Gyori

Shelley’s Heart is a location-aware project based around the gravesite where Mary Shelley is buried along with the heart of her husband, the poet Percy Shelley. This presentation will show participants how to explore its 4 interweaving story-paths. Locative projects often feature either factual information (museum audio guides), or fictional stories (ambient literature), but Shelley’s Heart combines fact and fiction in order to promote critical thinking as participants engage with an interactive experience that is an education tool, a tourism attraction and a media rich storyworld.

15.30 - 16.00            Tea/Coffee Break

16.00 - 17.30            Choice of:

A2: Poetry Workshop: Writing Poems for/with Teenagers – Carole Bromley

Following on from Carole Bromley’s successful workshop last year on writing poems for children, this time she is inviting participants to come along and have a go at writing poems for pupils in secondary schools. Suitable for secondary teachers wanting to encourage their pupils to write as well as poets planning to work with this age group in a school setting, or indeed anyone who just wants to find out more about what poetry there is out there for young people and how to go about writing it yourself. A practical and fun session from which you will go away with a handful of new poems and a head full of ideas.

B2: Page, Stage & Digital Age: three approaches to teaching poetry in HE - Ruth Stacey, Jack McGowan, Katy Wareham Morris

This collaborative panel will showcase some practical applications of three distinct approaches to poetics: re-voicing historical text fragments through palimpsests and slanted approaches to archive material; establishing an interactive structure for the practical analysis of spoken word poetics; and, exploring the potential of social media platforms in the creation of innovative digital poetics. An introduction to these approaches will be explored through practical elements, further demonstrating and contextualising how these techniques may be used in the creative classroom. This will be followed by a panel discussion concerning the implications and intersections of these research-led pedagogical approaches in a HE context.

C2: i) Europe Calling - Lorena Briedis

As the most representative association of creative writing in continental Europe, the EACWP has consolidated his engagement in the enrichment of the pedagogical debate. Over the past year, the EACWP celebrated the 3rd edition of its Teachers Training Course (Belgium), its XV symposium (Barcelona) the 2nd edition of its European Flash Fiction Contest among other projects and interchanges, involving British partners and colleagues. Thanks to our agreement of mutual membership with NAWE and the wider presence of British members within the association, this presentation intends to offer and reinforce collaborative initiatives between continental Europe and the UK. 

(ii) Rejection and Resilience - Gillian Best

Being a writer means learning to live with rejection, but what can we do to build reserves of inner resilience — in ourselves and in students? Tools for accepting rejection and building resilience are vital and often overlooked in creative writing programmes. To help students — and ourselves — continue to write, to enjoy the process, and eventually develop as writers, we need better strategies than simply saying it happens to everyone. This brief talk will explore what can be gained from rejection and how to foster resilience.

iii) Author PR – Martha Halford

The talk will start with an overview of the media-sphere, both traditional and digital, and will explain how to harness it to your own advantage to publicise your book. It will then summarise the various stages of a PR strategy and will discuss how to put together some arresting pitches and to target them to the right media. Some alternatives to the national media will also be highlighted:

  • Specialist media (on- and off- line)
  • The author’s local media
  • Media relevant to the author’s personal background and interests

The talk will end with an outline of social media: why they are vital to your PR strategy? A few topics covered:

  • How to decide which social media are right for you
  • How to develop a following
  • How to stimulate your followers’ interest

D2: i) Writing Matters – Judy Waite

This workshop will offer delegates engagement with creative writing activities whilst outlining a twelve-week research project with reluctant writers in school. Pupils initially identified their reluctance was based on lack of confidence in ideas, and a view that creative writing held no relevance beyond school. Utilising cross-curricular approaches, pupils created ‘Goldilocks’ planets inhabited by weird and wonderful species, experimenting with visualisation and mind-mapping. The outcomes were all positive. Evolved initially for year-eight participants, additional research at primary level demonstrated the techniques had value for all age-groups. The workshop will also invite group discussion, identifying ways to re-interpret the project’s methodologies for a range of levels.

ii) Applied Drama Techniques – Emily Capstick

Drama is increasingly used by heritage & cultural organisations to engage and educate visitors. While it can be both entertaining and an effective device for presenting facts, its real power lies in the opportunities it provides to explore the significance and complexity of these facts.   Drawing on diverse projects (including Chester Zoo’s songbird conservation project, Viking celebrations in Sweden & ‘Finding Our First World War' at Imperial War Museum North) this practical workshop will introduce drama techniques, consider how these can develop for creative writing and how this writing can then be shared with others.

E2: (i) Re-enchanted Forest – Ali Cargill

How can we write the natural world? This presentation will draw on examples from recent women writers such as Sara Baume, Annie Dillard and Helen Macdonald to examine ways in which the natural world is articulated: unpeopled, pristine, or human impacted/spoiled landscapes; small wildernesses. Research reveals the shift towards collage and hybrid texts, where fiction and creative nonfiction are merged to offer creative freedom to writers of all ages. The presentation will share moments from the hybrid doctorate text Mother Moments, where nature writing, fiction and remembered ‘reality’ of memoir are combined in a montage novel which introduces the concept of re-enchantment.

(ii) Geopoetics on the Move – Ceri Morgan

This 30-minute presentation showcases some of my recent work on geopoetics as both practice and method. For Kenneth White, geopoetics is a world writing which ‘applies not only to poetry ...  but also to art and music, and can be extended ... into science and even social practice’ (2004: 241). A long-time member of the Montreal-based research group, La Traversée, I practice geopoetics as a collective, leading walking-writing workshops which engage with themes such as communal memory and social justice (‘Memories of Mining’, Silverdale Country Park 2016), food poverty (as part of the Food Unwrapped network day, Keele University 2018) and plastics and the environment (to accompany the ‘Subversive Plasticity’ exhibition by Deirdre McKay et al., Keele University 2019).

(iii) The Greenish Quiet: Finding the hidden moments of history to turn into poetry – Edwin Stockdale

In this paper I will be presenting research from my practice-led PhD in Creative Writing.  I am writing a collection of poetry about Richard III; his wife Anne Neville, Duchess of Gloucester; his mother Cecily Neville, Duchess of York; and the Princes in the Tower.  My research involves reading academic history texts; also responding to art, portraits and stained-glass representations of my characters (ekphrasis).  Walking in landscapes known to my characters has influenced my work (psychogeography).  These factors combine to allow me to access the small, intimate moments of history.  The absent, the unseen, the forgotten: these are my themes.

F2: i) Creative Writing and Anxiety – Melanie Jones

Throughout history, links have been made between creativity and madness. The archetype of the ‘mad artist’ has been perpetuated by writers like William Blake, Silvia Plath, and the Marquis de Sade. Modern research suggests that ‘expressive writing’ has physical and mental health benefits, so do artists with mental difficulties use creative pursuits as a way of soothing emotional turmoil? And does therapeutic writing have wider relevance? A theoretical presentation will suggest an approach to creativity that is both beneficial to the psyche and to the creative output. Participants will then have the chance to write ‘expressively’ using writing methods informed by PhD research, and to develop this personal writing into work that has a more universal resonance.

ii) Fear and loathing – Zoe Mitchell

The confidence and mental health of students is an increasing challenge for tutors. This issue is particularly acute in teaching poetry, because of an assumption that the practice is elite and/or requires personal revelation. Additionally, the way that poetry is taught in schools presents the poem as an intellectual exercise which seems separate from the realm of creativity. This presentation considers some of the challenges of teaching students who are afraid of poetry. Using examples from exercises developed for the BA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, this presentation considers where the fear has arisen from and how to address it in a way that is inclusive and inspiring.

17.45 - 18.30            Launch: Valley Press Anthology of Prose Poetry - Anne Caldwell & Oz Hardwick (Henley)

Prose poetry is at the cutting edge of contemporary writing, freeing words from the bounds of traditional poetic grammar and opening up new possibilities. In this ambitious, ground-breaking anthology, Valley Press showcases new work from a diverse range of UK writers, carefully curated by editors Anne Caldwell and Oz Hardwick. Featuring bite-sized morsels of original writing from familiar names like Simon Armitage, Jen Hadfield, Luke Kennard, Helen Mort, George Szirtes, Patricia Debney, Carrie Etter and a host of new talent, this is the ideal travelling companion for readers searching for a mind-expanding literary adventure. 

This launch will introduce the work of some of the writers featured in the anthology (funded by Arts Council England), and aims to raise the profile of this form in the U.K. as well as open up a discussion with editors Anne Caldwell and Oz Hardwick on the merits of the prose poem. NAWE writers included in the anthology will be encouraged to read their work.

18.30 - 20.00            Dinner (Restaurant)

20.00 - 21.00            Reading and Q&A with IMTIAZ DHARKER (Henley)

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet and artist, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, 2014. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library and worked on several projects across art forms in Leeds, Newcastle and Hull, as well as the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral. Her six collections include Over the Moon and the latest, Luck is the Hook, and her poems have been broadcast widely on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as well as the BBC World Service. She also scripts and directs video films, and has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings.

21.00 - 22.00            APROPOS Open mic hosted by Yvonne Battle-Felton!

In this 60-minute session, writers will read/perform extracts from their creative research to an engaged audience of listeners, readers, and other practitioners who just really want to hear a good story, poem, script, memoir, essay or hybrid. You’ll have 5-7 minutes to read/perform. To sign up for an open-mic slot, please email Dr Yvonne Battle-Felton at Please include the title, word count, how many minutes the piece is (5-7 minutes), format, and two sentences (maximum) about the creative piece (themes, audience). Pieces will be selected for variety.


Imtiaz Dharker

8pm: Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet and artist, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, 2014. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library and worked on several projects across art forms in Leeds, Newcastle and Hull, as well as the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral. Her six collections include Over the Moon and the latest, Luck is the Hook, and her poems have been broadcast widely on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as well as the BBC World Service. She also scripts and directs video films, and has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings.