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Sunday 10 November

07.30 - 08.30 Breakfast 

09.00              Choice of:

A8: (i) Fountain of Creativity - Bethany Rivers

From my new book, ‘Fountain of Creativity: Ways to Nourish your Writing’, I offer three activities: exploration of Denise Levertov’s poem, The Fountain, how to tap into your own fountain of creativity from within yourself; exploration of William Stafford’s poem, The Way It Is, and how to find and follow the threads of your life that enable you to be more creative and; exploration of Rumi’s poem, The Guest House, in order to discover more about your own inner landscape as a writer, and how that can inform and inspire your own creative process. No previous knowledge of poetry required.

(ii) Tinkering with Text - Eve Ellis 

Students' received notions about creativity can inhibit their ability to produce, progress, and play in the writing classroom. Borrowing ideas from the design thinking process and the maker movement, I'm attempting to disrupt my students' assumptions about poetry and creativity, using writing tasks that encourage students to tinker with preexisting texts as well as to transform their own texts. Come along to hear what students make of this approach, as well as to engage in playful writing tasks, receive materials, and share practice and ideas about how writing teachers can liberate students to see themselves as makers of texts. 

B8: (i) Mindfulness Meditation for Writers - Kylie Holmes

Mindfulness is “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” The goal of Mindfulness Meditation practice is not to shut off the inner dialogue that makes you lose focus. There’s no switch to flip into the “off” position. Rather, it’s about practicing being present and choosing to pay attention to an activity or task, even if you’re just focusing on your breathing. The mind-chatter slows down when you do this, which allows you to focus and do your writing with more confidence. Some writers find themselves held back by fear, insecurities, worry, and a lack of self-confidence. These are thoughts and beliefs fuelled by those thoughts. Using Mindfulness Meditation practice helps to recognise our thoughts for what they are: just thoughts, not absolute truth. We then begin to realise they’re just thoughts it helps the writer to set them aside and get going—and keep going—with writing. Practicing Mindfulness Meditation can also assist in learning how to move past the negative mind chatter. Workshop participants will be guided through a series of Mindfulness meditation, releasing any old beliefs about writing and the self. Gentle writing activities are explored to feel empowered. All writing levels welcome.

C8: (i) Adventures in Other Worlds - Dan Anthony

Cardiff Metropolitan University recently opened its archive of work by Lionel Fanthorpe. During the 1950s and ‘60s Fanthorpe was the world’s most prolific sci-fi writer, producing over 150 paperback novels. His fiction is a window on the past and the future. His writing is unique and accessible. He characterises Britain on the cusp of change in an infinite universe. 

In this workshop the use of what might be regarded as throw-away fiction as an inspiration for new writing and research is illustrated, workshopped and discussed.

(ii) Writing a Historical Novel - Laura Martínez-Belli

This session will explore the process of writing a historical novel, and consider practical questions aimed at helping students to organize documentation into an attractive and unpredictable plot. Emphasis will be placed on narrative techniques that help organize information on topics that are perhaps known so that the book will not be a historical essay. The importance of planning and creating the scaffolding of an historical novel, to organize the ideas that will help put together the framework of the work before sitting down to write, in order to be more efficient and enjoy the process of creation without the obstacles that take the less structured writer to stop halfway. Some of the main topics covered will be: fiction at the service of literature or history; documentation; sources; historicity; when is enough; literary license in favour of the plot; historical characters and their mask; combining fictional characters with historical characters; how much should I know before I start? voice of the characters: how should they talk; the construction of the world; how to approach the recreation of period spaces; and organising information.

(iii) Shaping Stories - Dan Powell

This paper explores how Preclosure Theory (Lohafer 2003) can productively inform the writing of short fiction. With reference to structural and linguistic trends evidenced in a study sample of British short fiction, it will explore how such data can generate preclosural writing frames for writing short fiction. Examination of a story written using this preclosural methodology will reveal how conscious engagement with what is usually an intuitive part of the writing process benefits the author-practitioner. This paper will show preclosure theory is not only a powerful pedagogical strategy for reading short fiction but one for writing it as well.

D8: Can the Exquisite Corpse be Brought Back to Life? - Jess Curtis & Susanna Gladwin

In offering this workshop we are hoping to pass on to colleagues some of the teaching exercises we found most fruitful in our careers as teachers on the BA Writing & Publishing degree at Middlesex Polytechnic/University. Since then, the educational landscape has changed beyond recognition, and smart phones and social media have transformed the basics of verbal interchange. But we believe this makes more, not less, urgent the development of verbal (written and spoken) skills. We offer a template of exercises moving from nonsense to sense, single words to single sentences, sentences into structures, individual to group production, and the shared experience which can include oral, self and peer assessment. We also invite colleagues to participate in one paradigmatic exercise 'Exquisite Corpse'.  

E8: (i) Telling it Slant - Alexandra Melville

In this workshop, Alexandra Melville will outline ‘slanted’ approaches to descriptive or narrative writing, with a focus on supporting GCSE English students in creating inventive and compelling narratives. We will explore practical exercises and models which can help students to re-frame or creatively disrupt typical examination questions by considering unusual or transformative narrative perspectives, culturally conscious narratives, and emotionally-driven narratives. Participants will leave with strategies and resources to use in their own school-based practice.

(ii) Two Digital Writing Projects in Secondary Schools  - James Pope, Brad Gyori

This paper describes and discusses two digital writing projects carried out in a Dorset secondary school. We wanted to enable easy access to digital storytelling for young writers who might not know about, and probably not attempt to use, digital tools to tell stories. We also wanted to enhance our university’s engagement with the local community.With this in mind, in May 2018 and May 2019 we led projects in which Bournemouth University undergraduates worked with secondary school pupils to devise and produce digital interactive stories. Each project led to the creation of fully-working digital interactive multi-media narratives, published online.

F8: (i) Fact, Fiction, Identity - Janet Dean

A workshop on the use of family stories and family history research to inspire and develop fictional writing, and an exploration of the ethical and personal issues involved in writing about family members living or dead. Janet Dean will share her experience of using family stories as the basis for fiction and of using research to discover the ‘facts’. Participants will write about people they knew personally or whose stories have been handed down, turning factual details into compelling fiction or poetry. This workshop is based on Janet’s academic research and her current collaboration with York Explore Library and Archive.

(ii) Story as Journey - Alan Bilton

The connection between journey and story is a fundamental one, the notion of the quest or pilgrimage underpinning our very understanding of narrative form. The journey from the known to the unknown, the familiar to the strange, provides the most basic form of shape or structure, one easily grasped by reader and author alike. This session explores an exercise I have used with postgraduate students, undergraduates, adult learners, and primary age children. In it, I will reflect upon the different responses and submissions it has solicited over the years, while participants will also be able to construct their own fictional journeys and contribute ideas on narrative shape.

10.30                         TEA/COFFEE

 

11.00                          Choice of:

A9: Big Concepts, Small Words: Writing with SEN Students - Helen Dring

This workshop focuses on breaking down emotions experienced in all types of relationships and conceptualising the experience. Designed for work with young people aged 13+ with Special Educational Needs, the workshop offers strategies for helping them to describe how their relationship with others makes them feel and how to communicate with those people in speech or writing.

B9: The ‘Write’ Balance - Hilary Jenkins, Jessica Wortley, Megan C Hayes, Sophie Nicholls

90-minute workshop session

Writing your sorrows – Hilary Jenkins

Isak Dinesen once said ‘All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them’. In my presentation I would like to explore this statement with reference to my own writing experience. How does writing fiction help us cope with difficult life events? And what are the implications for our teaching/facilitating?

Nature as scaffold – Jessica Wortley

How and why do writers use the natural world as a framework to write about difficult life experiences? In recent years there have been an increasing number of successful nature memoir publications (Liptrot 2015, MacDonald, 2014, Norbury 2015, etc). This session aims to highlight the ways in which writers use the natural world as a backdrop for exploring and processing challenging life experiences. I will examine how writers weave nature into their non-fiction, and explore the benefits of doing this. I will then suggest some short exercises which use nature as a starting point.

‘Say the joy’: Writing and eudaimonia – Dr Megan C Hayes

The Greek term eudaimonia, often translated as ‘happiness’ or ‘human flourishing’, evokes a ‘process of living well’ (Ryan and Deci 2008). What does this mean today, and how—if at all—might writing contribute to such a process? When, and how, do writers flourish, and in what ways might this be facilitated? This short session draws upon frameworks offered by the contemporary field of positive psychology to explore these questions and investigate future directions for both research and practice in the field of writing and wellbeing.

Writing in high-risk healthcare – Dr Sophie Nicholls

In 2018, I began working with an inspiring group of surgeons who work together in an area of medicine where stakes are high and time is often short. Through writing and reading together, we are investigating ways in which we can: develop resilience and robust methods of self-care for surgeons at every stage of their careers; find ways of talking with patients and with ourselves about complex and challenging experiences; and ultimately, continue to improve patient outcomes. In this session, I will present some of our ongoing thoughts and ideas and how these might contribute to the research on writing in health care.

C9: Mindfulness & Creative Writing - Francis Gilbert

In this interactive workshop, Dr Francis Gilbert will provide delegates with a series of mindfulness exercises to participate in, including mindful meditation and movement, and will explain the benefits of practising mindfulness for diverse people. He will interweave the mindful exercises with various creative writing and reading responses, explaining how mindfulness can help people with developing their creativity. He will draw upon his own research and the burgeoning research in this field to explain the rationale behind introducing mindful practices in different educational settings.

D9: Poetry on Display - Maureen Fenton, Liz Cashdan

Over the past couple of years, book sales have shown the increasing popularity of poetry and the spoken word is an ever-growing area of interest.  Less has been made of a greater prominence of poetry in the public realm. Poetry has appeared on bridges, buildings, park benches, and in remembering ghost buildings. In this workshop, we hope to hear about other people’s experiences of putting poetry out there and we will look at one or two nearby sites in York to write something for display as an example of how individual practice can be channelled for a public purpose. 

E9: (i) Being a Woman Writer - Celia Brayfield

This presentation is about the way the publishing industry - agents, editors, publishers and critics - have responded to women writers. I will show how gender determines almost everything in an author's career path, from representation to reviews and also discuss the ways in which women writers respond to the industry. So in addition to the smaller advances, ghetto marketing, absurd assumptions and lack of review space, women can unknowingly make life even harder for themselves by the way they read industry professionals.  Drawing on my book Rebel Writers: The Accidental Feminists (Bloomsbury, July 2019) I will look at the experience of women writers and offer a ten-point plan for greater success.

(ii) Narrative Technique and Contemporary English Identities - Jeremy Scott

This paper reworks the show-tell dichotomy beloved of the creative writing class and accounts for its effects in narrative fiction systematically in terms of ideologies of identity. The terms mimesis and diegesis will be used to describe this cline, and its effects will be illustrated with reference to themes of identity in contemporary English fiction. Positing an equivalence between Bakhtin’s pictorial and linear styles and mimesis/diegesis, the paper will present readings of a selection of extracts from 21st-century English fiction, including Jeremy Page’s Salt (2008), Will Self’s Liver (2009) and Ian Sampson’s Ring Road (2005) to claim that the complex interplay between author and character discourse evident in these texts is connected fundamentally to the personal, regional and national identities which the texts explore.

F9: (i) Functional Creative Writing - Kari Silvola

We are surrounded by borders. Age, gender, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation border us as well as the political boundaries and nations’ demarcations. But the boundaries are wobbling and moving. Transgressions and violent crossings cause both individual and cultural identity crisis. Transgressions are also narrative means and these boundaries occupy in the text. Take part in a functional writing workshop where we move our boundaries physically and then writes about them. Functional creative writing combines movement and writing, allowing you to experience and perform your boundaries, face differences and respect them. The most suitable equipment is casual clothing and wool socks.

(ii) Creating new branches of Knowledge - Joanne Kelleher

Strengthen your creative writing techniques to develop new branches of knowledge for creative writing style and creative output.

The workshop will assist you to form ideas and imagery to develop your creative writing investigations to support creative output development. The workshop is ideal for writers of all abilities who are seeking innovative methods to enhance their creative output. Creative writers need to create strong visual references in their creative investigations in learning or work place settings. The workshop will include a short presentation, worked examples, looking at good practice for creative investigations and action-work sheet from the session.

12.15 Plenary Session & Conclusions (Henley Suite)

Close of Conference

3pm Evensong