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Writing in Practice: Current Issue

Volume 4 (April 2018)

Editors: Holly Howitt-Dring, Amy Spencer, Liz Cable



The rich interdisciplinary approach in contributors’ writing about writing has been noted before, but this issue’s array of critical and creative reflections is dazzling, not least in its range of genres. Two essays (Kendall and Manwaring) explore via literary archives the creative process of notable fantasy practitioners (Tolkien and Holdstock respectively). A poet (Caldwell) focuses on the effect of predecessor and place, Ted Hughes and his Yorkshire landscapes, on her own work. A collaborative psychology-writing study (Habens) seeks to find the effects on well-being of Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”, and there is an essay focused on novelists’ voice and rhythm (Robertson), linking theories from Derrida and Saussure to the writer’s own practice. A novel-in-progress about the consequences of the Spanish civil war (Simpson) focuses on image, utilizing Benjamin’s concept of “denkbilder”. Also in relation to conflict, there is a forensic examination of links between comics, the war in Bosnia and autobiographical events and writing (Mahmutovic and Durneen), and a historical novelist’s testimony (Iceton) about the use of facts when writing about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. 

Postcolonial narratives are critically compared (Pinnock) in the analysis of Caryl Phillips’ adaptation of Schama’s Rough Crossings. There is an examination of the relationship between young adult readers and dystopian fiction (Ezzi), and another essay (Gilbert) explores how troublesome early-life autobiographical narratives can inform aesthetic literacy and later-life writing. A novelist (Bell) explores recent influential, theoretically and autobiographically-informed writers such as Kraus, Nelson, Levy and Laing, and the eclecticism is crowned by Andrew Cowan’s guest article, a seminal reflection on Creative Writing’s rise and history. It is not the story that some might expect; Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson are seen as messengers not inventors. Yet the re-designated role of writer in the academy and critical examinations of the creative process have become crucial aspects of our contemporary writing culture, as clearly displayed in this issue.

Read the full introduction.


The Editors

Our three Issue Editors (all on the NAWE HE Committee) offered critical rigour, patience, persistence and enthusiasm throughout a year beset with technical delays. My deepest gratitude to:

Dr Holly Howitt-Dring is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Liverpool John Moores University. She is also Editorial Advisor of the London Magazine.

Dr Amy Spencer is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Ambient Literature at UWE Bristol.

Liz Cable is Senior Lecturer in Digital Narratives and Social Media at Leeds Trinity University.


Peer Reviewers

Thank you to all our peer reviewers for their excellent support, for the quality of their analysis, and for the positive manner in which they offered their judgement and suggestions for improvement. We are always looking for more reviewers. If you are interested, please be in touch via the email address on the Writing in Practice webpage.


The Next Issue

The deadline for submissions for the next issue (Volume 6) is 5pm on 23 June 2019. In Issue 4, we have again been delighted to showcase a number of essays from Creative Writing PhD students. We continue to welcome such work, along with work from the broader field of practice, research and scholarship. Creative work itself is welcome when integral to an article. Writing in Practice is not Creative Writing’s only peer-reviewed journal but it is one of few internationally. By reading it, submitting work to it and joining its peer review college, you are helping to enrich your subject community.


Dr Derek Neale, Principal Editor


Writing in Practice is an open access, online journal, with individual articles displayed as separate pages. Click on the image or text link above to access the full contents list and articles.

It is planned that PDF versions of each issue will be available exclusively for NAWE members to download.