Tag: Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone (page 1 of 2)

City Writes Autumn 2023 Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

As the showcase creative writing short courses event approaches, we’re delighted to announce the competition winners who will be reading their work at 7pm on the 13th December with the brilliant tutor and author, Caroline Green. With stories of mystery, murder, mayhem, the complexities of identity and the disappearance of all women, this will be a night you won’t want to miss. You can register for the event here.

This term’s winners are: Mike Clarke, Martin Corteel, Cathie Mullen, Emma O’Driscoll, Tunde Oyebode and Vasundhara Singh. Read on to find out more about these brilliant short creative writing class alumni.

Mike Clarke studied the Novel Studio (when it was the Certificate in Novel Writing), Writers’ Workshop and Caroline Green’s Crime and Thriller Writing Course at City University. He also has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Several of his short stories have been read in different parts of the world by the renowned Liars League. His non-fiction writing on pubs is regularly featured in the national press. He also dabbles in performing stand-up comedy and is just finishing a novel.

Martin Corteel worked as an editor in London book publishing houses for more years than he would care to mention, and during this time he wrote and anonymously had published a number of books of very little substance. The novel he’s writing, entitled Dover Souls, recounts apocryphal family tales of skullduggery set amongst battling publicans at the outset of the First World War. He recently completed several creative writing courses at City University, including the Writers’ Workshop, and lives in North West London.

Cathie Mullen is from Ireland but has lived in Germany for many years. Until recently she was head of an international school. Her writing has been published by The Educational Company of IrelandWriter’s Forum and The Mersey Review. She’s currently working on a memoir. Authors whose work has recently inspired her include Octavia Bright, Claire Keegan and Sinéad Gleeson. Her passions include theatre and swimming (in all seasons). Cathie is an alumna of the Approach to Creative Writing course.

Originally from Dorset, Emma O’Driscoll lives in Brussels where she works as a press officer for the EU. She is currently writing a crime novel inspired by her love of golden-age detective fiction from the 1920s and 1930s. Emma is an alumna of the Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School and a student on the Novel Writing and Longer Works course. Aside from writing, she enjoys running, painting, and walking her border terrier, Karenin.

Writers’ Workshop alumnus Tunde Oyebode is a London-based architect and writer who explores the intricacies of everyday societal dynamics and relationships in his fiction. His work has appeared in Stylist Magazine, Obsidian Issue 48.1 and the 2021 Michael Terrence Anthology and also pending publication in LISP Anthology 2023. Some of his other stories have been shortlisted and longlisted in competitions like Chester B Himes Memorial Fiction Contest, Exeter Short Story Prize and the Bristol Short Story Prize. He aspires to publish a collection of his short stories.

Vasundhara Singh is a graduate of Journalism from Kamala Nehru college, Delhi University. Alumina of City University of London’s Novel Studio programme, she is one of the winners of City Writes Spring 2021.

With writers of this quality reading alongside tutor and writer extraordinaire, Caroline Green, City Writes Autumn 2023 promises to be an evening you won’t want to miss. Register for the event at 7pm on the 13th December on Zoom here. See you there!

City Writes Autumn 2023 Open for Submissions

City Writes Autumn Deadline 10 November 2023

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

With a new academic year comes more fantastic writing from the short courses at City with our showcase event, City Writes, this term on Wednesday 13th December at 7pm on Zoom. We are delighted to announce that our published author this time is the brilliant writer and tutor, Caroline Green. Not only does Caroline write fiction for young people and adults, she is also the much valued and acclaimed teacher of the Crime and Thriller Writing short course and Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School here at City. From YA, through psychological thriller, to supernatural detective fiction, Caroline Green is an inspirational powerhouse. Register here to save your spot for the night.

Crime writer and City Writes Autumn 2023 guest, Caroline Green

If you would like to read your work in front of a supportive audience and share the virtual stage with Caroline on the 13th December, all you need to do is submit your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction (we accept YA but sadly NOT poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on Friday 17th November. Please check the full submission details here.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for the event on the 13th December here.

 

We can’t wait to read your submissions! Good luck.

City Writes Summer 2023 Event: A Braw Night to Remember

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

There’s nothing like an evening of readings from brilliant writers to make a summer evening special and this term’s City Writes on the 5th July was a festival of writing filled with moments of tension, terror and tenderness.

 

We kicked off the evening with the first of our competition winners, Novel Writing and Longer Works alumnus, Richard Hastings, who read from his novel-in-progress. The extract, ‘Jumble’, took us into old boxes in his character’s mother’s cupboard where it turns out she’d kept the right half of several pairs of his old childhood shoes, right down to one tiny little wellington boot. The whole audience were drawn into that moment of connection between mother and son.

 

From the importance of one set of objects to the embodied resonance of a piano, we took a step into memoir and the importance of the matrilineal connection of music next with Novel Studio alumna, Helen Ferguson, who read from her memoir-in-progress. We were lucky enough to see, in the background of Helen’s screen, the very piano her extract, ‘My Grandmother’s Piano’, spoke so eloquently about. The words were music to our ears and we look forward to hearing more about this project.

 

We took a step into the dark and unpredictable world of the social media alias next, in an extract from another Novel Studio alumna, Lana Younis, reading from her revenge comedy, Play The Long Game. The chat buzzed with delight at the northern, scathing voice of the protagonist as she went over her day and discovered some salacious news in her evening bath with her glass of merlot. This is another novel-in-progress we’re eager to read more of.

 

We stepped away from the horrors in one mind, to the dangers of airport security next with an emotionally taut and affecting short story by Introduction to Copywriting alumna Camille Poole, ‘Brown Male’. Along with Camille the whole audience were moved by sharing the character’s experience of watching her brave, young superhero son face the humiliation of institutional racism, whilst shaming herself for daring to call it out. Such a powerful story that there was a real sense of pause before we could move on.

 

Novel Studio alumna, Emily Shamma had the difficult task of following Camille, but she took us on her own emotional journey in her piece, ‘Kate’, an extract from her novel-in-progress, The Complicit. The extract followed Kate as she navigated the complexities of a miscarriage that was initially an unintended pregnancy turned from happy uncertainty to grief.

 

Our audience were certainly on a rollercoaster of feeling that our final competition winner and Novel Studio alumna, Kate Henderson, refused to let us get off. She read her short story, ‘What Happened at Judith’s’, a masterful account of a young girl’s afternoon play date that ended with a painful revelation and a broken arm. Told in spars

e and meticulously navigated prose, it was a fabulous way to end the readers from this extremely talented bunch of City’s Creative Writing short course alumni.

 

Luckily, we had the joy of hearing from Writers’ Workshop alumna and prize-winning writer, Emma Grae next. Emma read short extracts from both her novels: her Scots Book of the Year 2022 debut, Be Guid tae yer Mammy, published by Unbound in 2021 and her second novel, The Tongue She Speaks published by Luath Press in October 2022.

 

Emma’s writing is rich with Scots and it was brilliant to get the chance to hear the writing come alive in her voice. Following these extracts, we were treated to a Q&A in which Emma explored not only the inspirations behind her work, but also her publishing journey. Teasing out the importance of valuing all voices and entering into the publishing industry with one’s eyes wide open, Emma gave us much to think about. She also shared great news about her new works, a book in Scots for children and a third novel. We can’t wait to read them.

 

City Writes Summer 2023 Event was a braw night indeed. If you missed it, you can watch the event HERE. And don’t forget City Writes is a termly event. Find out more and watch out for competition dates on this blog. If this term is anything to go by, the work at City Writes goes from strength to strength.

Novel Studio Showcase 2023

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

There’s nothing quite like listening to new writing talent and this year’s 2022/23 cohort of Novel Studio students held their own in a fantastic showcase event of their writing, reading their extracts with professional aplomb.

 

The evening began with an overview of the unbelievable list of published alumni including Novel Studio tutor, Kiare Ladner, Deepa Anappara, Hannah Begbie, Harriet Tyce, Elizabeth Chakrabarty, Attiyah Khan, Anna Mazzola and Greg Keen. Next year will also see alumna Lara Haworth’s debut, Monumenta, which will be published in June 2024 and just this week a new announcement about another alumna, Jo Cunningham, whose murder mystery, Death By Numbers, will be out with Constable in August 2024. The Novel Studio is incredibly proud of its alumni and their ongoing successes. You can find out even more about the alumni here.

 

2019 saw the introduction of the Novel Studio scholarship, generously funded by alumna Harriet Tyce. The scholarship provided a fully funded place for one successful applicant to the course from a low-income household. We’re immensely grateful to Harriet for this brilliant scheme which ran for the fourth time this year, and excited that The Book Edit will be continuing the scholarship for a fifth year for the 2023/24 Novel Studio cohort.

 

Alison Halsley

This year was a difficult one emotionally for students and staff. We were all devastated earlier this year when one of our treasured students, Alison Halsley, tragically died. Alison had a darkly comic sense of humour and her lively prose and personality has been missed in class and was missed at the showcase. This year’s showcase anthology is dedicated to her memory. She never failed to make us laugh with her work and we’re very sorry for her loss.

 

In spite of these difficult circumstances, the students managed to remain incredibly focussed and dedicated to their writing as the readings were soon to show.

 

Inspiring them on, we were lucky enough to hear from alumna, Lara Haworth, who joined the event to wish the students well with their ongoing careers, encouraging them to appreciate the nurture and support offered by the Novel Studio during and after the completion of the course. We couldn’t be happier for Lara and we will hold her to the invitation she made to all of the attendees to celebrate at the launch party of her debut in 2024.

Lara Haworth

Filled with Lara’s enthusiasm, the students’ readings kicked off to a fiery start with our first reader, Emily Shamma whose novel The Complicit, moves between London in 2010 and Oxford in the nineties, unravelling a darkly comic tale of love, damage and betrayal. Emily left us reeling from her character’s discovery of his car, burnt and marked by ominous graffiti on the wall behind it. An unnerving but dramatic opening for the talent to come.

 

We left the dodgy North London back street for a tale of two friends in 2000s West England next as author Marc-Anthony Hurr read from his novel, The Millennials. The chat lit up with enthusiasm for Marc-Anthony’s description of childhood friendship and the dizzy descriptions of the onset of epilepsy.

We left love and friendship behind for the acerbic and dangerously anonymous world of social media where a desire for revenge allows an alter ego to take increasing control in the tangible world as Lana Younis read from her novel, Play The Long Game.

 

Lana’s discovery ringing in our ears, we headed to London’s future next, taking a psychic journey into Heidi Ng’s novel, Divination. The idea of a futuristic novel with its roots in the Oracle of Delphi excited us all and we were dazed by our trip into the psychic realm.

Abim Tayo read for us next, sharing an extract from his novel, Dancing in the Snow, set in Lagos. The audience was terrified by the childhood memory of a man shaking a car and smearing it with faeces. It certainly made us all excited to hear what would happen next.

 

Transporting us to the Bucharest Ring Road, we heard from Nico Bechis next as she read from her novel Horse With No Rider, introducing us to casual prostitution and the delights of swearing in Romanian. A haunting and eloquent portrait, we were all hooked.

 

We went from the transactional to the tender mesh of relationships forged in teenage years next as we heard Matthew Triggs read from his novel, ST16. A sentimental kiss in the swirl of light snowfall caught by the soft glow of the street lamps, held us all in unfulfilled longing.

Following the relationship theme, we found ourselves contemplating the possible political complexities of love in Monica Bathiya’s extract from her novel, Middle Ground, next. The subtle shifts of inner thought had us all wondering what would happen to Monica’s characters, whether there was real love between them and even then if it was enough to survive the complexities of post-pandemic Mumbai.

 

Taking us into the glamorous world of the celebrity and business elite next, Gayle Killilea threw us right into the middle of her fast-paced romantic thriller, The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants, as she shared her character Walter’s typical morning routine. The audience chat revealed a rather desperate desire for a night out with Walter, as long as he was paying.

 

We went from fast cars to a more sedate 60th in a pub garden next with Ben O’Donnell as he read from his novel, Sweet Caroline. A wonderfully pitched extract that gave us all Caroline was thinking whilst revealing so much more to the audience, we were left eager to find out what would happen to this seemingly happy family, sensing all was not as it seemed.

 

From family celebration to late night clubbing, we hit the dance floor with Marta Ramos next as she read from her novel, Spaghetti Meatballs. Filled with the energy and rush of youth, we couldn’t get enough of Marta’s extract and were sorry to see her character fall into bed, wishing instead we were speeding through the night on the back of a scooter.

 

Novel Studio Scholarship Winner Sonia Hope read next, taking us from the dance floor to the more sedately curated space of the Library, as she read from her novel, The Archivist. What would happen to these two characters whose first meeting was tinged with the awkwardness of intrigue and desire?

 

Taking us from one archive to another, we went headlong into the digital archive next with our final reader, Charles Williams. He read an extract from his novel, The London Project, giving us a filmic view into the first meeting of two lovers-to-be. Voyeuristic? Perhaps. But he reassured us that it was really ok to watch and listen, afterall, we needed to understand that these characters were all dead.

 

It was an enigmatic and poignant ending to a scintillating night of readings from some extremely talented writers. Thanking the students, the tutors Kiare Ladner and Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, and the Novel Studio Director, Emily Pedder, we also thanked the staff at City, particularly Josie Gleave and Robert Lastman. The audience was also thanked for their great contribution to the night.

 

What a fantastic showcase for the bestselling and prize-winning writers of the future. Go Novel Studio Cohort 2022/23!

And for anyone who wasn’t able to be there you can now watch a recording from the event HERE.

City Writes Summer 2023 Event Competition Winners Announced

We’re delighted to share the winners of this term’s City Writes Competition who will be reading their work alongside the fantastic, Emma Grae at 7pm on the 5th July, on Zoom. You can register to come along and listen to them here.

 

This term’s winners are:

 Helen Ferguson for ‘My Grandmother’s Piano’, an extract from her translation memoir.

Helen Ferguson

Helen is a translator of Russian and German. Her first piece of writing was published in the Lighthouse Literary Journal. She completed The Novel Studio in 2020 and is now working on a translator memoir under the mentorship of Megan Bradbury.

Richard Hastings

Richard Hastings for ‘Jumble’, an extract from his novel-in-progress.

Richard had a successful career in TV (BBC, ITV, C4) before the City Novel Writing and Longer Works short course in summer 2021 inspired him to embark on a major life change. He left the television industry and returned to university (after a 31-year gap!) to take the First Novel MA at St. Mary’s University, London, graduating in Spring 2023 with distinction. Richard is currently working on the third draft of his first novel, which he is hoping to submit to literary agents (sometime!) in the Autumn.

Kate Henderson

Kate Henderson for her story ‘What Happened at Judith’s’.

Kate is an alumna of the Certificate in Novel Writing (now The Novel Studio) and Writers’ Workshop. Growing up in quiet streets in towns where nothing much happened, her writing likes to ask what might be going on unseen next door, or across the way, and casts an eye on the unexpected in the seemingly everyday. Her novel-in-progress, All We Have to Go On is set in a luxury retreat for the cryogenically frozen and follows an artist as she tries to remember who she is and comply with her rehabilitation in a world where she can’t be sure she’s safe.

Kate works in professional services and lives in Surrey with her partner and daughters.

Camille Poole

Camille Poole for her story, ‘Brown Male’.

Camille found her way to City Writes through the Introduction to Copywriting course. She works for a Milton Keynes’ based community charity whilst drafting her WIP, a new adult novel which explores themes of othering and generational curses.

Emily Shamma for ‘Kate’, an extract from her novel-in-progress,

Emily Shamma

Emily is a City periodical journalism and Novel Studio graduate. A former Vogue Talent Contest winner, she started her career as a fashion journalist, before moving into business journalism. Following this, Emily worked in the City, then as a Director at Tesco for seventeen years. But her passion has always been writing, and she now writes creatively for pleasure—alongside running her own business, navigating a hectic London family life, and stoking a serious restaurant, theatre and gallery addiction.

Lana Younis for an extract from her novel-in-progress, Play The Long Game.

Lana, a proud native of Yorkshire and coincidentally born on National Yorkshire Day, embarked on her writing journey during her rebellious teenage years. In 2022, she embraced her passion by enrolling on the Novel Writing and Longer Works course at City University. She swiftly joined The Novel Studio to explore the realms of literary dark humour. Her debut novel, Play The Long Game, serves as a testament to her love for writing unreliable narrators and morally ambiguous characters driven by their relentless pursuit of personal gain.

Lana Younis

These talented authors will all be reading their winning pieces on the 5th July over Z  oom at 7pm. Register here to join them and hear from prize-winning alumna, Emma Grae. From revenge through carefully preserved mementos all the way to the casually observed affairs of the neighbours, City Writes Summer Event 2023 promises to have you on the edge of your seat. We can’t wait to see you there.

City Writes Springs Into Its Seventh Year!

By Rebekah Latin-Rawstrone

Every term the City Writes event brings a sense of excitement at the prospect of listening to fantastic writers and alumni both new and established. This term was no different and remarkably, this Spring City Writes marked six years of the event. What a celebration of that landmark this event was, really showcasing the excellent writing coming out of the short courses here at City

We began with City Writes veteran and fantasy writer, Adam Zunker. An alumnus of An Approach to Creative Writing and Writers’ Workshop, Adam read an extract from his novel-in-progress, The Perfectation(loosely) based on the experiences of his Viennese grandmother as a refugee. He is pitching it as ‘Amadeus, but with alchemists’ and we were lucky enough to hear a moment of drama as one woman and her daughter, long in hiding, were captured but not by those they were expecting. The audience was left on tenterhooks wondering quite what this moment would bring for the characters. Bring on the rest of the book!

Next we took a completely different turn. Though staying with fiction inspired by real life, Angel Witney, alumna of Novel Writing and Longer Works, took us into the waiting room as her character played ‘a never-ending game of tag with the present moment’, time bending out of proportion and distorting her sense of wellbeing. Her extract ‘The Waiting Room’ was an excruciating but eloquent account of how our minds can alter reality, whetting our appetites for more of this work-in-progress.

Grayson Anderson, Novel Studio graduate, author and poet (and another City Writes alumnus!), read for us next, taking us into the passionate and dangerous world of the extra-marital affair. Fast-paced and filled with deftly observed detail and dialogue, Grayson brought the initial fall out of an affair’s discovery to brilliant and gritty light. We can’t wait to find out more about ‘Wayne’s Night Out’, another extract from a longer piece the audience couldn’t wait to read.

Moving from one kind of love to another, we journeyed down nostalgia lane with  Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus, Bruce O’Brien, next. Bruce’s story ‘The Eels of Wrath’ mixed memory, narrative and poetry to moving effect, giving us an account of an old couple who used to live in the East End of London. There were some definite signs of eyes being wiped in the Zoom windows of our audience. We hope to hear more of these stories soon.

From fiction to elegant non-fiction, we slipped into a different kind of elegy with Philipp Sandmann, another  Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus, who read his article, ‘Germans No Longer Score Penalties and That’s a Problem Or: Why the Only Thing We’ve Got Left is Bloody Great bBread…’. There were so many comments in the chat through this piece, mostly worrying that Germany couldn’t really have similar problems to our own! Philipp joined us from Berlin and is busy working on a book for a UK audience about the modern German soul and the myth of German efficiency. Judging by the City Writes reception, he has a very ready audience waiting to read it.

Aaron Payne, a Writer’s Workshop alumnus, read for us next. Aaron gave us an extract from his novel-in-progress, Our Man in the Clouds, in which a disgruntled meteorologist tries, but fails, to stay out of the global tussle for climate control. His extract took us to a remembered journey to Provence in 2015 when the narrator and his colleague, Siobhan, visited Professor Merryweather to discuss the possibility of setting up a climate school. More about the sexual encounter between Tony and Siobhan than the disastrous visit with the Merryweathers, the extract had us hooked. Another novel to look out for.

After these fantastic competition winners, we had the joy of listening to Hannah Begbie read from the opening of her second, prize-winning novel, Blurred Lines (HarperCollins, 2020), which tackles the film industry’s darker truths and the difficulties of speaking out in a pre MeToo era. We followed Becky as she attempted to impress her boss with a gift of some expensive wine before a trip to Cannes. Once at his house, having always been encouraged just to come on in through the open door, she witnessed something she wished she hadn’t. Thankfully, this time, audience members could go right out and buy the novel to find out what happened next. You can do the same here!

Alumna of the Novel Studio, Hannah was very generous in her answers to questions and particularly eloquent on the importance of writing from the heart. She shared writing tips, emphasised the importance of maintaining your writing allies, and gave a sneaky insight into her next novel.

You can hear the whole City Writes event and listen to the full Q&A with Hannah Begbie, by watching the video of the event HERE.

Don’t forget to look out for details of next term’s City Writes event and competition. Our guest writer next term will be the wonderful, Emma Grae whose debut novel, Be Guid tae yer Mammy (Unbound, 2021), won the Scots Book of the Year 2022.

City Writes Spring 2023 Competition Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

 

We’re delighted to announce the winners of this term’s City Writes Competition, who will be joining our fantastic author and alumna, Hannah Begbie, on the virtual stage at 7pm on the 29th March. You can book your tickets here.

This term’s winners will be taking us on a journey from a consultant’s waiting room, through two different explorations of love in London, a moment’s passion in a car, a kidnapping in a fantasy world, all the way through to a contemplation of the myth of German efficiency. There’s football, alcohol, sex, fighting, nostalgia and altered states of consciousness. What’s not to like?

The author biographies of these wonderful winning stories and extracts follow:

Grayson Anderson is a British born Jamaican author and poet. A graduate from City’s Novel Studio, Grayson was shortlisted for the Spread The Word emerging writers programme and long listed for the Book Edit Writers’ Prize. His catalogue of work contains songs, poetry, a science fiction trilogy, and an opinion-based non-fiction book relating to the idiosyncrasies of gender in society.

Grayson Anderson

Hailing from the East End of London, Bruce O’Brien is a fledgling but passionate writer. Having dabbled with minor success, Bruce enrolled on the Narrative Non-Fiction course, where he has found added confidence to pursue his love of writing. Colourful life experience provides a rich backdrop for Bruce’s writing. Despite such a tapestry, his story ‘The Eels of Wrath’ was discovered by digging around his roots, where he found a nostalgic yet topical socio-political love story.

Bruce O’Brien

Aaron Payne is a new writer and alumnus of City University’s Writer’s

Aaron Payne

Workshop. He is writing a novel and a short story collection. Last year Cranked Anvil shortlisted his flash piece, ‘Postcard’ and Flash 500 is considering another, ‘Flowers’. In Aaron’s novel-in-progress, Our Man in the Clouds, the climate is collapsing and global powers tussle for control of the weather. A disgruntled meteorologist tries, but fails, to stay out of it.

Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus, Philipp Sandmann

is a political journalist and commentator working for Germany’s broadcaster RTL. Philipp is based in Berlin and reports on international topics such as the war in Ukraine. Having lived and studied in the UK for six years, Philipp learnt about the unique relationship between Germans and Brits. He is working on a book for a UK audience about the modern German soul and the myth of German efficiency.

Angel Witney, alumna of Novel Writing and Longer Works, is a writer, spoken word poet, actor and dancer based in London. Her writing is inspired by her personal experiences, looking particularly at topics like mental health, sexuality, and relationships. As well as longer-form fiction, Angel writes poetry and performs her pieces at open mic events. She is also an actor with professional credits in TV and film such as ‘In Bruges’, ‘Atonement’ and ‘Poirot’.

Angel Witney

Adam Zunker’s background is in journalism and politics and he’s had many articles published in national newspapers. He lives in London with his wife and daughter, though he is also fighting a losing battle restoring a thatched cottage in Dorset. His historical fantasy, The Perfectation, is (very loosely) based on the experiences of his Viennese grandmother as a refugee. Adam is an alumnus of An Approach to Creative Writing and the Writers’ Workshop.

Adam Zunker

For your chance to hear these exciting emerging authors alongside the award-winning Hannah Begbie, just register for the City Writes Spring 2023 event here. It’s at 7pm on the 29th March and we can’t wait to see you there.

 

City Writes Winter Warmer 2022

City Writes, our termly showcase event for the fantastic writing coming from City’s Short Courses, was a great way to begin the festive season this year. And don’t worry, if you missed it, you can read about it and see the recording, just scroll on.

This term we were incredibly lucky to have the brilliant writer and alumna, Elizabeth Chakrabarty with us to share her astounding, genre-busting debut, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First up were the wonderful readings from our talented competition winners, students and alumni of multiple short courses.

Nathaniel Ashley

Kicking us off, quite literally, we entered the world of animation with Nathaniel Ashley’s story, ‘Captain Proton vs. the Deviator’. An alumnus of the Short Story Writing course, Nathaniel offered some masterful shifts between imagined onscreen action and the humdrum of the day job that made for some great contrast as the protagonist tried to manipulate his action heroes in a dramatic fight scene.

Hugo Cox

We took a non-fiction turn next with Hugo Cox, alumnus of the Narrative Non-Fiction course. He took us on a half marathon with his piece, ‘Half Over’. Filled with all the circumspection and reflection one might hope from the sensory and mental overload that comes with the distance run, Hugo’s story is a journey well worth celebrating.

Isabelle Mouttet, joining us all the way from Trinidad and Tobago, and an alumna of An Approach to Creative Writing, took us on a mythical journey next. Her story, ‘The Myth Finder’, is a spell-binding account of researcher and adventurer, Miss Marks who goes looking for, and finds, Borges’ Aleph. Nothing is quite as you imagine it might be and even over Zoom the atmosphere was altered by Isabelle’s reading.

Tunde Oyebode

We went from myth to romance next as we listened to Writers’ Workshop alumnus, Tunde Oyebode read his sultry story of holiday desire, ‘Wants’. Set in the warmth of Positano, the longing of the protagonist, written in a tantalising second person, charmed the audience, leaving them longing to jump on a plane.

Alison Halsey

Alison Halsey, a current Novel Studio student, followed Tunde with an extract from her novel-in-progress, Agnes Gets a Lift. We went headlong into the mind of octogenarian Maureen, watching for the body of her recently deceased friend to be removed from her over-seventies residence home. There’s nothing like a bit of bleak comedy and the faces of the zoom crowd were creased in amusement.

Katharine Light

Our last competition winner was Novel Studio alumna, Katharine Light, whose story ‘My Arms Are Empty’ threw us into an intense encounter between old friends that prompts a discussion about motherhood and fulfilment. An extract from her novel, Me Too, the sequel to her debut, Like Me, which is planned for publication in 2023, the story lit up the chat with admiration.

After such excellent readings by our competition winners we were nonetheless eager to hear from Elizabeth Chakrabarty whose debut novel, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, inspired by experience of race hate crime, was published in 2021 by The Indigo Press. Shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, the work is an incredibly rich and hybrid creation.

 

Elizabeth, alumna of the Novel Studio (Certificate in Novel Writing as it was), introduced the book and gave us a short reading examining the complexities of approaching a novel based on real experience of ongoing race hate crime in the workplace. The reading was powerful and moving and it was a real honour to hear Elizabeth share her work and then go on to answer questions from host and City Short Courses’ Tutor, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, and the audience.

Together we explored how Elizabeth developed the hybrid approach to the novel, her publishing journey, tips for writers and the merest hint of the work to come. The discussion was wide-ranging and fascinating. Thank you so much, Elizabeth for joining us!

What a way to end the term and the year. Thanks were extended to all the scintillating competition winners, to Elizabeth again, the audience, and of course to Emily Pedder, head of Creative Writing Short Courses.  Don’t forget to look out for City Writes next term. The competition will open again in the new year and watch this space for news on our next published alumni. As always, the display of talent at City Writes is a joy to witness. Merry Christmas everyone, and roll on more events in 2023!

City Writes Autumn 2022 Competition Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

We’re delighted to introduce our fabulous City Writes Autumn 2022 Competition Winners, who will be reading their work alongside renowned author and alumna, Elizabeth Chakrabarty, on Wednesday 14th December at 7pm. Register to join us here.

This term’s winners, chosen from our usual weight of entries are:
Author photo of Nathaniel Ashley

Nathaniel Ashley

Short Story Writing alumnus, Nathaniel Ashley is an author and freelance journalist who has written for Neon Books Literary Magazine, The Skinny and Massive Cinema. He runs the film and television blog Natflix and you can find him on Twitter @NateAshley10. Nathaniel will be reading his story ‘Captain Proton vs. the Deviator’.

Author photo of Hugo Cox

Hugo Cox

Hugo Cox. For fifteen years Hugo has been a freelance journalist covering property, housing and investment, mainly for the Financial Times; before that he was a mediocre actor. Encouraged by the Narrative Non-Fiction course, which he has just completed, he hopes to continue bumbling around after interesting topics beyond his day job, as well as kookier ways (or outlets) in which to tell his property stories. He is fairly useless without a looming deadline and very keen for tips on writing groups or classes to help maintain his newfound momentum. Hugo will be reading his piece, ‘Half Over’.

Author phot of Alison Halsey

Alison Halsey

Alison Halsey is a fiction writer and a former financial services professional, with a career lasting over 45 years. She has also served in many roles supporting charities with a focus on young people with disabilities. A student of The Novel Studio, Alison is currently writing her second novel, Agnes Gets a Lift, from which she will be reading the first chapter. She is currently also still editing her first novel, Minta Gets Everything Wrong, for which process The Novel Studio course is proving invaluable.

Author photo of Katharine Light

Katharine Light

Katharine Light. During her year on The Novel Studio at City, University of London, Katharine worked on her novel Like Me, which she plans to publish in 2023. It is the first of a series of novels about a group of teenage friends who meet up again in their late thirties. The short story ‘My arms are empty’, to be read at City Writes, is based on an episode in the sequel, Me Too. Katharine lives in London and fits writing around a full-time job and busy family life.

An Approach to Creative Writing alumna, Isabelle Mouttet. Isabelle was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago and has been living in London getting her Master’s in Entrepreneurship. She is an avid reader and a hopeful writer who plans to pursue a career in book publishing. Isabelle will be reading ‘The Myth Finder’.

Author photo of Tunde Oyobode

Tunde Oyebode

Writers’ Workshop alumnus, Tunde Oyebode is a London-born Nigerian, based in East London. Working primarily as an Architect in North London, he is committed to delivering inclusive projects with high social and aesthetic value. Writing is a passion that he has developed in parallel with Architecture. His creative and essay writings explore human relationships and society and have been published in anthologies and magazines. Some of these writings include ‘Explosions,’ which was published in print in the 2021 Michael Terrence Anthology, ‘Wants’ published online in Stylist Magazine and ‘Riot,’ which is pending print publication in Obsidian Magazine in December 2022. Tunde will be reading his story, ‘Wants’.

After listening to tales of magic, wonder, romance, desire, film, work, running and death, you’ll be thoroughly warmed up to hear from our guest author, the wonderful Elizabeth Chakrabarty whose novel Lessons in Love and Other Crimes is a gripping and vital novel.

Don’t miss your chance to hear all of these authors and get in the mood for the festive season. Register here for City Writes Autumn 2022 at 7pm on Zoom. See you there!

Portrait of author Elizabeth Chakrabarty by Jason Keith

Guest alumna Elizabeth Chakrabarty, photo by Jason Keith

City Writes Autumn 2022 – Call for Submissions

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone
Portrait of author Elizabeth Chakrabarty by Jason Keith

Author photo of Elizabeth Chakrabarty by Jason Keith

City Writes is a termly event showcasing the best of City’s Short Courses Creative Writing talent and this term, alongside the readers from the termly competition, we are extremely excited to welcome Elizabeth Chakrabarty as our alumna guest author.

Alumna of the Novel Studio, Elizabeth Chakrabarty is an interdisciplinary writer using creative and critical writing, besides performance, to explore themes of race, gender and sexuality. Her debut novel, Lessons in Love and Other Crimesinspired by experience of race hate crime, was published in 2021 by the Indigo Press, along with her essay, On Closure and Crime. In 2022 Lessons in Love and Other Crimes was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, and also shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

Elizabeth was also shortlisted for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022, for her story ‘That Last Summer’ published in The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022: Crime Stories by Comma Press. She was shortlisted for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize in 2016 for her story ‘Eurovision’ published in Dividing Lines (Dahlia, 2017).

Her shorter work includes poetry and creative-critical writing, and she has recently been published in Gal-Dem, New Writing DundeeWasafiri, and the anthology Imagined Spaces (Saraband, 2020), and in translation, by Glänta and Deus Ex Machina. She received an Authors’ Foundation Grant from The Society of Authors (UK) in December 2018, to support the writing of Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, and she was chosen as one of the runners up for the inaugural CrimeFest bursary for crime fiction authors of colour in 2022. She lives in London.

For your chance to read your work alongside this ground-breaking author, you need only send your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction (no poetry, scripts or picture books) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by by midnight on Friday 18th November along with details of your current or past City Short Creative Writing Course.

Registration for City Writes Autumn 2022 event on the 14th of December at 7pm on Zoom is open now. Simply follow this link to sign up to hear Elizabeth Chakrabarty read from her fantastic debut, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, alongside the competition winners to be announced later this term.

Full submission details can be found here.
We can’t wait to read your submissions and see you on the 14th December.
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