by UCL Writing Lab



Room 221

Bentham House

4-8 Endsleigh Gardens



United Kingdom

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UCL Writing Lab hosts this writing day for UCL staff & PhD candidates, consisting of a workshop in the morning with poet Mary Jean Chan on using creative writing to develop our academic prose, and then, after a lunch together, a writing retreat. The event aims to improve our academic writing skills through the insight and support of an accomplished poet, and to help each of us be productive and healthy in our writing practice and academic lives.

This is an event for UCL staff and PhD candidates, so please register with your UCL email address.

10:00 – 12:15 Creative Writing & Academic Prose Writing Workshop with poet Mary Jean Chan

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch (provided)

13:15 – 16:30 Writing Retreat, Facilitated by Dr Kerry-Jo Reilly, Writing Lab Convenor

UCL Writing Lab is hosting this day, which is in two parts. In the morning, we are very lucky to have poet Mary Jean Chan lead a workshop on ‘Creative Writing and Academic Prose’. We will apply creative writing theory and praxis to practice of academic writing, thinking about how writing is approached, how we might think of ourselves as writers, and how being creative within academic writing is beneficial. We will cover ideas such as clarity, specificity, structure, imagination and editing – all crucial to great academic writing – and the workshop will involve fun practical exercises.

Lunch will be provided, with the chance to meet other scholars and writers. The afternoon will be a writing retreat, facilitated by the Convenor of the Writing Lab, in which we will all work on our own writing. The aim of this part of the day is to help us keep positive about writing, minimise the loneliness of writing, and foster a community of writers to help each of us be productive and healthy in our writing practice and academic lives.

Mary Jean Chan

Mary Jean Chan grew up in Hong Kong and studied at Swarthmore College, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London. Her poetry has appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, The White Review, PN Review, Ambit, English: Journal of the English Association, The Forward Book of Poetry and Carcanet New Poetries VII. She is the author of A Hurry of English, which was selected as the 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice. Her debut collection Flèche is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and is forthcoming from Faber & Faber in July 2019.

In 2017, Mary Jean won the Anne Born Prize and the Poetry and Psychoanalysis Competition, came Second in the National Poetry Competition, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She was named as one of the UK's inaugural eight Ledbury Poetry Critics in 2018, and has written reviews for The Guardian, The Poetry School and The Hong Kong Review of Books. Her articles have appeared in The Journal of American Studies, Wild Court and Modern Poetry in Translation, with new work forthcoming from The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. In 2019, Mary Jean will judge the Poetry Business New Poets Prize and co-judge the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation.

An editor of Oxford Poetry, advisory board member at the Poetry Translation Centre and member of The Folio Prize Academy, Mary Jean is Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in London.

This activity is a Researcher-Led Initiative that has been funded by the UCL Research Staff Development Programme


UCL Writing Lab

The UCL Writing Lab is a free service designed to enhance students' academic writing, critical thinking and research skills. Our tutorials and workshops are delivered by Writing Lab tutors who are experienced writers and researchers, with a diverse range of expertise, and are largely UCL doctoral students. 

Creative Writing and Academic Prose Workshop & Writing Retreat at Room 221

Bentham House 4-8 Endsleigh Gardens, London, WC1H 0EG, United Kingdom