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TCW | Decolonisation and inclusivity in creative writing

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Teaching Creative Writing | Tuesday 19 January 11:00 - 12:30 |Online (Microsoft Teams)

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Teaching Creative Writing - January

Decolonisation and inclusivity in creative writing

Colin Grant, Aki Schilz, Tessa McWatt and Jen McDerra

Hosted by Cassie Gonzales

Tuesday 19 January | 11am-12.30pm | Microsoft Teams

Creative writing courses, as much as agents and publishers, provide opportunities for writers to develop and, eventually, access their readers. But how democratic is this literary landscape? The ongoing decolonisation movement in higher education questions the perspectives that inform reading lists, pedagogy and access to the academy, while many agents and publishers are working to diversify their lists and their businesses. What is the role of educators and the publishing industry in providing equality of opportunity for writers’ voices from all backgrounds?

Colin Grant is the author of several books including Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and His Dream of Mother Africa. He also teaches creative non-fiction writing, most recently for Arvon and Sierra Nevada College

Grant is also a historian, Associate Fellow in the Centre for Caribbean Studies and producer for BBC Radio. He joined the BBC in 1991, and has worked as a TV script editor and radio producer of arts and science programmes on radio 4 and the World Service. He has written and directed plays including The Clinic, based on the lives of the photojournalists, Tim Page and Don McCullin. Grant has written and produced several radio drama-documentaries, including African Man of Letters: The Life of Ignatius Sancho and A Fountain of Tears: The Murder of Federico Garcia Lorca.

Aki Schilz is the Director of The Literary Consultancy, the UK's longest-running editorial consultancy for writers, providing editing services, mentoring and literary events. She is a Trustee of Poetry London, and sits on the advisory board for the award-winning publisher Penned in the Margins. Aki is a judge for the Bridport First Novel Award and the Creative Future Writing Awards for marginalised writers. At TLC Aki co-ordinates partnerships and programmes, including running the Quality Writing for All campaign which focuses on inclusivity and diversity. In 2018 Aki was named as one of the FutureBook 40, a list of people innovating the publishing industry, and was also nominated for an h100 Award for her work with the #BookJobTransparency campaign. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for women in publishing, and in 2020 was named as one of INvolve’s Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders.

Twitter: @TLCUK @AkiSchilz

Tessa McWatt is a Professor of Creative Writing at UEA. She the author of six novels and two books for young people. Her fiction has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the City of Toronto Book Awards, and the OCM Bocas Prize. She is one of the winners of the Eccles British Library Award 2018, for her memoir: Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging. She is also a librettist, and works on interdisciplinary projects and community-based life writing through CityLife: Stories Against Loneliness.

Jen McDerra is a Postgraduate Researcher at UEA committed to recovering marginalised voices and hidden literary lives from archives around the world and a member of the Leverhulme Funded Caribbean Literary Heritage project.

Her doctoral thesis restores the work of pioneering literary women in C20th Jamaica to critical narratives and the public consciousness by recentring their role in building a transnational publishing and broadcasting network between the Caribbean and the UK.

Jen is the Project Director for Bridging the Gap, an Arts Council funded pathway launched in 2020 with UEA Publishing Project to combat the lack of diversity in the industry. Bridging the Gap provides training, contacts, and financial support to graduates facing economic and cultural barriers to a career in the sector.

Jen worked as CEO for The Charles Causley Trust and completed a Masters in Migration at Sussex and held various roles with Commonwealth Writers, The Reader Organisation and Barefoot Books.

She is a Clore Leadership Fellow, Trustee for the Poetry Translation Centre, and Consultant for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. You can find her at the intersection of narrative, migration, and self-discovery, or in Bristol where she lives.

Twitter: @jentle_editor

Cassie Gonzales is a lecturer in creative writing at Emory University and a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, she now lives in Sweden with her husband and dog.

Teaching Creative Writing Series Overview

Creative writers teach in schools, universities and the community, on retreats, in theatres and in workshops. Teaching is often a key part of a writer’s career, and there are rich possibilities creative arts education across a huge range of contexts. But how do you teach creative writing? Can you? This series offers anyone considering teaching creative writing as part of their career development the opportunity to look in detail at the theory and practice of creative writing pedagogy in a variety of institutional and community settings.

The series will address the historical principles and contemporary critiques of creative writing pedagogy, and how these are responding to wider institutional and societal developments. It will consider in detail the theory and practice of employing these pedagogical skills both within and outside higher education. Attendees will be invited to reflect on future possibilities and challenges for the development of creative writing teaching, enabling a deeper awareness and knowledge of creative writing as a subject of study, a future career, and a creative practice.

Students are not expected to attend all the sessions, but the series has been designed to allow for an arc of learning from theoretical principles to practical engagement.

The sessions will take place online via Microsoft Teams, once a month for the 2020/21 academic year.

Image by Gerad Altmann from Pixabay

CHASE Terms and Conditions

By registering below you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you. If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please cancel your Eventbrite registration or email training@chase.ac.uk so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time means your place cannot be reallocated and repeated failure may mean that your access to future training is limited.

The training is open to:

• CHASE funded and associate students,

• Arts and Humanities PhD students at CHASE member institutions,

• and students and members of staff at CHASE partner institutions

• Arts and Hum PhD students (via the AHRC mailing list)

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