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Creative Writing Student Successes

Jane Alexander

Title: ‘The contemporary uncanny: an exploration in creative texts and critical readings’ (2018). 

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

Jane is a novelist and short story writer. Her first novel The Last Treasure Hunt (Saraband, 2015) was selected as a Waterstones debut of the year; her second novel A User's Guide to Make-Believe (Allison & Busby) was published in January 2020. Her short fiction has won prizes and been widely published, and a short story collection with accompanying essay, The Flicker Against the Light and Writing the Contemporary Uncanny, drawing on her PhD work, is forthcoming with Luna Academia in 2021. She is the recipient of a Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary and a Creative Scotland research award, and in 2016 was awarded a Hawthornden International Writing Retreat Fellowship. Jane is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University and is Programme Director, MSc in Creative Writing. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Rowan Wynne Bowman

Title: ‘What Role does the Experience of Landscape Play in Affective Writing about the Supernatural?’ (2015)

Principal Supervisor: Dr Tony Williams

Rowan completed an MA, MRes and PhD with Northumbria. Her first novel, Checkmate, was published by Snowbooks in 2015. Her second novel, On Barley Hill, formed the centre of her PhD project which applied the concept of ‘method writing’ to use experience of landscape in the writing process. Her short story ‘The Beast of Blanchland’ won the Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award in 2018. 


Neil Campbell 

Title: Writing the South Tyne Valley: A Short Story Cycle and Reflective Commentary'– awarded MPhil (2013)

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

Neil has appeared three times in Best British Short Stories. He has two collections of short fiction published Broken Doll and Pictures from Hopper. He also has two collections of flash fiction, Ekphrasis and Fog Lane. Salt published his debut novel, Sky Hooks in 2016. Its sequel, Zero Hours forms the second part of a Manchester Trilogy.


Tracey Iceton 

Title: ‘Troubles Women: A Creative-critical exploration and re-writing of the portrayal of female characters in twentieth and twenty-first century “Troubles” fiction’ (2017).

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

Tracey completed the second novel in her Celtic Colours Trilogy (telling the story of 100 years of conflict in Ireland) for her PhD, which includes Green Dawn at St Enda's (2016), Herself Alone in Orange Rain (2017) and White Leaves of Peace (2019), all published by Cinnamon Press. Her most recent novel is Rock God Complex: The Mickey Hunter Story (2020). She teaches creative writing and has a website entitled Try Writing.


Guy Mankowski 

Title: ‘How I Left The National Grid: Self-Design in Post-Punk (2015).

Principal Supervisor: Dr Andrew Crumey.

Guy’s second novel was awarded Arts Council funding, allowing it to be researched in the world of Russian ballet. The ensuing novel, Letters from Yelena, was adapted as a dance production and an extract of it was used in GCSE educational material by Osiris Educational. How I Left The National Grid was awarded a full studentship. His fourth novel An Honest Deceit won an Arts Council Literature Prize and was a New Writing North Read Regional title. Guy is a Fellow of the HEA and a full-time lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. His first non-fiction book, ‘Albion’s Secret History: Snapshots of England’s Pop Rebels and Outsiders’ was published by Zer0 Books in March 2021. He is currently writing, with Sara Hawys Roberts, a book about the late Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, along with Pfaff’s family. He is represented by Becky Johnson at Johnson and Alcock.


Ann Matthews

Title: ‘Behind and In Between Places: Today’s Urban Landscape and the Sense of Place’ (2014)

Principal Supervisor: Prof Ian Davidson

Ann is now a lecturer in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. She has published three collections of poetry with Knives, Forks & Spoons: Strangeways (2014), Losing Boundaries (2016) and Home Turf (2020). Ann is also a bi-lingual avant-garde musician and her multi-media project, A/bout, brings this together with her practice research in Creative Writing.


Caroline Murphy

Title: ‘Influencing the pedagogy of creative writing through cultural partnership’ (2012)

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

The first PhD student in Creative Writing from Northumbria, Caroline Associate Director (Research and Partnerships) for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and is Creative & Cultural sector consultant. She is also Vice Chair of Trustees at New Writing North.


John Schoneboom 

Title: The Terrorism Novel in a Surrealist Mode (2018)

Principal Supervisor: Andrew Crumey

John is a novelist, playwright, and short story writer, originally from New York but now living in Newcastle upon Tyne. His novel Fontoon was published by Dedalus Books in 2014. An early extract of the novel he wrote for his PhD (The Science of a Single Cabbage) won a Northern Writer's Award for Northumbria University alumni. His play Dreams of Jimmy Bannon won an Artists' Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Acid, a fictionalized account of the CIA's LSD mind-control experiments, is currently under development for production with the Alphabetti Theatre. He is the founding editor of Bratum Books, which publishes the Uncommonalities collections of short stories. John is currently working on Surrealpolitik, a nonfiction book positing a surrealist mode of inquiry as a playful yet useful analytical framework for negotiating our current political climate.


Sarah Shaw 

Title: ‘Seventeen, A Novel: Ethics and Aesthetics (2013) 

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

Sarah is a self-employed writer, with a novel, Make It Back (2009), and a wide variety of short stories, poems, and essays in print. Her commissions and voluntary activities include: Isis Arts, working as writer with artist Zuzana Hruskova and with Roma women exiles in Newcastle to record interviews and produce stories; mentoring a Young People’s Writing Summer School in Hexham for New Writing North; mentoring a writer in Sierra Leone (online); devising and running a 6-week Creative Writing class at her local community centre; and a Writing residency at Tyneside Cinema as part of Write Around the Toon.


David Harrisson Spain

PhD Title: ‘Does politics as a subject matter and discourse present a specific challenge to creative prose fiction?’ (2018) 

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

David has had two screenplays place in competitions (Wiki: World's Fastest Screenplay contest the 13Horror's Film and Screenplay Contest) and a third given an an honourable mention (Wiki). He was co-writer of a play shortlisted by ProducerWork's WordPlay scheme, and has had prose samples published by CommuterLit and Litbreak Magazine, which also published his short creative essay: "Two Unhelpful Lessons About Creative Writing". He works with two different creative organisations: Videogyan, for whose YouTube channel he scripts edutainment videos, and Choice of Games: a video game company in California for whom he is writing a narrative game, "Madame Cavalcade's Nightmare Academy".


Laura Steven 

MA: Laura is an author, journalist and screenwriter who completed the MA in Creative Writing in 2016. She works at a non-profit organisation supporting women in the creative arts. Her TV pilot, Clickbait, was a finalist in British Comedy's 2016 Sitcom Mission. The Exact Opposite of Okay, her first book for young adults, has been a major success.


Sarah Stovell 

Title: ‘The Night Flower: Cultural Appropriation and Re-voicing the Past’ (2013)

Principal Supervisor: Prof Michael Green

Sarah is now a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her first novel Mothernight was published in 2008, and Tindal Street Press published the novel she completed for her PhD, The Night Flower, in 2013. Her other novels include The Visit (2017), The Home (2019), and her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite (2017). Her most recent novel, Other Parents, will be published as part of a two-book deal by HQ Stories (an imprint of HarperCollins) in 2022. 


Rhys Trimble

Title: ‘Tywysogion’ (2015)

Principal Supervisor: Prof Ian Davidson

Rhys is highly active as a bilingual poet, musician and performance artist. He has authored more than 15 books of poetry in Wales, England, India and the US since 2010, including Swansea Automatic, Anatomy Mnemonics for Caged Waves, and Hexerisk. He also edits the experimental poetry e-zine ctrl+alt-del


Tim Turnbull

Title: ‘The Adventures of Kunstlicht in the Netherworld: A Novel’ (2016)

Principal Supervisor: Prof Ian Davidson

Tim’s most recent publication is his third collection of poetry, Avanti! (2018), from Red Squirrel Press. This follows a collection of supernatural tales, ‘Silence’ and Other Stories (Postbox Press, 2016). His poem Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn, was chosen as a set text for Pearson Edexcel’s English Literature ‘A’ level in 2015. Tim also works as a painter. His first exhibition was hung in June 2018 in Dunkeld and consisted of Perthshire landscapes all of which featured the A9, the main artery north into the Scottish Highlands.


Jo Lindsay Walton

Title: ‘Integration: a Speculative Fiction Novel’ (2016)

Principal Supervisor: Dr Tony Williams

Jo has taken up teaching and research positions at Bath Spa, Leicester and Edinburgh, and is currently a Research Fellow in Critical and Cultural Theory at the University of Sussex. He has published extensively, including critical work on economics and literature, contemporary poetry, and speculative fiction, and creative work including poetry, short fiction, storytelling games, and digital art. With Sam Walton, he runs Sad Press which makes a significant contribution to contemporary avant-garde poetry.   


Further Successes

Emily Owens, a recent Northumbria student, gained a New Fiction Bursary from New Writing North at the 2013 Northern Writers Awards. Amy Ekins, a MRes graduate, won a New Poets Bursary from the Northern Writers’ Awards to develop her first collection of work.

MA graduates have achieved notable publication success. Dan Smith has published four novels, most recently My Friend the Enemy. John Schoneboom’s debut novel, written for his MA, Fontoon was published by Dedalus in 2014. Michelle Fox has set up her own film company ‘Duffel Films’ and is now developing other people’s film scripts as well as writing her own.

Helen Laws is now a highly successful TV scriptwriter who originated ‘32 Brinkburn Street’ for BBC TV and has written for ‘Casualty’, ‘Eastenders’, ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’, ‘Shameless’ and ‘Doctors’. She said ‘the MA taught her the importance of story and gave her the confidence to keep trying’.

Celia Bryce is an acclaimed novelist whose latest book Anthem for Jackson is published by Bloomsbury. Chrissie Glazebrook, another acclaimed novelist who wrote The Madolescents and Blue Spark Sisters, sadly died in 2007.

Valerie Laws, poet and novelist, is best known for painting numbers on sheep and creating ‘Quantum Sheep’. Her latest collection of poetry All that Lives is published by the highly successful Red Squirrel Press, founded by another MA graduate Sheila Wakefield.

Marion Husband graduated with a distinction in 2003 and completed her first novel The Boy I Love while on the course. It went on to the top the Independent Publisher chart on Amazon. Since then she has written five more novels.

MA graduate Sheila Wakefield founded Red Squirrel Press in 2006. Since then the press has published over 200 poetry titles, and expanded to publish prose fiction through the Postbox Press imprint. The Press has published new and established names including Andrew McMillan, Claire Askew, James Kirkup, William Bedford, Pippa Little and James McGonigal. It is the publisher partner of the Scottish Writers’ Centre.

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