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Kelvin Knight

MA Creative Writing

Creative Writing MA Student Kelvin KnightWhere are you from?

Cumbria.

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle? 

For two Creative Writing lecturers (Steve Chambers and Dr Andrew Crumey) whose work I admired and who used to work in the same field as myself. They made the successful switch from Mathematics and Science to the Humanities, which is where my heart lies.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do? 

The region has a wealth of cultural activities which compliment my area of study (creative writing) from art, to plays, to reading and writing events. There is always something interesting to get involved with.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most? 

Having spent decades travelling around the world with work and meeting a wide variety of people, I have been hand on heart impressed with how welcoming, friendly and relaxing everyone in Newcastle is - both the Geordies and everyone else. Newcastle is truly a cosmopolitan city.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming?  Was it easy to fit in?

Northumbria University was surprisingly welcoming. I say surprising because from the opening lecture I felt as if I had always been here. That feeling of "coming home" remained throughout the course, despite the wide cross-section of people (age, work background, academic qualifications) on the postgraduate course.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

To be honest, the socialising after the lectures and workshops where the class relaxed and we discussed lectures, lecturers, writing, life, the universe everything, aided by a pint or two (never more!) in the Students' Union that was clean, spacious, with welcoming bar staff and, of course, affordable.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria? 

All the lecturers have helped my writing evolve, in various ways, incremental step ways; however the lecturer who has helped me the most is Dr Fiona Shaw. Her thoroughness and politeness, her calm ability to listen and gently steer you toward your areas of weakness, then gently ask probing questions to make you find the answers inside yourself to strengthen them has been inspirational.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

All the lecturers have helped my writing evolve, in various ways, incremental step ways; however the lecturer who has helped me the most is Dr Fiona Shaw. Her thoroughness and politeness, her calm ability to listen and gently steer you toward your areas of weakness, then gently ask probing questions to make you find the answers inside yourself to strengthen them has been inspirational.

What is your favourite place on campus? 

Without a shadow of a doubt, the library is my favourite place. There are so many floors to choose from to study, work and research, and so very very many books to get lost in. There were none on the prescribed reading list for my course or that lecturers recommended that were not present.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

In the realm of writing: story is both king and queen but the reader is the real ruler. Of equal importance is dialogue, scene setting, internal narrative, plotting (using the correct technique), and really showing the story and characters not telling the reader through long and boring exposition.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career? 

I aspire to earn a living as a professional writer be it through novels, short stories, radio plays, television scripts, and teaching.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement? What were your most memorable experiences? 

I am looking into being a writer in residence at various libraries and institutions across the country. I recently got involved in a collaborative novel with the Eden Arts foundation. More details can be found on my website (http://www.kelvinmknight.co.uk) under the article "New Writing Cumbria's Caravan Novel".

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say? 

Choose your course carefully, do your research on lecturers wisely, but be prepared for your meticulous plans to change, for your aspirations and goals in your personal statements to grow into something more than you can hope for.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?  

As a mature student, happily married, with children ready to go to university themselves, my confidence took a battering early on, this continued up to the middle of the course, but there is that famous saying, 'That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.' Accepting the subjectivity of writing, but giving and receiving honest constructive criticism, is key.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be? 

Fretful. Eye-opening. Inspirational.

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

Yes!  


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