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Dr Abi Curtis

Abi CurtisHead of Programme: Creative Writing

Abi was one of the first to gain a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex, and went on to teach there until 2010 when she joined YSJU. Her latest poetry collection The Glass Delusion (Salt, 2012) was a winner of the 2013 Somerset Maugham Award. 

In 2004 she received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors for poets under 30, and her first collection, Unexpected Weather, was the winner of Salt Publishing’s inaugural Crashaw Prize and was shortlisted for the London Festival Fringe Poetry Award 2010.

Abi’s work often engages with other disciplines, such as visual art, science and history: a recent project was the result of collaboration with the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum. As well as writing poetry, Abi writes fiction and has an interest in psychoanalysis. Her writing explores such topics as mushrooms in Freud; the power of the squid in literature; and the relationship between poetry and ventriloquism. She has also written on the role of the unconscious in the teaching of creative writing.



The Glass Delusion, Salt Publishing, 2012 - link: http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/smp/9781844718641.htm

Unexpected Weather, Salt Publishing, 2009 – link: http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/smp/9781844715657.htm

Humbug, Tall Lighthouse, 2004

Poetry included in a range of journals and anthologies, including: Best British Poetry 2012, Long Poem Magazine, Magma, South East Review, Aesthetica, Poetry South, Resurgence, Succour and The Best American Poetry Blog.


Critical  Papers:

‘Mushrooming: Resistance and Creativity in Sigmund Freud and Emily Dickinson’ in Angelaki: The Journal of the Theoretical Humanities Routledge, Vol. 18.2: 2013 - link: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/routledge/0969725x.html

‘Re-thinking the Unconscious in Creative Writing Pedagogy’, in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, Autumn 2009.

‘Inventions of Telepathy’ review article in The Oxford Literary Review: ‘Telepathies’, December 2008.

‘An Impossible Apprenticeship’, on teaching poetry, Poetry News, Summer 2006.


Conference Papers/Readings:

'Squiddity: The Power of the Squid in Writing', 'Reading Animals',  Sheffield, July 2014.

'WordPress Blogging as a Reflective Tool in Creative Writing', Higher York e-learning conference, York St John University, May 2014.

Reading from novel in progress, at 'Narrative and Alternative Futures', part of York Literature Festival, March 2014.

'Creative Writing at York St John University', conference paper, as part of international panel, on curriculum design, AWP conference, Seattle, January 2014.

'Creative Writing/Creative Research' with Dr JT Welsch, NAWE, York, November 2012.

‘Squiddity: The Power of the Squid in Writing’, ‘First Fictions’, University of Sussex, January 2012 - link:

‘Poetry and Ventriloquism’, ‘Poetry and the Voice,’ University of Chichester, June 2010.

‘The Joke as Critical and Creative Act’, ‘Critic as Artist,’ University of Lancaster, June 2009.

‘Mr Coombes and the Drop-Hole’, a fictional dramatisation of the process of research, ‘The Story of Research’, University of Sussex, June 2007 and ‘Great Writing’, University of Bangor, July 2007.

‘Conversations with a Machine: Re-thinking the relationship between Poetry and Critical Discourse’, ‘In the Line of Contemporary Poetry’, Oxford, September 2006.

‘Indefinite Exteriors: Narrative Desire and the Kiss’, ‘Incorporation and Literature’, University of Edinburgh, July 2006.

‘Freud’s Compositional Space’, ‘Great Writing’, University of Portsmouth, June 2005.


Abi has read her work at the following venues and festivals including York, Chiddingly, Stanza, The Troubadour, The Betsy Trotwood, The Komedia, Slaughtered Lamb, Poetry Café and Bookroom Boutique. She has also judged poetry competitions, including Kent SaveAs, Root and Branch, and The New Writer.