Lecturer: Creative Writing
School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
T: 01904 876987
I am a writer and academic with a background in music, communications and the visual arts. I have worked as a freelance arts writer, programmer and publicist for various organisations and charities including Henry Moore Institute, Leeds City Council, Old Truman Brewery, East Street Arts and Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.
My debut novel, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, was published by Little, Brown in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. It received the Society of Authors’ K Blundell Award for Fiction and was included in the Observer’s Books of the Year.
I have published three chapbook collections of poetry and have collaborated with musicians and filmmakers on adaptations of my poems. The most recent, The Humber Star, was commissioned for John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux at Hull 2017. I am currently working on a new fiction commission for Manchester Literature Festival that responds to Martin Parr’s forthcoming exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.
I previously taught English & Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds Trinity University. In 2018/2019 I will teach on the following modules at York St John: Introduction to Creative Writing; Publishing, Production, Performance; and Writing the Voice MA.
I am a Greenwich University Creative Writing graduate and also studied for an MA at Manchester University’s Centre for New Writing. I achieved a PhD in English & Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield in 2017.
My PhD by research, Writing Andrea Dunbar: Framing the Non-fiction Novel in the Literary North, considered the life and work of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar and the tradition of fact-based fiction in 20th century literature. Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile was the resulting creative work which explored the harsh realities of working-class life in Bradford during the 1980s. Through a cast of real and imagined characters the novel reveals how Dunbar’s portrayal of the Buttershaw Estate represented levels of poverty within her own community that were previously unknown to the outside world. This is the first time an account of Dunbar’s life and work has appeared in novel form and places her work within the social and historical context of the Thatcher era. By drawing connections to recent works in contemporary Northern literature the research also considers representations of West Riding in the 1970s and 80s. It examines the work of Gordon Burn and David Peace and shows how they utilised the non-fiction novel and New Journalism forms to create fact-based fiction set in the region.
I am currently writing a novel set in Yorkshire during the 1990s that explores father/daughter relationships, working-class rural life, the rave scene, and aspects of young female identity during that period. I am particularly interested in emerging autofictions and how memoir can be transformed through a fictional lens.
- Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (Little, Brown Book Group, 2017)
- The Shadow of Your Shadow: Collected Haiku (Tangerine Press, 2019)
- Dark Corners of the Land (Blackheath Books, 2012)
- Cigarettes In Bed (Blackheath Books, 2009)
- Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid (Blackheath Books, 2008)
- Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers (Unbound, 2019)
- Spring: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons (Elliott & Thompson, 2016)
- Untitled One: Neu! Reekie! (Birlinn/Polygon, 2015)
Introductions and Forewords
- Alma Cogan, Gordon Burn (Faber and Faber, 2019)
- Sweet is the Taste of Tears, Akiko Yosano (Tangerine Press, 2014)
- Eight Days Left, Martin Parr: Return to Manchester (Manchester Literature Festival 2018)
- Our North: Andrea Dunbar, Tyneside Cinema (British Film Institute 2018)
- Closing Time, Idea of North (Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art 2018)
- The Humber Star, John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux (Hull City of Culture 2017)
- Secret Cities, Spectra Festival of Light (Aberdeen City Council 2017)
- I’m Carnival Happy, Leeds West Indian Carnival (Leeds City Council 2017)
Journalism and Press Interviews
I have written about music, theatre and film for publications including The Quietus, New Statesman, Caught by the River, Flux, 3:AM Magazine and The Guardian. I have also interviewed various musicians and writers at festivals and events across the UK.
- What Do We Mean by Working Class Writing?, Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3, 2018
- Interview with Jenni Murray, Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4, 2018
- Appearance on PM, BBC Radio 4, 2018
- Panel member for Uproot Festival, Free Thinking, Hull Truck Theatre, BBC Radio 3, 2017
- Guest on Backlisted Podcast (discussing Gordon Burn’s Alma Cogan), Durham Book Festival, October 2017
- I’m Drawn to Strong Women, The Morning Star
- The Genius We Never Discuss, Yorkshire Post
- You Make Your Own Culture, Minor Literatures
- The Short, Reckless Life of Andrea Dunbar, The Spectator
- Books of the Year, Observer
- Mischief Amid Bleakness, The Guardian
- NS Recommends, New Statesman
- Book of the Month, Caught by the River
- Interrogating the Past – This Year’s Gordon Burn Prize Shortlist, Foyles
- Rita, Sue and Bob Too: A Snapshot of 80s Britain, BBC News
- Remembering Brutalism, Vice Magazine
- “Why the Royal Court is right to reinstate Rita, Sue and Bob Too”, New Statesman
- “Justified & Ancient Seems A Long Time Ago: The JAMs In Liverpool”, The Quietus
- “Ripped and Torn: The Birth of Rough Trade Books”, Caught by the River
Conferences and Invited Talks
- Rita, Sue and Bob Too screening, HOME, Manchester 2018 [Panel member]
- ‘To Throw Away Unopened’ w/ Viv Albertine, Port Eliot Festival 2018
- The Big Idea: Rita, Sue and Bob Too post-show talk w/ Clio Barnard & Kate Wasserberg, Royal Court Theatre 2018 [Panel member]
- The Arbor, Square Chapel Arts Centre 2018 [Panel member]
- ‘Coal Black Mornings’ w/ Brett Anderson, Manchester Literature Festival 2018
- ‘Don’t Skip Out on Me’ w/ Willy Vlautin, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds 2018
- Andrea Dunbar Event, Portico Library, Manchester 2017 [Speaker]
- ‘In Praise of Bad Girls’, Women, Feminism, Class & The Arts, Working Class Movement Library 2017 [Speaker]
- In Conversation: John Grant & Adelle Stripe, Kardomah 94, Hull 2017
- ‘Petite Fleur’ w/ Iosi Havilio for And Other Stories, Waterstones Deansgate 2017
- ‘The Essex Serpent’ w/ Sarah Perry, Bronte Festival of Women’s Writing 2017
- ‘The Last London’, Whitechapel Art Gallery 2017 [Speaker]
- ‘Andrea Dunbar the Writer’, City Hall, Bradford Literature Festival 2017 [Panel member]
- ‘Genius of the Slums: Andrea Dunbar in Print’, Grim Up North? Northern Identity, History & Heritage symposium, Leeds Library 2016 [Speaker]
- ‘Literature of Fact: Exploring the Non-fiction Novel’, NAWE Great Writing Conference, Imperial College London 2015 [Speaker]
- ‘Bedsit Disco Queen’ w/ Tracey Thorn, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2017
- ‘The Alcohol Years’ w/ Carol Morley, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2013