On Monday, 12 October, the Centre for Writing at YSJU started the new academic year with a roar and a swoon.
The evening saw the launch of two books: Lecturer Naomi Booth’s novella The Lost Art of Sinking, which imagines an uncanny world of intentional swooning from the perspective of the main character, Esther, and Lecturer and Acting Head of Programme JT Welsch’s poetry collection Hell Creek Anthology, which is based on Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology, but this time, with dinosaurs found in Hell Creek, Montana.
Naomi Booth introduced the audience to the literary history of swooning, from the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, to contemporary advertising, before reading from her novella’s first chapter. JT Welsch showed the illustrations from his collection created by fashion illustrator Dom & Ink.
Students and staff gnoshed on dinosaur desserts and the lecturers talked about their writing processes and their downright obsessions with their subjects.
Stay tuned for the next reading at YSJU Centre for Writing!
So it’s been a pretty exciting November. On the 7th we had a fabulous book launch with Nuala Casey and Matt Haig here at YSJ. Matt read from his latest novel, The Humans, and reminded us all why it’s great to be a human, from the point of view of an alien. Matt’s lively and moving writing is highly recommended. Nuala Casey, a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing here at YSJ, read from her debut novel, Soho 4 a. m. Nuala held the audience with her atmospheric and gritty prose, taking us through the shady streets of Soho. Nuala doesn’t wait around either, her next novel, Summer Lies Bleeding will be out next summer. Both writers responded to questions from the audience with generosity and refreshing honesty, and we all got an insight into the discipline and hard work necessary to become a successful writer.
Last week we were incredibly proud to see our first cohort of joint honours Creative Writing students graduate in the grand York Minster. We were all dressed in our finery, struggling to balance our hats and comparing our gowns. JT Welsch definitely won that particular contest…
We know that all our students are going on to do great things, and are happy to have the pleasure of continuing to teach some on our MA.
Finally, novelist Barrie Sherwood gave a wonderful reading of his latest work, Sandia, yesterday evening. Barrie was a lecturer here at YSJ for five years and recently left to teach in Singapore. It was lovely to see him again, and lots of his previous students turned up to wish him well and thank him for being an inspirational teacher. Barrie’s new novel is remarkable, a work that shows a novelist at the height of his ability. I was bowled over by the control and power of the prose. I can’t wait to read the whole thing.
There are more exciting events coming next year, including a reading of Holophin by Luke Kennard, who will be joined by Tom Chivers of brilliant independent press Penned in the Margins. We are also welcoming an literary agent, and looking forward to the York Literature Festival, where we’ll get to see Germaine Greer, Nicholas Royle, Alison Moore, Emily Berry, Helen Mort, Rebecca Goss (to name only a few).
YSJ Creative Writing student Fionn Coughlan-Wills recently launched the first issue of his new magazine Interrobang, with copies available at last week’s freshers’ fair. Check out the online ‘sneak preview’ to see why you need to get hold of a hard copy!
In addition to some brilliant poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting, the first issue also includes an interview with YSJ lecturer JT Welsch, with an extended version on the Interrobang website here.