Postgraduate Creative Writing Menu
Writers who have studied in Lancaster's Creative Writing programmes have published over seventy books in recent years. Our Student Publications page gives you a sampling of the wide range of work they have brought out. Lancaster writers who have won or been nominated for major prizes include:
Ren Powell, Mercy Island: New and Selected Poems (Phoenicia Publishing, March 2011)
Ren Powell, who recently gained her PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster, has published her fifth poetry collection - her first collection to be published in North America. These forty-one poems, written by Ren between 1998 and 2010, depict a coming of age that begins in a claustrophobic American trailer park and expands into the kind of borderless existence shared by all emigrants and homesick travelers. "Ren Powell takes the world in whole, ‘negotiates a new language,’ and gives it back to us in all its terror, strangeness, pain and beauty. Many of these poems read like fable: a woman with a gown of eggshells, a stone turtle that captures the essence of a childhood. Other poems testify to the resilience of the human spirit even after the unspeakable happens. I loved these poems for the freshness of the language, for their deep truths and most of all for their compassion" (Patricia Fargnoli).
Christina Lloyd, Territories (Finishing Line Press, February 2011)
Born in Hong Kong, raised in the Philippines and educated in the United States, Christina Lloyd has lived and worked as an English teacher in Costa Rica, Japan and Ireland. She completed a Distance Learning MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and currently lives in San Francisco. Territories is her first chapbook."Christina Lloyd gives us poems of exuberance and wonder, poems that are not afraid to engage with the beauty and harshness of the everyday…" (Karen Llagas).
Marianne Wheelaghan, The Blue Suitcase (Pilrig Press, 5 Nov 2010)
Marianne Wheelaghan was a student on our Distance Learning MA in Creative Writing 2000-02. Her new novel, The Blue Suitcase, is set in Silesia, Germany, in 1932. James Robertson writes, 'We think by now that there can be no more untold stories from the 1930s and the Second World War. Then a book like this comes along and we are once again astonished by the capacity of some humans to do unspeakably cruel things, and of others to survive them. The simple, almost mundane tone of Antonia's diary makes The Blue Suitcase all the more shocking. It's hard to read, but harder to stop.' Read more on Amazon.
Deborah Swift, The Lady’s Slipper (Macmillan New Writing, June 2010)
"Vivid, gripping and intensely atmospheric, The Lady’s Slipper is a novel about beauty, faith and loyalty. It marks the emergence of an exquisite new voice in historical fiction." (Amazon) "Deborah Swift’s writing style, combined with her knowledge of mid-17th Century life is masterful in her portrayal of a crueller and less tolerant time, where suspicion is enough to condemn the innocent and women were regarded as the cradle of all evils." (Historical Novel Review). Deborah has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University.
Read more about Deborah Swift.
Ray Robinson, Forgetting Zoe (William Heinemann, June 2010)
"Stockholm syndrome is a curious but understandable condition, intelligently and vividly explored by Ray Robinson ... It is a measure of Ray Robinson's own sympathetic imagination that he makes Thurman credible as a human being and not merely a monster ... Ray Robinson is a writer with keen observation. His prose is hard, abrupt and sinewy…[Forgetting Zoe] is a novel that contains violence but also stillness, that reveals more than it makes explicit ... A mature and accomplished work." - Allan Massie, The Scotsman
Read more about Ray Robinson.
Heather Richardson, Magdeburg (Lagan Press, June 2010)
"As the Thirty Years War rages across central Europe, the Protestant denizens of Magdeburg are holding out against the armies of the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand. Sweeping in its scope and ambition, Heather Richardson's debut novel tells the intertwining and conflicting stories of the Henning family, their friends, their associates and their enemies…Vibrant and convincingly told, Magdeburg is a gripping novel striking its contemporary resonances and its ability to portray complex truths about belief, family, belonging and war." (Lagan Press) Heather was awarded a Distinction in the Lancaster Distance Learning MA in Creative Writing and teaches creative writing for the Open University.
Angela Barry, Gorée: Point of Departure (Peepal Tree Press, May 2010)
"Unresolved traumas always come back to haunt us. From hidden infidelities to atrocities on the ocean, they linger in the private and collective consciousness like a tumor that can become malignant in a second. Or they grow undetected, their poison infecting the vulnerable members of our families and communities. In Goree: Point of Departure, Angela Barry muses on the enormity of the Atlantic holocaust through the fractured relationship of Magdalene Joseph, a St. Lucian filmmaker, and Saliou Wade, a Senegalese doctor, and their children, Khadi and Maimouna…What kept me reading was the vitality of the main characters and the beautifully shaped language." (Gedachten in gedichten). Angela is currently working on her PhD at Lancaster University. See the Peepal Tree Press site.
Read more about Angela Barry.
Paul Magrs, Hell’s Belles! (Headline Review, April 2010)
"The heroine is the Bride of Frankenstein. She goes by the name of Brenda, and runs a Bed-and-Breakfast in the seaside town of Whitby. Brenda's circle also includes her hubby Frank, and her friend Robert who manages a hotel…Magrs richly imagines these characters from the inside-out, and brings them to life with a fine eye for detail and ear for dialogue. He does a masterful job of building sympathy for them through a kind of humor rooted in their vulnerabilities and surprising strengths." (The Groovy Age of Horror)
Read more about Paul Magrs.
Carl McKeating and Rachel Crolla, Europe's High Points: Reaching the Summit of Every Country in Europe (Cicerone Press, October 2009)
Carl McKeating, a Lancaster Creative Writing student who graduated in 2004, has just published a book about reaching the highest point of any European country: "This guide brings together detailed route descriptions for those seeking to get to the highest peaks in countries from Liechtenstein to Latvia and Germany to Greece. Whether attempting to climb individual high points or complete all 50 ascents, these routes are crammed with some of the most stunning landscapes and exciting terrain that Europe has to offer....From the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle to the arid plains of the Sierra Nevada, this book contains something for everyone..." (Amazon)
John Corless, Are You Ready? (Salmon Poetry, June 2009)
John Corless gained a Distinction in the Lancaster Creative Writing Distance Learning MA in October 2008. He is now working on his PhD at Lancaster. Are You Ready? was published in June 2009: "John Corless comes to poetry with an infectious enthusiasm. He has imbued his work with a sense of discovery and wonder. His debut collection is gritty and irreverent, infected with copious amounts of tongue-in-cheek humour. Here you will find fake tan and calf nuts, the PDs , dancehall fights and dry cash hid behind dressers by dead bachelors. This is not a naive nostalgic sojourn through rural Connaught but an uncompromising white knuckle ride through sometimes dark and menacing places where sacred cows are put through their paces before being loaded up in a trailer and driven unceremoniously out to grass. You have been warned." – Ger Reidy.
Read more about John Corless.
Ali Shaw, The Girl with Glass Feet (Atlantic Books, May 2009)
Ali Shaw graduated from Lancaster University with a first class degree in English Literature, took the Creative Writing MA there and has since worked as a bookseller and at Oxford's Bodleian Library. "Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St Hauda's Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around icy bogland; albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods; jellyfish glow in the ocean's depths...And Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass. A mysterious and frightening alchemical metamorphosis has befallen Ida Maclaird - she is slowly turning into glass, from the feet up....The Girl with Glass Feet is a dazzlingly imaginative and gripping first novel, a love story to treasure." (Amazon) "Ali Saw has written a rare orchid of book, beautiful and eccentric and exquisitely sad.' (Patrick Ness, Penguin Books, Australia)
Jane Eagland, Wildthorn (Macmillan Children's Books, March 2009)
Jane Eagland, who did an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster, now divides her time between writing and tutoring. Wildthorn, her first novel, was inpsired by true stories of women who were incarcerated in asylums in the nineteenth century: "Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key..." (Amazon) Click here to read more at Bookseller.com about Wildthorn and Jane Eagland.
Brigid Rose, The City of Lists (Crocus Books, March 2009)
Brigid Rose was a student on the Lancaster Creative Writing MA from 2002 to 2004 and she has just had her first novel published - the one she started on the course. "Neeve meets Valentine at her Work Unit. A tentative friendship develops between them and together they summon the courage to leave the regimen of the Sixth Compound. Then Lol, unrepenatant law-breaker and member of the underground movement, blasts into their lives and their friendship takes a path none of them could have forseen" (Amazon). Click here for the Crocus Books media release.
Paula Brackston, Book of Shadows (Snowbooks, February 2009)
Paula Brackston, who has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, published her first novel with Snowbooks earlier this year. Extracts from reviews: "Ambitious and thought-provoking, this book will lure you into vivid, visceral worlds where evil lurks at every turn. The beautifully crafted Book of Shadows will be etched on my mind for a long time. What an action-packed, emotionally powerful film it would make too." Sally Spedding. "An unforgettable story by a highly original new writer." Rebecca Tope, author of the Cotswold crime series. (Amazon)
Monique Roffey, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Simon & Schuster, July 2009)
"When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England George instantly takes to their new life, but Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill at ease with the racial segregation and the imminent dawning of a new era. Her only solace is her growing fixation with Eric Williams, the charismatic leader of Trinidad's new national party, to whom she pours out all her hopes and fears for the future in letters that she never brings herself to send. As the years progress, George and Sabine's marriage endures for better or worse. When George discovers Sabine's cache of letters, he realises just how many secrets she's kept from him - and he from her - over the decades. And he is seized by an urgent, desperate need to prove his love for her, with tragic consequences..."
Read more about Monique Roffey.
Ian Seed, Anonymous Intruder (Shearsman Books, February 2009)
"The poems and prose poems in Anonymous Intruder navigate the vulnerabilities revealed in relationships, only to abandon these in a wandering search for new encounters and new truths. The seeking 'self' goes into exile to be shattered and reconstructed. In a hesitant movement towards the transcendental, the poems consider the possibility and impossibility of returning home. They must first find a way to recognise the stranger approaching from a distance. Although these narratives are fragmented and elliptical, the imagery is stark and clear, the language concise, the rhythms and patterns engaging."
Read more about Ian Seed.
Ray Robinson, The Man Without (Picador, July 2008)
"Antony Dobson has lived through a lot in his short twenty-six years...Haunted by childhood memories and guarding a dark, humiliating secret that he dare not reveal, he's hurtling fast towards the point of no return. Impressive and irresistibly readable, this tight-rope-walk of a novel explores memory, love, identity, and absence in a dazzling display that is in turn sad, witty and deeply affecting." (Amazon)
Read more about Ray Robinson
Sarah Stovell, Mothernight (Snowbooks, 3 March 2008)
"'I was beginning to realise that time didn't move forwards here. It just spun round and round, circling an old date, endlessly.' So says seventeen-year-old Olivia who spends the summer at the home of her boarding school friend, the brilliant, distant, lonely Leila…Now on the verge of adulthood, Leila decides to confront her past and her family, but the atmosphere of blame and recrimination hangs as heavy as the summer heat and will prove more powerful than she could have ever imagined." (Amazon)
Read more about Sarah Stovell
Nigel McLoughlin, Dissonances (Bluechrome Publishing, September 2007)
"McLoughlin's fourth collection orbits around four poetic loci…The poems collude and collide to form a collection that foregrounds language in all its dissonant and disjointed richness. The work transmits a linguistic and semiotic energy and demands that the receiver take note." (Amazon)
Read more about Nigel McLoughlin
Alison MacLeod, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Hamish Hamilton, September 2007)
"This collection of short stories allows us to peep into the private lives of many different characters...they are a modern and enjoyable take on how love finds us and leaves us." (Sunday Express) "Clever, full of depth and at times bust-a-rib funny, this is chick lit for the cynical." (New Woman)
Read more about Alison MacLeod
Martin Goodman, Suffer and Survive: The Extreme Life of J. S Haldane (Simon & Schuster, August 2007)
"Martin Goodman begins his excellent biography of John Scott Haldane with a vivid account of the Tylorstown disaster. He has a novelist’s eye for evocative detail that lesser writers might miss and the result is as compelling as a historical novel." from The Times review.
Read more about Martin Goodman
Abigail Zammit, Voices from the Land of Trees (Smokestack Books, June 2007)
"Voices from the Land of Trees raises many questions about human suffering, not just in this war, but in all wars. It is a powerful testimony for the people who were directly involved in the war in Guatamala, written with sensitivity and an awareness of what has been lost." Annie Clarkson, Stride Magazine
Read more about Abigail Zammit
Micheline Maylor, The Full Depth: The Raymond Knister poems (Wolsak & Wynn, April 2007)
"The spirit of Knister's ground-breaking fiction and poetry is embodied in verse that is elegant, erotic, musical and engaging. Full Depth brings to life not only a moving love story, but a fine new talent." Carmine Starnino (http://michelinemaylor.com/books.html )
Read more about Micheline Maylor
Ian Marchant, The Longest Crawl (Bloomsbury, July 2006)
"The greatest pub crawl ever recorded ... Full of wonderful anecdotes, extraordinary characters and more absurd facts than any pub quiz would throw up" (Daily Mirror) "I didn't want it to end ... It's a big, fat affirmation of life, and Lord knows, we can all do with one of them from time to time" (Nicholas Lezard's paperback choice, Guardian)
Read more about Ian Marchant
Stephen Hanson, Knitted Wings (Summer Palace Press, June 2006)
"The poems in this collection are the accumulation of fourteen years of the poet’s work and take you through the interior and exterior views of a Northern Irish poet. As Jane Draycott states, you 'enter the fugitive realm were history and love and loss reside in delicate balance'". Fergal Mahan (Amazon reviewer)
Read more about Stephen Hanson
Geraldine Green, Passio (Flarestack, April 2006)
"Every person, plant, bird, tree, creature, and the multitude of other natural gems Green encounters are connected by subjectively experienced correspondences...Each phrase is an earthly metaphor with a rich history, and Geraldine Green has the fantastic ability to end each poem with a single line that leaves you suspended in a nearly timeless contemplation." Mary Jo Malo, Unlikely 2.0
Read more about Geraldine Green
Ray Robinson, Electricity (Picador, March 2006)
"An energetic debut, bristling with talent" (The Times). "Its fast, furious plot, kaleidoscopic imagery, blunt observations and a wry, ingenious, hugely compassionate heroine make this eviscerating debut novel a breath-taking assault on the senses" (Guardian).
Read more about Ray Robinson
Jacob Polley, Little Gods (Picador, December 2006)
"Polley’s ability to balance exquisite form with surprising material it never quite subdues keeps this collection alive and breathing in a way that is rare in the era of the workshop poem…" Click here for the rest of Fiona Sampson’s review in The Liberal.
Read more about Jacob Polley
Martin Goodman, Slippery When Wet (Transita, January 2006)
"I’m not sure how Martin Goodman has pulled this extraordinary novel off - so moving and so funny; so sharply acute and so generous hearted; so translucent and so intelligent; so honest and so hopeful. Should work for both sunny days and cold nights…" Sara Maitland (quoted http://www.martingoodman.com/books.htm )
Read more about Martin Goodman
View more publications by alumni of the Lancaster Writing Programme
Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»
Share research and make connections with other researchers. Go to the Luminary»
The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»