Cambridge Writing Centre

Research

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The Cambridge Writing Centre is a research centre based at Anglia Ruskin University, dedicated to sharing knowledge in the field of creative writing.

Our practice-based research integrates, among other areas, short fiction, poetry, dramatic writing, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and writing for children, as well as exploring interactivity and hybridity between these genres. Scroll down for a full list. Our members are writers and researchers situated within the Cambridge School of Creative Industries and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, working with local writers and organisations to create public-facing events and workshops.

Pinned Event — Research, Writing

Creative Writing PGR February Seminar


27 February 2024, 18:00

Open to all ARU staff and students! Join us for the first of two creative writing research seminars.


 

Short Stories

The short story – the art of saying less but meaning more – has long been viewed in the UK as a kind of apprentice piece before the ‘real’ work of a novel. While it’s true that many writers start off with the short story, recent Pulitzer Prize winners for short stories (including Elizabeth Strout, Jhumpa Lahiri and Jenifer Egan) and the proliferation of high profile competitions, show that it is flourishing as an artform in its own right. We have been teaching the craft of short fiction at ARU for many years, and hosted successful short story writers like Ali Smith, Daisy Johnson, and Chris Beckett, all of whom came to prominence with their first collections. We have a long history of successful creative practice PhDs in the short story, and aim to showcase some of that research through the CWC, as well as interactive workshops and readings.


 

Poetry

Cambridge has been home to many renowned poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and Sylvia Plath, and continues to host an array of visiting and resident poets. The Cambridge Writing Centre is at the forefront of innovation and experimentation in poetry, expanding the reach of interactive digital and ludokinetic verse, and working in partnership with hybrid anthology publishers Sidekick Books. We host regular multi-poet event nights based around themes as diverse as Renaissance magic, local wildlife and Shakespeare. We also work closely with other local open mic and reading nights, such as CB1 Poetry and the Mill Road Poetry Group evenings at Hot Numbers cafe.


 

Creative Nonfiction

The UK has an excellent international reputation for the quality of its adult and children’s nonfiction book publishing. This offers a real breadth of opportunity for writers to engage in original research and to develop innovative approaches to writing. At ARU we have a focus on nature and environment, and especially the East Anglian region, wetlands and climate change. Memoir is another area of nonfiction writing explored by staff and students.


 

Writing Drama for Stage, Screen and Audio

With the rise of streaming and digital distribution our appetite for recorded drama has grown exponentially and so has the demand for drama writers. At ARU we have been teaching writing for stage, screen and audio for over twenty years. While still emerging as a field of research, the CWC furthers the skills, knowledge and understanding demanded for affective and impactful drama writing through industry led talks and workshops. As well as promoting the wider development and understanding of drama writing practice as research via presentations and discussion in our staff and student research seminar series.



 

Writing with Technology

Ever since the invention of the printing press the evolution of writing has run parallel with the evolution of technology. Technology has shaped writing form through the invention of new tools with which to generate and disseminate writing. It has also become the subject matter of much genre pushing writing through speculative fiction and science fiction as authors explore human’s relationship to technology real and imagined. From the typewriter to generative AI writers have responded to changes in technology by exploring new ways of combining traditional skills with new processes pushing boundaries of creativity, narrative and reader engagement. Join us for workshops and events exploring this exciting way of exploring future forms of writing and creativity.



 

Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction, a category of literature which includes science fiction, fantasy, and horror, along with a whole host of subgenres of imaginative writing, has long been an important mode both commercially and artistically, and studied by literary scholars. But it is only relatively recently that it has begun to be explored seriously by teachers and researchers of Creative Writing. ARU has a strong history of engaging with the mode, with undergraduate modules looking at writing speculative fiction, and having formerly hosted the Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy, which has now been incorporated into the Cambridge Writing Centre. We have staff expertise in a range of speculative fiction areas, and a history of successful practice PhDs in genre fiction. The CWC will continue the work of the Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and explore other modes of speculative fiction through research and events.


 

Writing for Children and Young Adults

The market for children and young adult literature has rocketed in recent years but what draws writers to writing for children and young adults? There is no doubt that there are as many answers to that question as writers. What unifies all successful writers for children and young adults is a commitment to practicing the craft of storytelling for specific age-groups. With this understanding firmly in mind the CWC organises workshops and talks on the art of writing for young readers from picture books to middle grade, lower teens to young adults, inviting celebrated authors from near and far to share their skills and experience.

Staff

Dr. Tim Jarvis
— Writer

Tim Jarvis is a writer of supernatural fiction. He has research interests, as a practitioner and critic, in the fields of genre fiction, the Gothic, experimental and innovative writing, fictocriticism, and Creative Writing pedagogy.

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Staff

Dr. Sarah Gibson Yates
— Teaching and Research

Sarah’s current teaching and research practice draws on careers in art curatorship, cultural film programming, film production and community arts education. She is currently involved in narrative making projects across a range of media including screenwriting, narrative games, and children’s literature.

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Staff

Dr. Jon Stone
— Poetry and Research

Jon is a poet, researcher and editor with a specialism in hybrid and ludic literary forms, interactive fiction and collaborative writing. He is a co-director of Sidekick Books, a small press which focuses on multi-author mixed-genre anthologies.

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Staff

Dr. Colette Paul
— Writer

Colette Paul is particularly interested in short fiction, both theory and practice, and has published a book of short stories, Whoever You Choose to Love; these were serialized on Radio 4. Although her publications are in short fiction, she is interested in all types of prose fiction and has supervised many novel projects.

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Staff

Katharine Reeve
— Lecturer

Katharine Reeve is Course Leader MA Publishing and Senior Lecturer Practitioner teaching BA and MA Creative Writing and Publishing. Her creative practice is in nonfiction writing with a focus on the environment, cultural history and memoir, specifically the Norfolk Broads.

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Students & Alumni

Lisa Farrell
— PhD Researcher

Lisa Farrell is a postgraduate researcher exploring interactivity in fiction and producing a collection of speculative short stories.

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Students & Alumni

Nancy Pardo
— PhD Researcher

Nancy is a fiction writer, researcher, and community advocate. Her research explores women’s experiences of nature through themes of legacy and inheritance, family, connection and disconnection, patriarchy, and male violence.

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Students & Alumni

Maria Sanger
— PhD Researcher

Maria is writing a cycle of short stories that interweave historical and fantastic fiction. The thesis will explore the challenges of writing a collection of stories spanning different times, places, and cultures, how to create uncanny effects in historical fiction.

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Students & Alumni

Carol Saville
— PhD Researcher

Carol Saville's writing and research focuses on ecology and eco-criticism in the fantasy genre. She is an Open University tutor with 21 years' experience.

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Jan Casey speaking at event Students & Alumni

Jan Casey
— Creative Writing.

Jan Casey graduated from our MA Creative Writing course in 2010, and has since established herself as an author of historical fiction, publishing four novels through Aria Fiction and now working on a fifth.

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Sam Millar reading book in library Students & Alumni

Sam Millar
— Writing and English Literature.

Sam Millar graduated from our BA (Hons) Writing and English Literature degree in 2019. His first poetry collection 'Retail Park' was published in 2022 by Querencia Press.

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