Creative Writing: celebrating student and alumni achievements
Creative writing at Oxford Continuing Education is flourishing. Whether on short or online courses, our Diploma or Master’s in Creative Writing, student and alumni publications demonstrate the high calibre and breadth of talent you’d expect from a diverse group of adult learners. Writing at all ages, and from all over the world, they bring a wealth of experience to their work.
For your reading enjoyment: a selection of student and alumni successes: essays, short fiction, poetry, prizes, films and interviews – most are available to read or follow up online.
Short courses and the Diploma in Creative Writing
Rowena Warwick won the prestigious Bridport Prize 2020 for flash fiction – enjoy a short video segment about Rowena’s work and her winning piece ‘Mum Died ’. Her poem ‘ Forget Me Nots ’ is published by Indolent Books as part of their ‘What Rough Beast’ poem-a-day series, and her poem ‘ Mask ’ appears online as part of the ‘Lockdown – Best Poems & Pocket Prose’ competition held by Fish Publishing.
Short courses student Julian Stanford’s essay ‘ How walking in lockdown helped three men with their mental health ’ appears in the magazine GQ, January 2021 issue.
Poet Jane Thomas was shortlisted for The Rialto Open Pamphlet competition. Read her poem ‘ Hear Her Life ’, published on the Poetry Society website. She’s just completed an artist’s residency at Hawkwood College.
Louise Watts’ novella in flash, ‘ Something Lost ’ was published by AdHoc Fiction. Read her flash fiction ‘ Glass ’, which won first prize for Retreat West’s flash competition in December; she also took second prize in the Reflex Fiction Autumn 2020 competition for her piece, ‘ The Bad Baby ’.
Read a selection of flash fiction published by Gail Anderson: ‘Intersection, Transit and Rose’ (1st prize Reflex Fiction), ‘ Grimm’ (1st prize Writers’ Bureau), ‘ Programming Language’ (National Flash Flood) and ‘ Descent’ (Cabinet of Heed). Gail was shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction.
Sylvia Vetter teamed up with co-author Nancy Mudenyo Hunt and The Nasio Trust to publish ‘ Not So Black and White ’, a not-for-profit ebook. All proceeds go directly to supporting Nasio Trust’s work in Africa: education and child care, healthcare provision and sustainable income-generating projects.
The debut novel by Diploma in Creative Writing tutor Elisabeth Sharp McKetta ‘ She Never Told Me about the Ocean’ is a story told by four women about a rite of passage that all humans undergo and none remember: birth.
Master’s in Creative Writing
Congratulations to Senior Poetry Tutor Jane Draycott, who has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Poet Theresa Lola was commissioned by the National Gallery to write a poem for its digital exhibition ‘Sensing the Unseen: Step into Gossaert’s ‘Adoration’, which opened online last December. Read her poem ‘ Look at the Revival ’. Theresa was also commissioned as part of a series of new poetry films marking the 250th anniversary of Bristol poet Thomas Chatterton’s death. Responding to Henry Wallis’ painting of Chatterton, Theresa was filmed in front of the painting during its loan from Tate to the RWA in Bristol last November .
Daisy Johnson’s new novel ‘Sisters’ has been reviewed in the Guardian and in the New York Times . Read an interview with Daisy in the Guardian . Daisy was the youngest author to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her novel ‘Everything Under’. ‘Sisters’ has been translated into Dutch and published by Uitgeverij Koppernik .
Mary-Jane Holmes’ novella-in-flash ‘ Don’t Tell the Bees’ won the Bath Flash Fiction Prize and has been published by AdHoc Fiction. Her recent pamphlet ‘ Dihedra l’ has been published by Live Canon.
Kiran Millwood Hargrave was nominated for the 2021 Carnegie Medal for her book ‘ The Deathless Girls ’. Her book ‘The Mercies’, in French translation (LES GRACIÉES) won the Prix Rive Gauche.
The Prize for the Best Film for Tolerance, donated by the Federal Foreign Ministry, has been awarded to the film ‘ A Barcode Scanner ’ by David Shook, based on the poem of the same name by Zêdan Xelef. From the jury citation: ‘The poetic voice and the cinematographic eye become mediums against oppression and despair by simply and clearly scanning what is there, repeatedly and impeccably, like the barcodes of a condensed everyday life experience.’
Phoebe Stuckes won the Poetry Society’s Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for her poem ‘Thus I became a heart-eater’. Her collection ‘ Platinum Blonde ’ has been published by Bloodaxe Books.
Sam Moore’s book ‘All my Teachers Died of AIDS’ has been published by Pilot Press .
Poet Nabin Chhetri was commissioned by the Stanza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, to write a poem. Listen to ‘ The Snow ’ online.
Laura Theis’ first book – a short poetry collection ‘ how to extricate yourself ‘ is winner of the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize and published by Dempsey And Windle.
Mariah Whelan’s poem ‘ Viaduct ’ was featured as a ‘poem of the day’ at Aesthetica.
A Times Literary Supplement Poem of the Week was curated by Maya Popa, who chose Jane Draycott’s ‘ The Namesake ’. Maya was runner up for the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2020.
Luke Allan won 2nd Prize in the Bridport International Poetry Prize 2020; Maya Popa was highly commended, and six more writers from the MSt writing community were also shortlisted in various categories: Tutors Jane Draycott and Marti Leimbach, alumni Maya Popa, Luke Allan, MJ Holmes, James Ellis, Sophie Tiefenbacher, and Marie Gethins
Mai Serhan’s flash memoir piece ‘ The Place Where I’m From ’ was published by Oyster River Pages in the US; also see an interview with the author .
Castille Landon will direct two new films in the ‘ After ’ series based on novels by Anna Todd: ‘After We Fell’ and ‘After Ever Happy’. Castille recently directed the Katherine Heigl-Harry Connick, Jr. drama thriller ‘Fear of Rain’.
Prajwal Parajuly’s Land Where I Flee, translated from the French as Fuir et Revenir by Benoîte Dauvergne, is now nominated for France’s First Novel Prize.
Madiha Bee’s poetry collection ‘ The Lightworkers ’ is published by Pinyon Publishing.
Alumni Stephanie Scott and Kiran Millwood Hargrave and tutor Lucy Atkins all made the longlist for the Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker’ Prize .
Cam Ralphs has become the Poetry Editor at the Times Literary Supplement – the first woman to ever hold the role. She also has a second pamphlet forthcoming with If A Leaf Falls Press.
Taylor Beilder won the UEA New Forms Award through the National Centre for Writing.
Creative Writing Alumni Successes
Diploma and Master’s in Creative Writing students have chalked up a fair number of prizes and publications over the past months.
Diploma in Creative Writing alumna Elisabeth Gifford’s first novel Secrets of the Sea House has been shortlisted for the Crown award, historical novel debut 2014. Her second novel, Return to Fourwinds, came out in September. Elisabeth describes it as ‘a very English novel, set between the wars, and looking at the effects of keeping secrets. A lot of it is based in Oxford around some family history and was also written in Oxford during the diploma course.’
MSt in Creative Writing alumnus Patrick Toland has won a Templar Porfolio Award. His pamplet of poems was published in October 2014 with a launch at the Derwent Poetry Festival and reading at Keats House.
MSt alumnus Stephanie Scott’s short story Pulau Brani (written while at Oxford) has won the Writers’ Village International Short Fiction Award 2014 and £3000. It is published on the Writers’ Village website.
MSt student Agnes Davis been been shortlisted for the Creative Medicine Unboxed Prize 2014, a single £10,000 prize for a creative work that explores the interface between art and medicine.
MSt student Kiran Millwood Hargrave has signed two-book deals with both Knopf Random House (USA), and Chicken House (UK and Europe) Her debut novel The Cartographer’s Daughter will be published simultaneously in these territories in 2016, with a second title appearing in 2017.
MSt alumnus Sabyn Javeri’s novel Nobody Killed Her will be published next May by Bloomsbury in the UK, USA and India.
MSt student Alex Strnad won the International Jane Martin Poetry Prize, judged by John Fuller.
MSt tutor Roopa Farook’s short story, We’re in Heaven, has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (from over 5000 entries).The judge was Andrew Miller, who recently won the Costa for PURE. This is her second Bridport shortlisting – the last one was for her poetry.
MSt course director Clare Morgan’s short story Charity is anthologized in the Library of Wales (Parthian) 2-volume anthology STORY (ed. Dai Smith). This publication aims to put together the best stories from Wales in the last century and first decade of this century.
MSt alumni Pat Toland and Elizabeth Thompson were both shortlisted for the Forward Prize ) for their poems Drive and Four Types of Migraine.