Writer in Residence Interview: Karen Stevens on her new anthology ‘Writing a First Novel’

This month in my role as Writer in Residence at University of Brighton, I presented a ‘Writing a First Novel’ event at Grand Parade, with a panel of writers (Nina de la Mer, Hannah Vincent and me) chatting with publisher Candida Lacey from Myriad Editions about our debut novel experiences.  To follow on from that, I was delighted to interview University of Chichester senior lecturer Karen Stevens, whose anthology Writing a First Novel (Palgrave MacMillan) will be released later in December, which includes amongst others an essay from me on the writing of Glasshopper.  Here’s an extract from the interview – for the full article click through to the Writers in Residence blog :

Karen_Stevens photoKaren, it’s a delight to welcome you on the blog to talk about your forthcoming publication.  The book is a collection of essays by various novelists, new and established, on the craft and process of writing that tricky first novel.  I was delighted to be a contributor and can’t wait to read the complete anthology.

Firstly, Karen – what an exciting project to head up!  How did you come to work on the book?
Thanks, Issie.  It’s been very exciting to work with so many talented writers and people working in the publishing business.  The idea for this book arose from my teaching of Creative Writing at the University of Chichester.  A few years ago, I was teaching an introductory session on writing the novel and wanted to encourage and inspire my students with insightful words from published authors.  I strongly believe there’s no better way to understand the novelist’s art and craft than by listening to professional writers reflecting on their process, but as the weeks progressed I read much on writing fiction but only a few paragraphs on the specific task of writing a first novel.  My search was somewhat frustrating, but proved to be worthwhile because it made me aware of the need for a book dedicated to this subject. Students increasingly join our university expressing a desire to write a novel, and in discussion with colleagues from other universities, it appears that this flourishing interest in the novel is happening across the UK, the US and beyond.   Consequently, I felt this book was timely and luckily Palgrave, my publisher, also felt the same and said yes to my proposal.

Read more here …


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