The Royal Literary Fund supporting writers and writing since 1790

This month I am delighted and honoured to take up my new post as Royal Literary Fund (RLF) Fellow at the University of Chichester, where I will be resident two days a week to offer writing support to all students.

The RLF has been helping writers since its 1790 founder, the Rev David Williams, was moved by the plight of an elderly translator of Plato, Floyer Sydenham, who had died in a debtors’ prison. Today, the RLF continues to help writers, and the Fellowship is just one example of their good work in action.

It’s a particular pleasure for me to be posted in Chichester, where I have strong connections, having studied there as a mature student at the very start of my own writing career. During that period, I gained from time spent with the resident Fellows of those years – Mavis Cheek and Stephen Mollett were both insightful and encouraging to this new writer at a time when I was both uncertain and deeply private about my creative endeavours.

I’m very much looking forward to my time at Chichester, where I’m confident I’ll learn as much from my visiting students as they will from me.

To read more about the Fellowship scheme and the many different kinds of support offered by the RLF, click here.


Writer in Residence Blog – ‘Finding Voices, Changing Voices’

Jake's Eyes“While giving voice to the ‘voiceless’, writers are also working to establish their own voice” – Karen Stevens, Editor of Writing a First Novel (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014).

My own debut novel, Glasshopper, first started out as a short story, back in 2005.  It was a piece I had written whilst studying for a BA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, with a storyline centred on a teenage girl and her mother.  Read more on the University of Brighton Blog …

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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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