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The Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence Programme

The Department of Politics launched the Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence Programme in 2014. This programme allows suitably qualified writers to spend up to a year at Birkbeck. During this time, the Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence will work on a book or series of articles on a political theme aimed at a broad readership. He or she will also be expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the Department. This is an unpaid position but the Writer in Residence will receive access to computing facilities, the library and office space. Mentoring from members of the Department of Politics will also be provided, where appropriate.

The Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence Programme is named in honour of the late Ben Pimlott, who was Professor of Politics at Birkbeck between 1981 and 1998. Highly regarded for his research on British politics, the Labour Party and the trade union movement, he also wrote widely read biographies of Queen Elizabeth, Hugh Dalton and Harold Wilson. Naming the programme after Ben Pimlott is a tribute not only to his time at Birkbeck but also his commitment to, and passion for, fine political writing.

Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence 2018

The Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence for 2018 is Sian Norris.

Sian is a novelist, journalist, poet and short story writer. She is a regular contributor to the New Statesman, the Guardian, the Pool, Prospect UK,, and 50.50 openDemocracy. Her short fiction has been published in 3am Magazine, the Wales Arts Review and Halcyon. In 2017 she was the writer in residence at Spike Island. Sian is the founder and director of the Bristol Women's Literature Festival, and is co-editor of the Read Women project. Her first novel Greta and Boris: A Daring Rescue explores the lives of women in Gertrude Stein's circle, and in 2016 Sian was nominated for the Lucy Cavendish Prize. Her agent is Kate Johnson at Mackenzie Wolf.

Expressions of Interest

Expressions of interest for participation in the Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence Programme should be sent to Dr Dermot Hodson, who directs the programme, and Prof. Deborah Mabbett. Applicants should have a strong track record as a writer, a specific writing project in mind and a clear rationale for wanting to come to Birkbeck.

Previous Writers in Residence

Sian Norris

Ben Pimlott