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Creative Writing Wonder Women (Arts Weeks 2020: Online)

Venue: Online

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This season four Birkbeck MA Creative alumni are publishing new works of fiction. With settings ranging from Iran, Nigeria, Windrush Britain, and Tottenham's Broadwater Farm, these books are a testament to the diversity and talent of our student body and an opportunity to celebrate four outstanding new voices. Featuring Abi Daré, Louise Hare, Golnoosh Nour and Jac Shreeves-Lee and introduced by Kit de Waal, this event will showcase these four wonder women and their relevant new work.    

Please note, this event contains some strong language.

Abi Daré grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in the UK for 18 years. She studied law at the University of Wolverhampton and has an M.Sc. in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University. Keen to improve her writing, Abi completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University of London, achieving a Distinction. 
Her first novel, The Girl with the Louding Voice, won The Bath Novel Award in 2018 and was selected as a finalist in The Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition in 2018. Abi lives in Essex with her husband and two children.

Snyopsis: Girl With A Louding Voice
All you have are your words.

Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education.

As the only daughter of a broke father, she is a valuable commodity. Removed from school and sold as a third wife to an old man, Adunni's life amounts to this: four goats, two bags of rice, some chickens and a new TV. When unspeakable tragedy swiftly strikes in her new home, she is secretly sold as a domestic servant to a household in the wealthy enclaves of Lagos, where no one will talk about the strange disappearance of her predecessor, Rebecca. No one but Adunni...

As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless servant, fourteen-year-old Adunni is repeatedly told that she is nothing. But Adunni won't be silenced. She is determined to find her voice - in a whisper, in song, in broken English - until she can speak for herself, for the girls like Rebecca who came before, and for all the girls who will follow.

Louise Hare is a London based author. Her debut novel This Lovely City was published by HQ (Harper Collins) on March 12th 2020 and House of Anansi (N. America) on April 7th 2020. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Birkbeck, University of London.

Synopsis: This Lovely City
The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can't last.
With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England's call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he's taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho's music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home - and it's alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.

Atmospheric, poignant and compelling, Louise Hare's debut shows that new arrivals have always been the prime suspects. But, also, that there  is always hope.

Golnoosh Nour was born in Tehran. She studied English Literature at Shahid Beheshti University, and did a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at Birkbeck. Her short story collection The Ministry of Guidance and Other Stories will be published by Muswell Press in April 2020. Her debut poetry collection Sorrows of the Sun was published in 2017 under her previous pseudonym Sogol Sur. Golnoosh regularly performs her work across the UK and internationally and presents a Queer Literature show on Soho Radio. She also teaches creative writing.

Synopsis: The Ministry of Guidance 
Set mostly in Iran, but making forays to London, Germany, and the transit area of a Ukrainian airport, the stories are brilliantly deft in summoning up the dilemmas of their protagonists, be they characters who are kicking against the confines of the society into which they are born, or characters wanting to embrace those confines. Nour is a brave and acute observer of how the human spirit fights free of social repression in all its guises. These are stories that argue for nuance in a world that wants to make things black and white.         

Jac Shreeves-Lee is the author of the debut collection of short stories Broadwater, which will be published by Fairlight Books in July 2020.

Jac was born and bred in Tottenham. She currently works as a clinical psychologist and magistrate. Her fiction pieces have been widely published in various anthologies, including Virago, the Mechanics Institute Review and The Bridport Prize Anthology 2017. Jac’s stories and poems have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2015 and 2016, and longlisted for the Fish Publishing Prize in 2018.

In her spare time, Jac enjoys jam making, Caribbean folklore and Blues/Jazz.

Synopsis: Broadwater
Welcome to Broadwater Farm, one of the most well-known housing estates in Britain. A place where post-war dreams of concrete utopia ended in riots, violence and sub-standard housing. In this collection, Tottenham-born Jac Shreeves-Lee gives voice to the people of Broadwater Farm. With evocative language and raw storytelling, she compassionately portrays their shared sense of community. A community with a rich cultural heritage, comprising over forty nationalities, generations old.      

Read more:
Kit de Waal
Abi Daré
Louise Hare
Golnoosh Nour
Jac Shreeves-Lee
MA in Creative Writing


This is event is part of Arts Weeks 2020: Online. A number of days before the event, you will be emailed a link to access the online event. 

This year, Birkbeck Arts Week looks a bit different - we’re moving to the virtual sphere for five weeks of specially curated events and experiences. Receive each week’s online programme in your inbox on Mondays during the festival by signing up to our mailing list.

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