English Graduate Um-E-Aymen Babar has been awarded the prestigious Hugh Cudlipp student journalism prize

Our alumnus Um-E-Aymen Babar has been awarded the prestigious Hugh Cudlipp student journalism prize, for an article which includes parts of her thesis written at Queen Mary.

After graduating from our School of English with a First Class Honours, in 2021 Aymen went on to the University of Cambridge for a Masters researching sports in the South Asian subcontinent. Aymen’s studies fuelled her interest in how sport intersects with race and class, which has now become the focus of her award-winning journalism.

This month, Aymen won the Hugh Cudlipp Student Journalist Award and a £1,500 cash prize. A joint initiative of the London Press Club and Daily Mirror, the honour was created to recognise a student who has made an outstanding contribution to journalism, as well as exploring an issue of public interest or concern which exemplifies lucid and graphic communication.

Aymen was awarded the prize following her journalistic debut in The Nightwatchman, Wisden’s quarterly collection of essays and long-form articles. She wrote a hard-hitting commentary on the effects of the Azim Rafiq racism scandal, which included parts of her thesis written during her time studying at Queen Mary.

Reflecting on her journey to this achievement, Aymen said: “I had a passion for English Literature from a young age and really enjoyed studying it at Queen Mary University of London. I was able to explore texts ranging from Chaucer to post-colonial texts by Anita Desai. In my final year, when I was supervised by Professor David Colclough, I became interested in sport literature and wrote my thesis on C.L.R. James’ Beyond a Boundary.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the School of English and Drama, and in particular my wonderful supervisor Professor David Colclough, for all his continued support. These achievements would not have been possible without them, and I would also like to extend my support to all the institutional and structural challenges that academic staff are facing in higher education.”

The Cudlipp judges called Aymen’s work “a brave, poignant, well-researched and timely piece that asks as many questions as it answers about systemic racism”. They also praised her for “preaching outside the choir, by speaking to readers of Wisden’s cricket magazine in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal”.

Dr Suzanne Hobson, Head of the Department of English at Queen Mary, said: “This is wonderful news, and we would all like to congratulate Aymen on her very well-deserved success. English is a key part of our curriculum and research culture at Queen Mary, so it’s fantastic to see one of our graduates go on to receive this prestigious prize. We are proud to have been a part of Aymen’s journey so far and excited to see where her career goes next.”

Interview: Hannah Silva ahead of her drama ‘An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’ on BBC Radio 4

We caught up with playwright and QMUL Leverhulme Fellow, Hannah Silva to talk about her new radio play on the algorithm and love.

Hannah will be talking about the play on BBC 4’s flagship arts show Front Row on Tuesday 8 February 2022.

Tell us about An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’. What should we expect? 

In ‘An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’ I have a conversation with a machine-learning algorithm about love, dating, and my life as a single queer mum. The algorithm’s responses range from the funny and surreal, to the poetic and poignant. When I ask the algorithm questions about love it tells me: ‘I’d suggest that you find out how to answer these questions. This is not just about writing. It is about real life. The answers are in your life.’  

What inspires you to write stories like this? 

I always enjoy finding ways to generate material to work with. In the past I’ve used cut up writing methods a lot, where I splice together existing texts and subvert their meanings. Working with an algorithm is an extension of these procedural writing methods.  

I wanted to think about love with this project because in the past I didn’t think about it, I just fell in it. I wondered what a machine-learning algorithm might be able to teach me about love.  

What advice would you give to emerging writers at Queen Mary? 

Prioritise reading, writing and thinking, and don’t give up.    

Interview with Professor Margaret Reynolds on new book ‘The Wild Track: Adopting, mothering, belonging’

We caught up with our very own Margaret Reynolds to talk about her new Penguin book The Wild Track: Adopting, mothering, belonging.

Professor Reynolds has recently been featured in The Guardian and the Telegraph and has interviews with Talk Radio, Times Radio, Monocle Radio, about the book and her experiences of adoption and writing the book with her daughter Lucy.

Here’s what she could tell us…


Tell us about your new book ‘The Wild Track: Adopting, mothering, belonging’. How did it come about and what can readers expect?

I adopted my daughter 12 years ago when she was six. And from the first, I used to jot down things that happened to us, little stories about our lives together. Then two years ago I heard a couple of things that reminded me how hard adoption can be, how often (very sadly) it does not work out. But we were still here! So I wanted to encourage others, so show how amazing and important adoption can be in helping children – who necessarily have difficult beginnings – in going on to make a success of their lives.

How has it been working with your daughter on the book? What do you think the book has to say to mothers around the world?

I showed the original version of the book to someone who said ‘don’t you think Lucy should have a voice?’. And I knew he was right! Politically, ethically it is always right to listen to the voices of children. So I asked her to write some sections.  In fact, it was great doing this. We have talked a lot about our different experiences and about the things we share.

Mothers are all different. Always, everywhere. There is no such thing as one ‘motherhood’. But there might be overlaps, and there might illumination and there might be a shared understanding, a recognition and acceptance which could be a positive for both mothers and children.

What 3 books would you recommend to readers after reading your book of course?

Jacqueline Rose, Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty, Rachel Cusk, A Life’s Work, Sarah Knott, Mother: An Unconventional History.

Are there any lockdown lifelines that have kept you going in the last year?

Growing vegetables, going for long walks with our dog, watching classic films, cooking, noticing the seasons, planning a long trip to remote Greek islands.

Our very own Michèle Barrett works with David Lammy on Unremembered – Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes on Channel 4 on Sunday 10 November for Remembrance Day

Our very own Professor Michèle Barrett is the historical consultant on pioneering new documentary by David Lammy; to Unremembered – Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes.

Trailer

About the show

Politician David Lammy MP will learn about the Black African soldiers who gave their lives for Britain during the First World War.

To mark Remembrance Day 2019, Lammy will travel to Africa and see the mass burial sites for the untold heroes.

The hard-hitting documentary will also question the war graves commission for their decision to not individually memorialise countless Black African soldiers and porters.

Seeing the mass burials first-hand, Lammy considers the measures needed to be taken to give these soldiers the same dignity as the soldiers who were given gravestones regardless of background, rank or creed.

10 #QMULHacks Revealed 2019

1. Senate House Library

As a Queen Mary student you can get membership to the University of London’s Senate House Library with it’s lovely comfy armchairs and 3 million books to borrow. Pre-register for your membership card here.

2. Free Online TV

Meet BoB, your new best friend

Long before Netflix ruled your eyeballs, universities created Box of Broadcasts which is a huge free archive of TV recordings. Login with your QMUL credentials and you’ll get access to movies, TV series and documentaries galore. We’re loving the Films, Mostly Gay and London Films watchlist!

3. Free Counselling

We take your well-being seriously

Opening up when you’re feeling low can be the hardest thing, but if you are struggling to cope with life events or need a space to talk openly, our Advice and Counselling team are here to help. They offer a range of free and confidential professional services to all QMUL students including individual counselling, group therapy, specialist drug and alcohol support and much more.

We also offer students access to an online support service called ‘Big White Wall‘ who offer unlimited, 24/7 accessible online support from trained counselors and use other helpful resources – it’s totally free and confidential. Please

4. Free Careers Support

Finding a job can seem like a daunting task, but don’t crumble under the pressure! Whether you have a particular job in mind and want advice to help you get there, or are not sure what you want to do next, the Careers & Enterprise Centre provides QMUL students a range of support to help you prepare for your future. You can even book a practice interview with a Careers Consultant.

5. Free Student Central Membership

As a QMUL student, you’re automatically entitled to be a member of Student Central (formerly University of London Union). Membership is free and enables you to get involved with everything they have to offer including sports, societies, online tickets and access into our bars. Find out more here.

6. Book Library Group Study Rooms

Need a room for you and your friends to study? You can book one of our library group study rooms up to one week in advance for up to four hours per week. The Mile End group study rooms contain a touchscreen PC, connectivity for laptop use and a whiteboard. Whiteboard pens are available from the Library Welcome Desk. 

7. Get free one-to-one tutorials

You may have a big presentation coming up, or perhaps you’re unsure of how to start that 3000 word essay or you may have serious issues with managing your time effectively – spending way too much time looking at memes while procrastinating . Whatever it may be – if you feel like you need extra guidance to brush up on your study skills you can book a free one-to-one tutorial with our Learning Development team. You can even have your tutorial through Skype if you are unable to come to campus. Find out more about their services here.

8. Free access to paywall content providers

Your QMUL library account gives you access to much more than just books. Along with laptops, stationary, videos and DVDs, you also get access to a number of paywall content providers such as The Financial Times. Find out more here.

9. The 339 bus is a local legend

As a QMUL student, you have the added advantage of being at the heart of East London – one of the most diverse and culturally rich areas in the world. Not only can you eat food from virtually anywhere in the world, but the public transport system means you can get around without needing a car – true Londoner style. Also, free Wi-Fi at underground stations – bonus!

The 339 bus is one of our local faves which takes you from the hundreds of stores in Westfield Stratford City on a journey past the world famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the humble market on Roman Road all the way to the countless curry houses on New Road.

10. SED Freebies

Finally, we want our students to have nice things. Come and say hi or tag us @qmulsed to receive some of our SED freebies. We have an awesome range of products including pens, notebooks, bags and postcards. Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram and Twitter to see the #sedfreebooks we have available!

Join our experts Shahidha Bari, Tiffany Watt Smith and Jen Harvie at #BBCFreeThinking Festival 2019

Join our experts Shahidha Bari, Tiffany Watt Smith and Jen Harvie for #BBCFreeThinking Festival 2019 with this year’s theme ‘Free thinking gets Emotional’ from 29 March with BBC Radio 3 in Gateshead.

Highlights include:

  • The Actors’ Guide to the Emotions hosted by our very own Shahidha Bari and featuring Jen Harvie on the panel on 31 March
  • Discover strange and forgotten emotions from the past with the Lost Emotions Machine from Queen Mary University of London’s ‘Living With Feeling’ project. Happening throughout the festival.
  • The Emotion of Now panel discussion including Tiffany Watt Smith talking about Schadenfreude on 30 March.
  • “Calm Down Dear” – How Angry Should Politics Get? debate chaired by Shahidha Bari on 30 March.

Movie over Marie Kondo, Markman Ellis is here to prove filing has been around since C18

Our very own Professor Markman Ellis’s essay, “Letters, Organization, and the Archive in Elizabeth Montagu’s Correspondence,” appears in a special issue of the Huntington Library Quarterly edited by Nicole Pohl: “‘The Commerce of Life’: Elizabeth Montagu (1718–1800).”

In an introductory blog post File Under Fascinating, Sara K. Austin, editor of the Huntington Library Quarterly introduces Ellis’s use of the correspondence of Elizabeth Montagu at The Huntington to reflect on how people have organized and saved papers over time.

Image
Filing tag made from printed visiting card of Mr Montagu Manchester Square, ephemera, MO 6922 (13), Elizabeth Robinson Montagu Papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Markman Ellis.

Professor Jerry Brotton in The Guardian: ‘At last, the Elizabeth v Mary catfight trope of history is being reassessed’

Our very own Professor Jerry Brotton writes in the Guardian today on the battle of who wins in history, and the importance of looking at historical women’s voices rather than just labeling them a winner, or loser.

The opinion piece is around Mary Queen of Scots in time for the film released this week.