Get cozy & raise money for Paul’s House part of Young Lives Vs Cancer with SED Christmas Cosy Week!

13/12/21 – 17/12/21

SED Christmas Cosy Week!

‘End the semester in your favourite Christmas jammies, jumper or loungewear!

Show your support for Young Lives vs Cancer by donating to Paul’s House, a cancer home from home right here in London.

Scan the QR code or use the button below to find out more and help us smash the target!’

Halima Sadia

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/friends-of-pauls-house

Applications Now Open for 3 MA English Courses including 1700-1900, Modern and Contemporary and Postcolonial

Director of Admissions Dr Charlotta Salmi and the team would love to receive applications from you for the following courses which are now open to apply online:

  1. English Literature: English Literature
  2. English Literature: Modern and Contemporary
  3. English Literature: Literature and Culture 1700-1900
  4. English Literature: Postcolonial and Global Literatures

New Learning Resources in the School of English and Drama

The School of English and Drama is delighted to announce new resources are available:

  1. Digital Theatre+ (digital recordings of theatre productions).  This is in addition to Drama Online (digital recordings of theatre productions and play scripts), which we started subscribing to last year.
  2. Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Literature (dynamically updated key reference work on literature)
  3. Alexander Street Academic Video Online (documentaries and films across all subject areas)

Don’t forget you also get access to the following resources:

  1. Linkedin Learning – (courses on key skills including video editing)
  2. Box of Broadcasts – (recordings from TV – thousands of films and shows)
  3. Financial Times – (arts and culture coverage)

Isabel Waidner (Creative Writing) shortlisted for Goldsmiths Prize 2021

Isabel Waidner from our creative writing team has been shortlisted for the illustrious Goldsmiths prize for their novel ‘Sterling Karat Gold’.

The book is described as ‘Kafka’s The Trial written for the era of gaslighting – a surreal inquiry into the real effects of state violence on gender-nonconforming, working-class and black bodies.’.

The Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the College and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual prize of £10,000 is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best.

About Isabel

Isabel Waidner is the author of three novels: ‘Sterling Karat Gold’ (2021), ‘We Are Made of Diamond Stuff’ (2019) and ‘Gaudy Bauble’ (2017). They were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize (twice), and won the Internationale Literaturpreis. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the programmer and presenter of This Isn’t a Dream, a fortnightly literary talk show, also hosted by the ICA via Instagram live. Waidner is an academic at Queen Mary University of London.

League table success: Drama #2, Creative Writing #6 and English #25 in The Times Good University Guide 2022

The School of English and Drama has been named #2 for Drama, #6 for Creative Writing and #25 for English in the latest Times Good University Guide 2022. The Head of School, Scott McCracken said:

“The School of English and Drama at Queen Mary is internationally recognised for its departments of Drama, Creative Writing, and English Literature. We are delighted to see this reflected in the departments’ top scores in the Times Good University Guide.

Professor Scott McCracken, Head of the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London

The Drama department at Queen Mary has been named second (up from 5th) in the country in the Times Good University Guide 2022.

The department includes visionary artists and teachers like:

Our new Creative Writing department has jumped from 40th to 6th in the country after only running for around 3 years.

The department includes:

Our English department ranks #25 and is amongst the best in the UK.

“We are delighted to have improved our position to 25th. Teaching and admin staff worked incredibly hard to deliver our programme in the most difficult of circumstances and it’s lovely to see that recognised.”

Suzanne Hobson, Head of English

Some members of the team include:

  • Nadia Atia: Expert in Middle Eastern literature.
  • Nil Palabiyik: Book historian and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow.
  • Scott McCracken: Head of School of English and Drama.
  • Zara Dinnen: Contemporary literature expert and writer of The Digital Banal: New Media and American Literature and Culture.
  • Rehana Ahmed: Writer of Writing British Muslims: Religion, Class and Multiculturalism.

Queen Mary Conversation Week

Dear Colleagues, we can in theory sit outdoors with friends now, but it is threatening to snow. So instead I just wanted to invite you to some more events taking place this week involving our colleagues and collaborators:

On Data in Motion: A Conversation – This conversation will explore the overlaps between the work of data scientists and mathematicians in using data to predict motion, and the ways in which dancers and sports scientists map movement.  The commissioned conversation will have Alexander WhitleyThomas Prellberg, Professor Dylan Morrissey, Andy ReynoldsIoannis Patras of  and Dr Elisabetta Versace (QMUL School of Biological and Chemical Sciences). The panel will be chaired by Dr Martin Welton, Reader in Theatre and Performance.

On the Art of Boxing in the East End: A Conversation – The celebrated East End prize-fighter Daniel Mendoza revolutionised boxing in the late 18th and early 19th century. As a Jewish boxer, Mendoza experienced and challenged antisemitism throughout his life. Mendoza’s body was buried in the Novo Jewish Cemetery at Queen Mary, which still contains a plaque commemorating his life. Chaired by QMUL’s Dominic Johnson, Professor of Performance and Visual Culture. The conversation will include Professor Nadia Valman (QMUL), a artist named Jake Boston, and with other guests from the boxing world, TBC. They are joined by Ian Gatt, a sports scientist and Upper Limb injury specialist of the English Institute of Sport, who is Head of Performance Support for GB Boxing.

On the Art of Teeth: A Conversation – This conversation explores the practices of dentistry and the histories of teeth and asks: what has art got to do with it?  Colin Jones, author ofThe Smile Revolution in Eighteenth Century ParisJanetka Platun and David Mills. They are joined by Professor of Applied Performance Practice Ali Campbell (QMUL Drama) and Head of Paediatric Dentistry Ferranti Wong (QMUL), who will discuss their collaboration on the child-led research project The Dental Detectives to explore dental anxiety and possible solutions in paediatric dentistry.

I’m Thirsty: On Reclaiming Water and the Arts as Universal Common Goods – This conversation starts from the premise that as much as water is indispensable to our survival, so are the arts. And yet, both are dangerously devalued in our society. To start the conversation, a social anthropologist named Megan Clinch, and a artist named Ruth Levene will introduce their research exploring the impact of flooding on the communities that live in the Calder Catchment, Yorkshire. After this, the co-directors of the MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health, Bridget Escolme (Professor of Theatre and Performance, QMUL) and psychiatrist and theatre scholar Maria Grazia Turri (Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, QMUL), will come in as well.

On Storytelling, the Child and Public Health: A Conversation – This panel will explore the critical work of storytelling in communicating public health messages to children or about children. Professor Tina Chowdhury (QMUL Engineering) will talk about her work using immersive tech to visualise foetuses in the womb – a practice that both treats foetal illness, and inspires women to experience agency around preventative health measures during their pregnancies.

On Promoting Wellbeing Through Music: A Conversation – This conversation delves into the incredible power of music to support wellbeing in social and educational settings. Hattie Rayfield of the London Chamber Orchestra introduces the LCO’s Music Junction programme, which works with children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds to provide them with opportunities to develop artistic and social skills through shared music making. Kerstin-Gertrud Kärblane joins the panel to discuss her work with Music Junction as a mental health practitioner through Queen Mary’s MSc in Creative Arts and Mental Health. Professor Paul Heritage of Queen Mary’s People’s Palace Projects will speak on his collaborations with María Claudia Parias Durán, Director of the Fundación Nacional Batuta in Colombia, who make music with 40,000 young people each year – many of them displaced by the civil war. Director of Music Paul Edlin (QMUL), who has created an online space for student musicians at Queen Mary to share their experiences and music throughout lockdown, chairs the panel.

On the Arts and Creative Sector after Covid: An East End Town Hall Conversation on Diversity – This closed workshop invites local arts, creative, community and heritage organisations to join with Arts Council England and other funding and advocacy organisations at an East End Town Hall.  

New team member – Stephanie Lopez

My name is Stephanie Lopez, an intern who will be working in the English and Drama department for the next three months. In my previous rotation, I worked with the law department, as well as well as dozen of teams such as the undergraduate team, the advice centre, the marketing team, and many more where I helped with their posters, spreadsheets and other tasks.

As for my career goal, I wish to work in an art department of a company where I can finally utilise my drawing skills.

I normally focus on creating fiction stories with elements of fantasy, and science-fiction with a bit of romance elements as a sub-genre, but I am open to other type of genres as well.

My most common themes in my stories are tragedies, defying destiny/fate, mythologies, mysteries, hardships and making the hardest choices.

Such as my new idea (As in, I just recently came up with it), which involving a Filipino/American policewoman named Joanna joining the DAS (Deacsas Assault squad), a special task force that is assign to take down Deacsas (Dee-ca-sas), who are strange quantum made, and invisible monsters who have pushed the surviving humanity into a big enough island called Tecumboia (Tea-come-boia) Haven since year 2272.

All DAS members were injected with the Deacsas serum that would allow them to see the Deacsas and create weapons made of quantum materials, but only a small population of humanity could handle the injection so they must go a DNA analysis to get the serum and join DAS. But Joanna has a unique ability of copying certain Deacsas’ DNAs into weapons, unlike everyone else who are stuck with only one type of weapons.

So, as you see, I am capable of making stories. However, I also done drawings of mostly characters, but I have been recently practicing backgrounds right now, with two examples: (The Mountain one is the most recent one):

Waterfall with bubbles and colourful fireflies in a cave
A mountain surrounded by trees and a starry night

Student Hannah Fox helps translate Kurdish poetry for ‘Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal’

Hannah Fox is from the UK and is currently a postgraduate student of English Literature here at Queen Mary University of London. She lived in Jerusalem as a child and hopes to live in the MENA region again in the future. She has recently been involved with some poetry translations that have been published on ‘Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal’ (published by the American University of Beirut, Lebanon). She was the co-translator working with a Kurdish translator to translate three haiku poems from Kurdish to English. 

This is the link to the journal page where the three poems are: 

http://www.rustedradishes.com/three-haiku/

Actually it’s a cool website anyway with art and literature from the Middle East, more like a magazine than a journal really, so you might find other things on there that you like if you are bored and want to read something!

Hannah Fox

Nine-month celebration of Bangladesh to mark 50 years of independence

A nine-month celebration of Bangladeshi history, arts and culture has begun, to mark the 50th birthday of Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan.

Beginning on 26 March 1971, following a declaration of independence, modern day Bangladesh was forged out of a conflict which concluded on 16 December 1971.

Celebrations lasting 265 days, the same length as the war of independence, are being coordinated by Tower Hamlets Council, working with Bangladeshi artists, the National Portrait Gallery, the Council’s Local History Library & Archives, and residents.

We are proud that our 2011 English alumna Sabiya Khatun is a Citizen Researcher on the Bangladesh 50 Years project.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

“Here in Tower Hamlets, our community is strong. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths and we are proud of the role that the Bangladeshi community plays in making our borough such a vibrant and exciting place. We can look forward to celebrating the best of Bangladeshi culture throughout 2021.”

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs

Highlights from the nine-month celebration include:

  • The ‘Bangladesh 50 Years’ project led by the National Portrait Gallery as part of its Citizen UK programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Art Fund and Canary Wharf Group; working with the Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, includes:
    • A new, large-scale public art commission to be installed at Idea Store Whitechapel, devised by artist Ruhul Abdin with local residents (pictured above).
    • A series of free online events exploring the local connections and impacts of 1971 on the Tower Hamlets community
    • An online exhibition documenting the year-long project exploring this fascinating history
  • ‘Liberation through a Lens’, which tells the story of the struggle for independence using ten iconic images covering the period 1970-71.

Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem, High Commissioner for Bangladesh said: The Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh is a significant milestone for our nation. It also marks the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. The Bangladesh High Commission takes enormous pride in the contributions made by the expatriate Bangladeshi community during our independence and their warm welcome to Bangladesh’s Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the historic Borough of Tower Hamlets. I thank the Honourable Mayor of Tower Hamlets and the Bangladesh Community for making the High Commission a part of these monumental celebrations.

Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts & Brexit, Tower Hamlets Council said: “Tower Hamlets is the spiritual home for many British-Bangladeshis. I’m humbled to be marking the occasion of my country’s birth from the perspective of my other home. I look forward to celebrating the best of Bengali culture and exploring what it means to be British and Bangladeshi in 2021.”

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.

Vote to Help Alumna Franciska Éry’s Nominated Production of Hamlet Get Recognised in the 2020 Highlights of Hungary

Vote to Help Franciska get recognised. Voting starts on 4 Feb 2021 (today) and will be open for two weeks. Here is the link: https://www.highlightsofhungary.hu. The show is listed in the last category as ‘Nagyerdei Stadion – Hamlet

We caught up with Franciska and here’s what she said…

About her nomination

“I am writing to you because I directed a socially distanced Hamlet last summer and it has been named as one of the top 55 creative achievements in 2020 by Highlights of Hungary. I am incredibly happy as this was my first time directing in my home country in my mother tongue, and it was especially difficult to create a show in the middle of the pandemic that was safe for audiences and creatives/cast alike. 

The nomination itself is a huge honour, but this week Highlights of Hungary will open their voting system to the public, and it would mean a lot to me if my QMUL community could help me get Hamlet to the finish line.

About Hamlet:

“Hamlet is a 80-minute long reduced version of Shakespeare’s classic. We also added our own texts and even a Hungarian poem – it is very much the company’s version. In the first half of the performance the audience is sitting outside the Stadium of Debrecen, while the performers are inside the building behind glass. The audience listens to the actors’ mics through headphones, safely distanced from each other. In the second half of the show the actors leave the building and the show turns into a promenade performance outside the stadium, ending with the fencing scene in the stadium’s concourse. It is a piece about responsibility, death, grief and feeling stuck, which resonated with a lot of our audiences. Here is a trailer to give you a taste of the show:

We received great reviews, sadly all in Hungarian:) http://csokonaiszinhaz.hu/muvek/hamlet/

About Highlights of Hungary:

“Every year Highlights of Hungary nominates 55 creative achievements in the country without categories. This year the line-up includes the National Ambulance Service, Lili Horváth’s award-winning movie which will probably be Oscar nominated, and many other achievements in sports, community service, environmentalism, innovation and architecture, to name a few. The aim is to celebrate achievements without labels and competition, to raise awareness and connect people across sectors. This is the Csokonai National Theatre’s first time being nominated.

I will be shouting from the rooftops on Twitter at @Franciska_E if anyone wants to come and support. Our hashtags are #vitrinhamlet #hamletinheadphones. As an English and Drama graduate, QM has been a huge influence on the way I work and the way I see performance. If there is interest I am happy to talk more about this and the challenges of making socially distant work if that is of any interest for current students.

Thank you so much for supporting us. Let’s celebrate something that happened in this very bleak 2020.

Best,

Franciska

www.franciskaery.com

The Importance of Trans Rights in the Fight Against Fascism – Trans Day of Remembrance

In honour of Trans Day of Remembrance on 20 November James Queay exposes the history of the term ‘trans’ and the importance of protecting trans rights.

In the mass consciousness one may be forgiven for seeing the battle for trans rights being a modern one, or even one that only goes back as Stonewall in 1969. However, the term ‘trans’ was first coined in Berlin in 1910 (though the fight of course can be traced back even further if one looks).

Magnus Hirschfeld was a Physician and Academic who championed queer rights seeking to assert the views of it being a natural occurrence through case studies from every culture he could reach. It should be noted that the ethics of this were in no way up to modern standard, but for the period in time we will let that rest. While his vocabulary was limited compared to today’s vast lexicon of queer terms, his work to identify that trans people were separate from gay people was key in further works.

Hirschfeld led the Scientific-humanitarian committee to gather 5000 prominent signatures to overturn paragraph 175 of the section of the German penal code that, since 1871, had criminalized homosexuality. Despite his works being rejected a number of times he championed this cause making headway until the takeover of the Nazi party. Hirschfeld in his efforts to bring about change and promote queer rights additionally opened the Institute for sexual research under the Weimar Republic (A governing force far more tolerant and liberal than previously experienced). This institution not only educated in queer and heterosexual matters but also offered medical consultations to the People of Germany. Hirschfeld himself lived with his partner Karl Giese in the institute, offering himself up as an openly gay man in a world he wished to better, even when that world was not necessarily ready to hear what he had to say.

When Von Papen launched a Coup in 1932 which instated him as the Reich Commissioner the institute stayed open. Papen actively enforced paragraph 175; and in the face of this nigh on further criminalisation of Homosexuality Hirschfeld kept his doors open. However, in 1933 Hindenburg instated Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor. On the 6th May the same year a group of university students belonging to the national socialist student league stormed the institute. They began to smash what they could before the SA (Nazi Storm Troopers) arrived to systematically burn the books. Book burnings had got into full swing months earlier with April featuring the Wartburg festival one of the most prolific book burnings that would occur. Thus, the importance of Nazi suppression of Queer media cannot be overstated. Some reports suggest that the first book burned specifically was Magnus Hirschfeld’s research on Transgender Individuals, and this signifies their importance in the fight against Fascism.

Transgender rights in many ways typify everything that is wrong with Fascism. They promote self-expression, of individuality and the freedom to change and evolve into the best version of one’s self. For fascist ideologies these ideas are dangerous because they draw on how weak Fascism is, it is rigid and restraining, it cares not for its people and incites hatred.

Thus, championing trans rights and queer rights as an extension of that is inexplicably linked with fighting against right extremism. There was no strategic benefit to the Nazi’s for burning Hirschfeld’s work, and he himself was abroad public speaking at the time so he was not silenced. Rather it is that the Nazis and by extension fascists fear acceptance and tolerance as it is only through suppression and manipulation that they are able to maintain control. This evidenced by the extreme lengths in all cases fascists go to, to manipulate their members; whether that is through misinformation, propaganda, or violence.

The furtherment of trans rights is key to queer people without question, but through this link I believe that simply to be on any ethical standing everyone must also believe in its messages.

Therefore, when we remember the long standing fight for queer rights so too must we remember the responsibility we have to those who have upheld that fight before us; the opposition they faced; and most importantly that we carry those opponents with us.

Memorial bench for Catherine Silverstone

A memorial bench for Catherine Silverstone was installed this morning in the First Floor garden/atrium in ArtsOne. It was organised and paid for by undergraduate students in Drama through a Crowdfunder.

Billy Bray (Drama), Leda Maiello (English) and Gwyn Lawrence (Drama graduate) organised the crowdfunder and carried out the practical work.

The following helped Billy, Leda and Gwyn spread the word and advertise for fundraising:

  • Rebecca Barton
  • Niall Loftus
  • Naz Simsek
  • Elliot Douglas
  • Sofia Renzi
  • Anca-Teodora Stoian

I’m so moved by – and proud of – the students who organised it, and those who crowdfunded it.

Dominic Johnson, Head of Drama

The quote on the plaque is from Catherine’s beautiful article on Derek Jarman. Leda (one of the students) chose it. 

Do please visit the bench and think of Catherine when you’re next on campus.

Accommodation Guarantee for Clearing Applicants

All Clearing applicants are guaranteed a room in Queen Mary halls, or with one or our partner providers.

Applications should ideally be submitted online by Wednesday 19 August (midnight BST), because room allocations for Clearing applicants will begin on Thursday 20 August.

Room allocations are made in date order of application submission.

In order to submit your housing application you must be placed at Queen Mary, i.e. you must be holding an unconditional firm (UF) offer. 

The Admissions Office will send the login details for the housing application system to applicants, once their status is confirmed as UF on UCAS.

There may be a few hours delay in you being able to apply for housing after you receive your login details from Admissions. If you experience any significant delay, please email residences@qmul.ac.uk.

New books published by Rachael Gilmour and Huw Marsh

The School of English and Drama are delighted to announce the publication of ‘Bad English‘ by Dr Rachael Gilmour and ‘The Comic Turn in Contemporary English Fiction‘ by Dr Huw Marsh.

Read more about the books below…

Bad English

Literature, multilingualism, and the politics of language in contemporary Britain

Dr Rachael Gilmour

Bad English investigates the impact of increasing language diversity, precipitated by migration, globalisation, and new forms of communication, in transforming contemporary literature in Britain. Considering writers whose work engages experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power, while exploring what it means to move between forms of language, it makes the case for literature as the pre-eminent medium to probe the terms of linguistic belonging, and for a diverse and growing field of writing in Britain defined by its inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms.

Bad English offers innovative readings of writers including James Kelman, Tom Leonard, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, it will appeal to students and academics across these disciplines.

The Comic Turn in Contemporary English Fiction

Who’s Laughing Now?

Dr Huw Marsh

The Comic Turn in Contemporary English Fiction explores the importance of comedy in contemporary literature and culture. In an era largely defined by a mood of crisis, bleakness, cruelty, melancholia, environmental catastrophe and collapse, Huw Marsh argues that contemporary fiction is as likely to treat these subjects comically as it is to treat them gravely, and that the recognition and proper analysis of this humour opens up new ways to think about literature. Structured around readings of authors including Martin Amis, Nicola Barker, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Coe, Howard Jacobson, Magnus Mills and Zadie Smith, this book suggests not only that much of the most interesting contemporary writing is funny and that there is a comic tendency in contemporary fiction, but also that this humour, this comic licence, allows writers of contemporary fiction to do peculiar and interesting things – things that are funny in the sense of odd or strange and that may in turn inspire a funny turn in readers. Marsh offers a series of original critical and theoretical frameworks for discussing questions of literary genre, style, affect and politics, demonstrating that comedy is an often neglected mode that plays a generative role in much of the most interesting contemporary writing, creating sites of rich political, stylistic, cognitive and ethical contestation whose analysis offers a new perspective on the present.