Queen Mary English Alumnus Gabriel Krauze’s novel ‘Who They Was’ longlisted for Booker Prize 2020

The School of English and Drama at QMUL is delighted and proud that our alumnus Gabriel Krauze has been nominated for the 2020 Booker Prize longlist.

Gabriel studied English at Queen Mary University of London graduating in 2009 and Who They Was is his debut novel. He grew up in London in a Polish family and was drawn to a life of crime and gangs from an early age. Now in his thirties he has left that world behind and is recapturing his life through writing. He has published short stories in Vice and recently took part in our Show & Tell – inspiring mini talks series. Listen to his talk below…

Gabriel gave a talk at Show and Tell at All Points East Festival in 2019

The blurb describes the book best:

This life is like being in an ocean. Some people keep swimming towards the bottom. Some people touch the bottom with one foot, or even both, and then push themselves off it to get back up to the top, where you can breathe. Others get to the bottom and decide they want to stay there. I don’t want to get to the bottom because I’m already drowning.

This is a story of a London you won’t find in any guidebooks.

This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys too eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way.

This is a story of reputations made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost.

This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police stations and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal.

This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fear and the hope.

This is about what’s left behind.’

About Gabriel

Gabriel Krauze came of age among the high rises and back streets of South Kilburn. He was not an observer on the periphery of violence. He was – personally – heavily involved in gangs, drugs, guns, stabbing and robbery – all while completing an English degree at Queen Mary University of London in 2009.

Who They Was comes directly from that experience and as such it is confronting, exhilarating, morally complex, and utterly unique. 

Quotes about the novel include:

‘An astonishingly powerful book. Krauze is an immense new talent’  Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

‘A timely and vital exploration into London’s violence crisis by someone who experienced the sharp end of it. I cannot conjure another work which captures this culture in such depth – or with such brutal honesty – as only lived experience can tell. ’ Graeme Armstrong, author of The Young Team

‘Gabriel Krauze is an unbelievably talented writer. No one manages to blend “literary beauty” and “an uncomfortable feeling that he’s actually quite scary” like him’ Joel Golby

Pre-order the book and more links

Karina Lickorish Quinn (PhD at QMUL)’s debut novel Mancharisqa to be published by Oneworld

Creative Writing PhD Karina Lickorish Quinn’s debut novel Mancharisqa, or The Dust Never Settles will be published by Juliet Mabey at Oneworld Publications after a competitive auction.

Mancharisqa is an ambitious and formally inventive literary epic about haunting and counterhistories, adopting the traditional Andean concept of cyclical time in a manner reminiscent of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the novels of Bolaño, suffused with the surreal atmosphere of Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.

Mancharisqa formed part of Karina’ PhD thesis, which she completed at School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London under the supervision of Director of Creative Writing, Professor Patrick Flanery and Head of English, Dr Rachael Gilmour.

Anaïs Echeverría Gest flies to Lima to oversee the sale of her childhood home, La Casa Echeverría. It is a house full of ghosts, literal and otherwise, of her ancestors and of the maid who fell to her death from its balcony, around whom myths circulate and from whom miracles are sought. Everything that happens – in Anaïs’s childhood, her return to the house in the present day, and in all the stories in between – begins to overlap until the stories are all inextricably entwined. The novel ends with a birth, an earthquake, and the discovery of something disturbing beneath that cursed yellow house on the hill – the past will not remain silent and the ancestors demand to be reckoned with.

Juliet Mabey, the acquiring editor at Oneworld, comments, ‘I fell completely and utterly in love with this mesmerising, intense, multi-layered novel as soon as I started reading. The tone is wonderfully mystical and haunting, with echoes of other great Latin American writers without feeling remotely derivative. A stunningly original saga of an expansive, complex, troubled family in Peru, it is conveyed with a lightness of touch that belies its debut status, and I could not be more thrilled to feature Karina’s astonishing writing on my literary fiction list. There is really nothing else like it.’

“I’m thrilled to be joining Oneworld and their list of remarkable, talented authors. I have long admired Juliet Mabey and Oneworld for their commitment to introducing readers to a range of cultures and voices from across the world. And thank you to my wonderful agent, Seren Adams, for believing in me and my work. Mancharisqa could not have found a better home.”

Karina is a bilingual, Peruvian-British writer. She has a BA from Oxford University, an MA from UCL, and recently completed her PhD in Creative Writing here at Queen Mary University of London. Her short fiction is featured in Un Nuevo Sol, the first major anthology of British-Latinx writers, published by Flipped Eye Publishing. Her work has also appeared in Longitūdinēs, The Offing, Asymptote, The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, and Palabritas. In 2016 she was shortlisted for The White Review’s short story prize.

Queen Mary Network: Get free eMentoring and meet other QMUL students, alumni & staff

The Queen Mary Network enables you to:

Benefit from careers expertise and advice by directly reaching out to alumni who may work in an industry/ organisation of interest to you.

As part of the “eMentor” service, you could also gain support with the following:

  • CV Review
  • Job application advice
  • Careers related advice by email or telephone
  • Work experience/ Work Shadowing/ Internship and Job opportunities
  • Joining the Network is simple and only takes a few minutes, you can even sync your LinkedIn profile to register.

Join the Queen Mary Network today

English and Drama Newsletter – July 2020 Edition

Welcome to July 2020 from English and Drama at Queen Mary.

Virtual Celebration: Next month we’re celebrating our class of 2020 with a virtual event on 5 August. Final year students can register here

NSS: We have donated £175 each to World Wildlife Fund and Student Minds on behalf of our students for completing the National Student Survey. Thanks to everyone who completed this!

New Head of Drama: We would also like to welcome Professor Dominic Johnson (pictured above left) as our new Head of Drama. Read more about his work in the interview here.


Our student of the month for July is English student Eve Bolton.

Online Events

OPEN DAY RELOADED

Virtual Open Day – for 2021+ Applicants
Friday 17 July 2020, 1-4pm BST, Online

We’re offering another opportunity for prospective undergraduate students to explore our courses and get their questions answered.

Register here

LISTINGS

Performance, Possession & Automation

Performance, Possession & Automation Series
Read more about the series

Automation & Cultural Production
17 July, 6-8pm (BST), Online
– Free
Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout (Drama) for a conversation about automation and cultural production.
Register here

Possession & Performance
24 July, 6-8pm (BST), Online
– Free
Paul C. Johnson and Rebecca Schneider join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and performance. 
Register here

Possession & Subjectivity
31 July, 6-8 pm (BST), Online – Free
Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity.
Register here

Porch Sitting

Online Porch Sitting – Split Britches
28 July, Online – Free via Barbican
Join queer-feminist theatre icon, Lois Weaver (Drama), in this re-imagined online version of her Porch Sitting. Sit, think, dream, wonder and take part in conversation around our collective future. Photo by Alex Legge (Drama alumna).
Find out more

BOOK AHEAD

Utopian Bloomsbury
Sunday 18 October 2020, Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury has at times in its history been much associated with visionary, utopian thinking and writing. This walk with Dr Matthew Ingleby will explore that history.
From socialists and anarchists to feminists and queer artists, the neighbourhood has inspired a distinctly futural imagination, which has allowed readers to see how things might be, not only what they empirically, provably are.

FREE – but pre-booking is essential.

Register here

News & Links

Bim Adeyemi and Dee Ndumiso (Drama Master’s Students) have made a powerful video about Black Lives Matter and the Why We Kneel campaign.

Watch here

Arts & Culture at QMUL have a range of support for artists throught the Queen Mary Arts & Culture Support Centre.

Find out more

Nadia Atia (English) and Malachi McIntosh (Wasafiri Magazine based at QMUL) presented on Iraq and Teaching Migration and Empire respectively at British Empire in English Studies event at University of Kent.

Read more here

Julie Rose Bower

Julie Rose Bower has had her second ASMR video published by Victoria and Albert Museum and it features work using our Drama department’s very one ambisonic microphone. This video has costumes worn by Vivien Leigh, Sandie Shaw, PJ Harvey, Belinda Wright and Adzogbo dancers. JRB was also  named as one of the artists you need to know for ‘carving out space to reflect on the world today’ in Elephant magazine.

Watch here

Jerry Brotton

Jerry Brotton (English)’s Mapping the Future programme is on BBC iPlayer now. In the programme he navigates the transformation from paper to digital mapping, from print to pixels, asks what is being gained and lost and in whose interests the evolution serves.

Listen here

Dr Duckie

Dr Duckie aka Ben Walters (Drama PhD)’s Dr Duckie website is full of useful information about the project focused on the concept of ‘Homemade Mutant Hope Machines’ – a way of describing how people without much clout can start to build better worlds on their own terms.

See more here

Seoul Searching

Feather Pen (Blog by English student Aysel Kasap) are pleased to announce their new travel column, Seoul Searching by Ruby Punt, a QMUL student about her year abroad in South Korea! New entries are coming every month starting from July 15 on featherpenblog.com.

Georgia Haseldine (English) has written a piece called Pandemic Objects: Cash for Victoria and Albert Museum and The virtues and vices of virtual museum tours for Apollo Magazine.

Olga Kravchenko (Drama alumna) is interviewed by our alumni team on her about being CEO of Musemio, a virtual reality app that connects children with content from museums around the world and seeks to turn them into museumgoers of the future.

Read the interview

Peach July

PEACH Magazine has officially opened up for applications for their 2020/21 committee. If you are interested in being part of the only Queen Mary Student Medium that is solely dedicated to publishing students’ creative expressions, then click here to learn more about the different roles and how to apply. The deadline to apply is 31 July 2020, 11.59 pm. You can also follow PEACH on: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook.

Charlie Pullen (English PhD) shared a touching tribute by Lynsey Hanley in the 90s about English at Queen Mary in this tweet.

Nisha Ramayya

Nisha Ramayya (Creative Writing) has a short essay in Frieze Magazine: Rethinking Community in the Wake of the Pandemic and has wrote a review in Map.

Sh!t Theatre (Drama graduates)’s award-winning show Letters to Windsor House is streaming until 27 July. It costs just £4 to stream on demand and £1 from every rental goes to Shelter!

Stream now

Stage 3 Theatre Company:Stage3 Extended is a platform which continues to encourage activism through creative responses for an extended week after a commemorating event has occurred.
We believe that we should keep the activist momentum alive.
Their first project was ‘Refugee Week Extended’ and this Saturday (11 July) they are launching the next one –  ‘Remembering Srebrenica Extended’. Stage 3 Company is a performance-based activist group, tackling a vast range of political, social and humanitarian issues from immigration and discrimination to identity, belonging and empathy. Established in April 2018, as part of STAGES (PPP, QMUL), the group has since then performed at numerous venues around the UK. 

For more info follow on Facebook and Instagram

Barbara Taylor (English/History) had her Solitary Citizens: The Politics of Loneliness piece is published in the Guardian. The Solitudes blog has all new content here and for those interested in the poetry of Denise Riley, Barbara has published an open access piece here.

The Common Room

Rosie Vincent (Drama Alumna) and her organisation Roman Road Trust’s Transform The Common Room campaign successfully reached target to provide a new community space. After receiving the maximum pledge of £50,000 from the Mayor of London, they then received an amazing pledge of £10,000 from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund and then a brilliant pledge of £5,000 from the Centre for Public Engagement at QMUL!

Read more

Jeremy Weller (Drama Master’s Student)’s work for Beyond Walls around art and mental health including an NHS Residency and Edinburgh Festival 2018 Production: Where it hurts is available to explore online here. Find out more about his work on his website and Instagram.

Performance, Possession & Automation Conversations

Performance, Possession & Automation – a collaborative research project led by Nick Ridout and Orlagh Woods, in collaboration with Joe KelleherFiona Templeton and Simon Vincenzi – invites you to three online conversations.

Automation & Cultural Production

17 July, 6-8pm (BST)

Online

Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout for a conversation about automation and cultural production.


Instead of imagining a future in which our lives are managed for us by robots or AI, it may be time to think instead about how automation is already deeply embedded in our everyday lives. Automation is not replacing human beings, but it may be changing how we work and act, and how we think and feel about ourselves and other people. 


Click
 here, to book your place and for further information.

Possession & Performance

24 July, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Paul C. Johnson and Rebecca Schneider join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and performance. 


What if possession is a totally modern idea? Could it be a way for people who live modern lives in a supposedly secular culture to describe modes of being that don’t fit with their ideas of what it is to be yourself? How does performance help us think about possession? Are performance and possession both ways of becoming an automated or programmed self? 

Click here, to book your place and for further information.

Possession & Subjectivity

31 July, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity.

Might possession and other experiences in which people seem to lose control of themselves – like intoxication or narcosis – expand our understanding of what it means to be a subject, beyond the bounded subjectivity assumed and promoted in so-called ‘Enlightenment’ thought? Do subjects always and everywhere have to fit neatly into bodies?

Click here to book your place and for further information.

Performance, Possession & Automation is a research project exploring automation and possession as two ways of thinking about what happens to human subjects who act in ways that they do not themselves fully control. How can making and thinking about performance contribute to thinking about these ideas?

This project is supported through the Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and The Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary University of London in partnership with Fierce Festival and Hampstead Theatre.

Drama Alumna led project: Transform The Common Room exceeds fundraising target after receiving backing from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council and 250 local people

Roman Road Trust (Director is Drama Alumna Rosie Vincent) & Public Works’ Crowdfund London campaign to Transform The Common Room reached beyond target and finished with £81,721 after receiving pledges from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council, Queen Mary University of London, and over 250 pledges from local people.

The campaign was launched in January 2020 to turn The Common Room from a deteriorating space into a fully-functional cultural learning facility for local people. The vision is for local people to access high quality community learning in partnership with cultural and educational organisations. The original target was £74,000.

The Common Room is a grassroots project that was initiated by the community of Roman Road in 2014. The space has been managed and led by local people for the past six years. The Common Room is a valuable resource for many groups, individuals, and surrounding organisations.

Transform The Common Room is part of Crowdfund London – the programme delivered by the Mayor of London and Spacehive aimed at backing Londoner’s ideas for improving their local area with funding and support.

After receiving over 150 pledges from local people in the first two months, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £50,000 from Mayor of London in March 2020.

Following this, Transform The Common Room continued to gain momentum leading to a further 100 pledges. 15 of which were from local businesses who collectively raised £4,095 towards the campaign despite the current challenges facing businesses due to Covid-19.

During the final days of the campaign, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £10k from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund. This was then followed by a £5,000 pledge from the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London on the very last day.

Rosie Vincent, Managing Director of Roman Road Trust and QMUL drama alumna said:

“We have been truly overwhelmed by the support shown by local people and neighbouring organisations.

“Receiving the maximum pledge of £50k from the Mayor of London as well as the maximum pledge of £10k from Tower Hamlets Council proves how vital this project is for our community and Roman Road high street.

“The Common Room is a project that has been trying to happen for over six years. We are very proud to know our 253 backers also agree it is time for this space to become what it truly deserves to be.”

The Common Room is scheduled to be ready in Summer 2021. Roman Road Trust is now developing the first wave of Learning Programmes to be delivered in The Common Room. If you would like to be involved or help the project please email: hello@romanroadtrust.co.uk

Student of the month: Eve Bolton – BA English

A scouser in London, with impeccable music taste and fashion sense.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

Presenting and creating social media content for QM’s radio station, Quest. Making lots of lovely friends.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I hope to have a career in broadcast journalism, particularly radio.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

My friends.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I work in the Wetherspoons on Mile End Road and I have an internship with the BBC.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Improved information on what we should be reading over the summer for the next semester.

Find out more about our BA English

No-Nonsense Applicant Guide by graduate Saarah Ahsan-Shah

Even after choosing a degree, deciding which university to do it at might seem daunting. It’s worth researching the nature of a particular degree at various universities to compare them. English at one university is not the same as English at another.

To start off your research, read on for answers to commonly asked questions about English and Drama at Queen Mary, first hand from two students; myself (an English student) and Chris Dhanjal, a joint honours English and Drama student.

Applying to Queen Mary

1. What are the entry requirements?

For English The entry requirements are typically ABB at A Level (or an equivalent qualification), with an A in English Literature / English Language and Literature. Non-standard qualifications are also sometimes accepted from well-motivated candidates who demonstrate achievement in literary study.

For Drama we typically look for BBB at A-level or equivalent in other qualifications such as BTEC Performing Arts.

See our course pages in English or Drama for more details of our entry requirements.

2. Can you combine English or Drama with another subject?

Yes! Students are able to take joint courses, and are able to take English alongside another subject such as Drama, Linguistics, Creative Writing, Film Studies and History.

Our degrees are all about giving you social capital, through work experience, modules from other schools and extra activities, so you have the skills to succeed in life in and outside of university. The QMUL Principal, Professor Colin Bailey talks about this new approach we are taking in this article in The Guardian.

Structure

1. What modules are offered in an English and/or Drama degree?

English: In first year you’ll explore six compulsory modules; Reading, Theory and Interpretation, Poetry, London Global, Shakespeare, Literatures in Time. These modules gave us a foundation in English Literature across the spectrum which becomes more specific in second year. In second year, there are three categories, ‘Medieval and Early-Modern Studies’, ‘Eighteenth-Century, Romanticism, Nineteenth-Century Studies’ and  ‘Modern, Contemporary, And Postcolonial Studies’.

We picked one module from each category and a fourth module either from one of these categories or from a “special list”, which offers a range of options. In our third year, we are given plenty more options, not bound by any categories, allowing us to pursue any field enabling us to take whatever piques our interest.  Third year modules include Postcolonial, American and Children’s literature to name a few.

Drama: In first year, all students take London/Culture/ Performance, and Practices, which help negotiate Drama at university level. Joint honours students take six compulsory modules consisting of four Drama modules which are a combination of seminar and practical based ones and two English. For second year we were given more options, but again had to take one compulsory Drama module and at least two English modules from two separate areas.

In total we were allowed five modules but had to have an equal balance of credits across English and Drama. For final year, the options become a lot more flexible, with the choice of taking seventy-five credits in Drama and forty-five credits in English. Examples of second and third year Drama modules include Choreographic Performance, Shakespeare after Shakespeare and Race and Racism in Performance .

A current list of modules can be seen here, at the English and Drama Module Directory: https://qmplus.qmul.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=2960. This list of modules changes every year.

2. How many contact hours do you have a week?

English: We have 8-10 contact hours per week, depending on whether we take 4 or 5 modules per semester. Each module has 2 contact hours; typically a 1 hour lecture followed by a 1 hour seminar. Some modules in second year may not have a lecture and only a 2 hour seminar. In third year, most modules have a 2 hour seminar. Though 8 may seem a little, we’re expected to prepare for each module with 4 hours of work, through reading, research and assignment preparation.

Drama: We typically have 10 hours a week. In third year there may be 14 hour weeks, depending on the modules taken, as Drama practical modules can be 7 hours per day.

3. What are class sizes like?

First year lectures have around 250 students in them, but seminars are smaller groups of 15-20. Lecture sizes get smaller in second and third year as there are more modules available for students to choose from.

Drama: Most seminars and practical workshops range between 10-20 people which creates a good atmosphere for independent and group work.

4. How many books do you have to read a week?

English: We usually have to read one novel per module per week, occasionally alongside some theoretical extracts, making it 4-5 texts a week. Some texts are studied over two weeks so students (particularly in first year) may sometimes only need to read a novel/play every other week.

Drama: Roughly around 2-3 primary books a week, excluding secondary reading, in first and second year. In third year we have 3-5 primary books a week, as well as secondary reading.

5. Do you have field trips?

English: We have occasional field trips, depending on the module. In first year we went to the V&A as a part of Literatures in Time as well as to The Globe to see a play and for a day of workshops for our Shakespeare module. During third year, we attended The Foundling Museum for the Children’s Literature module. Most trips are subsidised by the department so we are able to attend at reduced costs. We are also encouraged to attend museums and exhibitions in our own time.

Drama: Within Drama we had a few field trips in first year to theatres and museums, but second and third year trips vary depending on the module. London Performance Now is a second year module which consists of weekly theatre/museum visits.

Assessment

1. How many assignments do you have a year?

English and Drama: Each module has about 4-5 assignments spread throughout the academic year. So in total there’s approximately 20 assignments. For English, most of them are essays, however there are also a couple of assessed presentations and class contributions. For drama it’s a mix of written and practical work.

2.Do you have exams?

English: In first year there is a final exam for Shakespeare and Literatures in Time. Other modules in all three years are generally assessed by coursework.

Drama: We have no written exams, however, we have assessed performances which can be timed assessments within a controlled environment.

3. Do you have to write a dissertation?

English:  Yes, in third year, all single honours students must undertake a dissertation, which is a 10,000 word research project on anything of our choice so long as it falls under English Literature.

Drama: Instead of a dissertation there is a practical research module. Joint honours students have the option between the English dissertation and a Drama written project.

Support

1. What resources does the department have access to?

Students in the School of English and Drama we have access to a wide amount of literature and criticism through the Mile End campus library, as well as through the University of London inter-library loan system and Senate House Library. The university is also subscribed to many journals and periodicals, giving us access to a huge amount of material. The department has 5 Drama studio spaces including rehearsal rooms, which students have 24/7 access to. Other resources for Drama include a wide range of drama and theatre professionals lecturing on the course who have influential and current experience.

2. Is there any guidance or support for assignments?

English and Drama: As well as useful workshops,  advisers/seminar leaders/lecturers have weekly drop-in hours which  are immensely helpful for advice and guidance on academic work. There are also beneficial student organisations, such as PASS (Peer Assissted Study Support), where second and third year students offer help to first year students and a Buddy Mentoring Scheme. We also have professional Literary Fellows available to review essays before students submit them. For practical work in Drama,  consistent feedback is given by seminar leaders and peers as our work is shared with each other.

3. What’s a personal advisor?

English and Drama: A personal advisor is a teaching member of staff assigned to you in order to help and assist you with any queries you may have. Whether it’s something academic or  personal they are there to support and help you!

Courses still open in English and Drama for 2020 Entry

We currently have availability on the following courses and would love to hear from you if you’re thinking about starting this September.

To find out more:

  1. Join our Results Day and Clearing Webinars
  2. Email us for a call back.
  3. Call the clearing hotline: +44 0800 376 1800
  4. Register your interest online

Undergraduate (Clearing via UCAS)


Postgraduate (Direct Application)


Drama ‘Ask an Academic’ Webinar for Offer Holders inc. Inspiring Resources

On 10 June 2020 we hosted an event for 2020 Drama offer holders with Dr Shane Boyle our Director of Admissions for Drama, Thyrza a Drama student, Faisal Abul from Admissions, Lara Fothergill School Manager and Rupert Dannreuther from Marketing.

Main picture from a performance by Francis Dubem Udemezue

Scroll down for the recording and our collaborative reading/watch lists.

Webinar Recording


Inspiring Resources

Please remember these are just informal suggestions and any preparation for your modules will be communicated later on.

Bechdel Theatre
  1. BLOG: Exeunt Magazine – A critical look at theatre and performance.
  2. BOOK: Theatre & Book Series are great introductions to key themes including titles by our very own Jen Harvie’s Theatre & the City, our current Head of Drama Caoimhe McAvinchey’s Theatre & Prison and Theatre & the Visual by our incoming head of Drama Dominic Johnson.
  3. FESTIVAL: BBC Culture in Quarantine – talks, performances and videos all online.
  4. FESTIVAL/INTERACTIVE: Paper Stages by Forest Fringe – an interactive downloadable PDF to make something during lockdown.
  5. PERFORMANCES ONLINE: National Theatre at Home – inspiring performances from the National Theatre.
  6. PODCAST: Stage Left with Jen Harvie – A podcast by our very own Jen Harvie with inspiring theatre and performance makers about their work.
  7. PODCAST: Bechdel Theatre – Beth Watson and Pippa Sa (QMUL alumna) talk gender representation on stage with a different special guest on each episode
Stage Left with Jen Harvie

This list is not exhaustive by any means there’s also a great list by London Drama here of good resources so do check it out!

Need more information?

Online Learning in the midst of a Pandemic

Learning in the current climate has been a challenge. But don’t worry I have listed a couple of tips below that might be used to help incoming students adapt to online learning.

Christian Richardson – BA English with Creative Writing


Study Space

Whether you are sharing an environment with flatmates or living at home, finding space to study can be difficult. I personally work best in an environment that is free from distractions, so I had to get creative with my study solutions. I was lucky enough to have a small walk-in closet that I repurposed as a study space: I used my clothes drawers and a dining table chair as a makeshift desk, added some fairy lights and a cactus et voila!

For those who don’t have the privilege of a walk-in wardrobe or some other space, you might wish to create something more temporary; this could be a comfy corner in a bedroom, or somewhere outdoors. Whatever you choose to do, I found using personal objects to customise the space made it comfortable and gave the area a purpose.

Time Management & Planning my day

I found it beneficial to manage my time into slots of 1 hour with dedicated breaks. It is worth noting that some tasks may take longer than others for example, listening to audio recordings of poetry did not take as long as reading a text and making notes. In these instances, I used my initiative and sometimes worked through my break times if I felt I was on a roll.

I worried that without the structure of day-to-day life (lectures, seminars, work) I would struggle to organise my day but after a week of recalibrating myself, I decided to take action. I created daily plans that I stuck on my fridge, for example:

  • 8am – Wake up.
  • 8:30 am – Breakfast.
  • 9am – Attend Online Seminar.
  • 11am – Independent Study.
  • 1pm – Lunch Time.

While simple, these steps helped me to stay on top of my workload and I feel that when this is all over, I will have a new skill under my belt.It’s also important to mention that that worry, stress and anxiety are to be expected when adapting to something new. Rather than shutting these emotions out, when organising my daily tasks, I would also schedule in an hour or two where I allowed myself to deal with those anxious thoughts.

Since my worries came from deadlines, I was able to plan my time in a way that it eased these feelings and resulted in a better peace of mind.

Reach Out for Help

Reach out – don’t suffer in silence. The mistake I made early on was forgetting that my professors and peers were still there to help me. After a period of quiet panic, I spoke in confidence to a couple of friends about my situation and they advised me to speak to my professor, and I am glad I did. I emailed my Professor and within 24 hours they had emailed me pdf copies of reading materials and one even offered to post me a book.

On a second note, this also applies if you are struggling to cope mentally. The university’s Mental Health and Wellbeing team and the School’s Student Support team (Suzi pictured above) are available for support and you should contact them if you feel the need to.

English and Drama Newsletter – June 2020 Edition

Welcome to June 2020 from English and Drama at Queen Mary.

Black Lives Matter: Our Head of School Catherine Silverstone has written this statement on our School’s commitment to fight racism.

We want to celebrate the work of all of our students including a special mention to our finalists, (pictured above on their first day in 2017) in these very challenging times.

Demi Whitnell

Our student of the month for May is Demi Whitnell, one of our BA English finalists, who also entered our Dissertation Hall of Fame.

Read our interview with Demi

Online Events

OPEN DAY

Webinar

Virtual Open Day – for 2021+ Applicants
Thursday 25 June 2020, 4-6.30pm BST, Online

Booking is now open for our online June open day session, which is a great chance to explore our unique English and Drama programmes, discover the QMUL campus and to meet our students.Register here
LISTINGS


‘You couldn’t make it up’ with authors Ellen Wiles & Michael Hughes
Wednesday 10 June 2020, 7pm BST, Youtube

Our very own Michael Hughes and Ellen Wiles (Creative Writing) will talk about what fiction can say and do in turbulent political times reading from their work.

Mad Hearts

Mad Hearts: The Arts and Mental Health
SOLITUDE AND THE ENCOUNTER

Friday 19 June 2020, Online

This one-day webinar hosted by our MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health explores productive, radical, contemporary encounters between the arts and mental health, bringing together clinical, artistic and research perspectives that offer a re-interpretation of contemporary mental health science and practice.

Register here


News & Links

Ruth Ahnert (English) is giving a virtual keynote lecture Networking the Early Modern Archive at the 6th Historical Network Research conference.

Julie Rose Bower (Drama PhD Researcher) has created a series of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s YouTube channel. ASMR is a relaxing sound design technique which gives some people a ‘tingles’ response and could provide a moment of calm for people in these times. ASMR has emerged over the last 12 years and is a digital native performance medium in which performers touch objects and whisper in close proximity to microphones.

Watch the first video here

James Petiver

Richard Coulton (English) has edited a collection of essays on James Petiver, an eighteenth-century apothecary, collector and natural historian. You can read a recent interview with Richard about his research on the Royal Society blog. Image: Angola Dragonfly – James Petiver

Brian Dillon (Creative Writing) talks about Roland Barthes, obtuse meanings, descriptions of food, and the “sanatorium society” in this video for Beyond Words Festival.


Dissenting Academies
(English Research Project) recently supported BBC research for David Olusoga’s A House Through Time which explores the history of a house in Bristol which involves a Baptist minister called James Poulson found in the Dissenting Academies archive.

Dr Duckie aka Ben Walters (Drama)’s website is live showcasing the research project on Duckie’s community-centric performance projects like The Posh Club, The Slaughterhouse Club, D.H.S.S, Duckie Family and the Vintage Clubbing Sessions.

Read Ben’s introduction to the project here

Cat Fallow (Drama) took part in a discussion for the new vlog series A Bit Lit exploring contemporary theatre-making and repertory in Shakespearean theatres.
Watch the video


Matthew Ingleby (English) has released a Youtube video called Dickens in a Crisis for #Dickens150 about how Charles Dickens’ work might help us in times of crisis.

Read more about the project

Dominic Johnson (Drama) interviews Berlin-based visual artist AA Bronson in Art Monthly. It’s titled Going Viral and is in the current issue (May 2020).

Group Practical Project

Group Practical Project students Robyn Bedford, Billy Bray, Cristina Covaci and Elliot Douglas (Drama) explore gender identity using Instagram to host their enquiries.

Follow and explore the project

Live Art Development Agency (Drama) have curated Boxed-In, an online exhibition of artists who have used performance in confined spaces, often over long and painful (seemingly unendurable) durations – in self-imposed lockdown on cargo shops, freight crates, boxes, cells, or cages. The conditions of the performances – and the ways the artists survive in isolation – feel uncannily prescient in our current situation.  Dominic Johnson’s work: ‘Rudimentary Things: Becoming an Object in the Performances of Skip Arnold’ features in the exhibition.

Daniel Oliver (Drama)’s book inspires this video discussion: Why Daniel Oliver is an important artist. Neurodiversity & Arts around his book Awkwoods.

PEACH Magazine

PEACH Magazine Congratulations to Lara Jakobsen (a 2nd Year English with Creative Writing student) who has been elected as Managing Editor and Ameerah Ali (a 2nd Year English student) as Deputy Managing Editor at PEACH magazine. PEACH was also awarded the Most Improved Outlet at the Student Media Awards this year. The magazine is dedicated to showcasing the creative work of students. Students can still send in creative work (creative writing, art, etc.) throughout the summer to published on their blog.

Follow PEACH on Instagram

Eavan Boland

Peggy Reynolds (English)’s 1992 BBC Radio 4 discussion around poetry, gender and naturehood featuring the late Eavan Boland is being repeated oniPlayer to commemorate poet’s work after she passed away recently.

Listen here


Nisha Ramayya
(Creative Writing) is taking part in Ignota’s Break into the Forbidden event to mourn, witness, dream, nourish and celebrate black life.

Moj Taylor (Drama alumnus) speaks to our alumni team about his career as a Comedian, Actor, Public Speaker and Executive of Push.

Read the interview

Call for papers

Wonderer Journal Queen Mary’s new literary journal, Wonderer is now open for submissions. Don’t miss your chance to be considered for the first ever issue.

Find out more

English ‘Ask an Academic’ Webinar for Offer Holders inc. Collaborative Reading List

On 10 June 2020 we hosted an event for English offer holders with Dr Peter Howarth, Christian from our English with Creative Writing course, Faisal Abul from Admissions, Lara Fothergill School Manager and Rupert Dannreuther from Marketing.

Scroll down for the recording and our collaborative reading/watch lists.

Webinar Recording


Suggested Reading List

Our links are to publisher websites not stores and many books will be cheaper as e-books or could even be free via Project Gutenberg so please do search online or use your local library’s e-books too. Consider buying second hand or via sources other than Amazon such as Abe Books which Christian mentioned.

Please remember these are just informal suggestions and any required reading will be communicated later on.

Peter Recommends

Rupert recommends…

See Christian’s forum post here for more reading tips


Collaborative Reading/Watch List

We asked our offer holders in the session what they’re reading and watching and they didn’t disappoint…

Books

Netflix/Shows

  • A Very Secret Service (Sanika – ‘a French series on Netflix’)
  • Carmilla (Isabel)
  • Killing Eve (Aimee – ‘Everyone should watch Killing Eve hands down, freaking brilliant show’)
  • Leila (Ruby – ‘The series is amazing its based on a dystopian book’)

How you’ll study in the School of English and Drama this year

Dear Offer Holders in English and Drama

You should have received recently an email from Queen Mary explaining some of our plans for September. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that we have been thinking carefully about how best to support you and your education.

Your safety is our first concern. With safety in mind, from September to January we will be offering an inclusive blended learning approach, drawing on insights and feedback from our current students. 

If travel restrictions mean that you can’t be here with us in London this September, you will be able to start your course online. If you are able to join us, we will ensure that our premises and activities follow government guidance and that we are Covid-19 secure.

What a blended approach to learning and teaching in English and Drama means for you:

Teaching & Student Support: In the School of English and Drama, a blended approach means that you’ll be able to access online your Semester 1 lectures, seminars and, for those studying Drama, practice-based workshops, as well as meetings with your teachers, advisor, and our student support staff. Our online teaching and student support will be supplemented with one-to-one meetings and small-group campus-based activities if it’s safe and possible to do so for staff and students. These opportunities will also be available online so that everyone can participate wherever you’re based.

Learning Resources: To support your learning, you’ll have access to online learning resources (e.g. presentations, e-books, journal articles, videos). The School has strong connections with writers, artists, and other arts professionals and we aim to programme guests as part of your online teaching and in extracurricular activities.

Assessment: You’ll be supported to complete a range of assessments that will be submitted online, including essays, presentations, creative writing portfolios and practice-based assessments, depending on your course. Practical assessments in Drama are also supported by our dedicated Technical Team. The work our students have submitted online this year has been inspiring!

Meeting Staff & Students, Study Skills & Careers Support: To help you settle in to studying in the School, we’ll be running a programme of online welcome events so you can meet other students and members of staff. Our courses build in opportunities for you to meet and work with other students and we also facilitate the Peer Assisted Study Support and Buddy schemes. We embed study skills in all our courses to help you with the transition to university-level study with its increased levels of independent work, and you’ll also have a timetable of activities for each week of the semester to help you plan your time. We also offer dedicated careers support in the School in collaboration with our colleagues in Careers and Enterprise. To help you prepare for your course, we’ll send you further guidance and advice over the summer.

Clubs & Societies: Beyond your studies, you’ll have opportunities to join sports clubs and societies through Queen Mary Students’ Union. The School is proud to support the dynamic Queen Mary Theatre Society, the English Society and Wonderer, an undergraduate literary journal, and to publish our students on our blog, All Things SED, and read their work in the arts and culture magazines, Cub, Peach and the new publication Diaspora Speaks, which gives space to work from students of colour.

We’ll confirm the School’s arrangements for Semester 2 as soon as we’re able, but our working assumption is that if the situation allows for it, we will return to teaching on campus.

We look forward to welcoming you to Queen Mary in September. 

Speak to us: If you have any questions, please complete this form, join our ‘Ask an Academic’ webinars on 10 June or book a call with an admissions tutor for English or Drama.

Kind regards,

Catherine

Dr Catherine Silverstone
Head of the School of English and Drama
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London

sed-web@qmul.ac.uk

Student of the month: Demi Whitnell – BA English

Always got her head in a book, a pen in her hand and her eye behind a camera.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

My hightlights of QMUL has certainly been running CUB magazine on campus as editor-in-chief. I have learnt so many amazing skills through my position as well as having so many amazing opportunities, meeting the brilliant writers behind CUB and the students I would have have come across in my own degree. I found a little family in CUB and it will be so upsetting yo say goodbye in May.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

My course reinforced my love of writing, I was not an avid poet until second year and now I am published on Amazon as well as online publications. I also found my love of article writing through CUB which led me to my two summer internships with the Daily Telegraph Newspaper. My course showed me how diverse literature can be and I know how silly that sounds but A-levels and GCSE only gives you a small scope of literature and after university I know I will continue to explore the different pathways within literature and continue my studies.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I cannot give CUB anymore of a shout out but without joining it in my second year as a writer, I would not be this confident or have this many amazing friends around me. I also would not have run for VP Welfare in the 2020 elections or be able to be this confident at public speaking, it gave me skills I could never have learnt without it. I also discovered how diverse peoples values and viewed can be, I met people from so many amazing backgrounds and faiths that it opened my eyes to new experiences and beliefs of my own!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’ve had several part time jobs throughout university such as bar work or retail. Bar work gave me a boost of confidence which allowed me to stand up for myself in difficult situations and to respect myself ad a woman in a male oriented environment.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Bridging the gap between SU and the students, making a less corporate relationship and more student led.

To give more opportunities to students who (like myself) travel to campus daily meaning we miss out on nights out or parties etc.

Find out more about our BA English