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Alison MacLeod, whose novel Unexploded is among the thirteen books nominated for the world's leading fiction prize, is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University.  She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing courses, and supervises Ph.D work in prose fiction.  According to The Independent, '‘Unexploded is like a piece of finely wrought ironwork, uncommonly delicate but at the same time astonishingly strong and tensile; it’s a novel of staggering elegance and beauty.’  Professor MacLeod describes her long-listing as a 'huge honour', an experience she will share with her students.

The English and Creative Writing undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Chichester are among the most established in the UK.  Students join a community of dedicated writers and scholars, and work with practising poets, novelists, short story writers, and dramatists to hone their writing skills and prepare for their professional career.  Many authors have published their work, having originally started manuscripts in the MA in Creative Writing seminars or on the Ph.D in Creative Writing.  Successful student and graduate writers include K.J. Orr, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Zoe Gilbert, Graham Minett, Isabel Ashdown, Bryan Wigmore, Maggie Sawkins, Juliet West, Amber Dodd, Charlie McQuaker, Bethan Roberts, Jane Rusbridge, Penelope Bush, Gabrielle Kimm and many more. 

Head of the English and Creative Writing Department, Professor Simon Barker, comments “We are understandably incredibly proud of Alison and are delighted that she has received recognition for the high-calibre of her work. It’s also great news for our students: Alison’s insight into her experience will be invaluable for writers starting out on their careers.”


Former University of Chichester lecturer Dr Isla Duncan has published a ground-breaking book on the work of the Canadian writer Alice Munro. Dr Duncan, who lectured in the Department of English and Creative Writing until her retirement in 2009, remains a research associate at the University, her book, 'Alice Munro's Narrative Art', is among the first critical works on Alice Munro's writing, and has been published in the UK, the USA and Canada.

The book's study of Munro's short fiction is informed by the disciplines of narratology and literary linguistics, and demonstrates a rich understanding of the complex, often unsettling, stories.

Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Professor Emerita, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, at The University of Western Ontario, praised Isla's book as “adding a new element to the growing body of critical analysis of Alice Munro's short stories”.

She added: “While many critics have drawn attention to Munro's complex narrative disruptions and disarrangements, and her almost archaeological interest in digging down through layers of time, no existing study provides the thorough-going discussion of narrative strategies offered here.”

Isla added: “The book came out in USA and Canada in late November 2011, and was then published in the UK by Palgrave Macmillan in December. It is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students of Canadian women's writing.”


The latest book by Bill Gray, Professor of Literary History in the Department of English and Creative Writing, is entitled 'Fantasy, Art and Life: Essays on George MacDonald, Robert Louis Stevenson and Other Fantasy Writers'.

Bill did not originally plan to write a trilogy on the subject of fantasy, but found himself compelled to draw his writings together to form a complete overview.
He said: “After I'd published 'Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth' in 2008, I realised that it contained references to a lot of my articles published all over the place, and that it would be helpful to collect these into one volume.”

That collection became 'Death and Fantasy', in effect a kind of prequel to 'Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth'.

Accordingly, Bill decided to produce a further volume of more recent essays mainly focused on ideas of life in fantasy literature. Through this concluding volume, Bill hopes to dispel one frequently voiced criticism of fantasy literature: that it is escapist, and abandons the real problems of this earth to escape into some other world.


The University of Chichester’s reputation as a hub of writing has been confirmed by the success of Professor Alison MacLeod and Katherine Orr in the nation’s most prestigious short story competition for British writers.

Alison, who teaches in the Department of English and Creative Writing, and Katherine, who is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University, were both named in the shortlist of five for the BBC National Short Story Award 2011. In the end they were both beaten to the Award by Canadian writer D.W. Wilson, but both writers were humbled to be nominated.

Alison, who was nominated for her story ‘The Heart of Denis Noble’, said: “It was an extraordinary honour to be shortlisted for this award.  How wonderful that the BBC has carried on supporting and celebrating the short story form.  It means such a lot to writers in this country. It’s a funny, lovely coincidence that Katherine and I landed together on the same shortlist.  I’m thrilled for her.  She’s a brilliant story writer.”

Katherine, who writes as K J Orr, said: “It was such an honour to be shortlisted — I am absolutely delighted. ‘The Human Circadian Pacemaker’ is a story I loved writing.”


A PhD student at the University of Chichester has self-published a poetry collection which aims to address the so-called War on Terror and its effect on Iraq.

Waleed Al-Bazoon joined the University of Chichester in July 2009 as part of the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) scholarship scheme and is currently studying for a PhD in English Literature specialising in literary responses to 9/11.

The poems in 'The War on Idigna' see Waleed express his views on the outcomes of the war. He said: “My aim behind this collection is to acquaint Western readers with the disaster of the war in a poetic language, written in English by an Iraqi. Most of the fiction and poetry and drama written on that topic are either in Arabic or translated into English and other languages, whereas I wanted to communicate directly about the pains, destruction and the disaster of the war.”


A book by University of Chichester lecturer Dave Swann was chosen from hundreds of publications to be shortlisted for the 2011 Ted Hughes Award, a national competition organised by the previous Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

Dave’s book ‘The Privilege of Rain’ (Waterloo Press, 2010), a collection based on his experiences as Writer in Residence at HMP Nottingham Prison, was among five books chosen for the shortlist for the prize, which celebrates ground-breaking attempts to fuse poetry with other art-forms.

With its mixture of poems and stories, and its inclusion of haunting wood-cuts by the artist Clare Dunne, Dave’s book caught the eye of the judging panel.

Afterwards Dave, who is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing, spoke of his excitement at being shortlisted for the award, which was made possible when Carol Ann Duffy donated her annual stipend in honour of one of her predecessors as Poet Laureate.

“It was incredibly generous of the Poet Laureate to give up her wage to set up the prize,” said Dave. “As a result, there is now a valuable space for brave and experimental small publishers to capture the attention of a wider public.