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ESSAY PUBLISHED WITH Wyoming humanities council

For many years, I have been interested in the 'abject' female body and the theories proposed by academics such as Julia Kristeva and Susan Bordo.  In light of the controversial Netflix show 'Insatiable', I have written an article for WHC which explores this show in terms of the 'abject'.  Click 'Learn More' to read the essay.

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DICK AND LYNNE CHENEY EXCELLENCE IN STUDY ABROAD FELLOWSHIP

My dreams of visiting the Arctic will become realized thanks to the generous Dick and Lynne Cheney Fellowship which was awarded to help fund research for my next novel, a modern retelling of the failed 1845 expedition to the Northwest Passage, captained by Sir John Franklin.

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The arctic circle 2019

I am delighted to announce that I have been invited to take part in The Arctic Circle Summer Solstice residency in 2019, during which a select group of artists and scientists will travel up to the high north and set sail around the Svalbard Archipelago on a Barquentine Tall ship.

The ship will depart from Longyearbyen, Norway at the beginning of June and will sail north over the sea and fjords for almost three weeks, taking a route around the islands which will be guided by weather conditions at the time. 

This is an important opportunity for me to develop my understanding of the Arctic conditions and have the time and inspiration to write a modern retelling of the failed Franklin expedition.  On my return to England, I will lead community spoken word workshops  which will respond to the impressions of the Arctic I record through writing, audio, and photograph. 

MFA PROJECT TRIP 1: JEFFREY CITY, Wy

This semester, my fellow cohort friends and I are working to produce a collaborative chapbook tentatively called 'Chora: The Spirit of Wyoming' (Plato posited that this Ancient Greek word could describe a 'receptacle of becoming').  We plan to visit four locations around Wyoming; Jeffrey City, Laramie, Centennial, and Saratoga, documenting our impressions of each place in vignettes.  Today's trip was to the ghost town Jeffrey City - unofficial tagline: 'Biggest Bust of them All'.  Originally a tiny settlement for a wife and her husband suffering the effects of a WW1 gas attack, the area was eventually taken oven by uranium opportunists in the late 1970s.  Houses sprang up for the uranium mine employees, and a school, bowling alley and doctor's surgery helped to make Jeffrey City feel something like a home.  And then came the uranium bust.  Families left, wheeling their homes away to more prosperous locations.  At its peak, the town was home to over 4,000 inhabitants, but now it lies almost empty; derelict and dilapidated.  Of course, to an aspiring urban explorer who was too scared to practice this hobby while living in London, this place is a gold mine.   School buses rust under the splintering sun.  Disused swing sets hang outside the Home Ec block, complete with old ovens, blackboards and stacks of textbooks.  The carpeted corridors of the abandoned apartment buildings look like a set straight out of 'The Walking Dead'.  A church, presumably intended to be moved to another town, sags on splints in the middle of a road.  It almost makes you want to gather up a bunch of writer friends and settle there for the summer.  Ghost town commune, anyone?

5x5 rEADING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

Last Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to read the first few pages of my MFA thesis (a novella which considers Iceland’s ‘hidden people’ and the otherworldly space they inhabit) alongside poets from four Colorado universities. The reading took place in the UW Art Museum underneath Sharon Louden’s TRANSFORMING SPACES: AN INSTALLATION. The bright, highly reflective, curved aluminum sheets act as a “drawing in space” and over the course of the evening, they changed forms and tensions as the outside light faltered. Over 80 people were in attendance - the best turnout to a UW reading yet!

arts and sciences dean’s Graduate scholarship

I am thrilled to have been selected for an A&S Dean’s Graduate Scholarship to support research in Iceland. The scholarship will cover eight days of travel which I will undertake in early 2019. I plan to visit hotspots of ‘elf activity’ across the island as documented by Professor Terry Gunnell in his Sagnagrunnur - an interactive geographically mapped database of Icelandic folk legends, and elf sightings - and interview farming communities, documenting local folk stories.