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Centre for New Writing

Joanna Walsh

Writers in residence

Every year, the Centre for New Writing welcomes two Writers in Residence to be part of the programme for the spring term.

From 2017, in partnership with The International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the Manchester Museum, these visiting writer fellows will be known as the Burgess Fellows.

Anthony Burgess published his first writing while a student at the University, and this new partnership aims to support the emerging writers of today.

The first Burgess Writer Fellows were announced by the University’s President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, as Kayo Chingonyi and Joanna Walsh, during the Anthony Burgess Centenary Conference on 3 July 2017. 

2018 Burgess Fellows

As part of their residency, Kayo Chingonyi and Joanna Walsh will keep on with their own writing, give a workshop session each and act as mentors for the MA students, reading and commenting on work.

Kayo Chingonyi
Kayo Chingonyi will be a Burgess Fellow in spring 2018.

Kayo Chingonyi

Kayo Chingonyi, a Zambia-born UK-raised poet, is a graduate of the Complete Works programme and a winner of  the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize.

Kayo's first book Kumukanda has recently been published by Chatto.

Joanna Walsh
Joanna Walsh will be a Burgess Fellow in spring 2018.

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh is the author of VertigoHotel and the online fiction Seed. 

Her work has been published by Granta, Tate, The London Review of Books, The White Review and others.

Previous Writers in Residence

2017

In spring 2017, the Writers in Residence were Joey Connolly and Grace McCleen. Their roles were to keep writing, to give a workshop session each and to act as mentors for the MA students, reading and commenting on work.

Joey Connolly
Writer in residence, Joey Connolly.

Joey Connolly

Joey Connolly grew up in Sheffield and studied in Manchester. Now he lives in London, where he is the manager of the Poetry Book Fair. His poetry and criticism have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Sunday Times and Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt), as well as on BBC Radio 4. He received an Eric Gregory award in 2012, and his first collection, Long Pass, is published by Carcanet.

Grace McCleen
Writer in residence, Grace McCleen.

Grace McCleen

Grace McCleen was born in Wales and raised in a fundamentalist religion. Despite great opposition from the religion she studied English Literature at Oxford and then York University. Her first novel, The Land of Decoration (Chatto and Windus, 2012), was translated into over 20 languages, and won the Betty Trask award and Desmond Elliott prize, amongst others. Her second novel, The Professor Poetry (Sceptre, 2013), was shortlisted for the Encore Award, and her third novel, The Offering (Sceptre 2015) was long listed for the Bailey's Prize. In 2016 she was writer in residence at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, producing a collection of poetry.

She reviews fiction for national newspapers and writes songs. She has a website, where you can hear her songs, along with children's picture books she is working on, and various multimedia work.

2016

Emma Jane Unsworth
Writer in residence, Emma Jane Unsworth, has had two novels published.

Emma Jane Unsworth

Emma Jane Unsworth's first novel Hungry, the Stars and Everything (Hidden Gem) won a Betty Trask Award from the Society of Authors and was shortlisted for the Portico Prize 2012. Her short story 'I Arrive First' was included in The Best British Short Stories 2012 (Salt). She has worked as a journalist, a columnist for The Big Issue, and a barmaid. Her second novel Animals was published by Canongate in May 2014 and won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2015. She is writing a third novel, as well as the screenplay of Animals, which has been optioned by BAFTA-nominated producer Sarah Brocklehurst and awarded development funding by the BFI.

Emma did the MA in Creative Writing here in 2002.

Rebecca Perry
Rebecca Perry is the Poetry Fellow for the Spring semester 2016.

Rebecca Perry

Rebecca Perry is the Poetry Fellow for the Spring semester 2016.

Rebecca Perry's pamphlet, little armoured, was published by Seren in 2012 and won the Poetry Wales Purple Moose prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Her first full collection Beauty/Beauty, was published by Bloodaxe in January 2015 and is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize for Best First Collection and the T S Eliot Prize.

Rebecca co-edits the online journal Poems In Which.

Rebecca did the MA in Creative Writing here in 2008.

Arts Council writer fellow

David Gaffney
David Gaffney photographed by Kezia Tan.

David Gaffney

Arts Council Relationship Manager and Flash Fiction author David Gaffney was appointed Writer Fellow at the Centre for New Writing for 2015-16. He ran microfiction workshops with Creative Writing students in semester 1. During his residency David was also available to talk to students about ideas they might have about applying for Arts Council funding.

Originally from Cleator Moor in West Cumbria, David now lives in Manchester. He is the author of Sawn-off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), Never Never (2008), The Half-life of Songs (2010) and his latest collection of short stories, More Sawn-Off Tales (2013). David was a judge for the 2015 Bridport Prize.

"One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others"
The Guardian

2015

Susan Barker
Previous writer in residence, Susan Barker, has had three novels published.

Susan Barker

Susan Barker grew up in east London. After graduating from the University of Leeds with a degree in philosophy she spent two years teaching English in Kyoto, Japan. When she returned to the UK she studied on the creative writing MA at the University of Manchester, and completed her first novel Sayonara Bar, which was published in 2005 (Doubleday, UK, St Martins Press, US). Her second novel, The Orientalist and the Ghost, which is set in colonial and post-colonial Malaysia, was published in 2008.

Her third novel The Incarnations (Doubleday, UK, 2014, Simon and Schuster, US, 2015) is about a taxi driver in contemporary Beijing and interwoven with tales from the Tang Dynasty, the invasion of Genghis Khan, the Ming Dynasty, the Opium War, and the Cultural Revolution. While writing The Incarnations she spent several years living in Beijing, researching modern and imperial China. 

Colette Bryce
Colette Bryce was the Poetry Fellow for the Spring semester, 2015.

Colette Bryce

Colette Bryce is the Poetry Fellow for the Spring semester 2015. Her collections with Picador include The Heel of Bernadette(2000), winner of the Aldeburgh Prize, The Full Indian Rope Trick(2004) and Self-Portrait in the Dark (2008). Originally from Northern Ireland, she lived for some years in London, Spain and Scotland, before settling in the north east of England in 2005. From 2009 to 2013 she was poetry editor for Poetry London. Her new collection, The Whole & Rain-domed Universe, which draws on her experience of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, was shortlisted for the Costa and Forward prizes in 2014. She received the Cholmondeley Award for her poetry in 2010.