Photo: Christa Holka
Photo: David Kwaw Mensah
Photo: Rosalind Hobley
Thinking and Writing
Short and Long
A Panel Discussion
Emma Claire Sweeney with Edward Hogan, Catherine Menon, Irenosen Okojie and Naomi Wood
Saturday 6 April, 11am - 12noon
Central Milton Keynes Library,
555 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3HL
Some ideas work better as flashes, others as short stories, novellas or novels. But how might you best choose between these literary containers?
Open University Creative Writing Lecturer, Emma Claire Sweeney, will put this question to a group of fiction writers known for both their shorter and longer works: Edward Hogan, Catherine Menon, Irenosen Okojie and Naomi Wood. Together, they’ll explore their preferred approaches to different sized canvases. They’ll reflect on what they find especially exciting and challenging about various forms. And, since writing and publishing can be a slow process, whatever the length of your work, they’ll share their top tips for keeping going.
About Emma Claire Sweeney
Emma Claire Sweeney is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University, and Director of the Ruppin Agency Writers’ Studio – a nationwide literary mentorship scheme. Emma was named as both an Amazon Rising Star and a Hive Rising Writer for her debut novel, Owl Song at Dawn (Legend, 2016), which went on to win Nudge Literary Book of the Year. Emma co-wrote her debut non-fiction book, A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf (Aurum, 2017), with her own friend, Emily Midorikawa. In her foreword, Margaret Atwood described the work as a great ‘service to literary history’. Emma has won Society of Authors, Arts Council and Royal Literary Fund awards, and has written for the likes of The Paris Review, TIME, and The Washington Post.
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About Edward Hogan
Edward Hogan is from Derby. His five novels include Blackmoor, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize, and The Electric. His recent short stories have been longlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and shortlisted for the V.S. Pritchett and Manchester Fiction Prize. His story Single Sit won the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize, and was published in Best British Stories 2022. Ed is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University, and lives in Brighton.
About Catherine Menon
Catherine Menon is the author of Fragile Monsters, published in 2021 by Viking and shortlisted for the Society of Authors Gordon Bowker Prize and the Authors' Club First Novel Award. Her debut short story collection, Subjunctive Moods, was published by Dahlia Publishing in 2018. She has a PhD in pure mathematics and an MA in creative writing from City University, for which she won the annual prize. She’s won or been placed in a number of competitions, including the Fish, Bridport, London Short Story, Bare Fiction, Willesden Herald, Asian Writer, Leicester Writes, Winchester Writers Festival and Short Fiction Journal awards. Her work has been published in a number of literary journals, including The Good Journal and Asian Literary Review and has been broadcast on BBC radio.
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About Irenosen Okojie
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British author whose work pushes the boundaries of form, language, and ideas. Her novel, Butterfly Fish, and short story collections, Speak Gigantular and Nudibranch, have won and been nominated for multiple awards. Her journalism has been featured in the New York Times, the Observer, the Guardian and the Huffington Post. She is a Contributing Editor for The White Review. She co-presented the BBC's Turn Up For The Books podcast alongside Simon Savidge and Bastille frontman, Dan Smith. Her work has been optioned for the screen. She has also judged various literary prizes, including the Dylan Thomas Prize and The Gordon Burn Prize, as well as the BBC National Short Story Award. She was a judge for the 2023 Women's Prize for Fiction. Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, she was awarded an MBE for Services to Literature in 2021. She is the director and founder of Black to the Future festival. Her novel, Curandera, is forthcoming with Dialogue Books in 2024.
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About Naomi Wood
Naomi Wood is the prize-winning author of three novels, as well as winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2023. Her debut novel, The Godless Boys, has been optioned for the screen. Mrs Hemingway has been translated into sixteen languages, won a Jerwood Prize, was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and was a Richard and Judy Bookclub Choice. The Hiding Game, set in the Bauhaus in the 1920s, was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and shortlisted for an HWA Gold Crown. Naomi’s forthcoming book is a collection of short stories, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, which will be out with Phoenix/Orion in April 2024. Naomi lives in Norwich with her family, and is Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
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About English and Creative Writing at the Open University
English and Creative Writing at the Open University enables students to anticipate life the better by reading critically, writing effectively and thinking creatively. Each programme is designed to support aspiration, taking students forwards in life. Studying with the OU will open professional avenues, further career prospects, deepen insights and knowledge – enjoyably. The Department's programmes strive to be rigorous while honing the pleasures of reading and writing.
The Contemporary Cultures of Writing research group is interested in all forms of creative and academic writing, and its outlook is interdisciplinary. Membership comprises novelists, poets, dramatists and life writers, as well as academics and practitioners in Literature, Linguistics, English Language, and Translation Studies. The focus is on writing practices, their cultural contexts and impacts, and activities include seminars, conferences, collaborative work, and publications.
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