Author - Sarah Budasz, Blog, events, MLAC events, PG events

Circles of Lectures I: A Creative Writing Symposium

The Durham University Creative Writing Society is organising, “Circles of Lectures”, the first in what will hopefully be a series of talks about the practice of Creative Writing. This first session will see three professional writers talk about their different forms of prose fiction (short tale, novel and drama), on the 23rd November at 4:15 pm. We met with Fernando, the MLAC student who put together this exciting event.


Hello Fernando, could you introduce yourself?

I am Fernando, a Spanish student in my second year studying Liberal Arts (English, French and Philosophy) at Durham. I am also the president of the Durham University Creative Writing Society.

What is the aim of this symposium?

We hope to give our members a taste of the different types of writing, by getting professional writers to talk about their experience. If this event is successful, I am planning to organise another similar event next term. Ideally, two speakers would discuss poetry and another one will be a playwright. This way we will have provided our members with a big picture. The main aim is to show that literature is something that is alive, that it is not boring and that you can do creative things with it!

Who will present at this event?

We have three speakers: Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze (Lecturer in French, Durham), Patrick Gray (Lecturer in English, Durham) and Allyson Stack (Lecturer in English and Creative Writing, University of Edinburgh). This particular Symposium will explore prose fiction. Dr Stack and and Dr Dousteyssier Khoze will talk about short and long form prose, while Dr Gray will address Drama. What is important is that the attendants will have the opportunity to ask many questions during the final Q&A session

Who can attend?

Everybody is welcome! This should be interesting for Undergraduates, Postgraduates but also for members of the faculty, if they have an interest for writing.

In addition to this open event, what does the Creative Writing Society do?

We meet every Tuesday at 7:30 pm, in Elvet Riverside if possible. Every session treats a different topic. We encourage members through warmups, then we present a stimuli to them, for example: a script, showing extracts of movies, discuss those, etc. Hopefully that helps members build an understanding of the reasoning behind a piece of writing, and help them produce their own work in the second half of the session. Half of session is thus devoted to discussion and theory, while the second half offers time to attendants to produce their own work, and receive feedback on it. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own ideas, to give feedback and to develop their own opinions. Each session is independent, no member is bound to go to every session. Hopefully they will be able to connect the content if they attend each session. We are an open society, so if people want something special we can include it. We also organise special feedback sessions and publish a yearly anthology at the end of the year. What we want, in the end, is for people to develop their own skills. Not everybody has the same skills but we can all develop our abilities and we can encourage that! Everybody can achieve a bare minimum of quality!


To Join the Creative Writing Society, you have to register via the Student Union:

You can also follow their activity on their Facebook page:


Creative Writing Symposium: First Circle of Lectures

16:15-17:45, ER153

Presentations and Q&A on short stories, novels and drama

Dr. Allyson Stack (University of Edinburgh): “The art of the tale: Why short stories matter”
Dr. Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze (Durham University): “Writing you first novel: joys and pitfalls”
Dr. Patrick Gray (Durham University): “Literature vs Propaganda: ambiguity and the catharsis of doubt”
Q&A + snack


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