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A series of profiles of our alumni including photos and their work.

Lucy Caldwell

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Award-winning author and playwright 

Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981 and is a graduate of Queens' College, Cambridge and the Goldsmiths MA in Creative & Life Writing.

She is the author of three novels, Where They Were Missed (2006), which was completed during her MA, The Meeting Point (2011), which featured on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and was awarded the Dylan Thomas Prize, and All the Beggars Riding (2013).

Lucy's stage plays and radio dramas have won several awards and her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio.

In 2011 she was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for her body of work to date and in 2012 she was the recipient of a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is currently working on her fourth novel and on her debut collection of short stories.

Bernardine Evaristo

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Bernardine is the author of seven books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora. 

Bernardine Evaristo earned her PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths in 2013. She is the author of seven books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, lived, travelled, imagined, including Mr Loverman (Penguin 2013), Hello Mum (Penguin, 2010), Lara (Bloodaxe 2009), Blonde Roots (Penguin 2008), Soul Tourists (Penguin 2005) and The Emperor’s Babe (Penguin 2001).

She has been on over 80 international tours as a writer giving talks and teaching creative writing, and is Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University.

Her awards include the EMMA Best Book Prize, Big Red Read, NESTA Fellowship, Orange Youth Panel Award and Arts Council Writers Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, and she was made an MBE in 2009.  

Mark Grist

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Poet, rapper and Youtube sensation.

Mark Grist is a poet and rapper based in Peterborough. He studied American and English literature at UEA before becoming an English teacher and later completed an MA at Goldsmiths. He began using rap techniques to teach his students about poetic devices and other elements of the English language, and formed Dead Poets, a double act with fellow Peterborough MC Mixy in 2008, touring the UK.

Grist's rap battle with one of his students, MC Blizzard, had three million internet views. His poem ‘Girls Who Read’ was produced by the Roundhouse and published on their Youtube channel.

Anthony Joseph

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A poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. 

Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’.

His written work and performance occupies a space between surrealism, jazz and the rhythms of Caribbean speech and music. He is the author of four poetry collections and a novel The African Origins of UFOs.

After completing his MA, he was the recipient of an AHRC scholarship for his doctoral thesis, a fictional biography of the Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener. As a musician and poet Anthony performs internationally, and has released four critically acclaimed albums.

Lionel Foster

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Named a Maryland Daily Record VIP for his work in urban communities.

Lionel Foster is Communications Manager for the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Centre in the US.

Before joining Urban, he was an opinion columnist with The Baltimore Sun. His writing has also appeared in Baltimore City Paper, The Chicago Tribune, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Grist, The Los Angeles Times, and Urbanite.

He completed his MA at Goldsmiths during his tenure as a British Marshall Scholar. For his work in urban communities he was named a Maryland Daily Record VIP.

Bronia Kita

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Bronia is currently working on her third novel, despite not yet having finished the second, in the hope of fooling the ‘difficult second novel’ jinx.

Bronia Kita completed her MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths in 2006. Her first novel, The Swansong of Wilbur McCrum, was published in 2009, and she is currently working on her third, despite not yet having finished the second, in the hope of fooling the ‘difficult second novel’ jinx.

She also writes stories, one of which – ‘White Chrysanthemums’ – was published in Brought to Book, an anthology of Ian St James Award winners. She teaches creative writing to children of primary school age.

Emily Jeremiah

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Prize-winning translator of Finnish poetry and fiction.

Emily Jeremiah is a senior lecturer in German at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of two academic monographs. She is also a prize-winning translator of Finnish poetry and fiction.

Her translations include Eeva-Liisa Manner, Bright, Dusky, Bright (Waterloo Press, 2009), Asko Sahlberg, The Brothers (trans. with Fleur Jeremiah, Peirene Press, 2012), Kristina Carlson, Mr Darwin's Gardener (trans. with Fleur Jeremiah, Peirene Press, 2013), and Sirkka Turkka, A Sure Star in a Moonless Night (Waterloo Press, 2013).

For the last three years, she has acted as a judge for the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German translation.

Ross Raisin

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Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award.

Ross Raisin grew up near Silsden, West Yorkshire, and lives now in London. His first novel, (2008.) God's Own Country won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award in 2009, the Guildford First Novel prize, a Betty Trask Award, and was shortlisted for six others, including the Guardian First Book Award and the IMPAC Dublin literary award.

His second novel, Waterline, was published in 2011, and in 2013 he was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

His third novel, A Natural, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2017.

Emma Darwin

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The first writer to graduate with a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, with a thesis which consisted of her bestselling second novel, A Secret Alchemy. 

Emma Darwin was born in London and her first degree was in Drama and Theatre Arts. After various jobs including publishing social work books, driving a sandwich van and selling musical instruments, she embarked on an MPhil in Writing at the University of Glamorgan.

That novel became her debut, The Mathematics of Love; it was published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Best First Book, and other prizes. She was the first writer to graduate with a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, with a thesis which consisted of her bestselling second novel, A Secret Alchemy, and an exploration of the writing of historical fiction.

She is now writing her third novel, teaching Creative Writing for the Open University and elsewhere, and blogging about creative writing at This Itch of Writing.

Amy Sackville

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Amy's first novel was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for the best work of literature by a writer under 35. 

Amy Sackville studied at Leeds and Oxford before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths in 2008.

Her first novel, The Still Point, was published in January 2010 by Portobello Books. It was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for a work of literature by a writer under 35, and was also long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her second novel, Orkney, was published by Granta Books in spring 2013.

Evie Wyld

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MA Creative and Life Writing graduate Evie Wyld is an award-winning novelist. She has previously won Australia's biggest literary prize.  

In 2010 Evie was listed by The Daily Telegraph as one of the twenty best British authors under the age of 40 for her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, and she was also included on GRANTA’s 2013 list of the 20 best young writers; joining a host of illustrious former nominees including Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie, as well as fellow Goldsmiths graduate Ross Raisin. She has also been nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award. She has previously won Australia's biggest literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award, as well the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award and the Encore Prize.

Why did you choose to come to Goldsmiths and what attracted you to the MA in Creative and Life Writing?
Goldsmiths is in a part of London that I have a great affection for. It still feels like it’s evolving - it’s so easy to get into central London from New Cross, and yet it feels a long way out. The course itself appealed because I wanted to be able to take writing seriously, something I found hard without time dedicated to it. I liked the idea of having a reading list that would mean coming across books I wouldn’t normally have picked up. Part of the joy of this is in working out what you like and what you don’t like and why. But most of all it was giving myself the dedicated time to write.

What are your fondest memories of your time at the university? Were you inspired by a particular class or lecturer?
My lecturer Stephen Knight was incredibly helpful and his advice still guides me today. He had a reputation as being quite hard on students’ work, and a few times he told me that what I was doing was baffling, and he was completely right. I think one of the most valuable things to learn - which Goldsmiths really helped me to discover - is when you’re writing well, and when you think you’re sounding like a writer - two very different things, and accepting that you’re going to write some total crap is all part of learning. Maura Dooley was another lecturer who helped me immensely. She is generally thought of by all who meet her as a golden god. Calm and very kind, I remember she made the entrance interview a lovely thing to undertake rather than a moment of horror.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t think so much about the finished project. In fact don’t aspire to be a writer - write because you love the writing. The moment you think of yourself as a writer or as someone who is writing a book, you’re in danger of not seeing the work clearly. This is not a place to go seeking money, and once you’re fine with that ignore the people who talk about ‘getting work out there’. There is absolutely no hurry.

How do you approach the process of writing a novel?
So far each one has been different. There’s nothing magic though. I’d say the most bizarre thing I’ve noticed recently with the very start of the third one, is that I’ve been talking to myself a lot more about it. Lots of whispered conversations in the bath. Other than that I’ll just have to sit down and start to write something. Stephen Knight let me in on his secret which is to write one sentence and then write another, which is some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.

Is working in a bookshop as romantic as it sounds? (Evie works at Review Bookshop in Peckham)
It is a job - a lovely job, I love the shop, I care deeply about its success, but I don’t sit there reading and feeling at peace with all things. Generally I’m fretting about how to sell more books. At times when I’m very tired and when I haven’t had much time to write I feel a bit like Bernard Black, but on the whole I keep this inside - I’m yet to chase anyone outside with a broom.

You’ve grown up and lived in South London for most of your life - what is it about the place that appeals?
Being from two places (London and Australia) means that I always feel a little homesick for somewhere, but Peckham is where my roots really are. I live in Tulse Hill now, and so I have Brixton down the road too. Brixton and Peckham have changed a huge amount in the past 20 years, sometimes it feels like a little too much for me. But they are a lot of fun, and I like living on a hill and being near Brockwell park, which is the best park. It just feels, as closely as anywhere I’ve ever lived, like home.

Tom Lee

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Tom's story ‘The Current’ was shortlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the largest prize for a single short story in the world. 

Tom Lee’s PhD project focused on the short story form: it comprised a collection of eight stories followed by a close textual analysis of five stories by writers whose work has been significant in his own development.  

A number of the stories in the collection have been published, including ‘The Current’, which was shortlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the largest prize for a single short story in the world.  Other stories have been published in Esquire, and broadcast on Radio 4.

His first collection of stories, Greenfly, begun on the MA Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths (2000-2002), was published by Harvill Secker in 2009. It was described by the Times Literary Supplement as "fizzing with an energy at once dark and playful, swift in its impact, enduring in its effect".

He was awarded the Royal Society of Literature's Brookleaze grant to complete his second collection, the stories written during his Goldsmiths PhD.

Abigail Parry

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Prizewinning poet

Abigail Parry's work has been widely published in print and online, and she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2010.

She was a prizewinner in the 2013 Poetry London Competition, and has twice been a finalist in the Manchester Poetry Prize.

In 2016 she won a hattrick of poetry prizes: the 10,000 Euro BallyMoe Poetry Prize, the Free Verse: Poetry Book Fair Competition and the Troubadour International Poetry Prize.

In 2017 she completed her PhD on play in contemporary poetry.

Virginia

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Virginia's work has appeared in Australian literary journals and anthologies. 

Virginia Peters grew up on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. After a career in advertising she pursued an interest in creative writing through study at the University of Technology, Sydney, while raising three children.

Initially favouring the longer short story form, her work has appeared in Australian literary journals and anthologies.

In the last five years she has switched to nonfiction. During  her PhD at Goldsmiths she wrote Have You Seen Simone? (2014), a true-crime narrative and factual investigation into the murder of Simone Strobel, a German back packer who died in Lismore, Australia, in 2005.