A UNIVERSITY has welcomed a novelist whose book has been describes as “a lavish comic masterpiece”as its second writer in residence.
Paul Stanbridge, whose first novel Forbidden Line has just been published is to take up the year long role at the University of Greenwich. His appointment follows that of Paul Ewan the author of the Francis Plug series who has had a successful stint in the past year.
Mr Stanbridge says the position will give him a chance to draft his second novel and share insights with the creative writing students at the university. He is planning to pen a blog so students can see the process and obstacles which writers have to overcome.
He said: “I was never taught creative writing so I never knew how awful your first draft is. My message to students is ‘Get over it and keep working. We don’t know where we are going when we start a new book. I don’t have any plot or defined characters, just an idea. It starts in a void and coalesces.”
Mr Stanbridge’s first novel Forbidden Line, published by Galley Beggar Press, is a retelling of Don Quixote combined with a recreation of the Peasant’s Revolt. He said: “My Don thinks the only thing that is real is the here and now. He keeps trying to destroy history, only it turns out he has been caught up in the unfolding Peasant’s Revolt all along.”
Dr Alex Pheby, who leads the creative writing programme, said: “Paul is already proving himself indispensable around campus, teaching, advising students, and writing wherever he can find the desk space.” He said: “Paul Ewen’s residency was enormously successful and enjoyable for everyone, with Paul addressing the students, performing at the annual Greenwich Book Festival and most importantly, writing the first draft of his new Francis Plug novel, set here in Greenwich. Writers in residence are vital to the university’s research culture in creative writing, and we’re very privileged to have such brilliant writers contributing to our academic community.”
Sam Jordison at Galley Beggar Press says: “Paul is a brilliant talent, bursting with ideas and intelligence and creative spark. He’s an unusually gifted writer and a remarkable high achiever. But he’s also a dedicated crafts person and someone who works damn hard on his writing. I worked with him on the editing of Forbidden Line and it was fantastic. It was a long process – but always wonderfully rewarding because Paul was so able to see the bigger picture and to come up with new and wonderful passages of prose and to really make things work. He will be a tremendous asset for students working on their own edits and redrafts.”
Around 100 students are currently studying creative writing at the university on BA degree programmes with more on related drama, digital media and communication courses.