the next step

It's been two years since I handed in my MA dissertation and seventeen months since Seren was born; in that interval I've published a chapbook, started running writing workshops, redrafted the (still unfinished) novel, which I've now put in hibernation, pending a cool re-read in a few months, written and published a handful of flash pieces, and performed at a bunch of spoken word events around Manchester (this Thursday, come see me at WORD>PLAY in Didsbury!). It's been tiring and busy, but rather aimless, too. So it's time for the next phase - more focus, more serious-writing-face, more library-time. So, I've applied and been accepted as a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. I enrolled last week (student card and Young Persons' Railcard pocketed) and this week I'll have my first supervision meeting. It's a little scary and very exciting. I'll be researching short story sequences, or composite novels, and narrative theory (narratology, a bunch of formalist and post-structuralist works, discourse theory, etc), and I'll be writing my own set of interlinked short stories. I blogged frequently about my MA a couple of years back, and I expect I'll blog about the PhD too, but it's not as structured a programme, obviously, as the modular MA set-up, so posting won't be as consistent as it was then. But I'll try to keep you filled in, unless it's so boring you all beg me to stop. In the meantime, I better get back to watching Mars Attacks with Seren. She just loves to see the aliens slaughter everyone. Her evil laugh is a work of art.

7 comments:

eimearryan said...

Looking forward to hearing about it, Valerie! Is it possible to get funding for creative writing PhDs in the UK?

Love the name Seren. :)

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Eimear! It is possible, but it's few and far between, and in Manchester all they've got (sadly) is funding to cover fees. I'm in an odd situation, in that my first years' fees are covered by a bursary, but I'll have to reapply in the spring to get funding for the next two years. (Impending stress....) A few places do offer a maintenance grant as well as fees - UEA, Sussex, Newcastle, maybe some others - and one of my friends is fully funded (in Sussex), but we decided to go for financial grief and a very good department over taking a punt on applying somewhere very far away and having logistical nightmares with travel or moving house. Why are these things never straightforward??

Joanna said...

Very best of luck with the PhD, Valerie. That's very exciting news. I'm looking forward to hearing how you get on.
And I loved Enough. Brilliant writing, as always.

C Snook said...

Best thing to do and I can see you as a uni lecturer :) whip those freshers into shape!

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Joanna! Claire - let the whipping commence!

Rachel Fenton said...

Very best of luck with your studies, Valerie - my daughter was the same age when I signed up to university first time around. Your research subject sounds ace and I look forward to your stories at the end of it all.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Rachel!