By Jacqueline Grima
Staff and students from the MMU Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences Faculty’s (HLSS) postgraduate community gathered on the Manchester School of Art’s roof terrace this week to celebrate the end of the academic year. The event also celebrated the launch of new work by HLSS lecturers and published novelists, Livi Michael and Catherine Fox.
Hosted by the Manchester Writing School, the evening began with a drinks reception and music from saxophone and guitar duo, ‘Just Us’. Next, guests were treated to a rendition of the Rosamond-Prize winning poem written by MA Creative Writing student, Merrie Williams and performed by Joanna Harris and Anna Appleby from the Royal Northern College of music.
The performance was followed by short readings from both Catherine and Livi’s novels. First, Lecturer in Creative Writing, Catherine, who writes under the name Catherine Fox, read an extract from her new novel Unseen Things Above, which the author described as an ‘affectionate homage to Anthony Trollope’ and which she blogged, last year, in instalments. Next, Senior Lecturer, Livi, read from her historical novel, Rebellion, the second of a trilogy before both writers answered questions from the audience. Speaking to Humanity Hallows about the event, Livi said, ‘The roof terrace is a fantastic location for a reading and I’m really pleased to be a part of this event.’
As the date of the celebration coincided with the Manchester Writing School’s ‘Creative Writing Summer School’, which brought distance-learning and on-campus students together for the first time this academic year, the evening was a great opportunity for postgraduates across the faculty to get to know each other. Online MA Creative Writing student, Georgia Davies, who was visiting the MMU campus for the first time, said, ‘Listening to Catherine and Livi read from their novels was really inspiring as it is the kind of thing that all of us students here are hoping to achieve for ourselves in the future. Everybody at the faculty has been so welcoming today and it has been lovely to have the opportunity to meet other students on the course.
Lucie McKnight-Hardy, another online MA student, added, ‘Get-togethers like this are really important for online postgraduates as they give us the opportunity to meet face-to-face and build friendships. I hope we can do it again in the future.’ The postgraduate school are hoping for the get-togethers to become a termly event.
Catherine Fox’s novel is available now from Amazon and other retailers. Livi Michael’s novel is released on 13th August.
Jacqueline Grima is studying for an MA in Creative Writing. When Not writing, she loves listening to music, going to concerts and baking. Follow her on Twitter @GrimaJgrima