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By Jacqueline Grima
Manchester Writing School has recently announced the addition of two fantastic established writers to its teaching team: novelists Conrad Williams and Wyl Menmuir. Both writers will be teaching classes on the MA and MFA in Creative Writing online novel route.
Conrad Williams is the author of seven novels, including The Unblemished and Dust and Desire, four novellas, including Game and Rain, and two short story collections, Use Once Then Destroy and Born With Teeth. His latest book Hell is Empty was released in November 2016.
Conrad spoke to Humanity Hallows about how much he is he is looking forward to joining the Writing School team: “It’s a real privilege to be a part of one of the country’s best creative writing teams. I’ll be teaching students how to write fantasy and gothic fiction, as well as working with Masters students on their novels.
“I really can’t wait. I love being among like minds, talking about creative writing and hopefully inspiring students to write their very best fiction. I wish I’d had this kind of support when I was at university!”
What can students expect from the online workshops?
“Lots of fun, hopefully. And lots of good discussion about writing. I like students to offer positive feedback only on work created in class – no criticism whatsoever. Later drafts can be tackled with a more critical eye, but I won’t have a word said against first drafts. I want to generate a feeling of camaraderie and co-operation. I want my students to see themselves as part of a writing group first and foremost. A febrile hotbed of ideas and creativity and support.”
He added, “I’m hoping to see writing that is fearless and challenging. I love writers who take risks. In fantasy fiction especially – which I consider to be an umbrella term covering all kinds of fiction from magic realism to SF to horror – there is the danger of cliché. I don’t mind writers borrowing from seams well-mined as long as they try to offer some new way forward, whether structurally, thematically, or narratively. I’ve no doubt Manchester Met’s new writers will surprise me and impress me. I can’t wait to read their stuff!”
Wyl Menmuir is also thrilled to be joining the team. He told Humanity Hallows, “It’s incredibly exciting to be joining the excellent team at the Manchester Writing School. I’m looking forward to supporting the writers on the MA as they develop their novels. I grew up in Manchester, and even though I now live in Cornwall, working with the Manchester Writing School feels I’m still part of the city that made me.”
Wyl is himself a graduate of the Writing School’s MA in Creative Writing, his debut novel The Many, written for his MA portfolio, since having been longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Wyl said, “What I loved most about the MA was the community of talented writers on the course – we supported each other through the highs (and lows) of novel writing. I know just how instrumental the novel workshops can be in helping craft and shape a novel, and it’s something I really want to explore with my students.”
Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing Nicholas Royle said, “We are delighted to welcome Wyl Menmuir and Conrad Williams to the teaching team at the Manchester Writing School. Conrad has been the winner of the International Horror Guild Award and the August Derleth Award, while Wyl was longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize and both have brilliant short stories in print with Nightjar Press.
“Wyl and Conrad will enhance the quality of our teaching. As unit leader for the MA Novel Workshop – and editor/publisher of Nightjar Press – I can’t wait for them to start.”
For more information about the MA and MFA in Creative Writing, visit the Manchester Writing School website