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Acclaimed poet joins University writing specialists to help teachers to raise the next generation of authors

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Acclaimed poet joins University writing specialists to help teachers to raise the next generation of authors

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education

Acclaimed poet Daljit Nagra will read his work to teachers and offer expert advice as part of a University of Leicester project which aims to teach the next generation of British authors. He will also help the teachers to be more innovative writers.

Nagra will join three other published creative writing specialists at the University of Leicester to guide teachers of the new A-level in creative writing, who will coach the poets, playwrights and novelists of tomorrow.

The two-day, residential teacher training course is called 'Teaching Creative Writing at Post-16: For Teachers Who Write (Or Want to Write)'.

The course will help English teachers develop their identity as writers, enabling them to better teach the new A-Level in creative writing – which has been offered to sixth formers across the country by exam board AQA.

The new A-Level course aims to bring teachers and students together as writers – mirroring how creative writing is taught at degree level.

While this is a new subject for secondary schools and sixth form colleges, creative writing has been taught at degree level for many years – and the University has a particularly strong standing in the field. 

The School of English currently offers undergraduates many opportunities to engage in creative writing throughout its BA English course, as well as an MA and PhD in Creative Writing.

The School now hosts the Centre for New Writing – which supports the work of writers, teachers of creative writing, independent publishers and literary agencies in the Midlands and beyond. The Centre, which specialises in regional literary cultures, commissions writing on a regular basis.

A number of the School’s staff are themselves published writers with strong links to world of writing and publishing.

In June 2014, a team of tutors – including former heads of English and acclaimed poet Daljit Nagra - will train teachers in how to inspire the most innovative work from their students.

Tutors will include:

  • Dr. Sue Dymoke is a published poet and Senior Lecturer in Education. She specialises in the processes of writing poetry and how these are taught in schools. Before joining the School of Education, Sue taught English in secondary schools for 16 years. For eight of these, she was a Head of English.
  • Nick Everett is editor of the poetry magazine New Walk and Lecturer in the University’s School of English.
  • Dr Corinne Fowler is Director of the Centre for New Writing. She is a published short story writer and fiction editor. She is Senior Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Leicester.
  • David Wharton is a published author and was previously Head of English and Media at Gateway Sixth Form College, Leicester - where he helped introduce Creative Writing on to the curriculum. He currently teaches Creative Writing at Leicester University Institute for Lifelong Learning.
  • Dr Harry Whitehead is a critically acclaimed novelist and Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. He is a member of the National Association of Writers in Education’s HE Committee, and a consultant at national level on the new Creative Writing A Level.

During the course, teachers will also be offered individual mentoring sessions to develop their own creative writing techniques and to enhance their identity as writers.

Sessions will cover what counts as creative writing; what constitutes “good creative practice”; how teaching the subject might improve teachers’ own writing; how teachers’ can apply their own creative practice; and the most effective ways to run a creative workshop.

Dr Corinne Fowler, Director of the Centre for New Writing, said: “Supporting and inspiring excellence in creative writing teaching is one of the Centre for New Writing's core aims. We think this course will really inspire those who teach the subject at post-16 level.

“It will stimulate and challenge: teachers will be offered rare expert support in developing their own skill as creative writing practitioners. Individual mentoring sessions will further support this aim.

“Course participants will reflect critically on their own experience of writing exercises as they encounter them on the course itself and, from there, devise new strategies for teaching the subject to their creative writing students.

“Having Daljit Nagra's reading and advice over the conference dinner will be a real help but also a well-deserved indulgence for creative writing teachers.”

The course will be held on June 12 and 13, 2014, the Ogden Lewis Suite on the University campus.

Course participants will be able to stay overnight at the University’s state of the art conference venue College Court, on Knighton Road, Leicester.

More information about the event can be found at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/creativewriting/centre/teachers/copy_of_cpd-course-teaching-creative-writing-at-post-16

Anyone interested in applying can contact David Wharton on: dw191@le.ac.uk

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