Creative Writing MA


Now I know.

Will always suffer

for betrayals that left us

trying to move on,


A prey left to be drained.

And now it’s ready.

There’s no need to feel the pain

just let my hands touch the skin

and electrify it

and oh, I kiss the book,

my fingers will write about it

about that energy left swelled  in the air.

My mouth will tell those stories

about bodies that chafe each other

and lips that rub a shared sexuality.

And oh, I swear, those lines

are destined to feel no pain inside,

nor envy for lost loves and tears,

nothing will compare to them

nor even a full of fantasy past.

And now the casualty finally transforms

into a fair piece of art.


The Greatest Showman Review

By Anastasia Papadopoulou

What would you risk in order to make your dreams come true?



If you can’t find the answer, take the example of  P.T. Barnum, the new role that the ex-Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman plays in the The Greatest Showman. After losing his job, Barnum decides to sell everything, buy the place of his dreams, find the people with whom he can create a yet unprecedented show and take the stage with his cunning mind and talent. An alternative musical, a fantastic show with special people, abilities and skills, The Greatest Showman will nail you to your seat. Though prominent in the film, Hugh Jackman is not the only one chasing his dreams in the movie. Michelle Williams and Zac Efron (Ch. Barnum, Ph. Carlyle), by opposing to their families and the recognition they have based on their wealth –  as well as Zendaya with her incredible voice and dance moves, are able to leave the audience brimming with excitement. Love, the American Dream, recognition and downfall are the main themes that one will see in The Greatest Showman. The movie unfolds during the 19th century and the birth of the modern form of show biz, as we know it even today. The movie has 3 Golden Globe nominations: Best movie, Best male actor in the Comedy–Musical category, and “This is me” (the incredible song that you’ll keep singing even after leaving the cinema) nominated for Best Song. If you like to sing, dance and take risks (or you just like to watch others making the steps and bring changes), The Greatest Showman is the movie-musical for you!

Why does not the soul sleep?

By Ioana Bonaparte

Rest appears as necessary everywhere,

but when does the soul sleep?

Or is it relentless and forever eager of feeling?

I catch a sight of it and it looks lazy;

it’s worthy of pity,

it’s degrading and detaching,

tears and pains it pours,

but not a thought of sleeping.

Tiring sentiments…


Why does not my soul sleep?

Or maybe I don’t even have a soul,

maybe it’s gone…

So eager

of living,

of knowing,

it may have disappeared so far away

that it forgot the path that leads back.


What if my soul betrays me?

Maybe… that is why some people lose themselves in the world,

being devoid of their souls,

while others, much more prudent,

get to have two or three or four…

or maybe a thousand of souls in one man.

And maybe that way can be explained

why intermittently great characters arise,

apparently impossible human wonders.


I would call it, but fear restrains my voice;

the fear that,

after shouting,

I’ll remain all my life waiting for my chimera to respond.

Orford Ness: A Guide to Memory Mapping

by Tracy Lee-Newman

MA Creative Writing Student

January 2018, and let’s start with layers.  Socks, vests, t-shirts, jumpers, fleeces, raincoats, gloves and hats.  Orford Ness is what’s known as a ‘storm beach’, and none of us are taking any chances.

Orford Ness trip 4

Curving round the Suffolk coast, the Ness is the site of our class’s first field trip; a promontory of shingle, marsh and mud approximately ten miles long, accessible only by ferry.  Now owned by the National Trust and recognised as an internationally important area for nature conservation, for most of the 20th century it was a place the public were excluded from because of the secret research undertaken on site by the military; research conducted in the now abandoned buildings we are taken to explore.

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On Coming Out as Bisexual

By Dr Sean Seeger

One afternoon in December of last year I went to a café in town and sat for about an hour thinking about things. Whilst I was there I made an important life choice: I decided to come out as bisexual.

I had gone over the topic many times in my mind throughout the previous months, and now at last I’d come to the conclusion that this was the right thing for me to do at this moment in my life.

When I finally resolved to go through with it, coming out proved to be the most terrifying thing I had ever done. This wasn’t because I was expecting to encounter prejudice or because I was ashamed of who I was. It was because I knew this was the most significant thing I’d shared with anyone about myself and I had no idea what effect it would have on my relationships with people. Would they think I was confused or just going through a phase? Would they think I’d been unable to trust them? Would they think I’d been in denial about my sexuality until now? Would they think less of me for these and similar reasons? To say I approached coming out with some trepidation would be a serious understatement.

As soon as I’d done it, I knew I’d made the right choice.

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Interview with Shane Whitworth, actor in ‘Play Something’ by Paul T Davies

By Jack Parker

‘Side one. Track two. That song is about me.’

Two men meet in a club. It’s supposed to just be casual sex. But their paths keep crossing, keeping it casual for years until feelings deepen. But how does a non-emotional man become emotional? To tell you their story they ask the DJ to play something. Something to make love to, to split up to, to celebrate, to cry, and to play the Forever Song. They are the songs of all of us.

Shane Whitworth 1

Last year Play Something by Paul T Davies made a flying visit to the Lakeside Theatre here at the University of Essex. The play is a reflective look at the lives of LGBT men, and is another new play from the writer of the acclaimed Living With Luke. I had the chance to conduct a short interview with Shane Whitworth, one of the actors in the show, to ask about his experience of the production, what challenges he faced during the process and what impact the themes of the play may have to a wider audience.

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Review: The Disaster Artist

By Katlyn Sulzmann

Source / Source

The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco, is about the making of The Room, the notoriously terrible film created by Tommy Wiseau. Since its release in 2003, Wiseau’s film has been called the “worst film ever made” by numerous critics and moviegoers, though it has achieved a cult following. As bad as the film is, the actual making of The Room was even worse, as chronicled by Greg Sestero, a frequent collaborator of Wiseau’s, in his book, The Disaster Artist. Franco intertwines both Sestero’s version of events, as well as Wiseau’s film, in order to further understand and ruminate on how such an awful film came into being.

disaster artist 3


Overall, the film succeeds in its principle goal, being both entertaining and funny, and in providing Franco with a serious enough role to be a contender for any number of awards. His portrayal of Tommy Wiseau is definitely the highpoint of the film. Franco completely transforms into Wiseau in both appearance and personality, which elevates the film as a whole. Other than Franco, no other actor really stands out and the audience’s attention, so if Franco did not personify or even maximise on Wiseau’s bizarreness, the film would have been quite flat and boring. The Disaster Artist is at its best and its most entertaining in the scenes in which The Room is being filmed and recreated. Franco’s Wiseau is at his most outrageous, claiming the audience needs to see his ass in order to “sell the picture”, while Seth Rogen and the rest of the production team act as both comic relief and Greek chorus in vocalising their disbelief in what is going on around them. The one-liners delivered by Franco and Rogen are spot on, proving, yet again, what a strong comedic duo they are.

That being said, the film, as a whole, was just okay. Franco’s performance was the only one that stood out, while every other actor seemed to just play themselves. The film didn’t really answer any questions about Wiseau, despite asking them repeatedly. Wiseau is known for being misleading about his background. His age is relatively unknown, though one could guess, and claims to be from Louisiana, despite his obvious Eastern European accent. Wiseau is kept shrouded in mystery, denying the audience any insight into who he really is. The film doesn’t really have anything to say about the topic it’s covering either. Is Franco’s film seeking to question society’s constrictive view of what constitutes as good and bad in cinema and art? Is he trying to upend the discussion of what kind of works can be deemed worthy and unworthy of praise or critical consideration? Or is he questioning whether any of these notions or labels even matter in the creation of art? It’s hard to say, but if he’s trying to ask any of these questions, it’s a futile attempt.

My main contention with this film is trying to understand its purpose; why was it made? Sure, it’s funny, but so is the original. Yes, it’s interesting to see what went on behind the scenes of The Room, but Sestero’s book already does that, and in greater detail. What does this film add to the already known and publicized story of Tommy Wiseau and The Room? Nothing, and that’s where it fails. The Disaster Artist needs to do more than just remake Sestero’s book and Wiseau’s film. It needs to ask new questions or provide new information, otherwise what’s the point? My only conclusion then, is that much like Wiseau, Franco wanted to create a role for himself, one that he thought would garner some nominations, to create roles for his friends and family, so as to display their talents, which explains why Franco’s brother and sister-in-law are both cast in main roles, and to merely capitalize off a successful cult favourite without having to do much work.

In the case of The Disaster Artist, it makes more sense to cut out the middleman and just watch The Room instead. Why watch a film that’s only half as funny and bizarre as the original?

This Black Woman

By Seema Nasreddin

This black is beautiful.

It took years for me to be okay with my melanin.

With my tight locked curls and my dark brown eyes.

My thick thighs, and my big bum.

My skin tone which is a fine chocolate colour

My afro which is soft to the touch but makes me look powerful

My thick thighs which can crush any spirit


This black is smart.

It took years for me to realise that my skin tone does not equate to my education.

My love for books continues to grow

My thirst for knowledge will never cease to exist

My school will not prevent my education, and I will learn what this black can do.

My books will come from people who understand my struggle

My knowledge will stem from the different perspectives of this generation


This black is strong.

It took years for me to go against the world’s preconception of who I am

My spirit will stay standing making sure to prove that I am here

That I am relevant

That I will no longer be a black strip on a white background

My heart will show the pain that has been placed upon me

My body has scars to show you what I have gone through

My spirit will not be broken

My heart will keep beating

My body will scream beauty


This woman is tough.

It took years for me to be able to voice my opinions

My laugh is loud and shakes up an entire room

My smile is so radiant that you can see it from a distance

My body is filled with love and passion

My laugh will be saved for things that don’t insult my existence

My smile will be on my face when I have a reason to smile

My body will be shared with who I choose to share it with


This woman is free.

It took years for me to realise that I can do with my vessel as I please.

My hands are gentle like the ocean when it comes to kiss the sand

My voice is importunate and demands to be listened to

My legs are under the control of my mind and I will allow whoever I please

My hands will hold the ones that I love

My breath will only be used when I decide to use it

My legs will only be open for when I decide to open them


This woman is bold.

It took years for me to realise that I can be confident

My feet are cemented to the earth below me, showing that I will not budge

My lungs breathe in self-love and push out hatred

My veins have cleared from poison of negativity

My body will scream about the beauty that is held on my skin and below my chest

My lungs will be filled with the compliments I give myself

My bones will replace the sadness that I used to feel when I looked at myself with the love I now feel for myself


This black woman is proud

And I don’t care what anyone says.

I am who I am

It took my years to get to where I am today.

And no one can take that away from me.

The Lonely Creature

By Fintan Bowles

Loneliness is something we all fear,

We hate being without people,

and secretly want everyone to be near;

Our friends, our family, our steeple.

If we run too long without our batteries,

Then we power down, ourselves a dispeople.


We tend to think of loneliness as a mechanical fault on our behalf,

Whether or not it’s a decision we’ve made or a personality feature,

We always blame it, and feel it, hidden in a laugh,

But loneliness isn’t a malevolent creature.

Loneliness is kind,

Loneliness is a teacher.


When you’re alone, in your room, only a cloud hidden sky to view,

Loneliness sleeps by your bed side, curled up, a feathered snake,

You clamber into bed and it wraps around you,

Loneliness is a reminder, not a mistake,

A reminder of the fact you are loved, whether by others or yourself,

A boost on a journey to make.


You can spend hours weeping, or staring through glass,

Hoping for them to come through the door and hug your stand,

But they’re there, out in the world, your worries equal to their last.

When one isn’t there in flesh, they are there in hand,

When you need them most.

Loneliness gives to emotions what is not banned.


If we had no loneliness, we would have no push, no shove,

To be lonely is to feel. Animals avoid loneliness, as do we, in our animal nature,

I love being lonely, because I, a primate, loves being loved.

Thank you loneliness, you beautiful creature.

I will hold you close tonight, I always will,

Loneliness is something that makes you miss her.

25 Days Annual Leave – Marrakech (Part 2)

By Sarah Lawrence

This is Part 2 of Sarah’s journey – read Part 1 in our previous post.

Day 3: Introducing Jerry…

3am, I heard a rustling and thought nothing of it. 3:15am more rustling. 3:30am I looked round the room and found the source of the rustling. Our breakfast we had brought was left on the floor and beside the now open packet sat a little mouse. We dubbed him Jerry. Little rascal. For three hours, I watched the mouse run in and out of the gap in our tent. Once it was acceptable to get up, my sister tried for a couple of minutes of mouse-free sleep and I was appointed photographer of sunrise. This meant that I had to climb to the top of the sand dune, which in shoes and carrying a heavy camera is no easy feat. Upon making it to the top I saw a man trying to get everyone’s attention. He then informed us that we had climbed the wrong one and should climb the bigger one to the right of us. Nope. I took a few pictures of the desert and fell back down the dune and impatiently waited to clamber back on the grumpy camels.

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