About the Centre

Photograph of Ambrose, Carol and CorinneFrom its Midlands base, the Centre for New Writing specialises in devolved literary culture. The Centre fosters an understanding of Britain’s literary landscape which sees beyond traditional commercial and geographical hierarchies. The Centre actively seeks to reshape this landscape.

Literary production and distribution cannot be studied from afar. Our research is practical, creating dynamic and innovative writing environments which benefit writers and communities alike. Our commitment to researching, developing and promoting literary diversity informs our annual programme of events.

The Midlands are cosmopolitan and diverse. This environment inspires our commitment to regional writing, which merits wider readerships and greater academic attention. The Centre raises the profile of writing that is published and enjoyed outside London. It also provides the resources to allow such voices to speak in the first place. Our research demonstrates that there is a particular need to provide infrastructural support for regional black and Asian writers, who suffer disproportionately from the commercial and cultural logic by which writing has historically been deemed worthy of national and international readerships.

Our research is underpinned by both keen sensitivity to the realities of commercial publishing, and a rejection of any simplistic dichotomy between commercial lowbrow vs. non-commercial highbrow. Embracing a nuanced and holistic approach to literary production, the Centre’s research recognises that writers, audiences, and publics don’t spring out of nowhere, but emerge within infrastructures that are reshaped by the agency of individuals and institutions. Our investment in such literary infrastructure is reflected in our scholarly publications, programming, reviewing, mentoring, commissioning and publishing activity.

In line with our commitment to cultivating literary publics, the Centre also explores synergies between writing and all forms of academic research. The Centre is committed to cultivating two-way dialogue between creative practitioners and academics, to the enrichment of both parties, as shown by our Colonial Countryside project. Writers benefit from having their practice challenged and extended by engagement with cutting edge research. Sharing platforms with writers, academics create new audiences for research, promoting new perspectives and new conversations.

Teaching, learning, writing, and research form one texture of intellectual and creative inquiry. Our rounded and reflexive approach to literary production also recognises the contributions that students make to our research culture, beginning the day that they arrive at the university. Our students are integrated into the local literary scene, familiarised with independent publishers, and given the support and resources they need to explore independent publishing models, including emerging models enabled by digital platforms, as well as more traditional pathways.

We run an MA in Creative Writing and regularly host conferences, workshops, colloquia, lectures and seminar series, which are open to the general public. Explore our archive of recordings of interviews with a variety of celebrated writers. 

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