Creative Writing at University

Interested in what creative writing is like as a society project in a larger UK university? Below is my short interview with Emily Upson, the president and organiser of Reading’s creative writing society, Scribblers, originally published in Reading Uni’s The New Frontier magazine.

What inspired you to revive Scribblers?

At a poetry reading where Conor Carville, a Reading creative writing professor, and I were discussing how little time we have in seminars, he said “it’s a shame the creative writing society folded”. The more he talked about what they did, the more I wanted one.

What sort of creative writing are you interested in?

Mainly experimental prose – playing around with rules to express meaning in as many ways as possible. I like to think that however weird and wonderful the writing gets, it still works.

Who are some of your favourite writers?

Scott Fitzgerald has to be one of my favourites, due to the sheer beauty of his writing. I’m passionate about literature that makes a difference, whether personal or societal difference. This leads me to Aphra Behn’s works, Madame Bovary, and, very recently, Satanic Verses.

That’s quite a selection! Tell us some Scribblers events this coming academic year.

We’re organizing more ‘Scribbler Support Groups’, where everyone writes together, aware of each other’s goals. It’s very easy to talk and plan to write, but there’s nothing like peer pressure, a support system, and plenty of coffee to get writers to work.

As well as the “Start Scribbling” event we held on the 20th October, we’re planning more talks with guest speakers; next term’s “Start Scribbling” will be even bigger! A book cover design day is in the pipeline.

Thank you, Emily.

So, we’re always busy, always doing things, but the Scribblers have weekly meetings and frequent events, so it is very involved society. One of the things I love is that Emily and her society are so open to different types of writing and never judgemental about the pieces produced in 15-minutes’ worth of time.

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