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Elizabeth Underwood, Author at The Open College of the Arts - Page 8 of 8
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Elizabeth Underwood

'Tread Softly', read hard thumb

'Tread Softly', read hard

OCA creative writing student Mary Webster, who was awarded a first in her Creative Arts BA honours degree, has just published her first volume of poetry, ‘Tread softly’, in celebration of her achievement. Drawing together the work she completed when studying with the OCA, her poems record her relationship with the natural world and her experience of getting to know Africa, and capture moments of the human life she observes around her.

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Writing in the round thumb

Writing in the round

Dramatists are not the only creative writers to practise their art collaboratively. Public writing is having a renaissance, and laptops and iPads have made writing an accepted sight in public locations. So we don’t know just what is being written against the backdrop of scraping chair legs, clinking glasses and shouting children. Emails? Blog entries? Facebook posts? All of those, no doubt. But why not first drafts of novels, short story plot summaries and revisions to stanzas of narrative poetry too?

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Plots or people? thumb

Plots or people?

Most writers don’t have to think too hard to know whether they find it easier to construct plots or create characters. OCA creative writing tutor Nina Milton calls the two groups of writers plot junkies or characterphiles. What happens when a group of writers at the Ilkley Festival are put on the spot and forced to write for 25 minutes in the guise they find the most challenging?

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Redefinitions thumb


Mike Harris, the author of OCA’s latest creative writing course, Narrative and Dialogue, looks at three common assumptions made by newer writers about their craft. Novelists and writers of narrative poetry have as much need as writers of scripts for stage and screen to work hard on writing dialogue. If you think you know what a writer’s deadline is, it might be time to think again. A conflict doesn’t have to be cataclysmic; for writers of dialogue, it can start with a small domestic dispute.

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Good beginnings: the best of Saki thumb

Good beginnings: the best of Saki

I have just re-read ‘The Lumber Room’, a short story by the former Burma police officer H H Munro, who wrote under the name of Saki. More than 30 years after having the story read aloud to me when I was 15 years old, its language and tone are still vividly familiar, even though until […]

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Higher education market competition not working, says OCA Chief Exec thumb

Higher education market competition not working, says OCA Chief Exec

In a blog post published today by the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), OCA Chief Executive Gareth Dent argues that if Higher Education Minister David Willetts had remembered his basic economics from his own days at university, he would have been able to predict that the majority of universities would set their fees at […]

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Big Issue, big opportunities… thumb

Big Issue, big opportunities…

The Big Issue in the North is a magazine covering current affairs and the arts staffed by a small team in Manchester. As you might know, the OCA is an education charity based in Barnsley which aims to widen access to creative arts education at undergraduate and graduate levels. What the two organisations have in […]

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