I am a practice-based PhD researcher interested in the impact historical fiction can have on contemporary societal issues. My study is focussed on housing and the LGBT+ experience. The lack of suitable housing for marginlised communities can lead to unhealthy and inapproprite options, or that they become part of the ever-growing homeless population.
I am looking at interwar fiction, and in particular the 'boarding house' novels from authors such as George Orwell, Patrick Hamilton, Lynne Reid-Banks and Julian McLaren Ross, alongside the history of the housing crisis, and how that affects LGBT+ people. The interwar boarding house played an important role in providing accommodation for marginlised groups.
This particular iteration of the boarding house which differentiated a simple lodger from a boarder is no longer evident in today's society.
The output from my research will outline the structures belonging to both the physical building and the society within the interwar boarding house, and I will develop a contemporary version which could be an alternative form of collective living for those who are currently being left with unhealthy housing options. The interwar role of the boarding house landlady will also be researched and updated to see what that could be for the twenty-first century.
The majority of the thesis (80%) will be in a novel form along with a supporting critical commentary (20%), to allow me to interrogate the complexities within the social constructs of the LGBT+ community, and what that means when the front door is closed, and residents have to navigate other (and potentially hostile) residents on the stairs and in the dining room, and how that affects the experience and feeling of being at 'home'.
The novel has long-served as a wonderful social and historical marker, and has affected social change, and I am excited to add my voice to that collective. The nature of the research will form a distinct approach to the fiction writing process.
Master, MA Creative Writing , University of Kent
23 Sept 2019 → 20 Aug 2021
Award Date: 1 Oct 2021
Director - Hastings Book Festival
24 Aug 2018 → …
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