This Autumn, the School of English is welcoming several new members of staff, who we’ll be highlighting one by one throughout the semester, now stretching all the way into December!
Our next new member of staff is Dr Alice Honor Gavin, who joined the School of English as Lecturer in Fiction and Writing in September 2015. Her work moves across and between creative writing, literary criticism, and critical theory. Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins, 2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize, which rewards writing that ‘challenges perceived notions of genre’. There was a fun ceremony and a fine afterparty. Her doctoral research on free indirect style in film and literature was published in book form in 2014.
We asked Alice to write a bit about her current project, which you can find below.
My current creative project is a parafictional narrative about the comeback of a boyband that never existed. Featuring a protagonist named ‘Fin’ and a mythic landscape of Ha Has and pterosaurs, the project is at once intensely theoretically driven and pure pop fiction. Once upon a time, it was not to be. Once upon a time, it did not happen. The narration of an event that never occurred, Never Was is literary theory in the form of a dream that forgot to stop not existing. I’m interested in the boyband as a contemporary reckoning of the relation between fate and sexuality. I think of the story as fabulous, meanwhile, because Never Was is not so much a novel project as it is a fabulation: a performance more true than reality, that most hackneyed of realisms. Pop fascinates me generally: the pop manufactories of the 1990s are my preoccupation, but my interest also extends to current phenomena such as PC Music.
Whether creative or critical, my approach to writing and research is strongly multidisciplinary. My work has either drawn on or in some form been influenced by linguistics, film, architecture, music, and queer theory. These interests have also led to an emphasis on collaboration, which is something I look forward to continuing here at Sheffield. Come Spring semester, I’ll be co-running a masterclass series on performance text creation and writing for film, T.V. and radio with Terry O’Connor in Theatre. I’m also collaborating with Melanie Richter-Montpetit, Lecturer in Politics, on a project exploring queer perspectives on pedagogy and the politics of creative practice.
To learn more about Alice’s work, check out the following links:
Welcome to the SoE, Alice!