- Course: MA Writing for Performance and Publication
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background before studying at Leeds?
I have been writing creatively since I was eleven years old. I studied my undergraduate degree at the University of Utah, BA Psychology and Classics. During this time I wrote my first novel, City Ash and Desert Bones, which was published by Dog Star Books in 2016. I also co-founded a small, independent theatre company called Anthem. My stage work had also been performed with Cirque Asylum, Wasatch Theatre Company, and the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival.
What made you choose to study at the University?
I applied for the MA Writing for Performance and Publication because the course content was so unique. The opportunity to study how to write for theatre, radio, film, television, and prose fiction combined is rare. I knew the course would allow me the freedom to write what I wanted to write and encourage experience of writing across all genres.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
Many of the students in my cohort developed a strong sense of comradery and kinship over our year together. I loved getting to know my peers and their writing, as well as having a sense of advocacy and solidarity between us. We were in it together, one hundred percent.
What opportunities/activities were available for students outside of studying and which ones did you take part in?
Two theatre festivals took place during my time at Leeds, as well as a placement with what is now Leeds Playhouse. My work was accepted into both festivals, RIFT and the International Gi60 Festival.
What are you fondest memories of your time at Leeds?
Yorkshire is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. Leeds is a gorgeous city. I loved living in a centre for art as well as nature.
Moving on to your career, where do you currently work and what is your job title?
In my creative day-to-day, I’m working on lots and lots of projects. I have two novels, both complete and one ready for agent queries. I am also working on a play commission for a local theatre company as well as a short film commission that will be entered into a competition festival this autumn. On top of that, I also have three original plays, a full-length film, and a short film in progress. It’s likely that I will produce one of those plays later this year through my theatre company. I am also currently seeking employment in television production.
How do you think your degree has helped you to progress in your career? In particular, what skills did you learn and how do you use these in your role/career path?
This was not necessarily something that the degree program taught me, but something that was facilitated through my comprehensive experience in Leeds. Over the course of that year, I gained the confidence to say, “I am a writer.” Full stop. That confidence was not something I had before, even though I’ve been writing for more than half my life and was a published author before applying to the course. I was constantly seeking approval or validation, looking for some kind of official stamp from an outside source to tell me that, yes, you are a writer now. I am a writer. I claim that for myself from within myself, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.